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Wake Up from Your Workflow Nightmare

Wednesday May 4th, 2016 by Toby Martin

Nothing causes panic more quickly in the mind of system administrators than a request from end users for “more workflow” in their systems of record.

Why is that?

There are many reasons, actually. Maybe it’s because they’ve been burned in the past by the challenges of trying to roll out a new system. Imagine trying to get creative users, their managers/editors, other system admins, and corporate bosses to all agree on one way of doing things! Or maybe it’s because they’re aware of the limitations of the current systems they’re working with.

Or MAYBE it’s because nobody can agree on what “workflow” actually means! If everyone has a different definition of “workflow” then you end up arguing about what something ISN’T instead of figuring out what it SHOULD BE.

Consider this: Every person doing something productive in the workplace is following some kind of workflow (hopefully). For example, the designer might take the inbound request, clarify the exact requirements, create a draft, edit the image based on feedback, and then lather/rinse/repeat until the job is completed. This is a fairly complex workflow with many sub-workflows contained within it…but it’s still a workflow.

Another point to consider is that workflow often gets conflated with automation. But let’s address it with the old adage about dogs and poodles: All automation involves workflow but not all workflows involve automation. When event A occurs, person B does action C—that’s a workflow that doesn’t involve automation but in time, may evolve to be automated.

If this sounds confusing, that’s because it is…but it doesn’t have to be. In the coming weeks, we’ll be posting a series of articles that outline the migration of processes and tools from the older, more manual way of doing things to a state of automated nirvana. Along the way, we’ll be offering tips and tricks to make your process more automated and streamline your workflow so you can focus on what’s really important—doing great creative work!

If you’re interested in learning more about workflow best practices and how to define an efficient workflow, check out the Digital Asset Management Best Practices Guide.