10 Excuses for not using workflow

It’s Just too Complicated...


Top 10 Excuses by Executives for not Considering Workflow Systems to manage processes

Workflow systems can save your organization time and money. Consider that for every form or document generated in an organization, the following occurs:

  • 19 copies are made
  • 1 out of 20 are lost
  • 150 hours per year are spent looking for incorrectly filed papers
  • 25 hours are spent recreating documents

However, even when armed with the above knowledge, some businesses remain reluctant when it comes to change. Aiim spoke to executives from top organizations and discovered a variety of reasons why they are resistant to adopting workflow management systems.


Top 10 Excuses by Executives for not Considering Workflow Management Systems:

  1. We usually can find the information we need when a customer calls. Sometimes it takes a while, but once we send out an email to all staff asking for the information, it usually shows up after a bit.
  2. No one will ever sue us. Who would ever want to sue us? I’m sure if push comes to shove we could find whatever we need to defend ourselves. Let’s not go looking for problems.
  3. The cost of looking for lost forms is chump change to us. Even if it’s true that organizations typically spend $20 in labour to file a document, $120 in labour to find a misfiled document, and $220 in labour to reproduce a lost document.
  4. Who cares if the average form is photocopied 19 times? Not my problem. I’ve got more important things to worry about.
  5. We pay them to look for information. We understand that professionals can spend up to 50 percent of their time looking for the right information. That’s what they are there for.
  6. Even if we repeat some steps, it all comes together eventually. It’s often difficult for the right people to get together at the right time, but after plenty of calls and emails – we make it happen in the end.
  7. Our business isn’t located on a flood plain or anything. Sure, when we see all that paper floating around after a flood on the news, we feel bad for those people. But we’re not located in a place where disasters happen.
  8. We lock the doors at night. And yes, we keep the HR files locked. And yes, we use passwords on our computers. But we need to be flexible. If people want to take information home and work on it on their home computer, that’s a good thing. We trust our employees.
  9. Change is expensive. When I need to get an invoice approved, I just put it in the right department’s mailbox at the front desk. They usually pick it up in a few days and sign it. I don’t really know what happens to it after that. Why spend money to automate something this simple?
  10. Process Management is just not as critical. Managing our financial assets is important to us, so we invested in a top-notch financial system. Managing our people is important, too, so we invested in HR systems. Managing processes seems so complicated.


However, once organizations do decide to streamline their processes, perhaps after persuading their Executive Officers, they discover the following benefits:

  • Faster, online access to information
  • Greater visibility of where things are at
  • Greater collaboration on projects
  • People can complete tasks at the same time rather than waiting for someone to pass them a piece of paper
  • Consistent and accurate audit trails for Auditors
  • Increased operational efficiency
  • Ability to identify bottlenecks
  • Streamlining and automating of business processes
  • Reduced delays by intelligent routing of forms to the right person at the right time
  • Fewer paper storage needs
  • Fewer “lost” forms with signatures on them


Sources: Aiim. 2009. Top 10 excuses for not considering document management this year. www.aiim.org/Top-10-Excuses-For-Not-Considering-Document-Management.aspx. Retrieved May 2009.