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The Ultimate Guide to Document Workflow Management: Streamline Your Processes and Increase Productivity

Document workflow management is the process of managing the creation, approval, distribution, and storage of documents within an organization. 

Having a well-defined document workflow management system in place can bring many benefits to your organization.

Document workflow management systems are a critical aspect of business operations and can benefit organizations of all sizes and industries. 

Want your document workflow management system to be efficient, effective, and secure? 

This page will provide you with all you need to know to start implementing the right tools into your company.

If you’d like to see some examples of workflows in action, we’ve compiled a list of every workflow template you’ll ever need. We’ll show you some cool templates and the best software to use them with.

Understanding document workflow management

Document workflow management is a key aspect of document management and involves the following concepts:

Document creation 

Creating new documents such as reports, proposals, and contracts.

Review and approval

The process of reviewing and approving documents, such as the assignment of tasks, sharing of feedback, and the management of version control.

Distribution

Distributing approved documents to relevant stakeholders, including team members, partners, and customers.

Storage

The process of storing documents in a secure, organized, and easily accessible way, such as in a document management system.

Types of workflows

The role of document workflow management is to ensure that all document-related tasks are completed efficiently and effectively. 

Streamlining the document creation, review, approval, and storage process will let you reduce the time required to complete these tasks, freeing up time.

And that’s not all! 

Document workflow management can prove crucial in ensuring the efficient and effective management of documents within your business. 

Since we’re at it, let’s distinguish between the different types of workflow management.

There are two main types of document workflows: sequential and parallel.

Sequential workflow

In a sequential workflow, documents are reviewed and approved step-by-step, with tasks completed one after the other. This type of workflow can be used when a single approver is needed for each step, and the review process is straightforward.

Parallel workflow

In a parallel workflow, multiple approvers are involved in the document review process at the same time. This type of workflow lets all involved in the project make comments without waiting for approval.

When deciding which type of document workflow is best for a particular situation, you should consider the complexity of the review process and the timeline for completing the review.

The benefits of using document workflow management software

The main benefits of document workflow management software include:

Increased efficiency

Automating and streamlining document-related processes can reduce the time and effort required to complete tasks.

Improved compliance

Document workflow management systems can help you meet compliance requirements such as data protection and information security.

Cost savings

Streamlining document-related processes allows you to reduce the cost associated with document creation, storage, and distribution.

Better decision-making

By having access to accurate and up-to-date information, you can make informed decisions more quickly and with greater confidence.

Enhanced collaboration

Document workflow management systems can facilitate collaboration between different departments and teams, improving communication.

Key features of a document workflow management system

Here’s a list of the key features document workflow management system should have:

  1. Workflow automation. Automating repetitive manual tasks, such as sending reminders and notifications, can save time and ensure that tasks are completed on time.
  1. Security. Document workflow management systems should provide security for confidential documents.
  1. Integrations. Many document workflow management systems can integrate with other tools, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.

When choosing a document workflow management system for your organization, it’s important to consider your business’s specific needs and requirements. 

Here are some tips for determining which features are most important:

Identify your business processes

Start by understanding the document review and approval processes your organization currently uses, including the steps involved, who is involved, and the challenges you face. This information will help you determine what features to use in a document workflow management system.

Assess your team’s needs

Consider the needs and requirements of your team members, including their roles, responsibilities, and preferences. For example, some team members may need access to real-time collaboration tools, while others may require reporting and analytics features.

Evaluate security requirements

Consider the security requirements for your organization. Features such as secure access controls and audit trails can help ensure your documents are protected and secure.

Evaluate integrations

Consider if you need to integrate your document workflow management system with other tools and systems, and evaluate the integrations offered by different systems.

By taking the time to understand your business processes, you can select the best document workflow management system for your organization.

The ultimate list of document workflow management system software

If you’re looking for the ultimate list of the best document workflow software, you’re in the right place!

We’ve tested many different workflow tools, and here are the top 7:

Process Street

Process Street is a cloud-based workflow automation software that provides teams with an easy-to-use tool for automating repetitive tasks, improving team collaboration, and reducing the risk of human error.

Features:

  • Automate repetitive processes and tasks, such as onboarding new employees, creating invoices, or approving contracts
  • Collaboration and task management: track progress and communicate with each other within the platform
  • A range of customization options and integrates, such as Zapier, Slack, and Google Drive

Use cases:

  • Automate HR processes, such as employee onboarding and performance reviews
  • Streamline operations processes and project management
  • Automate legal and compliance processes, such as contract management and regulatory reporting

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface designed for non-technical users. Offers a simple and intuitive interface
  • Efficient and accurate
  • Collaboration and visibility to track progress and improve communication between teams
  • More affordable compared to other workflow management systems

Cons:

  • Some features may require training

Microsoft SharePoint

A cloud-based collaboration and content management platform with various tools for managing and organizing documents, web content, and business processes.

