Managed Workflow Equals Quality

Posted by Romeo Elias on Tue, Jan 02, 2018 @ 12:43 PM

 

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Managing workflow in any business or industry can be like trying to tame an octopus with its many tentacles, especially in today’s tech-centric production lines. However, effective workflow management and planning can do more than lead to efficiency and cost savings. It can also increase the success of data gathering and analysis in across the board quality management systems including CAPA and Document Control.

By keeping the right people in the loop and informed though a transition to digital workflow, your management team can improve information sharing and communication. Effective workflow management stems from a variety of practices and technological inclusions that replace older practices not designed to keep up with today’s rapidly changing business environments.

Get Back On Track Quickly

No business functions without quality and improvement. Systems like CAPA and Document Control benefit from improved workflow because information is disseminated, returned, and processed more quickly and accurately. When CAPA practices detect a regulatory anomaly on a pharmaceutical or medical device production line, efficient workflow enables a rapid correction to ensure a near instantaneous return to compliance.

Efficient workflow management reduces communication discrepancies and lags that may lead to production disruptions. When companies increase the reliability of delivered information and corrective planning and action, they reduce down time and the traditional non-digital evaluation period between a business process interruption and return to service.

Communicate Effectively with Team Members

One obstacle facing production businesses, especially those operating in remote and multiple sites, is ensuring that all team members have the latest and most accurate information regarding a company goal, directive, case management, or other time-sensitive communication. Information delivery provides feedback that leads to productivity, solutions, and drives quality control and customer satisfaction. A lack of shared information results in policy and procedural breakdowns that impair quality output and other business processes.

With employees working off-site, separate from management and quality control teams, the simultaneous delivery of information and management decisions ensures that your entire team functions as a unit. Some examples of synchronized information delivery accomplished through increased workflow management include:

  • Regulatory issues and updates
  • Workload assignments
  • Customer feedback
  • Task notices and deadlines adjustments

When every member of your team receives the same information, it eliminates the occasional system-wide hiccups that interrupt quality management, production, and output. Synchronized digital delivery eliminates the redundancy of paper copies and the need to file documents at a number of locations and offices when a single cloud-based alternative serves multiple recipients.

Keep Teams on the Same Digital Page

When a business relies on compliance and regulatory issues — such as FDA directives codified at the ubiquitous 21 CFR — every member of the quality control team needs the same up-to-date information at their fingertips. Communication among management personnel relies on integrated and autonomous workflow that includes delivery to key personnel who are aware of assigned tasks and problem solving procedures.

Effective business process management demands on-the-fly delivery, communication, and tasking. When a quality issue arises, you cannot afford to have team members thumbing through outdated manuals and regulations or not knowing their position in the QMS flow.

For businesses focused on strict regulatory compliance to critical standards, workflow management assures heightened responsiveness and effective quality performance. Eliminate lag times, outdated documents, and interactive missteps with an out-of-the-box QMS solution that incorporates workflow in both CAPA and Document Control modules. Should you wish to develop your workflow by customizing these modules or creating new ones, this is an ideal solution for your business.

Tags: Workflow, QMS, Hosted Workflow, quality, Quality Management System, Quality Management Software, Workflow Managment, Workflow and Business Process Management, Workflow Process Management, workflow automation, CAPA, Regulations, regulatory, Compliance, Customer Complaints, FDA, Document Control

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

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.

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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

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.  

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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

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

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

Social BPM Part 2

Posted by Janet Jin on Tue, Jul 05, 2011 @ 08:30 PM

On behalf of Yegin Genc:

In an earlier post, we discussed how social networks and BPM had some fundamental differences in how they treat collaboration among people.  We argued that social networks enable people to interact and produce information and work within a free form, with unstructured or ad hoc activities, while BPM enforces structured workflow to improve the collaboration between people on a given business process.  Given these differences, it was hard to imagine how the two can come together under the concept of Social BPM.

One possible way for the two technologies to converge is to use social networks as a way to evaluate the structure BPM provides and to use the data for optimizing and improving the structured processes.   For example, let’s assume BPM enforced a specific structured workflow around submitting, routing and approving expense reports.  We can use social networks to see how people are actually responding to the structure: Are there deviations or exceptions? Are people complaining about the process? Are they working around the structure?  With this information, the workflow can then be optimized based on the feedback.  This assumes however that the BPM system can be optimized and improved in fairly rapid cycles as social networks operate in real time. 

Combining BPM and social networks in this fashion, Social BPM can provide a closed feedback loop to enable organizations to effectively improve and optimize their business processes.

 

 

Tags: Workflow Process Management, Hosted Workflow, Workflow and Business Process Management