Document Workflow Management in 2021 and Beyond

Samantha Pratt Lile
Resources
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Document Workflow Management in 2021 and BeyondDocument Workflow Management in 2021 and Beyond

Think about how much documentation is required to operate a business. Everything from payroll, purchase orders and expense reports to insurance, vendor contracts and billing statements are necessary to organize and fulfill business obligations. That’s an awful lot of paperwork to keep track of. 

Is it any wonder how 15% of all paper handled by the average business is lost? According to 1999 research from the Delphi Group cited by the Knight-Ridder news service, employees spend 30% of their time searching for lost documents. Yikes! Of course, that research is two decades old— where are we at now?

With the digital era’s reliance on ever-expanding heaps of data, that documentation has only increased. You might think that digitizing documentation would help eliminate its loss, but you also might be wrong. 

Without an effective document workflow and adequate tools to manage it, all those electronic documents will fall into a black hole of file names and types. Instead of searching for lost paperwork, employees will waste a couple of hours on any given day looking for where an important file was placed.

The earliest document management tools were nothing more than filing cabinets. Back in simpler times, a document workflow consisted of a form being approved by person A, who would pass it along to person B, who would then send it for final approval with person C. 

All of that person-to-person transference created plenty of opportunity for human error. With document workflows becoming ever more complex, processes of yesteryear are even more inefficient. There are just too many stops along the way for manual document workflow management. With the right document workflow management software, however, organizing the entire process is automated.

In the modern era, transitioning to a paperless office saves a lot more than some trees. Time is money, and an effective document workflow management system saves productivity hours otherwise dedicated to searching for paperwork, as well as the costs required to replace lost documents.

What are the benefits of digital document workflow management?

 Document workflow management tools provide a variety of benefits, including:

  • Document workflow management software helps to minimize human error that can happen when a company relies on people to correctly and efficiently move a document from one point along its journey to the next. It also helps to ensure that all the key players are working on the most recent version of the document, something that can be made difficult when emailing various versions of a document within a team.
  • Document workflow management tools result in faster approvals since one contact won’t be waiting around on the prior employee to submit their completed data. Companies eliminate the problem that can occur when someone goes on vacation or calls in sick while others are waiting on them to send the document.
  • Thanks to cloud computing, companies can ensure all necessary contacts within their document workflow simultaneously can access the same version. Real-time updates help ensure everyone is on the same page at the same time, and remote access helps processes to keep moving even when a key player is out of office.
  • Document workflow management allows for an efficient review of business processes, as well as immediate information on the current status of each document. 
  • How does digital document workflow management increase efficiency? In addition to the above-mentioned benefits, effective workflow management software boost productivity by automating repetitive processes, alerting users of uncompleted tasks and even providing a comprehensive picture of the entire workflow, complete with performance metrics.
  • Digitizing a company’s document workflow management enhances security.

What are some of the best document workflow management tools in 2021?

Fortunately, companies of any size and in any market now can find effective document workflow management software to suit their business and budgetary needs, while improving their business operations. Some of the best productivity apps available in 2021 include:

1. Monday.com

The cloud-hosted workflow management software can handle any type of project. Users can assign and track various tasks and follow along with the entire process. Monday.com also features messaging, time tracking, calendar syncs and reminders,  and it even illustrates data insights.

2. Nifty

Nifty offers an affordable collaborative workspace where users can design and organize an unlimited number of projects, collaborate with teams and automate their workflow progress reporting. The software features Kanban-style task scheduling, updated project overviews and team chats, and documents can be created from within each project.

3. Process Bliss

The user-friendly workflow system is known for its template builder, which helps systemize entire businesses. Process Bliss describes itself as the only workflow management tool that includes built-in process improvement options since it features template feedback, process quality analytics and an entire system to record if and when tasks can’t be completed and why. Of course, it also includes a library of pre-built templates to give any user a head start. 

4. Infinity

The self-ascribed most customizable document management software allows for simple document organization. Infinity prides itself on its security as data is encrypted using 256-bit TLS encryption, and data is backed up twice a day. The software solution features list, calendar, table, form and Gantt views, as well as filters so data can be grouped and sorted effectively. Infinity users also can take advantage of task assignments and management, activity and process tracking, a drag-and-drop interface and cloud-based apps for both mobile and desktop devices.

5. Process Street

Process Street is a cloud-based document management tool that helps track documents and manage files throughout the entire task assignment process. Users can easily create entire process templates and run multiple instances of each as checklists, process trackers and team collaboration. The company prides itself on its high level of security, and it includes an approval and permission feature that authorizes specific users to use files. Process Street also features spreadsheets and tables, reporting, statistics and a drag-and-drop interface.

6. Beautiful.ai

While Beautiful.ai isn’t your typical document management system, the presentation software makes content management easier for businesses and individuals alike. Teams can collaborate on a shared library, so everyone can access the most recent deck at all times. Having every proprietary company slide, and the most up-to-date data, under one roof makes presentation documentation and management much more seamless. 

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha Pratt Lile

Samantha is an independent journalist, editor, blogger and content manager. Examples of her published work can be found at sites including the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, and Buzzfeed.