Features:

  • Store, organize, and manage documents in a centralized location
  • Tools for automating business processes, such as approvals, task assignments, and document management
  • Enables teams to share information, communicate, and work together on projects
  • A range of customization options and integrations with other Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Office, Teams, and OneDrive

Use cases:

  • Manage and organize content, documents, and multimedia files

Pros:

  • Integration with Microsoft products can improve efficiency and collaboration
  • SharePoint provides a range of customization options, allowing you to tailor the platform to your specific needs

Cons:

  • SharePoint can be complex to use
  • The platform may require training to use all of its features effectively
  • SharePoint can be expensive, especially for large organizations

Google Drive

Google Drive is a cloud-based file storage platform that provides individuals and organizations with various tools for storing, sharing, and collaborating on documents and files.

Features:

  • Storage space for documents, images, videos, and other files
  • Share files with others and collaborate in real-time on documents and presentations.
  • Integrates with other Google products, such as Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Sheets
  • Can be accessed from any device with an internet connection

Use cases:

  • Ideal for companies of all sizes and across most industries

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Fair amount of free storage

Cons:

  • Basic file management capabilities, but it lacks features like workflow automation
  • May not be as secure as other enterprise-level file management solutions
  • Free storage for individuals, but can be expensive for organizations, especially for large amounts of data storage

Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud-based file storage and collaboration platform offering a range of tools for storing, sharing, and collaborating on documents and files.

Features:

  • Storage space for documents, images, videos, and other files
  • Share files with others and collaborate in real-time
  • View and restore previous file versions
  • Can be accessed from any device with an internet connection

Use cases:

  • Ideal for individuals, startups, and small businesses that don’t require large amounts of storage

Pros:

  • For individuals looking for a simple and accessible way to store and share their personal files
  • Collaborate across departments
  • Used by organizations to manage and store business files

Cons:

  • Limited storage, with additional storage available for purchase
  • Free version for individuals, but it can be expensive for organizations, especially for large amounts of data storage

Box

Box is yet another cloud-based content management platform that provides businesses with various tools for storing, sharing, and collaborating.

Features:

  • Limited storage space for documents, images, videos, and other files
  • Share files with others and collaborate in real-time 
  • View and restore previous file versions 
  • Can be accessed from any device with an internet connection
  • A range of customization options including adding custom metadata to files, custom access controls, and custom integrations with other tools and platforms

Use cases:

  •  Box is ideal for larger businesses and enterprises looking for vast amounts of storage

Pros:

  • Ideal for managing and storing large files
  • A range of tools for enterprise-level content management

Cons:

  • Can be complex to set up and use for those unfamiliar with cloud-based file storage and content management platforms.
  • Additional storage is available for purchase

OneDrive

OneDrive is a cloud-based file storage and sharing service offered by Microsoft.

Features:

  • A secure place to store and access files from anywhere and on any device.
  • Share files with others, either by sending a link or granting access to specific folders.
  • Integrates with Microsoft Office, allowing access, editing, and sharing files directly from Office applications.
  • Strong security features, including encryption and multi-factor authentication

Use cases:

  • Ideal for businesses of all sizes

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Store and share company files and collaborate on projects
  • A backup solution for important files, providing an additional layer of protection

Cons:

  • The free plan provides limited storage, and users may need to upgrade to a paid plan
  •  OneDrive integrates primarily with Microsoft Office and may not integrate well with other tools and services

Asana

Asana is a cloud-based project and task management tool that helps teams to organize, track and manage their work.

Features:

  • Create and manage tasks, set due dates, and assign them to team members
  • Teams can build projects, develop project goals, and track progress
  • Communicate and collaborate on tasks and projects, share files, and leave comments
  • Customize workspaces to fit your needs and work styles
  • Asana integrates with other tools and services like Google Drive, Slack, and more

Use cases:

  • Manage and track the progress of projects 
  • Asana can also be used to communicate and collaborate on tasks and projects.
  • Manage and prioritize tasks, set due dates, and track progress

Pros:

  • Intuitive, easy-to-use interface that makes it simple for teams to manage their work
  • Integrates with other tools and services, making it easy for teams to work with the tools they already use

Cons:

  • The free plan has limited features, and you may need to upgrade to a paid plan to access certain features
  • Teams may need time to fully understand and utilize Asana’s features and functions

Conclusion

Document workflow management increases efficiency, saves you money, and improves decision-making.

Implementing this system will perfect employee collaboration capabilities because it focuses strongly on teamwork.

One thing to remember is that choosing the right tool is essential to reap all those benefits.

This guide has shown you all the best software currently available to purchase. So go ahead and choose the one that fits your needs best.

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Process Street