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

SMBs Welcome Smart IT Solutions

Posted by Romeo Elias on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 @ 02:23 PM

According to a recent Gartner report the SMB market keeps expanding resulting in new opportunities for innovative IT solutions.  “SMB will spend approximately $920 billion worldwide on IT in 2013. Out of those 920 billion…The SMB market represents 44% of the total IT spend worldwide”, Gartner reports. This comes as no surprise since SMBs have become a big part of our worldwide market. According to statistics there are 6 Million SMBs in the U.S. and a total of 65-70 Million SMBs worldwide.  

SMBs find themselves continuously competing against larger businesses and as a result they need to be innovative on how they handle their IT needs to keep up with larger competitors. As a result, popular IT solutions have emerged that have adapted their technology to develop comprehensive solutions for business analysts and SMB business owners, reducing the need for programming,  years of experience, extensive training as well as long and costly implementations.  

New_BPM_Solutions.jpg

According to Gartner, IT solutions for SMBs should:

  1. Be affordable with outstanding support
  2. Be easy to install, configure and manage
  3. Demonstrate fast ROI (Return on Investment)
  4. Provide flexibility in deployment options
  5. Provide entry level functionality that can be easily scalable
  6. Not require too long to achieve benefits
  7. Be delivered by providers that are “easy to do business with”

Gartner predicts that by 2015, the SMB market is projected to cross the trillion dollar mark in IT spending. While this change takes place the flexibility of IT services on the cloud for SMBs will also become more popular.  

“By 2015, 70% of midmarket businesses with 100-999 employees and 40% of small
businesses with 20-99 employees will acquire paid public cloud services.” This change has already begun. In fact, Gartner estimates that in 2013, the percentage of SMBs moving their system to the cloud will jump by 20% over 2012.  
Additionally, a new need is emerging with the popularity of tablet computing among SMBs: mobile connectivity from any location. Mobile connectivity to business applications will keep growing among SMBs. In fact Gartner projects that by 2015 the growth of tablet computing among SMBs will outpace that of larger enterprises.    

 

 

 



Tags: BPM, Mid Market, Business Process Management, Workflow, BPM Suite, Hosted Workflow, SaaS, Cloud, SMB, Workflow and Business Process Management, Gartner conference, SMB market, SMBs

CIOs to invest heavily in business apps like BPMS in 2013

Posted by Romeo Elias on Tue, Nov 20, 2012 @ 11:20 AM

According to a new survey from Delphix conducted in September 2012 by IDG Research of over 100 enterprise CIOs and top-level IT executives, there will be heavy investing in Enterprise Business Apps in 2013.  

Specifically, more than 50% plan to invest in Business Process Management applications.  More than 60% will be deploying new apps or modernizing old apps.  The primary drivers are to reduce operating costs, improve productivity of the workforce, improve customer service and grow revenue.

Interestingly, the same study showed that 94% of these IT execs find it challenging to deliver new enterprise app projects on time and on budget.

These survey findings are in agreement with our experience with new and existing customers and partners in 2012:  Companies are investing in BPM software to increase productivity rather than hire new workers.  This trend is likely to continue in 2013 and we believe BPM will have another good year.

In addition, we expect to see a continuation of Cloud BPM solutions being adopted by SMB and Mid Market companies, not just enterprises.  The combination of ease of use, low entry costs, and very rapid time to value has been a big hit in 2012 and we expect it to continue next year. 

More companies are beginning to realize that robust BPMS implementations don't require programming or an army of technical workers and can be completed rapidly in days and weeks.

Here are the links to the executive summary and article on the survey.

Tags: BPM, Business Process Management, BPM Suite, SaaS, Enterprise, BPMS, ROI, Workflow and Business Process Management

Interneer 1st Annual Partner Conference: Development Presentation

Posted by Romeo Elias on Tue, Oct 02, 2012 @ 01:29 PM

 

Interneer Development Presentation

David Mines, Chief Architect, and Selim Ozyel, Software Manager, provided an overview on the software architecture and the development process at Interneer. The topics covered included the architecture, technology, configuration challenges, common configuration mistakes, release cycles, and a preview of the new iPad App that is scheduled to be released in 2013.

David began his presentation by summarizing the high level requirements that the Interneer Intellect Platform strives to achieve. Among them are: Allow business analysts to create highly-customized apps without programming, work with completely different industries, handle large amounts of data, support large number of users and have a reliable robust performance.

He compared the development of business apps in Interneer Intellect vs. traditional software development.  In the latter, the developer usually has to create database columns, indexes, stored procedures, views and controllers. However, Interneer Intellect creates these automatically in design/edit mode. As a result, the advantages of Interneer Intellect are many: It accesses data as fast as a custom app, runs in an optimized, native environment, takes up less disk space, design/development is much quicker, and good database practices are automatically enforced.

