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Document Workflow Streamlines Decision Making

By Brad Egeland at bradegeland.com

02/20/2014

How important is the organization, security and usability of the electronic information   in your organization.  Your projects and IT initiatives generate huge amounts of documentation that often require review and approval by colleagues?  If you are like every organization that I have ever been a part of in my 28 years of IT experience the automation of these processes is often overlooked, information gets lost, projects are delayed and cost overruns are experienced.

We have business proposals, government proposals, dozens – sometimes hundreds – of documents on each project we manage and all need to be written, reviewed, shared, updated, referenced and collaborated on by many key stakeholders.  A reliable and full-featured  document management system  which includes electronic review and approval can be critical to the organization – and to your individual projects.  An electronic approval system for documents you are originating, storing accessing, reviewing, approving, and delivering that includes an audit trail of alerts and reminders to all participants will keep your project on track.  FileHold’s document management system provides a thorough workflow and approval process which is detailed below – and it now offers a mobile version allowing you to handle workflow and approvals on the go.  Better yet, it removes the paper aspect from the process.

Electronic Document Workflow and approval

Document management software is made even more productive by the addition of a document workflow and approval system to eliminate the paper processes.  Workers save time and money by electronically moving documents around the workplace for review and approval – skipping the normal paper…or email…approval process altogether making everyone work more efficiently.

Organizations typically have a number of internal processes for time sensitive tasks such as order processing, purchase requests, travel expenses, and so on. FileHold’s workflow software module brings order to these independent processes in a transparent, dynamic, and robust fashion making it a key part of the document lifecycle.

The workflow engine streamlines the review and approval process of documents as they proceed through their lifecycle. In collaborative work environments, this labor intensive growth stage of the document is where the most time savings can be realized through the use of workflow.

The flexibility of the workflow software allows users to make their workflow processes as straightforward or as complex as needed. Workflow templates can be configured with set rules or can be made informal (ad-hoc) where end users can define all the aspects of the workflow process.

Workflow templates consist of two task types: review tasks and approval tasks. Review tasks facilitate the collection of comments and feedback on documents from other users. Approval tasks facilitate the formal collection of signatures on documents. When completing an approval tasks, documents can be approved, not approved, or the approval can be postponed for a later date.

Workflows can be triggered (initiated) manually by a user or can be done automatically based on the document type. Workflows can also be initiated on a single document or multiple documents. Multiple document workflows can contain both main documents and supplemental documents where main documents are those that are being reviewed and/or approved and supplemental documents are there to only assist in the review and/or approval process.

Once a workflow is initiated, the workflow process starts and the first activity set in the workflow template starts. All participants in the first activity will receive notifications in the document management software via an email notification. Tasks are displayed in the FileHold calendar feature. The workflow template can be set up so that one or all of the users assigned the first task must complete the task. Once the task is completed, the workflow moves through the rest of the activities defined in the workflow template.

Documents can be checked out, updated, and checked back in during the workflow process. Metadata can also be updated while documents are under a workflow. This allows for the workflow process to continue if updates are needed to the documents instead of canceling or not approving documents. Workflows can also be restarted if necessary.

Perhaps most important to ensure workflows are completed on schedule is the complete audit trail of the workflow process the software provides. The status of the workflows can be monitored by the users participating in the workflow, any observers watching the workflow and can be overseen by Library Administrators in the workflow status report to ensure that all workflow are progressing. Reminders are sent to participents who are not completed their scheduled review or approval tasks.The workflow history of each version of a document is also recorded and can be used to review the record of approvals.

Mobile FileHold – Document Review and Approval While on the Go

Don’t leave your workflow tasks unattended while out of the office. With Mobile FileHold, the easiest mobile document management software you’ll ever use, review and approval tasks can be completed on your mobile device. While on the go, you can add comments and feedback to your tasks as well as view the documents and metadata associated with the workflow.

This mobile process has personally saved me on more than one project when either myself or a critical reviewing/approving member of my team has been stuck out in the field.  It has meant the difference for me between on time document delivery to the customer and one day late for a key deliverable…which can quickly put you at risk for customer satisfaction. 

You can also initiate a workflow while adding new documents or search for documents based on the approval status. With Mobile FileHold, you’re always able to access your documents when you need them.

For more information about FileHold’s document management software, check out their site at www.FileHold.com.  For specific information this topic, check out their Mobile Workflow and Approval process.

If interested, you can signup for one of their upcoming free document management software webinars, signup for a workflow trial on their demonstration server or a full trial installation on your server, or take a video tour of the product.

Read the review on Brad Egeland's website.