Approval workflow is regarded as a core business process in successful organizations all over the world. It saves time and cost by automating the entire approval workflow online instead relying on printed documents or sending emails manually. Thus, it makes administrative work much more manageable, allowing staff to handle approval requests effectively while having more time to focus on tasks that matter. That said, selecting a suitable approval workflow software may sound daunting at first.
There are lots of helpful features, but what’s most important is the key features that you need for your business. And so let’s check out 5 key features of approval workflow software that improves your approval process!
1. Approval Workflow Automation
Automating approval workflow is definitely one of the biggest aims when looking for an approval workflow. After all, this is the greatest advantage of approval workflow tools that can give your business a huge productivity boost.
In general, an approval workflow software should provide an automated request flow from start to finish: Employees only need to fill out a request form, then their request is automatically delivered to the managers. Managers will get notifications via email or other methods depending on the approval workflow software they are using. And once the managers give their approval, employees should get a confirmation in a short time so that they can act accordingly.
This feature solves one of the core issues with manual approval process: human errors when sending printed documents or emails. Traditionally, organizations use printed papers for approval request, but this method has become more ineffective due to the sheer amount of workload each person has to bear. This manual process poses so many risks such as delay until approval, missing requests or documents, and false information. The risks may sound small, but it takes even more time to fix due to a single error. This situation is especially frustrating when staff has to handle so many requests per day. With automated approval workflow, however, organizations can minimize those risks and rely on a more accurate, computerized request process.
2. No-code required setup
An experienced technical staff may quickly understand how an approval workflow software works. Unfortunately, many employees who usually use this type of software don’t have a great knowledge of technology, especially coding matters. Most of them do not even know the basics of coding, so asking them to learn coding just to set up a workflow only makes things unnecessarily complicated. Instead, an optimal approval workflow software should provide an intuitive, easy-to-use configuration where employees can create an automated approval process in just minutes. Many approval workflow tools already offer a simple, yet flexible menu for employees to set multi-level workflow, add & remove approvers/recipients, and set workflow conditions. Some other tools may feature a drag-and-drop workflow setup with visualized diagram.
Nonetheless, the core factor is that a good approval workflow software should make it easy & intuitive for everyone to use, including non-technical staff. In the end, that should be the main objective: making it easy to learn, and easy to set up an effective automated approval process.
3. Cloud-based solution
Manual approval process on papers have a vital weakness: it relies physical documents, forcing employees and managers to meet each other in order to send documents back and forth. During this process, there is always a certain time delay that can add up to a huge amount of wasted time.
Some companies tried to avoid this issue by getting on-site workflow software running on their own servers. This method does solve some of the problems above; however, the companies have to pay additional costs in order to maintain their server. Plus, the solution will be limited to the company’s devices. And if something happens to the server, the company has to fix the server issue in order to get the workflow running again.
In this regard, it is a better choice to entrust approval workflow software with cloud-based technology. Not only company can save costs on its own server but both employees and employers can also send & give approval on request on any device. This allows employees and employers to be more flexible in handling requests from any location and any timeframe.
4. Give approval instantly
This feature is a small one, but it can save lots, lots of time for both employers and employees. Ideally, when employers receive a new request, they should have the option to give approval instantly. After that, their employees should get notified of the decision soon. This is a huge advantage that the manual approval process cannot provide. In case of a manual process on papers, managers always have to take time to review the documents, and sign approval, then it needs to be informed back to the employees manually. A manual process of writing & sending is not much faster as employers still have to make a response and send it back to employees (though it does cut down the time needed to send documents).
With the ability to give approval instantly and an automated approval workflow, the weakness of the manual approval process above can be avoided. Instead, employers only need to click on a single button, then their decision will be automatically notified back to the staff.
5. Manageable request data report
Bottleneck is usually one of the main problems why it takes so much time to process just a single request. This problem often occurs during the manual approval process due to human errors. No matter hard we try, there is still a certain risk when handling requests via printed documents. This risk often involves delay until approval, missing requests or documents, and false information. It leads to a bottleneck situation when employers and employees are lost behind the process. As a result, they may waste more time asking other departments for clarification like “How long was this request sent?”; “Who sent the request?”; “Who approved it?”; etc…
Confusion and frustration are normal in this situation. The only way to solve it is to have an automatic data report. This is another key feature that should be included in any approval workflow software. Essentially, the software should automatically record every single request, including its information, the list of approvers/recipients and their roles, and its approval status. In addition, the report should also be shareable among other stakeholders to ensure transparency. Therefore, no request will be lost again, and involved personnel can track any information in a shared report. And accordingly, the bottleneck will no longer be a problem.
And that’s it for now! In the meanwhile, check out our website for more useful tips and user experiences with PerformFlow!
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