It is increasingly important for an organisation to be able to demonstrate how processes are put together and secured. Equally important is to control who has access to certain systems and documents. One way of recording and securing this is through workflow management. Today, we would like to explain why workflow management is an indispensable part of your document management system (DMS).
Let’s start at the beginning: what exactly is a workflow? A workflow, is a logical sequence of activities performed to obtain a certain, predefined, outcome. Basically, it means that a task moves through an organisation via a set pattern, for example to be checked or approved by different people, but the handling of a request, complaint or order is also a workflow.
Workflow management is the way a workflow is set up and ensures that business processes are optimised. To ensure that a workflow always runs the same way, you can use software to capture and secure the process, which ensures that a task flows through the organisation as predetermined. This software determines who should pick up the task at what point in the process and can, for example, send a message when the task is assigned to you or your department. This ensures a more efficient exchange of information between different departments and individuals.
In a DMS, an organisation often records vital documents that are (or may be) relevant to many employees. For these types of documents, it is essential that they always contain the right and up-to-date information and that they are shared with the right people. To achieve this, you can use workflows. There are two workflows that are important for a DMS:
While you can use separate workflow management software to handle this, it is also possible to use Zenya DOC, for example, which already has this built in. The advantage of this is that you manage both documents and workflows in one system, making it more efficient to keep track of.
Whether it is new documents or documents being modified, these documents normally go through a certain route before they are finally published. This route can be different for each document or document type, but there will always be a pattern where the author creates or edits the document and then one or more people or departments check the document, can add suggestions and/or approve it.
It can also be useful if people can send comments about the content back to the author, who can then make adjustment(s) to them.
All these adjustments create a new version of a document. Keeping track of these changes is what we call version control. It ensures that versions can always be found and can even be re-posted if necessary. Thus, modifications are never lost.
In a DMS, it is important that the right people get access to the right documents. Gone are the days when everyone could access everything. The fewer people have access to information, the less chance there is, for example, of that information being leaked, whether deliberately or not.
To regulate this, access management is necessary. With this, you determine who has access to which documents, but also, for example, whether someone can modify something or not. You can also revoke access rights when someone changes department or leaves employment.
Take an annual report as an example, this is often drafted and supplemented or amended by several people. Moreover, it is important that it is not published too early or ends up with the wrong person.
On the other hand, you also want that annual report to be finished in time, checked, double-checked and approved by the responsible persons (management). And that it can then be published with a single click of a button.
With workflow management on the annual report document, you can control both flows. Via the DMS, the author can forward the document to the next person in the chain, who checks and/or adjusts it, then forwards it again to the next person in the chain, etcetera. Eventually, it reaches the business controller, CFO or board of directors who approves the annual report. But what may not happen next is that this action immediately publishes the report. For this, you can build an extra step into the workflow where, for example, a board member is the only person who can publish the document. Furthermore, a workflow allows you to manage at access level who has access to the document and when.
And of course, this does not only apply to an annual report. It applies to all documents that affect business operations and/or contain sensitive information. But also for less sensitive but still crucial documents, such as documents accompanying a recruitment and selection process, instructions around a release of a new product and everything in between.
Workflows are therefore important in your document management system and are often part of the solution today. But workflows can also be desirable or necessary for other applications. Simply to comply with certain rules, or just to map and automate processes.
For example, at AAE, which makes high-tech solutions for various fields of work, we see that they wanted to optimise their recruitment and selection process. With sometimes dozens of vacancies per month, the current process was too slow and complex, applications were delayed and necessary items such as a laptops and cars were requested (too) late. This could be improved and they created a workflow.
Do you have processes that could be organised more efficiently? Or are you curious how workflows work in a DMS? We will gladly show you how our software can help you in a free demo.