QMS + WORKFLOW

Posted by Romeo Elias on Sat, Feb 11, 2017 @ 01:43 PM

Workflow Modeling and Automation

A core feature of Business Process Management is Workflow Automation.  This feature enables companies to describe their business process in a block diagram view, definding the flows, the roles, the activities, and business rules.  And once defined, the Business Process Management (BPM) Platform can automate and execute this workflow, notifying users when they are required to complete a task, providing them the information they need in context to complete the work, reminding them if they are late and keeping them up to date on the overall process status.  Managers can oversee the process in real time and be notified of any delays, audit the history and decisions that were made and ensure that everyone is following the company standard.

An Example Document Workflow
Workflow.png

The diagram above represents a document control workflow indicating the path the document followed, colored in green, to completion.

Most of the core processes in Quality Management Systems require workflow.  Document control is an obvious process where there are mutliple people collaborating together on the authoring, reviewing and approving of a document.  Workflow Modeling capability enables you to model your company's document control process, specifying all the roles, steps, rules, approvals, and decisions.  They system will then execute the workflow everytime a new document is created or is selected to be updated.  

One of the key advantages of this capability, as can be seen above, is a realtime view on the status of each document: where is it, who has it, how long has someone been reviewing it, was it approved or rejected, an so on.  A detailed and complete audit trail provides all the historical information necessary to pass any inspection or audit and to meet compliance with all ISO and 21 CFR standards.

In addition, the workflow model is defined by the company to meet their unique process needs. If the process changes, the modeler allows the company to very quickly update the workflow model so that it reflects the new process.  No programming or speciall skill sets are required.  Just an understanding of the company process and simple drag and drop.

Workflow capability is a very powerful feature to have in your QMS system.  Not only will it help you enforce your own unique company process, it also ensures everyone is following the right process, with full auditable history and visibility.

Do you have a Workflow Modeling feature in your QMS? Sign up today for a demo to see the power of Workflow + QMS. 

Tags: Workflow, QMS, Document Control, BPM, BPMS, Quality Management Software, Quality Management System, Workflow Managment, business process, Compliance

electronic signatures

Posted by Romeo Elias on Mon, Dec 12, 2016 @ 11:06 AM

After the advent of electronic record keeping and digitized business processes, the natural evolution for companies was to support electronic signatures.  The technological requirements to support this feature have been around for some time but the laws and regulations had to catch up.  Today, electronic signatures are very common and legally accepted in numerous industries to meet a wide variety of use cases and regulations. There are also many online signature tools like DocuSign and Adobe Sign (formerly EchoSign) that have become standard for applications in real estate, contracts, and insurance transactions.

Given the flexibility in interpretation of the applicable laws and regulations, there are many ways for business software systems to support electronic signatures.  Here are a few of the requirements you should consider when evaluating software options:

1. Association

Is the electronic signature associated with the specific electronic record or document that is being reviewed?  There has to be a technological and auditable way to link the electronic signature to the record.  This can be accomplished by taking a snapshot of the record when digitally signed and associating that snapshot with the signature.  It can also be accomplished by encoding the signature and other parameters to the specific document, i.e., inside the PDF or Word document itself.

2. Authentication

How do you ensure that the user digitally signing is authenticated? This can be accomplished in a number of ways.  Some systems rely on the user simply being logged in as a form of authentication and when digitally signing, the assumption is that it is the same person.  However, more stringent regulations like the FDA’s 21 CFR Part 11 require more verification that the user digitally signing is the same person and this can be accomplished by requiring the user to enter their password again at the point of digital signature to ensure authentication.  Some systems go further and require that the user maintain two separate signatures, one for the logging into the system and another for signing.

3. Auditability

How do you track and maintain a historical record of the electronic signature? Many systems provide a full historical trail of who signed the document or record and when it was signed.  Given the nature of electronic data and that it can be changed, some go further and track the exact information that was signed off on at the time of signature, so there is an exact record of what exactly was reviewed, even if the data changed later on.

Electronic signatures are critical for meeting compliance and for a comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS), among many others. In the not too distant future, electronic signatures will permeate all aspects of our lives.  I am sure the technology will evolve further and leverage other types of authentication and means of signature that we haven’t conceived of yet.

