Three Ways Companies are Optimizing Approval Processes in 2014

Technology is always changing and driving businesses forward, but there are some systems and processes that rarely seem to improve with these technological changes, and the most common is the approval process. This process involves requests or orders that need approval from department managers or a business’s owner before they can be carried out or scheduled, which can cause a number of problems, such as a backlog of work or a scheduling conflict. However, there are a number of approval process trends that many businesses are taking advantage of this year that are finally helping to streamline the approval process in order to get business back on track.

Cloud-Based Approval

Many companies are putting a great deal of documentation up on the cloud for greater collaboration and ease of access, and approval process trends are heading in that direction as well. Web based project management software often includes approval processes that allow project managers to access and approve requests for spending, budget approval, and other project details that need their approval from any PC, laptop, tablet, or even from their mobile phone. This streamlines the approval process because managers often have duties that take them away from the office, where they cannot be reached to physically sign a request. When approval process forms are put into the cloud, managers can sign them electronically from home or other remote locations so the project can move forward.

Fully Integrated Apps

A number of companies have turned to business apps in order to streamline their business processes, and many of them are now using these apps to optimize their approval processes as well. These apps, which are available on both iOS and Android platforms, allow users to create passwords and sign in to view approval requests, their amounts or specific details, and even features that allow managers or business owners to complete the purchase on their own. With one-touch approve or deny buttons, managers can help projects move ahead easily.

Shared Documents on the Web

In some cases, approval processes that involve employees requesting time off, vacation time, and personal days can get bogged down because the manager doesn't have time to create complex schedules that allow them to approve all the requests. To alleviate this problem, some companies have turned to Web-based shared documents that are hosted by sites like Google and that can be viewed by a number of people all at one time, from different access points. These documents usually don't require any type of software download and include features such as calendars, a list of employee names and their schedules, and documents where employees can submit requests. Dynamic work forms that can be viewed by multiple individuals, changed and instantly updated, and even printed out to be displayed will prevent scheduling conflicts and arguments between employees when an approval request accidentally slips through the cracks.

Companies that use shared documents on the Web to optimize their approval processes also have the advantage of locking people out of viewing certain pages and limiting their ability to be viewed, even by employees who have access to the main site. This means that managers can view private approval forms and update the system instantly, as most of these online drives save any changes automatically, without others seeing sensitive information, such as project budgets. If companies choose to streamline their approval processes this way, they should remind employees to change their passwords often and never share them with others for optimum security as well as convenience.