How an Effective Workflow Helps You Improve Your Business

Posted by Romeo Elias on Thu, Sep 06, 2018 @ 09:18 AM

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Among the factors that affect how quickly a business will grow; one of the most important ones is undoubtedly efficiency. For example, there is a clear difference between companies that use paper-based processes and those that are entirely digital. To improve business, you need to have a streamlined process that ensures quality, and that is also easy to use at the same time.

One solution for improving your business process management is undoubtedly using workflows. An effective workflow helps you grow your business by providing the framework through which all tasks are done. Let’s have a look at what right workflow solutions can do for a company and how they are used in quality management systems.

What Is a Workflow?

Simply put, a workflow is the way employees get work done. It’s usually presented as a diagram or checklist containing a series of tasks that need to be completed sequentially. A workflow can be as complicated or as simple as you make it, but its purpose is to make work easier. Once all the tasks are laid out in a visually engaging manner, employees can go through them and check them off one by one.

It also allows managers to oversee the work process in real time. Workflows make it possible for managers to be notified of any delays as well, and with them, it’s easier to ensure every employee is following the company standards of work.

The Impact of Workflow Automation

Businesses that implement workflow automation gain the clear insight into the work process itself. That can have an instant and noticeable impact on the organization’s efficiency. The best part is that once automation is set up and all the roles, approvals, decisions and steps are defined, there’s no need to spend time setting up new workflows each time. In case of the process change, you can update the workflow to reflect the changes with a few clicks.

Business Improvements Brought on by Workflows

The benefits of gaining better insight into your organization’s business process management and making it streamlined are numerous. Employees will work faster as it will be easier to manage the inevitable delays and roadblocks. It’s going to make the collaboration of multiple people on a project much less stressful. All of this directly influences the overall performance of an organization. It also improves your quality management process, as some QMS solutions have automated workflow features.

Benefits of a QMS Solution with Workflow Automation

A QMS solution is a powerful tool since it can ensure business optimization through quality improvements and saving costs. However, an out of the box QMS solution that also incorporates workflow automation in modules such as Doc Control and CAPA can make all the difference when it comes to improving your business’ efficiency. With Intellect’s QMS solution, you don’t have to develop your workflow, although it’s an option — you can use existing ones or customize them.

Visit our website for more information about Intellect’s QMS solutions and how they help you streamline your business management process to improve your business.

Tags: workflow automation, Hosted workflow Solution, Workflow and Business Process Management, Workflow, Workflow Managment, Workflow Process Management

4 Steps to Achieve Workflow Compliance

Posted by Romeo Elias on Thu, Apr 19, 2018 @ 11:29 AM

 

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All companies, regardless of industry, are responsible for ensuring that their policies and processes are designed to comply with applicable laws and regulations. Because of the complexities of regulations and requirements, many companies struggle to secure compliance.

Companies who compliment their efforts with technology have found that staying compliant has become far less challenging. In the past, businesses had no choice but to rely on Excel sheets and Word docs to keep track of all their people and processes. It meant exchanging numerous emails and risking communications getting lost. Innovative software means the end to duplicate reporting and copying data repeatedly.

These centralized technology tools meant having confidence in your compliance and meeting regulatory requirements. Compliance workflow automation gives you the ability to audit multiple tasks into one process and schedule these processes to run on a regular basis automatically.

While the technology has been revolutionary, it still doesn’t relieve compliance teams of monitoring people, processes, and anyone else who must meet compliance obligations.

One of the crucial steps to ensuring compliance is streamlining workflows to ensure that only employees who should have access to specific data have relevant access. The purpose of a workflow is to divide processes into smaller steps which are passed to different people with the company.

Because of the multiple exchange of hands in documents, there could be numerous submissions for review and need for amendments. All the necessary steps should be taken into account and control processes must be enforced, and verification of information should be ensured.

Here are some tips track and monitor workflows to ensure that they achieve compliance, and nothing is overlooked or goes missing:

1. Identify Legal Obligations

What are all the compliance obligations and how do they impact your business? Once you have identified what these are, interpret them into specific compliance requirement statements.

Each of these requirements should be organized according to underlying regulations and codes along with common requirements such as policy development and monitoring requirements.

2. List All Parties Subject to Audits

List everyone who will be held responsible for meeting compliance obligations; this includes people, vendors, 3rd parties, sites, and processes. Because this will likely be a comprehensive list, be sure to organize them in department folders.

3. Evaluate Level of Risk

It’s impossible to monitor every aspect of your business at all times; instead of attempting to do so, focus your attention on where risk is highest. Identify who you would consider as compliance risks to your business based on criteria that evaluate the levels of risk.

4. Determine of Level of Attention

Set up your system to conduct audits regularly. Audit frequency should be established based on the level of risk. For obvious reasons, high-risk people, processes, and parties should be audited more frequently than those that are considered as low-level risks.

