The role of people information in business workflow

Published on: August 13, 2019

The purpose of a workflow is to perform a sequence of tasks as quickly and as smoothly as possible. So, the most effective workflows are the ones you hear nothing about. They work swiftly and as they should, increasing your capacity for work and productivity.

But it’s the broken and inefficient workflows that take the spotlight. Bottlenecks, delays, and incorrect information can cause otherwise functional workflows to break down. A contract sent to the wrong person, for example, can create data security concerns and cause downtime as it gets re-routed to the correct recipient. Problems like this often cause organizations to reach out for a solution: deploying new IT software or reducing staff numbers. However, the root cause of broken workflows can be found by looking inwards – ensuring that the information they contain is accurate and up to date.

Our last post talked about the evolution of business workflows based in Microsoft technologies. In this blog, we look at the role people information plays in successful workflows and the top five processes that, with the correct employee information, can work more efficiently and effectively.

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Business workflows require good people information


Workflows are only as good as the data they hold and the people managing them. Businesses with a defined organizational structure can use automated workflows to route documents to the correct people and/or departments– sending an employee vacation request straight to the HR director for approval, for example. Of course, this only works if your organizational charts are populated with the right people information (i.e. user information like name, job role, contact details, etc. that populates employee profiles). If people information is up to date, workflows will send the right documents to the right people, every time. If not, otherwise functional workflows can break down: documents are sent to the wrong people, sensitive information is seen by the wrong people, business opportunities are lost.

The top departmental  workflows that need good people profiles 


The following are departmental business processes that benefit from automation but need accurate people information to work optimally.

  • HR

From vacation requests to onboarding and offboarding to performance reviews – HR processes touch practically every employee in the business. This makes them some of the most suited processes for automation. While automated emails and notifications speed HR processes up; people information ensures they remain accurate and secure.

Up to date employee information will make it easier to track vacation and sick leave so departments can see who’s not in the office, when they’re low on resources, and which employees could become overworked. Meanwhile, pre-populating new employee profiles with the right information will make the onboarding process smoother for platform admins, HR, and the employee.

Nintex-Leave-Request-Workflow
Leave Request using Nintex Workflow

  • Finance

Financial processes like budgeting and expenses contain important and often confidential information. Automation can speed up the flow of work in finance departments, but financial documents going to the wrong people can create legal ramifications. At best, this means additional work for you. At worst, it’s largescale monetary fines for the company.

Removing this risk is as simple as ensuring employee information is up to date, all the time. By using software that automatically monitors employee directories, you don’t have to constantly chase employees to make sure their profile is up to date.

K2-Expense-Workflow
Expense Claim Workflow using K2

  • Procurement

Automation in procurement processes like purchase requisition and purchase orders can optimize spend without hiring new employees or investing in new IT. It can streamline otherwise complicated practices like supplier onboarding and contract reviews. And it can eliminate costly invoice processing and manual data entry errors. All this, and more, providing you have the right information.

Procurement processes typically take a long time to move through an organization’s hierarchical structure. Ensure that your org structure is constantly up to date and accurate so when documents are automatically routed for approval, they’re moving to the right people.

Microsoft-Flow-workflow-escalationWorkflow escalation with Microsoft Flow

  • Sales & Legal

Sales processes like quote approvals, discount approvals, and non-disclosure agreements usually require multiple employees and hand-offs – whether it’s turning a prospect into a new customer or reinforcing an existing relationship. Make sure every employee is credited with the new customers, clients, and contracts they earn to create healthy competition and improve employee satisfaction.   

People-Picker-FireStart-Workflow

People Picker functionality in FireStart

Manage people info, manage business workflows


Workflow automation is sure to speed up processes in almost any industry and department. But those time and cost gains could be negated if documents are being automatically sent to the wrong people. That’s why capturing and maintaining the correct employee information is crucial to automated workflow success. Thankfully, the process of identifying and capturing information can be very straightforward.  

Hyperfish automatically identifies missing, incorrect or out of date information in your employee directory. Built for Office 365, Hyperfish understands what's missing or incorrect, and automatically starts a conversation with employees to collect and validate their information. Ensure quality and consistent people information to improve employee communications and the flow of work across your business.

To find out more how Hyperfish can automate the collection and management of people information for better business workflows, get your free demo today.

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