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Top 3 tips for successfully implementing approval workflow software

Posted by Jodie Byass on May 7, 2015

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If you didn’t know any better, implementing newapproval workflow software into your agency or marketing team

looks fairly simple. You lease your software, you implement it, then you sit back and watch the magic happen.  What could possibly go wrong? Well, plenty actually. 

If you haven’t dedicated enough time to the planning phase, or rallying enough support for the approval software, then the chances of a successful role out are slim. But, fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are our top 3 tips for successfully implementing approval software.

1. Understand your business outcomes upfront to select the right approval workflow solution. 
Here’s the key: selecting the right approval workflow software will greatly increase your chances of a successful role out.

To do that, however, you need to get back to the basics. Understanding exactly what you’re trying to achieve for your business upfront is the first step toward selecting the right solution. It could be as simple as wanting to cut down on artwork revisions to save the business time and money. Or maybe your business needs a central location to save all digital assets to ensure they are accessible and easy to find at any time. Or perhaps you are looking for a solution that provides your stakeholders with the ability to review and mark up artwork online. 

Once you have clear objectives for why you want to implement a solution, you can then identify what you need the software to do. For this you need a list of requirements. For example, ‘we need a revision tool so that we can dispense with written mark ups which are too confusing’ and/or ‘we need approval software that allows us to compare an earlier artwork version with a current one side by side to make sure we’re not missing any changes’. If you know your outcomes upfront and get your requirements right, you’re well on your way to selecting the right approval software to ensure a smoother roll out.

2. Understand your stakeholdership in its entirety.
Your stakeholders, those who interact with your approval workflow to varying degrees, are the people you need to engage with when selecting approval workflow solution. You’re unlikely to have a successful role out if you don’t take into consideration what your stakeholders need the solution to do from a departmental and external party (such as an ad agency) point of view.

For example, an ad agency or studio team would be focused on compare and revision tools while legal would more be focused on feedback, compliance and approval systems. The more buy in you get from the people who will be using the approval workflow software, the more effort they’ll dedicate to adopting the solution.

3. Make sure you have a champion who is going to get behind the approval software all the way.
Even if it’s for the greater good, change can be uncomfortable for some. But if your business is serious about affecting change in its current operations, then it’s going to need a champion – someone who truly believes that things will be better adopting an approval workflow solution. And while it’s easy to delegate “ownership” to someone who you think should take on the task of championing the cause, stop and ask yourself: who really cares about the outcome of this role out? Who will rally people together and make sure they get on board to support the approval software? It can’t be emphasised enough that a successful role out hinges on someone championing the approval software from the planning phase to implementation and beyond.


If you would like to learn more about approval workflow solutions, I recommend the following reading:

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Topics: Approval Workflow Software