Tags: Paperless, Paperless Office, electronic signature, Document Control, QMS, Quality Management System, Quality Management Software, Workflow, BPM, Audits

Are You still customizing your QMS by modifying source code?

Posted by Romeo Elias on Mon, Dec 05, 2016 @ 11:21 AM

It is surprising how many companies today are solving their need to customize their Quality Management Software by modifying source code.  It is understandable why a company may want to customize a software to meet its unique business and quality processes.  However, software platforms have evolved so much that there shouldn't be a need to change or add code to the vendor platform.  Not only does this require expensive development skills and expertise, it also means that the company can no longer receive vendor upgrades to their platforms as they have branched out with their own custom solutions.

Intellect has built a full Quality Management suite on our award winning Business Process Management (BPM) platform, Intellect Accelerate, to solve this problem and provide many additional benefits.

  1. Below are just 5 of the many benefits of working with Intellect:

      1. 1. BPM Platform with No Coding Required

      2. BPM platforms are designed to enable companies to automate any business process. In addition, they are designed to enable constant changes to those processes. However, the process of automating a business process on a BPM platform does not require programming.  It is a drag and drop environment designed for business analysts and process owners. It enables them to control and make all the changes they want. They don’t have to rely on the vendor.

  2. 2. QMS Suite with Incredible Flexibility

  3. Intellect Accelerate is available with an out of the box QMS solution that includes all the core modules like Nonconformance Management (NCM), Corrective and Preventive Actions (CAPA), Document Control, Change Management, Audit, Training, Supplier Management and Risk Management.  But being built on a BPM platform means every one of these processes can be modified by the company to fit their unique needs and process requirements.  Companies can add, remove or modify data fields, change business rules, change the workflow model, create custom reports and dashboards, modify security settings and on and on.  All this can be performed quickly and through simple drag and drop, without programming or modifying source code.

  4. 3. Automate Much More Than Just QMS

  5. With Intellect Accelerate, you are not limited to just the QMS processes.  The platform enables automation of any business process.  This means you can expand and automate other processes like Customer Complaints and Returns, Project Management, Time Tracking, Expense Reporting, Capital Expenditures, HR onboarding, Employee Lifecycle Management, Inventory, Asset Tracking, Bug Tracking, Issue Management, Incident Reporting, Work Management and many others.

  6. 4. Always Access the Latest Release

  7. Despite all the configuration changes you make to the processes or additional processes you automate, you can always upgrade to the latest release, and get the latest platform tools, enhancements and bug fixes. You are not stuck with an outdated custom solution that can no longer benefit from vendor innovations because you have modified source code.  BPM is designed with the expectation that each company will configure its own unique processes and make changes to them.

  8. 5. Advanced Workflow

  9. BPM includes a core feature which is critical for compliance and audits – workflow management.  With workflow, you can model your process flows, assign roles and requirements, and easily track each process with status indicators, reminders, notification, escalations, reports and full audit trails. In addition, you can easily modify the workflow as your process changes and evolves over time.

  10. The days of customizing source code to modify quality processes to fit a company's needs are numbered.  Sign up today for a demo to see how easy it is to use and modify the quality processes built on Intellect Accelerate.

Tags: QMS, BPM, Workflow, Compliance, Document Control, Paperless, configurable, nonconformance, NCM, CAPA, Corrective Action, Preventive Action, Risk Management, Training, Supplier Management, Change Management, Customer Complaints, Audits, Quality Management Software, Quality Management System

8 Mandatory Elements of a QMS System

Posted by Chris Fisher on Thu, Sep 01, 2016 @ 01:31 PM

 

Managing NonConformance (NCM) is an integral part of an organization’s continual improvement plan. Intellect’s QMS Platform enables organizations to capture, track and maintain accurate, auditable nonconformance records through a centralized database to have transparency for departments, sites, or locations. This allows organizations the ability to exceed audit, nonconformance, and corrective and preventive action requirements of common standards including ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.

