In the modern era, businesses are drowning in information. The real cost of documentation is not incurred in producing them but in their efficient management and leveraging their inherent value. The greatest challenge faced by businesses is connecting every single document within its environment. The growing need for compliance and accountability demands answers to how, when, by whom and in what context a particular document is created and also what happens to it afterwards.

In addition to effectual storage and retrieval of documents, an organization also demands a link between a document and its corresponding clients and business process information. This is where automated workflow comes in to play. Companies hold information in a plethora of manners: emails, spreadsheets, pictures, charts, telephones, faxes and paper documents, all of which have some use to the business, yet are stored in an unstructured format. As this data is scattered around the company in a disparaged way, it is harder to retrieve and analyze, and is prone to loss and damage.

With a well-designed document management software workflow in place, the job can be completed in a matter of minutes. With digitized paper files, indexed emails and automated links in to the central repository of main information, it is possible to make decisions based on a comprehensive picture of what goes on in the entire organization. For instance, a customer service representative can immediately view a particular customer’s orders, correspondence, payments and deliveries, and respond immediately.

What is a Workflow?

“The automation of business processes” is the simplest definition of a workflow, but more specifically, it is getting the right people to do the right work at the right time, every time. Workflow automates the decisions and processes that are applied to documents when they are passed through an organization. For instance, if a company receives an invoice through the mail, it would have to go through a series of predefined processes before it can be paid. Someone would be assigned to check it against the order, get the authorization of the customer, route it up to a higher authority for approval and ultimately direct it to the accounts payable department for payment.

When an organization employs an automated workflow, the incoming invoice would be added to their document management software, and the document would be automatically routed to a sales clerk who can match it against the purchase order, also saved electronically. The workflow system can then even route the invoice to the customer and ultimately to the higher authority for approval. Once the invoice is approved, it is routed back to the accounts where an automated payment is generated. This dramatically increases employee productivity, which would have otherwise been spent on redundant tasks, and greatly enhances the performance, productivity and profitability of the organization as a whole.

If the people involved in the associated processes fail to take action or are unavailable, the workflow can even be programmed to raise an alert after a period of inactivity. In DocuXplorer's case, an automated email is sent so that the situation can be dealt with efficiently and customer satisfaction is guaranteed, which is the key to a successful business.

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