Replacing manual processes with automation is important for smart enterprises
Before we embark on the benefits of SharePoint’s workflows, it is important to understand what constitutes workflows. To put it in simple language, the workflow is the process of linking together multiple events, tasks, resources and specific jobs to obtain a specified result.
Workflows have different forms and there are some which can be completed in less than a day and some which can take even six months for completion.
An example of a simple workflow can relate to salaries to be paid to employees. There are set of actions, events, resources and stakeholders who come together to ensure that salary reaches the bank account at the end of the month. Some of the steps are:
a. Initiating the process – the stakeholder begins the process
b. The next step goes to the next set of stakeholders who process the payroll.
c. The third step could involve physical payment of salaries.
In this way, every process in an organization can be broken into multiple tasks with multiple task owners. Another example of a simple workflow can relate to procurement
a. A department head wants a new set of equipment
b. He initiates the first step of raising a request
c. The request goes to another person who is responsible for approving it
d. On approval, it goes to a person in the procurement who is responsible for raising a purchase order
e. Once the physical purchase order is raised, a vendor is contracted and the buying procedure is initiated.
f. In terms of payments, another stakeholder from finance can be responsible for payment terms and pay out cheques.
In the above example, cross-functional teams have worked together to simplify a rather boring but complex process.
In the absence of SharPoint, all these tasks have to be done manually or through emails. The process can be difficult, time-consuming and prone to faults in the system.
SharePoint workflows are easy to create, assign owners and the whole process is automated. This form of automation can result in saved time, money and effort. For those organizations which use email, document management, and similar systems, SharePoint brings these together.
Along with all the internal benefits, SharePoint’s workflows are greatly beneficial for external processes too. Customers hate having to wait for their processed payments. They love communication and want a lot of it. SharePoint’s workflows provide both.
The process is simplified to such an extent that there is no question of waiting periods. Secondly, workflows can have automated messages with which users will have up-to-date information on their requests.
Also, SharePoint online is a repository of information. It stores all your data and more doing away with a lot of paper stuff and dependencies. It helps to disengage people and processes during the execution and brings everyone together at the finish line.
To explain, an employee who was normally responsible for say, approving a purchase order may have left the company. On SharePoint, the admin deletes his account and assigns rights to a new owner.
As simple as that! In its absence, there is a good chance that this data is sitting on a system somewhere, with no one really clear on who has the access. These kinds of hitches delay processes and in the long run become responsible for the loss of credibility, customers, and capital.