Complaints Management software is needed for customer retention, compliance with industry regulations and avoidance of potential product liability lawsuits. Quality, compliance, safety, efficiency, and costs are impacted in addition to poor communication without a proper QMS in place. Intellect QMS includes change management, automation, version control, and workflows to communicate, acknowledge, and then implement any requirements.

Change Management software is imperative for closed-loop quality and requires automation, version control, and workflows. Intellect QMS integrates with any enterprise system, so full transparency is included in the change management process. The submission of change requests and control plan revisions can be included at any point in production.

CAPA (Corrective and Preventive Action) and product registration tracking are standard features to allow implementation of corrective and preventive actions. This will meet compliance with industry regulations including GMP, ISO 9001 and 14001, TSCA, REACH, etc. CAPA process workflows provide a controlled environment and reduce the risk of repeat issues by ensuring that defined CAPA solutions and processes are met.

Document Control/management organizes all documents into a centralized database with approval workflows and audit trails. This eliminates document redundancy, reduces the risk of manufacturing products with out of date SOPs, and creates efficiency in organizing documents.

Supplier Quality Management manages the process of qualifying, selecting, and monitoring suppliers and supply chain partners. Other requirements are supplier qualification workflows and tracking systems for supplier non-conformances and CAPA. Intellect QMS offers the flexibility and configurability to adapt to company specific business processes, requirements and needs. This allows organizations to define, track, manage, and report actions.

Audit Software reduces risk by enforcing consistent and harmonized processes while securely managing all information in a centralized system. In addition, it facilitates compliance with global government regulations and industry standards providing management the data needed to evaluate audit system effectiveness. It also provides auditors authoring tools required in the field.

Employee Training Software creates a single interface to develop and manage training initiatives organizationally. This allows enterprises to maintain a complete inventory of employee education levels, job descriptions and certification records. This will maximize the effectiveness of developing employee skills internally. Intellect QMS keeps employee certifications up-to-date as a full employee life-cycle enterprise management system.

If you’d like to learn more and create a QMS Proof of Concept app with Intellect, click here for a free trial. http://www.intellect.com/free-trial

 

Tags: QMS, Quality Management System, Quality Management Software, Document Control, Audits, BPM, Workflow, Training, Risk Management, CAPA, NCM, nonconformance, Change Management, Customer Complaints

3 Strategies That will Reduce the Fear of Workflow Automation

Posted by Romeo Elias on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 @ 11:43 AM

In my previous post, “Workflow Automation Can Be Scary!”, I outlined how workflow automation can be scary to many employees, as it creates uncertainty, introduces transparency and takes away control.  In this post, I will explain three well established strategies that will help address each of these concerns. 

1. Listening is key to managing the fear of uncertainty

Management has to invest the time to listen to everyone’s concerns.  Often times, the concerned employees just want to be heard, understood and feel like their concerns were taken seriously.  This can also provide key information that will be helpful in the design and implementation of the process.  It may be that adding a certain report or business rule is all it takes to alleviate some of the concerns, and it may also improve the workflow process when automated.  In addition, by listening, management can uncover and address some of the hidden concerns which may be less about the automation itself, and more about the reasons for it, i.e. will they lose their jobs. It is amazing how many problems can be avoided by simply listening.

2. Communicating the benefits is key to addressing the concerns around transparency

Transparency can stir fears in employees that they are distrusted and will be monitored by management after the automation.  It’s very important to address this by highlighting the many major benefits that transparency and visibility  provide to all employees in the process, not just to the organization. Some of these major benefits include: 

Saving time: Rather than employees spending their time chasing people and paper forms or searching through emails to get status information, a well implemented workflow automation project will provide key dashboards and reports that let everyone know the status of each process.

Providing peace of mind: A typical workflow system will send alerts and reminders to each person when their part is due.  This streamlines the workflow and increases peace of mind when running these processes.  The employee is no longer concerned that they may have forgotten to complete a task as the workflow platform keeps them alerted throughout.

Reducing frustration: Often times, the processes that are being automated are causing a lot of frustrations to many people.  Automation will improve their work life quality, and eliminate wasted time and rework due to mistakes.

Increasing productivity:  The goal for automation is to free up employees’ time to focus on higher value work rather than shuffling paper or manual processes that don’t add value.  They are able to be more innovative and produce more with less manual effort.

