Most executives say that process-orientation is only valid in big companies, because of scale effects which result in real cost and time savings. But what about small and medium enterprises? Do they really differ a lot from big ones? Expense reporting, employee on-boarding, invoicing – these are all processes that every business does and the size doesn’t matter here.
However, most SMEs execute their processes using specialized apps (CRM, invoicing) or spreadsheets, document or e-mails. There is actually no difference when comparing to large enterprises, as they do things in a similar way.
The matter of tracking
For bigger companies the workflow automation system is a matter of tracking, establishing process control or managing in-process document exchange and collaboration. This is usually considered as something that needs to be customized, supported in-house – simply is costly, hard to learn and adopt.
Usually, SMEs don’t have an IT professional to take care of their infrastructure. When you’re small, Google Apps may be sufficient for you, because you aren’t required to own infrastructure and manage it. The same applies to hardware – your provider may also support it for you. The SaaS model, together with outsourcing of IT infrastructure creates a great possibility for SMEs to take advantage of process-orientation. If you already use e-mails (which you certainly do!), use spreadsheets (which you certainly do!), have some processes in your company (which you certainly have, even if you’re not aware of it) you can have a workflow automation system that gives a real added value while not ruining your organizational culture and budget.
You don’t need to be a process expert
There are several SaaS worklfow automation tools that integrate well with Google Apps, Gmail, provide linkage to external applications (like CRM or bookkeeping tools). Moreover, you don’t need to be a process expert, because you are supported by knowledgeable support agents who can personally help you to set up new workflows.
Imagine that you can always track your billing process, which means that once an order is confirmed by your salesperson, the financial department is instantly notified, an invoice is then issued and sent to the client. Another example is about a checklist that must be ticked off when new employee comes to your company – this means that a work agreement must be drafted and signed, equipment must be in place, e-mail account must be created and a tutor must be assigned to introduce that new employee to his new assignments. It’s easier to coordinate such chain of tasks and check if all were completed or whether something is missing.
Make the best choice
Process automation is about taking humans out of manual tasks and freeing them up to have the time to make the right decisions based on empirical data so they can grow their business and delight their customers. Automation of processes is also for SMEs. If you are ready for this, then you can start looking for appropriate tool. We recommend Flownie.com, as a good choice, especially for Google Apps-run businesses. Flownie.com integrates perfectly with your Google Apps domain, allows for easy creation of processes, assignment of people responsible for tasks, real-time process tracking and has an affordable pricing model