Forget approval workflow software for a moment. Technology makes our lives easier. We all know this firsthand. Right now, you’re reading this on your computer, tablet or phone. You probably just checked your email, or maybe I just reminded you to. This probably isn’t the first post you’re reading today, either. How many programs exactly do you have open right now, anyway? If you’re like the average American worker, you’ve changed desktop windows, checked email, or used other programs an average of 37 times in the last hour (https://blog.hrcloud.com/how-multitasking-is-thwarting-your-productivity-2/). Yes, tech makes our lives easier – easier to distract us and bog our workflows down.
If you would describe your workflow as clunky at best, an approval workflow software may be the optimizer you need.
Why does your agency need approval workflow software?
In other words, why is your workflow so clunky?
Decentralized information: Email, Slack, Dropbox, InVision, Drift – the list goes on. All these programs are meant to help you better do your job and optimize your workflow. After a certain point though, more tech doesn’t equal greater ease. We’re surrounded by all of these apps and programs guaranteed to be the solution to our hectic days, but yet we still find our workflows constantly interrupted and slowed down. It’s not really the fault of tech. The software is working as it should for the most part, it’s that all these tools end up bumping into each other. This is bad for a number of reasons, but the principle one is your profit margin. If time is money, you’re wasting a lot of it when you have to login to three different places to determine the status of a deliverable. When the information you and the other members of your team need is scattered over various programs, sometimes being less informed is easier than tracking it all down.
Notification overload: There’s already so much junk in our inboxes already, and then every system we use wants to send us fifty notifications every day. I’m sure you do what everyone does who wants to maintain their sanity, and turns off the notifications, at least for the things you think you can afford to do without. Neither case is very optimal. Either you leave them on, and anything important gets lost amongst all the unimportant things we’re notified of, or you turn them off and have to go check each system on your own time. Either way has its inefficiencies.
Multitasking: Do you know that the word “multitasking” was first used to describe computers and not people? Because as much as you believe you can participate in a conference call, compose a flawless email to a client and check the status of a proof all at the same time, you can’t. Your brain is not a computer, but the great variety of software you use daily is forcing it to act like one – and failing to do so. The truth is that the more you switch between tasks, the less focus you’re giving all of them. Multitasking is disrupting your workflow and making you less effective at doing your job.
Why isn’t tech inherently able to solve your workflow issues?
Well, it can and it can’t. It’s not so much the software as it is the manual processes you have to carry out for it to work. Software can complicate your workflow rather than streamline it in some cases. On average, a sales rep will use 13 different tools daily, and that’s just the ones unique to them. Imagine all the other unique specializations needed to enable an agency work and all of the tools they’ll need – the tech landscape easily becomes a metropolis. Then consider that in order to collaborate, at some point everybody will have to use a system not in their usual repertoire to make this happen. Just like going to an unfamiliar neighborhood, it’ll take longer to figure out where to go and what to do, and this will slow down everyone’s progress.
How to fix sluggish workflows?
What an agency needs to address all of these issues and improve workflows is to introduce automation. One of the tools that can accomplish this is approval workflow software. It can help eliminate the three issues I mentioned causing your sluggish workflow.
Collect all of your information about a project – client preferences, annotations, deliverables and their revisions, analytics and data – that has been adrift at sea all into one place. An approval workflow software such as Ashore gives you the ability to track the status of your projects, logs all activity in one place for easy review and presents work items on a dashboard for everybody to review and provide feedback on in one place.
Ashore also pulls your work out of emails. By centralizing where the activity happens, you can clean up your inbox and use it for other tasks. Review, feedback, analytics and tracking the project all happen in Ashore, so you no longer have to use any software that you aren’t already proficient using. It will integrate with what’s already working in your workflow. Ashore will automatically alert the next person in the workflow when it’s time for their review and approval of items, so it’s no longer anybody’s responsibility to track them down or hope they read that particular message.
I want to tell you that approval workflow software will help you end that multitasking habit of yours, but that’s not going to happen. Every person ever including you and I believes we are the world’s best multitasker, and no software will cure us of our delusions. What Ashore, and software like it can do is automate your workflow enough that when you’re being pulled in twenty different directions, the risk of error will decrease, time spent on each task will decrease and your profit margins will increase.
By introducing automation, an approval workflow software can smooth out the kinks in your agency’s workflow. Let Ashore help make your workdays easier and more productive.