How many approval steps are in your average project? How many people are waiting on approvals at any given time? Do your colleagues grouse about delays?
When people have to wait on signoffs, bottlenecks hit everyone involved. The waits make projects take longer, resulting in opportunity costs, while other projects can suffer from divided attention. The cumulative effect of multiple approval delays means you can miss milestones, incur late fees or even have to source new vendors, should they be unavailable past the original contract dates.
You could consider approval waits and bottlenecks part of any normal project—inevitable speed bumps that are just part of the process. However, that would be a choice, not an immutable fact. That’s because many Integrated Workplace Management Systems (IWMS) now offer mobile approval apps to streamline the process. Managers and others who make approval decisions are no longer tethered to their desks; they can simply use an app to review and respond to approval requests whenever and wherever they like from a device that’s always at hand—their phone or tablet. Whether they’re used in an office, at a job site, at home, on public transit during a commute or anywhere else, mobile approval apps reduce wait times and eliminate bottlenecks.
Considerations when Choosing an Approval App
Approval apps vary in scope and function, but here are some considerations when choosing the app best suited for your organization:
It should be capable of handling all approvals
The best mobile approval apps let managers field all types of approval requests at all stages of the approval process. The obviousness of that statement belies the software design and integration necessary to make it happen: The app has to access all of the relevant systems where requests are generated and transfer supporting documents when needed.
It should be able to download and view attachments
Those supporting documents often arrive as attachments, which you should be able to view within the app itself. If you’ve ever had trouble viewing an attachment in a mobile browser, you know why this is so important. What’s the point of having a mobile approval app if you need to wait until you’re at your desk to view information critical to your decision?
It should handle all standard approval functions
If every request for a manager’s approval were just a matter of signing off, you could buy your managers rubber stamps and be done with it. In the real world, the approval process is in place for a reason: It enables knowledgeable workers to check for missing items or spot potential problems early enough to change course. Your app should let managers do the following:
- Review their list of requested approvals
- Get a single view of all item fields, attached files and other reviewer comments
- Approve and comment on items
- Request changes
- Reassign item approvals to other managers
It should be capable of working online and offline
One of the biggest benefits of mobile approval apps is the way they free users from their desktops. However, if the app only works while online, it’s hobbled. Look for one that works offline as well and has the capacity to upload manager responses when it’s back within network range. Managers who commute by trains without decent WiFi will find this feature especially useful.
It should be able to be updated and configured
You shouldn’t need to change your workflow or processes to use an app. Instead, you should be able to define the various ways you need the app to work. For instance, you should be able to escalate specific request types if they need to have higher priority, add additional approval levels, or make changes to lists of what workers handle which type of approvals. If you change your processes, the app should be able to change along with them.
It should be platform-agnostic
Just as mobile approval apps should access all the systems that are part of the approval process, so too should they be widely usable. Look for one compatible with iPhones and iPads as well as with Android phones and tablets. You’ll increase approval process efficiency by making the app available to as many managers as you can on their existing devices.
Choosing the Best Mobile Approval App: Getting Started
We’re biased, but we think our Approvals On-The-Go app is the best mobile approval app. Designed specifically to work with the IBM TRIRIGAⓇ IWMS, Approvals On-The-Go is compatible with any version of IBM TRIRIGA 10.x. TRIRIGA helps manage every aspect of your organization, and Approvals On-The-Go works seamlessly with with every TRIRIGA module.
A longtime IBM premier business partner and certified value-added TRIRIGA reseller, eCIFM developed its first mobile app for IBM TRIRIGA in 2005. We now offer a suite of six fully-integrated mobile apps designed to bring the full functionality of TRIRIGA away from the desktop and into the field. If your organization currently uses TRIRIGA and you’re interested in seeing how you can make it even more effective, or if you’d like to make your approvals process more efficient, give us a call.