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5 Ways Bad Workflows Are Hurting Your Business, And How IT Can Fix It


Bad workflows can cripple an organization. Whether it is lost productivity, delayed support, missed deadlines, or heightened stress, the effects of workflows that aren’t functioning right can be massive. And like a virus, it tends to spread from department to department.

As an IT leader, you get a first hand view of the damage. IT serves every department and often gets the dirt and gossip as different leaders complain about how slow certain workflows are and who is to blame for delays.

Instead of simply listening to all the complaints people have about workflows, IT leaders can be the ones who provide quick and easy solutions. But first, you need to know what kind of problems you are dealing with.

Here’s a quick field guide for the IT leader to identify five ways bad workflows are hurting your organization.


A bottleneck occurs when a large number of items in a workflow get stuck all at the same point.  

You often see it when lots of approvals need to flow through the same person. For example, you might know a controlling VP who likes to know everything going on in his team. But if piles of requests are stacking up on his desk or inbox, the workflow will quickly break down.

Reduced Visibility

One common reason that workflows break down is that each person isn’t able to see the status of a task at any given time. Your best bet is usually to send out a big email to everyone and hope someone else fesses up to being the holdup.

If employees don’t have transparency over what they’re doing, it can lead to a lot of frustration, and worse, delays in the tasks to be completed. If the required information isn’t distributed between the participants of the workflow, they’ll have minimal visibility into what their task entails.

With this necessary visibility, you’ll find office workflows don’t operate efficiently, leading to frequent delays and slowdowns.

Human Error

Human errors in a manual process are unavoidable. Some may result in only cosmetic problems, but others can be catastrophic.

The most common error occur when transferring data by hand from one system to another, or someone keying in the wrong information into a form.

When IT introduces automated workflows, the chance for human error is drastically reduced. The more you remove humans from the transactional parts of workflows, the less chance there is of an error popping up.

Manual Pushing

Manual workflows are a pain. Anyone who’s had to chase someone around for a signature on a form can fully relate to it. It’s not fun or intuitive. Sticking to manual workflows and paper documents can quickly add to the time and resources spent on a task.

You can notice that business users are suffering from manual pushing of workflows if they complain about how hard certain processes are to keep moving. In a manual workflow, you have to push data to people and systems all the time, which takes up a lot of effort.

With an automated workflow, the data just flows smoothly without any need for pushing.

Bad Communication

The last way that bad workflows are wrecking your workplace is when there is mismatched or even no communication between different departments in your organization.

Without proper communication, it becomes difficult for your employes to understand what to do or how to do it. A bad workflow doesn’t have a consistent communication channel. It might happen in email, text, phone, and paper documentation.

By creating one unified place where all communication around a workflow occurs, IT can give business leaders a great tool for managing their workflows better.

IT to the Rescue!

IT is in the perfect place to introduce automation and save business users from these hard effects of bad workflows. When workflows are automated, team members can focus their time on more important matters and not spend extra energy combatting each other and the workflows that need to finish.

But adding automation isn’t always simple. To save the company from the pit it’s dug itself into, you’re going to need something special. Something that helps everyone, but doesn’t put IT in a big hole behind all the other projects you need to finish.

Inefficient workflows are a danger to everyone in the organization. But you can do something about it. With workflow automation, there is way to reduce the chaos percolating into the workplace and make everyone in love with the IT team. You just need to have the right tools.

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