Selim’s presentation focused on the various technologies used by the platform, Interneer’s data center partner nGenx, the development release process, and a preview of the product road map for 2013. The platform enhancements expected include the release of an iPad Application, Web UI enhancements, architecture security enhancements, and support for Windows 2012 and SQL 2012. 

Click here to download the PowerPoint presentation for this session.

Tags: BPM, Workflow, BPM Suite, Cloud

Interneer 1st Annual Partner Conference: Northgate Markets Presentation

Posted by Romeo Elias on Tue, Oct 02, 2012 @ 01:07 PM

Northgate Case Study

Harrison Lewis, CIO of Northgate Markets, talked about his experiences implementing Interneer Intellect at his organization, the successes, lessons, best practices, and issues encountered.

Northgate Markets was founded in 1980 and is widely known for its 36 retail fresh Mexican grocery stores. Harrison joined the company in October 2011 as CIO where he faced an internal process problem that had been plaguing them for over six years and was not resolved after many prior attempts. 

Northgate’s problem related to the tracking of credit shortages and product return requests to buyers. The manual process provided no visibility into a request’s status, no way to see if the request was approved or denied and they were not able to track whether the credit was issued when approved.  The result was a great amount of time spent in trying to solve an internal conflict between the stores, buyers, merchandisers, and distribution centers.

In his presentation, Harrison explained how the problem could not wait another year. He began looking for a solution that would address all their internal conflicts. Working with Interneer’s professional services, the company deployed a Store Credit Workflow solution powered by the Interneer Intellect platform. The Intellect Platform allowed store personnel to create requests for damaged products, out of date products, over and under shipments and return requests.

During his presentation, Harrison shared how Interneer helped bring transparency into the entire process, launching the process in just a few weeks across 33 stores, enabling everyone to see status of the requests, and gaining business intelligence on various products.

Harrison closed his presentation by talking about future plans with the platform and shared his thoughts on why the project was successful.  Interneer focused on delivering a solution that worked and helped his team through the entire process, from gathering the requirements to implementing and launching the process. 

Click here to download the PowerPoint presentation for this session.

Tags: BPM, Mid Market, Workflow, BPM Suite, Cloud, SMB

Xchange 2012 Partner Conference

Posted by Romeo Elias on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 @ 03:57 PM

Just returned from the UBM Channel annual XChange 2012 conference. We had a chance to present, meet and speak with many solution providers across North America, who focus largely on SMB and Mid Market companies.

I was surprised to learn that the solution providers were not as aware and knowledgeable on Workflow and BPM as the customers they serve, especially the Mid Market focused companies.  However, as they learned what the technology was capable of, it became obvious to them how BPM and workflow management could help their customers and that the need was there. 

Being a cloud BPM solution was also a big hit among the solution providers.  It turns out their SMB and Mid Market customers have been aggressively driving demand for cloud based solutions and it was good to receive that feedback and validation.

Overall a good event and we will be updating our partner program thanks to their feedback and adding many more new partners to our channel.

Tags: BPM, Business Process Management, Workflow, Workflow Process Management, BPM Suite, Hosted Workflow, SaaS, Cloud, BPMS, Workflow and Business Process Management

Gartner BPM Conference 2012

Posted by Romeo Elias on Tue, May 01, 2012 @ 05:11 PM

I just returned from the annual Gartner conference in Baltimore, MD this year. Here are a number of take aways from the event:

  1. The turn out was good.  I noticed the place was buzzing with companies who were interested in BPMS or learning about BPM best practices.  It's a good sign that the economy is healthy.
  2. There seemed to be less vendors this year than usual and that may be due to the fact that more consolidation has occurred in this field at the enterprise solutions level. 
  3. The impression I got was that BPM is now fairly mainstream in the enterprise market, with established IT Services and Content Management companies dominating after their acquisitions.
  4. The message from Gartner was still that BPM was for the enterprise and a major undertaking that requires companies to transform themselves and invest considerable Dollars if they choose to embark in a BPM initiative.

We don't agree with Gartner's position on this.  Our target market and customers in the Mid Market and SMB space have been benefiting from our BPM solution for years at a fraction of the cost and resource investment the traditional enteprise players require. 

I did also observe some interesting facts and trends after speaking to a number of vendors and analysts:

  1. The opportunity for BPM is now moving downstream in the marketplace to Mid Market and SMB companies as the enterprise space has been saturated with the big IT services companies.  Most of the established players however can't move downstreams given their business models and technology stacks.
  2. There have been a number of proven metrics and ROI measures from successful BPMS implementations: On average, companies are seeing double digit ROI, with more than 50% of projects completed within 4 months. In addition, companies are increasing customer retention and gaining competitive advantages through BPMS implementations.
  3. As I suspected, Social BPM is non-existent yet and is in its infancy. There is no real world application or what benefits it can provide in practice.  It is primarily marketing hype at this point, however will likely change in the next couple of years.

