Replacing email and spreadsheets with managed workflow

Organizations rely on email and spreadsheets for business processes that they haven’t automated by implementing a custom IT solution. Using the right tool for the job means replacing email and spreadsheets with a general-purpose workflow tool like Signavio Workflow.

The costs of email and spreadsheets

In theory, a custom software development will always be the ideal solution to support business process automation, but in practice the costs are too high for most business processes. Instead, nearly all business processes rely on generic tools, principally email and spreadsheets, for coordinating work between multiple people and capturing critical information. These tools are frequently unfit for the purpose, leading to several issues.

  • Workers get swamped with email, and spend a large amount of time reading and writing messages.
  • Business critical information is stored in spreadsheets that contain errors, lack documentation and are difficult to maintain.
  • Yet more business critical information resides in email addresses, where it cannot be found or updated.

Organizations can use workflow automation to reduce spreadsheet and email use. A significant proportion of all spreadsheets track the status of cases in a business process, but without the clear structure of a process model. Meanwhile, many emails do nothing more than notify other employees about changes to the status of cases in a process or coordinate task assignments and handovers.

Using a workflow management system

The solution to email overload and struggling to manage complex spreadsheets is a workflow management system like Signavio Workflow. Replacing status spreadsheets with processes in a workflow management system, and replacing some email with automatic notifications has several benefits.

  • Process models make a process more explicit than a spreadsheet.
  • A workflow execution platform enforces the structure of a process in a way that a spreadsheet cannot, so that steps are performed in the right order.
  • A workflow management platform makes it possible to update a process model and use multiple process versions at the same time, unlike spreadsheets which are generally used without version management.
  • Automatic notifications that inform process participants about new information or work that needs to be done save workers the time they would otherwise spend writing emails.
  • Automatic notifications’ standard formats make them faster to read, reducing the time spent reading email.

In a nutshell, a workflow management system reduces the time you spend sending email and maintaining spreadsheets. As well as saving time, you reduce handover delays, which improves business process performance and increases customer satisfaction.

Check out Signavio Workflow to get started with Workflow Management today. Visit to sign up for your free 30 day trial.