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

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

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: Cloud Computing Presentation

Posted by Romeo Elias on Tue, Oct 02, 2012 @ 08:00 PM

Cloud Computing - The Beginning of the Demand Supply IT Era

Sina Moatamed, Principal Consultant for Unified Clouds, talked about Cloud Computing creating significant changes in organizational behavior. According to Sina, business units, not IT, are increasingly in charge of the narrative of how Enterprises will innovate and IT must adjust accordingly. His talk was a review on how to manage that change.

Mr. Moatamed discussed the changes Cloud Computing has created after being introduced into a Traditional IT environment. The change almost immediately created a decentralized IT organization for those engagements.  IT Departments need to offer additional value for business units when they deliver cloud solutions in order for them to return to being a trusted and preferred partner to engage in cloud solutions.

Sina further explained how financial operations for IT will have to migrate to a different cost model to make the value match with the service a public cloud requires or keep the service internal.  Most importantly they will have to provide business units a common financial model for all services that would attract them to the new change.

Mr. Moatamed concluded his presentation by mentioning where these changes are taking the IT industry:  Planning will be replaced by Brokering Cloud services, build will be replaced by Integration of Cloud services into the company’s business system portfolio and run will be replaced by Orchestration of services to manage continuity of delivery.

Click here to download the PowerPoint presentation for this session

Read the article by Mr. Moatamed on this topic:

http://scn.sap.com/community/cloud/blog/2012/09/30/the-great-transformation--the-era-of-demand-supply-it-begins

 

Tags: BPM, SaaS, Cloud, BPMS

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