Best Document Workflow Software & Guide

With the volume of transactional documents increasing, it’s critical that you have streamlined processes. Real-time collaboration, reduced errors, increased efficiency and productivity. Document workflow software is the go to automation tool to transform how your business handles its documents. End to end. Check out our guide to understand the benefits, questions for vendors, how, what, and why.

What is a document workflow?

Businesses, regardless of size, are generally overloaded with documents. These critical documents – paper or digital – must be managed. Hitting operational costs, team productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction. 

A workflow will have a defined starting point, process steps that might include human – decisions and approvals, and a defined end point. It tracks the journey of documents as they’re passed from one team to another. From capturing, generating, updating, and approval, to storage, retention, and archiving all documents associated with your business processes. It’ll show who performs each task and when. 

Documents can include purchase orders, invoices, quotes, contracts, bill of lading, job applications, holiday requests, despatch, proof of delivery, payroll, supply chain documents, insurance forms, and a whole lot more.

Document workflows are applied to core business functions, such as accounts payable, supply chain, etc. Automating repetitive tasks so your team is free to work on more innovative projects. 

To ensure this process runs smoothly, you need a document workflow management software system.

Document workflow software…

  • Automates repetitive tasks
  • Sends real-time alerts about unfinished tasks
  • Provides a visible audit trail and performance metrics

What is document workflow management?

Having a document workflow management tool in place will help you plan, manage, and monitor your workflows. To ensure your team have access, control, and governance over all your business documents. 

If you choose not to create a cross-company standardized process, you may find individuals or teams setting up their own versions of document workflow management. While this show of initiative is admirable, having documents out in the wild, could lead to issues when trying to access documents across teams, lack of version control, and accuracy. Plus, data about customers, products, services, and legal documents such as contracts and invoices could be inaccessible.

Adopting a formal document workflow management system means that all authorized people can find and access what they need, without wasting precious time and resources hunting down information. The best document workflow software solution has features that automatically organizes, maintains, and archives documents of all formats. Saving time and resources.

What’s the difference between business process management and workflow management?

Quick explainer as it can get rather confusing.

The terms, workflow management and business process management – BPM – are often used incorrectly…

Workflow management definition

Workflow management categorizes processes according to the order in which they are processed. Individual teams that have to perform tasks in a particular order, are the focus. Not your entire company. 

Workflow management is part of business process management, meant to coordinate multiple people in a workflow, regardless of team. With the goal of eliminating errors and redundancies. 

  • Workflows – coordination of individual processes in your business

Business process management

Business process management is the practice of developing, analyzing, and optimizing end-to-end business processes. Designed to help you meet strategic business goals. BPM focuses on your entire company, working towards creating the most efficient processes.

  • Processes – developed via BPM, and focusing on the whole company

Why do I need a document workflow software solutions?

Ask yourself…

  • Are our documents passed to the correct person at the correct time?
  • How much time, resources, and money are we spending on document management?
  • What’s our accuracy rate?
  • How much time is our workforce spending on merging documents, correcting errors, seeking approvals?
  • Are we missing delivery deadlines and being penalized?
  • Are we missing out on early delivery bonuses?

Not sure I need to say more.

If you’re experiencing issues with your document workflows, it’s time to take a look at the best document workflow software.

Benefits of document workflow

Document workflow automation software streamlines document processes. Helping your business securely capture, share, and store documents efficiently, while remaining compliant with regulatory guidelines and industry standards.

Alongside a reduction in time and resources, automation software reduces human errors and increases accuracy. The need for manual labor is reduced and employee satisfaction is improved with the elimination of tedious manual data entry tasks. Let’s look at more benefits of document workflow software…

Increased productivity

Document workflow software will help you and your team save time and resources by automating workflows end to end. From document generation to approval to archiving. Productivity will increase and costs will be reduced.

Robust security

Storing all your business’ transactional documents on a single platform, you can be assured that they’re stored securely and protected against malicious or accidental disruption.

Meet compliance

If you employ document workflow software it’ll help your business adhere to regulations and ensure that you’re compliant with industry standards.

Increased accuracy

Automated workflows have less need for a human-in-the-loop. This reduces the chances of fat finger episodes, leading to improved levels of accuracy.

Full visibility

When you map your workflows you’ll crate visibility into the processes being automated. This will give your business a top-down view of all its workflows, so you can identify redundant tasks that are wasting time and money.

Check out my post on How to do Workflow Process Mapping. It will walk you through creating a process map that’ll helps you optimize your workflows. Whether it’s to train new staff, confirm compliance, or to find ways to improve, mapping your workflows will increase efficiency and reduce risk.

Document workflow software. Example of an accounts payable process map.

Open collaboration

Increased visibility will improve employee and cross-team communication and coordination, eliminating bottlenecks.

Document workflow software will provide a single platform on which all your transactional documents are stored. Granting universal access to appropriate teams and individuals so they can collaborate on documents.

Increased efficiency

An automated document workflow allows you to track the progress of all your transactional documents, reducing the need for manual intervention.

Lower costs

Automating your workflows allows you to reduce manual labor costs. Allowing your team to concentrate on more strategic, value-added tasks. 

Improved customer satisfaction

Automating responses to customer questions will improve your customer service and customer satisfaction. Ensuring prompt responses and documents delivered on time, without errors. Not only will late penalties be avoided, customers will receive information in a timely manner, increasing trust and loyalty.

Improved employee satisfaction

NO MORE REPETITIVE, TEDIOUS TASKS.

How to start your document management system

Stop. Breathe.

Here’s some tips to help you get started with document workflow management in your business…

Understand the specific needs of your business

Which documents are crucial to your business operations? Once you’ve decided, draw up the workflow processes needed to ensure the paper documents or digital are managed and monitored correctly.

