Data-Driven Approaches to Better Optimized Enterprise Workflows

Many organizations have discovered tremendous benefits of using data-driven workflows.
data-driven workflows
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Big data has been a very important part of modern human resource solutions. One of the biggest implications of big data in human resources has pertained to enterprise workflow management.

Every business, from a small one-person shop to an enterprise level company needs to find ways to be more efficient. This means efficiency in spending, and efficiency in their workflows. If your workflows are optimized, then you can save staff time, reduce errors, and function more professionally as a whole. Data analytics technology can help bolster efficiency in all of these regards.

In many cases, cloud software solutions with sophisticated data analytics capabilities are perfect to improve your staff productivity and efficiency. There are many possible options out there, and you need to choose the ones that work best for you.

Using Data Analytics to Improve Workflow Management

Here are some of the top ways to better optimize enterprise workflows with machine learning and data analytics technology. 

Make a Plan

Workflow changes cannot be spur of the moment, even when you are incorporating data analytics technology. Even the best data analytics tools are unfortunately not going to provide sufficient autonomy to solve complex workflow challenges without an adequate plan.

These proposed changes must be planned and rolled out in a way that makes sense. If you start updating your workflows in a haphazard way and expect your data analytics technology to account for any changes, then you will only open yourself up to problems down the road if those changes prove to be unsustainable or have unintended consequences that you should have foreseen. Take time to figure out what is necessary to make processes simpler and more streamlined. Make sure you know what data analytics tools need to be built into the workflows. Data-driven workflow optimization should not be a quick-fix, it should be the result of careful deliberation and decision-making. 

More Effective Communication

Optimizing workflows is all about being more productive. However, your teams cannot be as efficient as possible if everyone is not on the same page. Your communications need to be streamlined and simple so that teams can talk to each other and other teams easily. The good news is that big data has improved communications technology. However, even the most sophisticated data-driven framework won’t solve all of these needs if your company culture doesn’t encourage good communication.

The right infrastructure has to be in place, whether it means upgrading your phone systems, onboarding a messaging service, or making use of meeting and video conferencing software. This is especially important in this age of working remotely, or if you have teams spread out over several locations. Everyone needs to know how to get in touch with everyone else, and how to transfer calls from customers, partners, and vendors. This will not just make your team more productive, but it will also provide a better experience for your customers. You do not want to come off as disorganized or unprofessional because calls get missed or team members seem to be unreachable. 

Automation

Let’s face it, there are probably many tasks that staff members handle throughout the day that take up time but can be automated. You might be amazed at what a cloud software solution could do for you. Take for example accounts payable. Processing invoices manually involves examining the information, entering into your vendor database, tracking it in your accounting system, getting approval for the payment amount, and then making the payment. By automating this workflow process, all of that can be handled by software, allowing your staff to concentrate on other things.

On top of that, automation can remove human error. Nobody is perfect, and a typo when entering data or filing something incorrectly can lead to big headaches. With automation, you can be sure that all of your data will be correct, and filing can be done electronically in the cloud. When data is handled automatically, you no longer have to wait for someone to get around to entering into your CRM or accounting system. As soon as a workflow is complete, the analytics are available for you to use immediately. Automation works, and technology is evolving every day that allows for increased automation for just about any workflow. You can even automate your decision-making process in certain scenarios using decision model notation for regular and repeatable decisions. 

Return On Investment

Everything in business is about the bottom line. If it costs too much and doesn’t give you much benefit, then making a certain change might not make sense. Tech solutions can absolutely make workflows more efficient and effective, but if the price outweighs those benefits, then keep searching for another solution.

As an example, let’s say that you want to purchase a new inventory software that will help increase your capacity to handle customers. However, if you bring it on board, it may also mean that you have to purchase new equipment, deal with maintenance, and empty out your warehouse for a time period to get a proper starting inventory. You need to gauge whether those changes in the long run will actually improve your capacity to scale up.

The good thing about most cloud software solutions is that they are built to be scaled up or down. You don’t have to worry about extra infrastructure costs or maintenance, as the software provider can manage that for you. 

This is one of the best benefits of data analytics in workflow management. You can use data analytics tools to assess the performance of your new workflows and see the direct impact on your bottom line relative to the cost of instituting them.

Workflow Audits

Workflow audits can help you to determine first of all whether a workflow needs to be more efficient, and secondly whether an updated workflow is working as expected. You need to be able to clearly define gaps and inefficiencies. Involve key stakeholders in your audits, and you can even bring in someone from outside your organization for trusted advice. Make sure that you take the time to talk to members of your team and get their perspectives as well. By getting a holistic view of your workflows, you will catch anything that you might have missed from your perspective. This is especially valuable for workflows that you are not a part of yourself.

Improving workflows and making them more efficient should be a goal of any enterprise level business. It can save you money, and save you on staff time if it’s done correctly. Check out all of the cloud software solutions online, and plan out your workflow changes so that they are properly optimized.

Data analytics technology is also invaluable for creating workflow audits. You can establish the most important KPIs to evaluate ahead of time and use your data analytics tools to see how the new framework lives up to them.

Sean Mallon
Sean is a freelance writer and big data expert. He loves to write on big data, analytics and predictive analytics.