By communicating often and clearly the benefits of transparency and visibility from workflow automation, fear and distrust can be turned into anticipation and excitement.

3. Turn process owners into change agents to address fears around loss of control

Process owners can provide a lot of critical insight into the culture, uniqueness of the processes and skillset of the employees who will need to change.  Their resistance to change can be reduced greatly by listening to them, valuing their input and experience, and leaning on them early on in the implementation and even in the platform selection process.  They can provide valuable information that can influence the selection of the workflow solution as well as the design and architecture of the implementation.  By involving the process owners in the design process, their fear and uncertainty turns to pride and security, as they become the thought leaders, owners of the new automated process and designers of the system.  They will then turn into champions and change agents in the organization, helping with training and adoption of the system.

In conclusion, cultural resistance is one of the biggest obstacles to a successful workflow automation project.  Organizations who address this obstacle early on and directly with the strategies listed in this article will improve greatly their chances of project success. A well implemented and adopted workflow automation project will quickly become a success story given all the benefits and time savings it provides for everyone.  Within a few weeks of launch, most people will find it hard to imagine, or even remember, that they were running the process any other way.

If you’d like to learn more and create a Proof of Concept app with Intellect, click here for a free trial. http://www.intellect.com/free-trial

Tags: Workflow and Business Process Management, workflow automation, business automation, Workflow, Hosted Workflow, change, Manual process, BPM, BPM Suite, business process, Business Process Management, Workflow Process Management, BPMS, IT change

Top Preferences Clients Look for in Workflow Management PAAS

Posted by Chris Fisher on Thu, Aug 11, 2016 @ 10:26 AM

 

In talking to many customers that are researching a business process management or workflow management solution, I’ve compiled a list in no particular order, of top preferences. I have set price aside as there are vast differences in cost for off-the-shelf solutions and dedicated platforms and SaaS products. Below, I have listed the top 6 requests that most organizations will discuss early on when researching new products.

UI Design. Some people just call this the “skin.” It’s the look and feel of the product and its your first reaction to the quality and user friendliness of a PaaS or a workflow solution. If it looks too old or outdated, it will work for some companies, but for others, it will not even be considered.  Adoption is proven higher with better looking UI’s as they are more enjoyable on a subconscious level to work with. Colors, simple navigation, charts and graphs, reminders, company logos and other choices are all key in decision making.

A Flexible Platform. For most companies, a platform is needed that will be flexible and have many uses. Certainly some organizations will choose a product that has one specific function, but that will only suffice for a year or two until additional inefficiencies are discovered in multiple workflows. A platform that can bridge departments and connect with legacy applications is required for most mid-market and large companies. It also needs to pass the IT depts. scrutiny while being simple enough for business analysts to configure and for end users to use.

Mobile and Cloud Based. Most mid-market and large organizations are moving to cloud based architecture and look for mobile availability. Cloud application users have little to no maintenance and can allow access to anyone that has user rights.  Mobile apps are the standard now and many mid-market companies have CRM’s and external apps that allow easy access to clients. This is very popular in banking and retail businesses. Eventually most businesses will have some cloud-based solutions and mobile availability. 

Ability to Grow with Organization. Because all businesses expect to grow, a platform is needed that can scale at the same rate.  There are many functions, added tasks, departments and staff that will increase the load that is required of a workflow automation platform. The ability to make changes without the use of programmers or coding is a deciding factor for many.  Intellect’s Accelerate Platform with its no-code drag and drop technology is an example of a PaaS that can grow to any size.  

Speed in Delivery. Most businesses need to get up and running quickly. Nobody wants to spend months configuring, building, integrating and implementing. The reality is most of these tasks take time and it can be 3 to 6 months. With no programming and a team of business analysts configuring workflow apps, launching can happen in under 2 months. If the apps are built by Intellect’s Professional Services team, launching can happen sooner.  

