How to Make a (Not That Great) Workflow in G-Suite

With G Suite, you’ve got a powerful set of apps and a plethora of ways to make work easier. You can collaborate and communicate very easily with all its tools.

However, data on G Suite follows Newton’s First Law of Motion: objects at rest stay at rest. You can capture data, but it’s going to just sit there until you manually push it out.

This becomes a problem when you have a repeated process like a purchase order. All of the data is collected in one place, but even though the flow of that data is the same nearly every time, each person in the chain is responsible for manually passing it on to the next person through Gmail.

With all those manual steps, something is bound to go wrong or get lost.

G Suite’s Gaping Hole

Despite being an awesome productivity platform, all that productivity can come to a halt when everyone has to keep pushing things around. There’s nothing straight out of the box in G Suite that can help you create workflows where data is processed the same way every time.

But here are some tricks you can use to make it happen:

Workflows in G Suite

The best place to start is with a process you already know well, like employee onboarding. It happens largely the same way every time, but it seems like it takes a lot of work to get one person everything she needs.

The first place to start is to collect all the information in one place. Google Forms is a nice tool where you can build and host forms that anyone has access to. You can create a form for the new employee to fill out so that all of the information is collected in one place. Forms will also validate some of the data, so you can control the formatting of the data and make it easy to pass back and forth between systems.

Once the employee completes a form, all the data will be collected on a single spreadsheet.

Pass the Data

Now that you have the data, you need to parse it out. But you don’t want everyone in the company to access the Google Sheets as it might include some sensitive information.

Instead, you can write up some simple Google Apps Scripts to create actions. For example, you can create one that sends an email to the IT Director whenever you mark someone’s line to need a laptop. The email can contain information from the form without revealing all of the data to the IT Director.

Similarly, you can build out multiple channels from the original sheet to send data anywhere you need it.

However, remember that Apps Script is only a scripting language. So there are many limitations and you can’t build in quite as many functions as you might need. For instance, if you need to create a sequential approval chain, this process is quite hard in Apps Script.

A Better Workflow for G Suite

It is possible to move data around in G Suite, but it is very hard to build and maintain. Anytime there is a small change in the process, you’ll need to identify where the specific script is located and tweak it. All told, your workflows won’t be so great.

If you are really serious about creating efficient workflows and you want something without a lot of coding and headaches, you’ll need a tool like KiSSFLOW, which was built to create workflows in Google Apps.

KiSSFLOW is an advanced software that offers the power of automation to your business. It starts with a form builder that is much more robust that what you get with Google Forms. For example, if someone wants to take a day off, you can create a Google Form that goes to that person’s manager for permission. But do you have a way to display how many days off the individual has left for the current month/year? Can you link fields to vendor information so they don’t need to be filled out every time?

You have a lot more ability to create functional workflows in KiSSFLOW as well. Need a 20-step workflow? What about a conditional task that only happens if a certain criteria is met? Or multiple paths for the data to follow? All of these things are easy to do in KiSSFLOW that might require brilliant-level coding to do elsewhere.

KiSSFLOW can also take care of your permissions and visibility challenges by customizing what fields to show to every person in the workflow.

How Great is Your Workflow?

Creating workflows in G Suite is very much possible, it all depends on how much functionality you want, how much coding ability you have, and how much time you are willing to invest in building and maintaining it. Any kind of workflow can save you from the chaos of handling processes with Gmail and Sheets. But if you really want to make it great, you are going to need a different tool that integrates with G Suite.

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