Each year, at the end of April, we host our annual users’ conference. Folks from all over make the trek to beautiful Seattle, Washington to learn more about their Spectrum software, and also to see what new features and applications we have in store. It’s a great event. Though we love hosting the conference, it takes a great deal of planning and collaboration company-wide. Departments are tasked with organizing various activities and how they will get done. It’s a large undertaking with many moving parts. That’s why we establish workflows to make sure everything gets done efficiently. We each have a specific role to play in putting the event on, and we know who we need to work with most closely.
Workflow is a key component in making any business activity successful. Yet not all businesses can deploy the same workflow model. An assembly line and conveyor belt works great for a manufacturing business, but of course it doesn’t apply in the construction industry. That’s why workflow solutions are being implemented in construction software that focus on commonly recurring tasks.
With workflow-centered software, project managers, business managers, and accounting staff can set up customized processes that suit their specific roles. Everyone can set up alerts to let them know when they need to initiate tasks, review documents, provide reports, and so on. When these capabilities are built into the software, it eliminates workflow inefficiencies such as unanswered emails and phone calls that can occur when trying to move things forward. People will be alerted when they need to take action, and the others involved in the process will know the status of the task at hand. This is useful for folks in the field so they can relay information and move on quickly, and for staff in the office so they can track and support the work in progress. Everyone can see task status, and the team will not be left wondering what is going on. We all get caught up in juggling multiple projects so it’s nice to know exactly where a project stands, whether it is completed, on-going, or stalled.
Increased competition in the industry is making for tighter bidding and budgets, and contractors are turning to software that will help them work faster and smarter. Customizable workflows are attracting a lot of attention as a result. Though workflow management is not a new concept, the implementation of automated workflows in software is a relatively new development. Construction businesses always have their own specific flow of work, but in many cases these processes are developed by trial and error and passed on by word of mouth. That’s where software can help by formalizing workflows and by providing a platform to implement them across an organization.
We all tend to speak a different language depending on our role. Software-defined workflows, and the ability to customize them, allow us to speak the language we know and still communicate and collaborate effectively with other departments. We all can work from the same data, but in views that make the most sense for the job we perform. When information is instantly available to everyone who needs it in an easy-to-understand format, and when this information helps people work together to move work forward, that’s when you know workflows are working the way they were intended.