Excellent Customer Service. This is a popular request for many companies. Its important that the platform vendor chosen is available and ready to help in all phases of designing, testing, integration and launch. After the product is launched, its also important to have a customer service team that is available to fix any bugs or problems. A PaaS provider that works with you for the complete lifecycle of the application will be a critical part of the success of the product.  If you’d like to learn more and create a Proof of Concept app with Intellect, click here for a free trial. http://www.intellect.com/free-trial

Tags: BPM, Workflow, Compliance, Low code platform, Cloud, Workflow Managment

Workflow Management Solutions: Off-the-Shelf Vs. Custom Development

Posted by Chris Fisher on Tue, Aug 02, 2016 @ 08:29 AM

 

Many business are considering a workflow management system for their internal processes. The paperwork and emails are no longer manageable and with compliance and competitors to deal with, organizations are at a critical mass point in time, having to automate business processes. So the research begins on Google, and the amount of products is overwhelming. There are enterprise solutions, custom built apps, off-the-shelf software, and just about anything in between. But what is best, and what provides the most effective cost savings?

For the Fortune 500, most go with an enterprise solution that is built to spec. For mid-market organizations there are more choices. Many use off-the-shelf solutions for different departments. Some use custom built solutions and others like to configure drag and drop solutions themselves. This is a cost effective choice, as it doesn’t require programming. The key is to find out what the use-case is, determine if will it need to be changed or evolve with the business in the future, and what level of customization is needed for the software to be effective. This is probably the most confusing part of choosing a software provider for workflow management, forms automation, or document management. In considering budget and pricing off-the-shelf is cheaper, but will that translate to cost savings in the future?

Off-the-shelf software is a great choice as an immediate fix that will probably do 75% of what is needed.  But this is merely a Band-Aid in many cases as the 25% that remains will need to be customized for the organization to realize the full potential of the process. Spending a small percentage more on a drag and drop platform that users can configure themselves is a better choice, if there is staff on hand that has the time to build. The benefit here is that the workflow can be configured to the organizations exact specs because the specs are best known by the staff that will configure. And with this intimate knowledge of the internal process, evolution is possible and greater efficiencies are created. There are similarities on every organizational workflow, but as a rule no two are alike.

Probably the quickest solution would be a custom built platform configured by experts in the industry. Intellect’s Accelerate Platform and Professional Services Team can build very complex systems in a short amount of time. The cost is certainly more than an off-the-shelf product, or even and drag and drop solution, but the speed in delivery is often the deciding factor.  Most systems can be built, tested and launched in less than 60 days and changes are made as the organization evolves and grows. With these modern systems, expect them to be mobile ready, cloud based, and user friendly with an immediately recognized time savings. ROI’s are often realized within 6 months to 1 year.

In conclusion, when researching a workflow management system here’s a rule of thumb; off-the-shelf is an affordable quick fix, drag and drop is fully customizable and a bit pricier, and custom built is the best choice for speed, accuracy and delivery. If one considers the full life cycle of a custom built solution, the cost and time savings and efficiencies gained will outweigh any other product.

If you’d like to learn more and create a Proof of Concept app with Intellect, click here for a free trial. http://www.intellect.com/free-trial

Tags: BPM, Workflow Managment, SaaS, Cloud, Workflow Process Management, workflow automation

Automate Any process From start to signature with Intellect and Docusign

Posted by Zaira Hernandez on Fri, Dec 04, 2015 @ 12:00 PM

With the growing digital age, there is now an expectation for organization’s workflow and processes to have digitally integrated interaction across the enterprise. Embedding electronic signatures into your automated processes is usually just a single part of a larger business process and it has become a prominent need to keep all business transactions 100% digital through every step.

PRACTICE.png

 

 Watch Recorded Webinar

Join this live webinar to learn how the integration of Intellect and DocuSign can extend a process beyond a single document to an entire transaction from start to signature.


Key topics include:

• Automating Business Processes and Signatures
• Benefits of the Intellect Connector for DocuSign
• Learn how Host Hotels utilizes Intellect and DocuSign
• Business Impacts

If you’d like to learn more and create a Proof of Concept app with Intellect, click here for a free trial. http://www.intellect.com/free-trial

Tags: BPM

EMPLOYEE SETUP APP:  Learn hOW TO AUTOMATE ONBOARDING BEYOND HR

Posted by Romeo Elias on Wed, Sep 30, 2015 @ 02:23 PM

The Employee Setup application is a modern enterprise app that makes it easy to onboard new employees by automating onboarding beyond HR.  As a compliment to your core HRIS system (ADP, Workday, Oracle, HCM/PeopleSoft, etc.), the app is designed to automate and streamline the process of setting up a new employee upon agreement of employment, with established work item requirements, while reducing the time-to-productivity. The purpose of the application is to automate the manual checklist/tasks managers use when a new hire comes on board, ensuring nothing gets overlooked or delayed, in turn, increasing the level of productivity and employee retention.