Define your workflow processes

Determine how your documents should be sent, stored, and retrieved. List each task that has to be completed for each document. Capture, validation, approval, notification, etc.

Implement your document workflow software solution

The market is heavy with document workflow software, so it’s vital that you understand your business needs, before handing over your cash. Consider key features such as visibility of audit trails, workflow approvals, secure storage. Once you’re identified the best solution, it’s time to put it into action. 

Cloud storage vs on-premise storage

A document workflow software solution offers two ways to store your digital documents. In the cloud or on your premises. Let’s look at the pros and cons of cloud-native vs on-prem…

Cloud-based document workflow software solution

A cloud-based solution centralizes your documents. This means that anyone of your team, wherever they are, can access a document immediately. They’ll have access to the search function, with records accessible over the Internet, using any device.

A cloud-native, AI-first solution such as Rossum’s transactional document automation platform is able to integrate with all your other business applications, such as your ERP system. So processes are automated end to end.

Additional benefits include the reduction of the cost of storing and managing your documents. Oh, and cloud-based document workflow is usually cheaper than an on-prem solution.

On-premise document workflow software solution

An on-prem solution includes an on-site server for storing and managing your documents. While you have control over security and access, it will need more manual input. Plus, it’s costly to maintain. But, if you’d rather not work with a third-party service provider, on-prem ticks the box. 

You have access to decentralization features and your team can access documents from any location and device. But, some business records aren’t always viewable over the Internet.

How to choose your document workflow software system

Now you’ve decided to implement a document workflow process, remember why you’re doing it. To streamline your workflows. To improve efficiency and productivity. 

Choose a document workflow software that includes the following features…

  • Ergonomic UI that combines humans and advanced technology
  • Assign user permissions for viewing and/or editing
  • Flexibility to grow and adapt to your business’ evolving needs
  • Template free, low code, language agnostic 
  • Robust data back-up to secure sensitive documents in case of cyberattack or system failure
  • In-app email and collaboration capabilities for fast issue resolution and validation
  • Process customization through business rules and extensions
  • Built-in reporting and dashboards to view key metrics, spot trends, and optimization insights
  • Search capability that allows detailed search filters, so you can locate documents

Hmmm. I may have just described Rossum’s transactional document automation platform.

Best workflow automation software

Wasting time with back and forth emailing? Printed copies scattered all over your desk? Document workflow software will help your business digitize and automate the process end to end. Check out the best document workflow software on the market…

Jotform | Document collaboration

Jotform homepage - document collaboration - document workflow software.

Jotform is designed for businesses of any size. Able to tackle complex document workflows, it can manage the journey of a document end to end. From creation to approvals.

Customization is possible, and you can create forms that meet your specific business requirements. For instance, you can create your unique e-signature, or set up automated email responses. Advanced user management allows you to control access rights.  

Jotform integrates with Dropbox, PayPal, Salesforce, Mailchimp, Google Drive, Google Sheets, Slack, and more. It also integrates with Zapier to automate workflows.

Fluix | Field data collection & form management

Fluix - document workflow automation software to optimize your processes.

No-code document management platform, Fluix can be used for data collection and form processing. It boasts a drag-and-drop interface which makes it easy for you to build different types of documents. Then collect data from customers. 

Customizable, you can quickly add signatures, images, and annotations. With data collected, you’re than able to implement your workflows for all your business processes.

A workflow builder enabling conditional logic, means you can implement rules based on values you add to the forms. There are ready-made and custom templates that’ll help you speedily create forms.

Fluix integrations include Tableau, Smartsheet, Microsoft 365, Trello, Dropbox, Google Drive, Salesforce, Slack, Zapier, and a whole lot more.

Avokaado - document workflow software for legal documents.

While Avokaado can manage and automate business documents, it specializes in legal docs. From drafting, approvals, drawing up contracts, and adding a digital signature.

Your teams can collaborate on documents, searching for and correct errors, collecting documents from other parties. Team members granted access rights have access to your document data base, and they can track progress of workflows. Full compliance means that risk is limited.

Zoho | HR documents

Zoho - document workflow software specializing in HR documents.

Zoho let’s you upload, manage, and share public documents. With an option to restrict access to confidential ones.

You can get custom documents signed at completion of a job, with automation implemented according to the signing order. Your team don’t have to manually update names and addresses for each request, with personalized copies of template documents. 

You also have the ability to create documents from APIs, so personalized forms can be stored, signed, downloaded, or sent.

Docsumo | Invoices and bank statements

Docsumo - any format, any document automated.

If you’re looking to manage invoices and bank statement, Docsumo is the document workflow software of choice.

Docsumo uses OCR technology to help convert documents – invoices, statements, pay slips – to data that is easy to capture and process. enabling data-driven decision making. 

Extractions – invoice numbers, payment terms, etc. – can be validated with APIs. Integrations include Dropbox, Zapier, Salesforce, and Google Docs.

DocuWare | Invoice processing

DocuWare - document management software and workflow automation.

Document and workflow management software, DocuWare supports both the cloud and on-prem storage.

You can scan, upload, and import files, then use metadata and AI-powered indexing to classify and organize your documents. The editing feature means you can update information and collaborate across teams. With version history keeping everyone on the same page, permissions can be set for each user.

Workflows can be visually mapped out, with automated tasks increasing efficiency. Integrations include QuickBooks, SharePoint, Xero, Sage, Microsoft Dynamics, and more.

Document workflow software | Rossum AI document processing

Digital process automation vs manual?

Automate your document workflows with Rossum’s AI OCR software. Streamline workflows, eliminate errors, and save time with automated data extraction.

Like to see document workflow software in action?

Rossum's transactional document automation platform can automate your document workflows end to end. Take a look!