How to evaluate workflows to improve workplace productivity

They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over, expecting different results. Unfortunately, when it comes to enterprise software, many businesses remain stuck in the insanity loop.

Here’s how it typically goes: The company’s current enterprise software is complex and hard-to-use, and fails to meet employees’ workflow needs. They avoid using it. So IT replaces or augments it with something newer and slicker to try and boost engagement. But the new software still doesn’t meet employees’ needs. Adoption rates flag once again.

On and on the cycle goes—with time and money wasted in the process. When does the insanity end? Only when enterprises provide the right kind of software: apps that truly help employees perform their jobs more effectively.

For example, over the past several years, we’ve seen a huge push toward collaborative technology in the workplace as a way to boost performance and engagement. But while three in four decision makers use collaborative tools at work, many feel they still aren’t getting as much value from these apps as they could.

That’s because integrating workplace apps isn’t enough. Simply digitizing existing workflows isn’t enough. In order for today’s modern workforce to reach their full potential, they need tools that are embedded so deeply into business processes that they help shape how work gets done. Employees need tools that make performing tasks so much easier that they can’t imagine working without them.

Many of today’s successful enterprises are using Sapho Modern Portal to solve their employees’ biggest job challenges. They’re building powerful micro apps that address a multitude of pain points, from helping sales reps speeds up their lead response time to streamlining the lead pipeline between marketing and sales rep to reduce the time IT professionals spend solving support tickets and managing workloads.

How are they doing this? By taking the time to evaluate workflows and assess exactly where technology is needed to help fill in the gaps.

For IT professionals, this is no small feat. Determining what employees need internally and translating these needs into an effective, user-friendly app takes an intimate understanding of how work gets done on a day-to-day basis. Creating enterprise software is often like taking a shot in the dark. By evaluating workflows, IT departments can gather a wealth of information to help them build micro apps that truly help employees work better.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Have you ever tried to describe a pain point to a coworker on a different team? Deciphering the ins and outs of your process to someone who doesn’t do it every day can get complicated.

But there’s a lot of value in doing so. It helps elucidate issues so it’s easier to strategize a better workflow. Building micro apps for business teams requires a similar process. By asking the following questions, IT professionals can gather the knowledge and insights they need to create more effective enterprise apps.

Who uses the app and how do they prefer to access information?

Before designing any app or associated workflow, it’s important to consider who will be using it and how they would prefer to access the information they need. A sales team that needs to check in quarterly on pacing or goals will have different requirements than a department head who needs to be notified when new team members are conformed.

Once it’s clear who the app is aimed at, Mindinventory CEO Mehul Rajput recommends spending a day with them conducting interviews and studying their environment, habits and business patterns. To improve adoption rates and ensure employees have apps that support their workflows, rather than hinder them, it’s important to understand what makes employees feel overloaded and what tasks are the most difficult to complete. Ask for feedback about what is the most frustrating part of their workday and what works well from their perspective.

How does the current process work?

After gaining a clear picture of where employees’ pain points lie, it’s time to begin examining the specific processes that are already in place to find out how the app can best address their needs. Map out the current process in a flowchart, making sure it accurately reflects how the process really happens, as opposed to how it’s supposed to happen.

Flowcharts should illustrate where a workflow begins and ends, as well as the key steps that are taken along the way. Here are a few key things to pinpoint when examining each step or decision point in a process:

  • Who performs it
  • What technology they use
  • What information they need and how they prefer to access it
  • What policies and rules govern its execution
  • What supervision is involved
  • What environmental factors come into play
  • Who else has an influence on performing the step

How can we do this differently?

Analyzing processes is a great opportunity to assess what potential areas for improvement exist, whether or not there are analog processes that can be streamlined into digital processes, and what steps could possibly be removed completely to help employees complete the steps faster and more effectively.

A well-designed workflow can make all the difference when it comes to departments being able to meet their goals, especially when many workflows are still tied to outdated systems that require complicated processes. Using a modern portal like Sapho to create micro apps that break down existing workflows can help companies eliminate pain points and transform the way employees get work done. Evaluating workflows is the first and most important step towards making it happen.

Want to learn more about how customers are using Sapho Modern Portal to transform work?

View Sapho use cases 

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Natalie Lambert

Natalie Lambert is the Vice President of Marketing at Sapho. She joins from Citrix where she held multiple product marketing leadership positions. Before that, Natalie was a principal analyst at Forrester Research where she was the leading expert on end user computing.

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