Approval workflow software are becoming a trend among businesses due to how it transforms their approval process. It save time and cost by automating the entire approval workflow online instead relying on printed documents or sending emails manually. Thus, it makes adminsitrative work much more manageable, allowing staff to handle approval requests effectively while having more time focusing 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 really need for your business. And so let’s check out 5 key features of approval workflow software that transforms 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 automated request flow from start to finish: Employees only need to fill a request form, then their request is automatically delivered to the managers. Managers will get notification via email or other methods depending on the approval workflow software. And once the managers give approval, employees should get confirmation instantly 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 personnel has to bear. This manual process poses so many risks like delay until approval, missing requests or documents, and false information. These risk may sound small, but it actually takes even more time to fix even 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 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 need to use this type of software are non-tech savvy. Most of them do not even know the basic of coding and therefore, asking them to learn coding just to setup a workflow only makes things unnecessarily complicated. Instead, an optimal approval workflow software should provide intuitive, easy-to-use configuration where employees can create an automated approval process in just minutes. In fact, many approval workflow tools already offer simple, yet flexible menu for employees to set multi-level workflow, add & remove approvers/recipients, and set workflow conditions. Some other tools may feature 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 aim: making it easy to learn, and easy to setup 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 problem above; however, the companies have to pay additional cost in order to maintain their server. Plus, this solution will be limited within company’s devices. And if something happens to the server, the company has to fix their own server issue in order to get their workflow running again.
In this regard, it is a better choice to entrust an approval workflow software with cloud-based technology. Not only company can save cost on their own server, both employees and employers can 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 option to give approval instantly. Then their employees should get notified by the decision shortly after. This is a huge advantage that manual approval process cannot provide. In case of manual process on papers, managers always have to take time reviewing the documents, signing approval, then it needs to be informed back to the employees manually. Manual process by writing & sending is not much faster as employers still have type a reply and send it back to employees (though it does cut down the time needed to send documents).
With ability to give approval instantly and automated approval workflow, the weakness from manual approval process above can be avoided. Instead, employers only need to click on a single button, then his decision will be automatically notified back to the staff.
5. Manageable request data report
Bottleneck is usally one of the main problems why it takes so much time to process just a single request. This problem often occurs during manual approval process due to human errors. No matter hard we try, there is still a certain risk when handling request via printed documents. This risk often involves delay until approval, missing requests or documents, and false information. It leads to bottleneck situation when employers and employees are lost behind the process. As the result, they have to waste more time asking other departments for clarification like “how long was this request sent?”; “who sent the request?”; “who gave approval to it?”; etc…
Confusion and frustration is only natural during this situation, and 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, list of approvers/recipients and their role, and its approval status. In additional, the report should also be shareable among other stakeholders to ensure transparency. That way, no request will be lost again, and involved personnels can track any information in a shared report. And of course, bottleneck will no longer be a problem.