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4 Ways Email Approval Workflows Suck the Life Out of You

Team Kissflow

Updated on 27 Mar 2024 3 min read

As a CEO or BTP, you'll appreciate the evolutionary journey of business processes. The days when approval processes were tied to physical stamps and signatures on paper forms are a distant memory. That was a time when the pace of business was slower, bound by the constraints of physical paperwork and manual procedures. In the coming years, humans will account for 58 percent of all work, with machines managing the remaining 42 percent.

The advent of email was revolutionary, transforming the landscape of business communication. It was a leap from the traditional manila envelopes to an era of instant, global, and cost-effective information exchange. The ability to attach files brought about a new level of convenience, forever changing the way we share and approve documents. (As an aside, will there come a time when we'll need to explain the origins of that ubiquitous paperclip icon to future generations?)

Email Approval Workflow

However, the evolutionary journey doesn't stop at emails. Today, as leaders in your industries, you're navigating an era where business processes need to be more agile, efficient, and transparent than ever before. With the digital transformation wave, the focus is on automating workflows, reducing turnaround times, and enhancing collaboration.

What is an email approval workflow?

An email approval workflow is a process that involves gaining approvals on actions within a process through emails. These are usually tedious and, more often than not, act as a bottleneck to the entire process.

In the last 20 years, emails have become the standard method of communication, whether the recipient is in the cubicle next to you or around the world. Offices use emails for quick communication, sharing meeting notes, water cooler gossip…

…and approvals.

Email seemed like a great approval alternative to the manila envelope. It was faster and easier, and you could get approvals quickly. But at some time, we reached a tipping point where email approvals stopped being useful and started becoming exhausting. 

Vinitha Ramani
AVP of Kissflow

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Top Issues with Email Approvals

Here are the 4 email approval issues

  1. Lack of Information: Email approvals often lack the necessary details for making informed decisions, leading to delays and misunderstandings.
  2. Absence of an Audit Trail: Emails do not provide a clear audit trail, which can lead to accountability issues and difficulties in tracing back decisions.
  3. Human Errors: The manual nature of email approvals increases the risk of human errors, which can result in overlooked approvals or incorrect information.
  4. Security Issues: Emails can be prone to security breaches, potentially compromising sensitive information.
  5. Roles and Responsibilities: It can be challenging to define and manage roles and responsibilities within email approval processes.
  6. Volume of Emails: The sheer volume of emails received by business users can lead to missed or delayed approvals.
  7. Delayed Payment Processing: In financial contexts, relying on email approvals can lead to delays in payment processing.
  8. Last-Minute Changes: Changes made after an email has been approved are common and can disrupt the workflow.

Email Delivery Issues: Technical issues with email delivery can result in approval emails not being sent or received.

How Journeyone streamlined their Contract renewals

JourneyOne, an innovative consulting firm, faced inefficiencies in its contract approval process. The task of tracking contracts and managing timely renewals was challenging, with the existing system of emails and calendars leading to distorted data and missed opportunities.
Susanna De Bari, Principal Business Consultant at JourneyOne, recognized the need for a more efficient solution. That's when Kissflow entered the picture. This automation platform streamlined their approval processes, making contract renewals a breeze.
Kissflow's robust features allowed JourneyOne to set up clear approval workflows, ensuring that every contract went through the necessary checks before renewal. This not only increased visibility and control but also minimized manual work, freeing up the team to focus on more strategic tasks.
Moreover, the ability to have real-time updates on each contract's status meant that no opportunity for modification or renegotiation was missed.
In essence, Kissflow revolutionized JourneyOne's contract approval process, enhancing productivity, efficiency, and their ability to secure better deals.

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Is There a Better Option?

It’s easy to criticize email approvals. Everyone can see their faults and failures. But going back to interoffice envelopes and paper forms isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

The first step is to recognize the importance of approvals. Approvals show that there are standard processes in a company. In fact, any organization can be seen as the sum of all of its processes, most of which require approvals in some way.

That’s why it’s so important to find a better solution to email approvals. If your processes get stuck, your whole business stalls.

If you’re feeling the drain from email approvals, it’s time to look at workflow software. Workflow software lets you create and manage automated processes. You can host all of your core processes in the same place, which, most importantly, is NOT your inbox. When it’s time to process approvals, they are all in one place, and you can focus on your work, not find it.

With so many benefits coming your way with an approval workflow engine taking care of this crucial process, manual approvals in email will feel extremely slow. Try Kissflow. Kissflow is a great choice for automating workflows. Its easy-to-use platform helps businesses make their processes more efficient. No matter your business size, Kissflow can help cut down on manual tasks, reduce mistakes, and save time. With Kissflow, you're choosing a tool that improves productivity and work quality. Try Kissflow today and see how it can transform your business operations.