As your business grows, having processes in place will become increasingly important. Think of all the different parts of your business that have specific internal processes that need to be followed:
- Onboarding new hires
- Completing contracts
- Bringing on new vendors
- Getting budgets approved
And the list goes on. Unfortunately, when it comes to processes, many companies fall under one of two categories:
- They don’t have any processes in place
- They don’t have processes documented anywhere, so everyone has their own variation of the processes
In either case, the end result is miscommunication, difficulty tracking the progress of certain tasks and disorganization.
Luckily, with the right business process documentation tools, you can get your entire company on the same page and get things done faster since all the steps of each process will be clearly outlined and available to the entire company.
So, here are 10 business process documentation tools that’ll keep your company organized and cohesive.
Trello is a project management tool that uses the Kanban framework. You can read about Kanban here, but essentially it’s a system that allows you to setup processes and move projects along the specified steps until they’re completed.
The way you can use Trello as a business process documentation tool is to create boards for all the different processes your business has. For instance, a board for new employee onboarding like this one.
For pretty much any process you can think of, you can create a Trello board to manage it. The best part about Trello is you can organize your boards by teams, so every department has its own set of boards where they can outline their processes.
Plus, you can track the progress of any tasks that are currently going through the process so you know where everything stands.
Podio is another project management tool, but it’s not quite like Trello. It’s more of a flexible system your company can use for documenting business processes and much more. It’s primarily for larger companies juggling several processes and projects.
If your needs are more complex than just needing to outline your processes, Podio could be a good solution. Just keep in mind you’ll likely need a project manager to set up and maintain your system to ensure tasks are being completed and moving through the system.
Confluence has become a fairly popular tool (particularly among tech companies) for creating internal wikis. With confluence, you can plan out projects, communicate updates to the company and have an overall “hub” for all your company information.
If you don’t want something as dynamic as Trello’s Kanban boards, but rather a hub to store your business process documents, Confluence can be a good choice. You can create documents that outline the processes of each department and they’ll be searchable within your hub.
Plus, Confluence is made by Atlassian, which is the same company that owns Trello so the tools play well together. Just keep in mind that the learning curve is a little steep due to all the different features of the software.
Another business process documentation tool popular among tech companies is Basecamp. The simplest way to describe Basecamp is an internal communications tool. While it has several different features that’ll help document your business processes, one of the main ones that stick out is the to-do lists.
With the to-do lists, you can outline any processes that need to be completed, and assign them out to different members of your team. The processes can be copied so you can re-use them as needed.
This is particularly useful if your business processes involve multiple team members. For instance, if the process for bringing on new vendors involves getting approval from the head of your department, getting the contract reviewed by legal, and then having it paid for by finance, you can assign out each task to the appropriate person.
Wrike is a work management solution that allows teams to collaborate with ease. It has several of the features of some of the other tools on our list, which makes it a good option for companies looking for more than just a tool to create and manage their process documentation.
Wrike is particularly helpful for companies that have remote employees since everyone can access any information from anywhere (including on mobile devices). Plus, if your company doesn’t have business processes documented, it’s a great tool to collaborate to create one.
Also, every employee has their own dashboard so they can see anything that needs to be done on their end and if they’re slowing down any processes that need to get done.
One process that every department in any business has to handle is paperwork. Sending and getting paperwork signed can be a hassle, particularly if you need it signed by multiple people.
Eversign makes that process easier by offering complete document workflow management. From creating templates to emailing them and ensuring everyone signs them, eversign makes your document workflow a breeze.
The best part is you can create templates for all the different documents you need to have signed on a regular basis. That way everyone knows which documents to send and can customize them based on their needs.
If your business processes involve getting data from multiple sources, and has several steps that can (and should) be automated, Integrify is a business process documentation tool to look into. It allows you to create processes from a drag-and-drop dashboard so you can easily set the steps needed for any process and automate it.
The beauty of Integrify over other tools is the automation aspect. Once you create your process, you don’t have to manually move from one step to the next. For instance, in the image below, you can see a process flow for submitting a vacation/time-off request.
Once an employee submits their form, the rest of the process kicks in and all the appropriate stakeholders get notified when their step needs to be completed. This cuts back on the employee needing to check with their manager, HR and other departments to find out what the status of their request is.
Whether you’re looking to create and automate business processes for finance, marketing, sales or any other department, Integrify has tools to cut out the manual work.
8. Google Drive
If you’re looking for a free tool that you can use simply to document all your business processes, it doesn’t get much simpler than Google Drive. The free platform that allows you to store files and create documents is easy to turn into a business process documentation tool.
One route would be to create folders for all your different departments. Then, in each folder have documents that outline all the different processes from how to submit accounts payable requests to IT support or any other process.
Since Google Drive is collaborative, you can create Google Docs with the processes and if anything changes it’ll be easy to update the documentation in real time. The downside of using Drive as a business process documentation tool is you don’t get the frills of some of the other tools on our list. But for a basic, free solution it’s hard to beat. Particularly for small businesses with only a few employees.
Most businesses don’t think of Evernote as a business process documentation tool. However, it’s much more than just a handy way to take notes from around the web. With their business plan, you have access to some of their more advanced features like Spaces, which acts as a “hub” for your team similar to Confluence.
Spaces acts as an intranet for your team where you can document all your different processes, plus store notes, ideas, dashboards and more.
Another feature you can take advantage of is their template library. They have document templates for everything from interviewing employees to planning projects and more.
One way this can come in handy is if your hiring process involves interviewing as a step, you can include a link to the template your team should use to “score” interviewees. Since everything’s in one place, it’s easy to find and convenient for your entire team.
If you’re already using Evernote, consider giving it a try as your business process documentation tool as well.
10. Microsoft Visio
Do you have visual people on your team that simply want to see what your processes look like? Visio might be a good tool of choice. The flowchart making software allows you to create a visual representation of all your different business processes.
Even if you don’t plan on using it as your official tools for the entire company, it can be helpful for the process of actually mapping out your processes. For instance, if you don’t currently have a process in place for getting budgets approved, use Visio to create a flowchart of what the process should be.
Sometimes seeing the steps laid out visually allows you to spot potential issues that you wouldn’t see just by writing things out.
Find the Right Business Process Documentation Tools for Your Business
We’ve given you 10 different tools to improve the way you document your business processes. Many of them accomplish different things, so you can combine a few of them to create the perfect solution.
Just remember, the sooner you start documenting your business processes, the less confusing it’ll be as your company grows.