The app will provide the ability to clearly align new hires with key business strategies, while standardizing and individualizing new hire elements. The Employee Setup App is ideal for organizations with a high volume of new hires annually, or with high turnover, and enables high efficiency, productivity, and compliance.

The Employee Setup app is a pre-configured; ‘out of the box’ solution built on the Intellect Platform, and offers customization and integration functionalities. The Intellect BPM Platform empowers everyone to innovate by giving people the ability to build and deploy a wide variety of enterprise business apps rapidly, without the need for programming from design to launch. With Intellect’s agile development methodology, users are enabled to easily create web-based enterprise apps with smart forms, integrated enterprise data, automated workflow, advanced reporting capabilities, and the ability to go mobile in just minutes.

 

 

Watch Recorded Webinar 

 

What Attendees will learn:

  • How to automate over 30 manual tasks with the Employee Setup App before your new hires first day of work.
  • How the Employee Setup App will lead to increased employee productivity and lower turnover, saving your company both time and money
  • How to customize the Employee Setup App to directly align and integrate with your HR, HRIS, and hiring processes
  • Integration with DocuSign when there’s a need for eSignatures

Who should attend:

  • HR Executives/VPs/Directors/Managers
  • CIOs and IT Executives
  • Departmental Heads
  • Companies with High Turnover

 

Tags: BPM, Mid Market, Business Process Management, Cloud, HR, HR Gap, mobile applications, Workflow and Business Process Management, mobile apps

An Intern's Experience with Intellect

Posted by Kyle Fratello Hakim on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 @ 10:41 AM

I joined Interneer as a summer Sales Development intern on May 21st. A local college student at USC, I was to be responsible for identifying and creating new qualified sales opportunities for Account Executives, and spent my first few days on the job simply trying to comprehend what exactly the broad Business Process Management (BPM) field encompasses.

After a few hours (quickly days) of reading whitepapers and watching demos of Interneer’s Intellect platform given to potential customers, I finally had a simplistic understanding of BPM. In order to sell Intellect, however, I wanted to be able to direct customers to specific abilities that were unique to Interneer’s offering.

My need for differentiators led to my request for a live test site on June 13th, a Friday, at around 4 PM. The test site would allow me to build apps and automate workflows as if I were an Interneer customer.

By 5:01 PM, about an hour later, the first entry in a job application app I had built was present. While it wasn’t revolutionary, my job application automation program was built in less than an hour, and accepted responses instantly when completed. Hypothetical applicants were automatically assigned random application numbers for reference purposes, and could upload resumes, provide links to LinkedIn profiles, and mention a point of reference within the company.

 create-apps-1.png 

I was surprised at my ease in leveraging some of Intellect’s more impressive capabilities, such as automatically populating the list of options for the applicant’s point of reference with current Interneer employees in the company system. 

Just an hour after receiving login credentials to my live test site, I, a summer sales intern who arrived void of knowledge as to what BPM was, yet alone how to implement it, was already able build a basic app. The only training I had received prior to my endeavor was gathered simply by listening in on past demos, which are publicly available for viewing on Interneer’s website (here), that were given to potential customers.

Interneer markets itself as the BPM for the business analyst, and I could not agree with this more. Who better to have build apps than the people who will use them and understand what they want out of them? Clearly, my case demonstrates the ease of picking up the platform. If a steep learning curve is a source of hesitation for business analysts, I can, and will testify that building, and learning to build, applications using Intellect is intuitive, and dare I say it, fun.
 

Intrigued? Schedule a free demo!

Request a Demo

 

Tags: BPM, Business Process Management, Hosted Workflow, mobile applications, mobile apps, project tracking