The steps to optimizing document management software workflow will make office processes a simple concept once again. Because we’ve all been there; waiting for a document from a co-worker at 5 p.m., and you’ve been waiting the entire day.

You’ve asked about the document, but the responsible party is waiting on information from someone else before they can do their job.

It’s a tough thing to sit by and watch, but it’s just as tough to figure out where the lapse begins and how to fix it. We previously wrote about how workflow holds you back, and now we’ll go through some simple steps that can help you optimize your workflow.

Steps to Optimizing Document Management Software Workflow Step 1: Set Up Your Environment

Let’s look at the term “organization” for a moment, shall we?

It’s pretty similar to the word “organism.” Organisms live in an environment. Together, organisms and the environment form an ecosystem. Although humans have transcended the mental capacities of all living animals, we are still subject to the ecosystems we’ve created in our offices, and how we relate to them as living, breathing, and hardworking organisms.

I’ve always been surprised at how much more efficiently I can work when my environment is cleaned off. Everything from getting rid of unnecessary papers on my desk to organizing my desktop background seems to help me work my best.

With workflow, it’s important for your desk to be organized the way that allows you to work the best. If it’s chocked full of paper documents, you won’t be able to organize anything else on your desk, including projects, tasks, assignments, and more.

Organize and Prioritize with Document Management Software Workflow Features

This is more of an efficiency tip than anything, but it’s worth mentioning. Review all of the work you have set before you, and prioritize it. Do the most pressing things first, and work your way down the funnel.

This will ensure that documents and the projects formed through them are handled accordingly.

As time goes on, your priorities may change, so it’s still important to be conscious of all the work there is left to do. I like to have a ‘finished’ pile for paper documents and a folder for finished online documents and emails.

Nothing goes in that folder or pile until there is no further action required.

Diagram Your Current Document Management Software Workflow

If you can’t diagram a current workflow, you don’t know whether what you’re doing is logical, plain and simple. Diagramming a process can reveal where room for improvement is needed, and how the process itself can be redefined.

Make a visual representation of what your current workflow looks like. Here at eFileCabinet, we love to use our Document Management Workflow Module, practically one of the steps to optimizing workflow in and of itself.

It was ranked #1 for Best Workflow Feature by Reader’s Choice. Diagramming out your current workflow will help you visualize just how many hands a document goes through before it is filed away.

Perform a Gap Analysis

If there’s an intangible benefit to the steps to optimizing workflow, a gap analysis is it. A gap analysis is simply reviewing where you currently are and where you would like to be, then working backward to get to the right solution.

When it comes to perfecting a workflow, a proper gap analysis will require knowing the state of affairs in an organization, from personnel to technology infrastructure, and how these two items interact with one another.

Time Processes with Document Management Software

Time is a complicated matter in business, but it plays a crucial role in the steps to optimizing workflow. This can be tricky, but it’s important to time each process in your workflow.

If you time the same process a hundred separate times, you can average the time out, and even create a best/worst case scenario for the life of a document from start to finish. More often than not, you’ll be very surprised at how much time goes into these processes.

Speed Up Workflow with Document Management Software

This is the fun part of all the steps to optimizing workflow for your office, as it’s the part where you get to reap all the effort you’ve sowed. Once you are done training and learning the solution (and step away from what psychologists call ‘bottom up’ processing, which is a slow process of doing new tasks), you’ll be ready to follow-through with technology at the top down processing level.

Those who change their workflow with document management technologies frequently find that they don’t have to come up with a new way to complete work, but that infrastructure of the software itself will reveal new ways to engage in and complete workflow processes.

ways to improve each of the processes. This can mean utilizing current software to the best of its ability, reducing the number of total processes, creating a single Point of Access (PoA) policy, adding new time-saving software, or many other things.

Steps to Optimizing Workflow Step 7: Continually Optimize Document Management Software Tools

It’s a great idea to repeat this process once every few months. As things are always changing, your workflow should constantly be adapting. The perfectly optimized workflow of 1995 probably won’t look a thing like it does today.

One of the biggest problems with today’s workflows is the way people try to manage them. We live in a decade where 90% of the data businesses have has been created in the past few years.

Trying to manage all of that with inventions from the mid 19th century is like taking a slingshot to a gunfight: you won’t be coming out alive, no matter how hard you try with the resources you have.

If a document management vendor is worth their weight in gold, they will continually update their software to account for new business processes as the industries they serve change.

Although 90 percent of business changes in the past decade are attributable to regulation and new red tape, software development is growing to accommodate these changes.

Just look at the number of software solutions out there claiming HIPAA compliance, SEC compliance, and more.

All that said, it’s important to not overly optimize, or else those in the business, whether working remotely or on-site, will not be able to hit full stride, and could eventually be crippled by the amount of change staving off progress.