An important part of my youth was spent working on projects with my dad and my grandfathers. Being a little kid, my main responsibility was to fetch tools. (Eventually the adults realized I could be trusted to lift heavy objects and clean up after the work was done, too.) The thing is, we didn’t always have the right tools for every job but, when we did, things went a whole lot smoother. We finished in less time, and everyone seemed to get along better.
Many companies rely heavily on email as their “tool” to manage document-based workflow processes. A document is created and emailed to a person or group to review, edit, approve and forward to the next person or group in the process. This all seems pretty simple on the surface, but when compared to ECM (Enterprise Content Management) workflow, email workflow has some serious deficiencies.
The differences are clear from the start, when the required document is initially created. If only one person ever creates new documents, it’s easy to make sure the most current version of the document kicks off the workflow. However, if multiple people initiate document workflows, it becomes a challenge to make sure everyone uses the correct and most up-to-date version of the document. (For more on this, see one of our previous blogs.) If someone initiates the process with an incorrect version of a document, delays and the potential for errors both increase. With most ECMs all up-to-date documents are kept in the system, so any user who initiates a document process automatically kicks off the right document every time.