Selecting an electronic workflow solution

Electronic workflow solutions are not new, as these technologies help financial organizations enhance productivity in and outside the workplace. The adoption of electronic workflow tools has been on the rise during the past few years as the business landscape has become more competitive and decision-makers have looked to deploy a variety of techniques and devices to reduce expenses and wasted time.

In most cases, the two primary goals of electronic workflow tools are to strengthen operational efficiency while simultaneously providing more control regarding the security of sensitive documents and information. Delving deeper into the market, however, it has become apparent that efficient workflow technologies have several other major characteristics.

1. Routing capabilities
One of the most common reasons for deploying an electronic workflow process is to enhance the way individuals pass along information to the correct parties. Unfortunately, many tools fall short in this category, hindering an organization's ability to effectively transfer mission-critical data to colleagues and executives. Decision-makers should select technologies that can effectively route information based on a set of parameters, most often in regard to monetary value.

2. Authorization control
In the most basic sense, electronic workflow solutions are meant to streamline operations by providing executives with the ability to easily sign off on activities without requiring individuals to bring physical paperwork to their office. Not only does this make it easier for employees to work with minor disruptions, but it also makes it more difficult for negligent or malicious insiders to circumvent authority figures in the workplace.

Effective electronic workflow tools will also let administrators set the tempo of operations by requiring individuals to sign off on specific activities, which may vary based on the nature or value of the task and its approval or denial.

3. Monitoring and alerting ability
An often overlooked or disregarded component of electronic workflow is the technology's ability to observe activity and detect any anomalies that may slow down productivity. Decision-makers need to select offerings capable of performing regular assessments and alerting executives if there are duplicated documents, incorrect values or other issues that may impact day-to-day activities.

As there are a number of benefits associated with leveraging electronic workflow solutions, these three components are just the tip of the iceberg. Companies need to understand how they operate and choose a product that caters to specific customer and employee demands.