How to Improve Workflow Management through Pertinent Data

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Useful information is the lubricant that keeps business processes flowing with little hiccups. When the right information is available to employees at the right time, they are able to consume the information and perform their work. They would also be able to make quality decisions quickly.

Useful information comes from pertinent data. The process from determining what data to capture to providing access requires thoughtful thinking. The process from determining what data to capture to providing access requires thoughtful thinking. Click To Tweet

Selective data capture

The thinking around capturing data for just-in-case need is misleading.

While it seems preferable to gather as much data as possible, it is counter-productive operationally. Even though technology has the capacity to store massive volume of data, there is no need to capture data that there won’t be a use for.

Attempts to capture more data than necessary usurp time and effort. They create customer and employee frustrations.

Be selective with the data you need to capture. Allocate time to work with information consumers to identify what they must need to do their work, to do evaluation, and to make decisions. Avoid the data roundup approach as it would backfire.

Input to feed workflow

Each step in a business process requires information to execute specific tasks. The data can come from a paper form, manual data entry into a system, or from another application. The lifecycle of data begins with someone determining what data are needed to complete a task.

Most businesses start with manual data entry as the first step. This takes time. When data field labels of the input screen are not clear, incorrect data could be entered. When it is too complicated to figure out which choice to select on a drop-down list, an inappropriate selection could be made. When there are too many fields to complete on the input screen, some fields could be skipped.

These challenges will cause problems for downstream work. So make it easy to capture data germane to the task.

Information flow for interdependent work

When processes span cross multiple workgroups, it becomes an exercise of information relay.

Each workgroup has unique data needs to execute its tasks. Gaps in what is provided would require backtracking. If there are errors in the information, someone would need to spend time to explain the problem and make corrections.

The workflow comes to a halt until the situation is resolved. The ripple effects could hamper multiple workgroups due to interdependencies of their work.

Information for performance evaluation

The capabilities to assess business performance and make improvements are critical. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t have the right data or aren’t able to access the required data. Anecdotal information becomes the default approach.

Reporting needs tend to be overlooked. Data requirements for reporting are seldom included as part of the project scope when implementing new technologies. Subsequently, lack of data leads to using less meaningful metrics for performance evaluation.

Without relevant and reliable data for performance evaluation, it is difficult to draw insights for sound decision-making.

This can be ratified by identifying data needs for performance assessment as part of the requirements gathering phase for projects.

Solid workflow management results in execution with speed. This means employees have appropriate information to do their work. They are able to access the information with ease. They are not burdened with cumbersome data capture and retrieval processes. They are able to trust the data they use for performance reporting and make decisions for improvements.

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