Overall it was a good conference and it validated further our target and positioning in the Mid Market.  It will be interesting to see the development of this market in the next few years.  

Tags: BPM, Mid Market, Business Process Management, BPM Suite, Enterprise, BPMS, SMB, Social BPM, ROI, Gartner conference

Filling the HR Gap

Posted by Romeo Elias on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 @ 01:21 PM

HR solutions come in many flavors and with lots of features. Some provide the basics for tracking employee life cycles, hiring, firing, raises, etc. Some focus on finding talents like managing resumes, interviews, advertising and integrating with job sites.  Others include payroll processing and benefits management.  These systems provide a lot of value to HR managers and departments for mid to large companies, enabling them to manage the day to day HR activities as well as track the dynamic database of employees joining or leaving the company.

As companies reach higher process maturity levels and start to document and enforce structured business processes, many of these HR systems begin to struggle.   For example, what if your organization required a process for approving raises that depended on a number of approval steps.  Or what if company policies defined rules that determined the necessary approvals based on employee job title, pay raise amount or role.  Most of these HR systems typically provide some basic approval process if any, and deviating from that process becomes a large software development customization effort, if at all possible.  Thus HR Managers resort to email, paper (manual) or spreadsheet based ways to track these changes and approvals to work around the limitations of the HR System.  This is what I am referring to as the HR gap.

Business Process Management Platforms have emerged as a compelling solution to this problem and to fill the HR gap.  These systems are designed for the rapid modeling of a workflow process through a drag and drop interface, with the ability to route forms and data between people.  In the case we just described, the BPM platform would allow the HR Manager to define the workflow process of approvals, along with the various rules.  Once a request is made (could be for a raise, promotion, transfer etc.) through the system, the manager is notified by email and can then login to view the status of the request, respond, approve or reject the request.  The system provides a real time status view on where a request is, reminders for past due requests, and can even be setup to interface with the company’s HR System once the request is approved.

In addition, the workflow engine maintains an audit trail that tracks the requests, comments, decisions, both in real time and as a historical record.  This enables companies to mitigate the risks involved in making such decisions by demonstrating they followed their processes and policies as defined.  Not only do companies using BPM platforms save time in processing these requests, they reduce costs by eliminating paper forms and unnecessary mistakes.  Employee morale is improved and HR departments are empowered with a process platform they can manage and control, without any programming or technical resources.

If you would like to see a examples of how HR departments are leveraging BPM platforms, click here.

Tags: BPM, Business Process Management, BPM Suite, Hosted Workflow, SaaS, Cloud, HR, HR Gap, Manual process, Employee request, HR Process, Workflow and Business Process Management, Human Resources

Sharepoint and BPM

Posted by Romeo Elias on Fri, Jul 22, 2011 @ 10:39 AM

I'm often asked how is Sharepoint different than a BPM Platform?  If a company already is invested in it, can they use it to automate business processes and workflows?  Here's my view on Sharepoint:

Sharepoint is not a BPMS tool, it’s a content management tool. Fundamentally, it is a content management system (CMS) for organizing information and content in an intranet or extranet.  For example, many companies use it for sharing information internally and or with the public.  Essentially you can use it to create websites, portals, store and search documents. 

After integrating Sharepoint with Visual Studio, Info Path, SQL Server, Workflow Foundation, BizTalk Server and Outlook you can then begin to have a BPMS tool that a developer can begin to work with.  It's very complex, resource intensive, requiring high skill sets and is like a development environment as compared to a BPM Platform or Rapid Development environment.   

As a result, companies that attempt to implement business process management in Sharepoint find themselves spending a lot of time, money and resources to customize it, dependent on expert developers and with a system that is costly to maintain and improve over time.

As a rule of thumb, you are asking for trouble anytime you try to use a system out of its intended purpose.

Tags: BPM, Business Process Management, Workflow, Workflow Process Management, BPM Suite, Sharepoint, Workflow and Business Process Management

Training

Posted by Janet Jin on Mon, Jun 06, 2011 @ 08:30 PM
Are you looking to learn about BPM or freshen up on how to use the platform? Or maybe you want to build your knowledge on macros or how to build more complex workflows?

Training is an important resource to have while using a business process management software platform. Interneer believes in providing the best quality training and support so you can gain hands on experience to start automating your business processes and workflows. Free training webinars covering introductory topics to advanced concepts are available every month in a series of instructor led classes. In each information packed webinar trainings you will learn how to create a new workflow application. Webinar classes can be taken as often as needed with prior registration and are open to all.

All webinar trainings are completely free! We highly encourage anyone interested in learning about BPM technologies and how it can apply to your organization to sign up risk free. Please register at http://training.interneer.com.

Tags: BPM, Business Process Management, Workflow, BPM Suite