While the right software can help you achieve workflow compliance, the reality is that your employees are the risk that you will have the least control over. To become fully compliant, it’s important to not only streamline your processes and systems but also regularly review your people.

 

 

Tags: digital transformation, quality data, Compliance, Workflow, Workflow Managment, Workflow and Business Process Management, workflow automation, legal, Audits, Risk Management, risks

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

Build Your Own Apps (BYOA)

Posted by Chris Fisher on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 @ 11:29 AM

The time has finally come where developers are not needed to allow businesses to create apps to streamline their paper-based processes. Business apps can be easily configured by just about anyone with the evolution of SaaS called PaaS. “Platform as a Service” is defined as “a category of cloud computing services that provides a platform allowing customers to develop, run, and manage applications without the complexity of building and maintaining the infrastructure typically associated with developing and launching an app.” Who builds these apps you may ask? Business Analysts, IT Departments, HR Managers, or any department head that needs transparency and efficiency added to their business or unit. These early adopters are being called “Citizen Developers,” and they are the future of business.

Automating different processes has very positive effects on the way business is run. The Citizen Developer is best suited to build an app for their own department simply because they know more about the problems and improvements needed. With simple drag and drop technology that’s available with the Intellect Accelerate Platform, anyone with a PC and an internet connection can build forms, workflows, manage documents, and have a centralized location where all business processes take place for collaboration. The once helpless manager who searched for a lost form or who continually asked staff where they were with a particular task is now obsolete and replaced with a PaaS that can monitor every interaction needed in a workflow.

PaaS systems integrate with legacy systems as they are web-based, and open APIs allow for easy integration. When multiple systems can speak to each other and workflows can be connected seamlessly, several things occur:

  • Business processes happen in real-time vs. days or weeks
  • Employees actions, notes, approvals, etc. are tracked and transparent
  • Paper-based processes are eliminated
  • Mobile phones become a tool to conduct all business processes
  • Time savings are realized as ROI
  • Inefficiencies are spotted and improved upon
  • Additional processes are added improving efficiency further

Build Your Own App is a new industry term that defines the user who doesn’t have the budget or time to work with a programming team and who wants to build apps with their own parameters. Any updates, changes and improvements can be made at any time which greatly reduces the budget and ROI. Once a Citizen Developer is trained on the PaaS, they can easily build and launch apps to continually improve the way their business or department functions. Less time is spent shuffling paper or sending emails back and forth and more time is spent in collaboration with team members completing tasks. As more businesses implement the BYOA philosophy, speed will be commonplace for internal and customer transactions. Those are good things for any manager or CEO.  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

10 Questions to ask when choosing a platform to build business apps

Posted by Chris Fisher on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Businesses today have to have apps. For everything. Mobile apps, business apps for workflow and documents, contract management, HR, expense management or just business processes in general. Sure, everybody is used to paper-based processes, but at one point, you had to go from snail-mail to email. And from a landline to a mobile phone. And from a mobile phone to a smart phone. And… well you get the idea. You gotta keep abreast of technology.

Most mid-market businesses are using multiple software solutions to remedy and streamline many processes. But, where many businesses get tripped up is with workflow management. There’s nobody at your company that is really designated with getting off paper, or making workflow more efficient. So, many just hold off and wait. Much like waiting to buy that smart phone, kinda hoping this whole tech. trend will go away. Fear not, technology and its minions will continue on without you! Here’s some questions to ask your business and a company/platform to manage your processes, documents, and workflows:

Ask yourself or colleagues:

  • What is our timeframe to launch?
  • What systems do we need to integrate with?
  • Do we have a plan for internal adoption?
  • For what departments will we use this for?
  • How many users will need a license?

Ask the product vendor:

  • Can I build/configure/make changes myself?
  • Can your product deploy to mobile?
  • Who trains me to use your product?
  • Do I need programmers for your product?
  • How many users/customers do you have?

With these 10 simple questions to ask your business and your potential partner, you can get a good idea what it is you need exactly, and what is possible. Just like your smart phone has many apps you find useful, you’ll find the same availability with workflow management software. There’s a business app for just about any process in under your roof that can be built by your staff, or farmed out to be built by experts like the Professional Services team at Intellect. The better idea you have for what you want, the quicker the process will be. Most companies that decide on a workflow management platform to build business apps will take 3 months on average to select the proper vendor. So, take your time to insure that you get the best product for your needs. In the end, it’s like replacing that old flip phone you had in the 90’s. Things keep getting better in the technology world, and business apps have revolutionized the way that business is being done. 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

Configurathon for building business apps with no programming

Posted by Romeo Elias on Fri, Jun 03, 2016 @ 05:00 PM

Everyone seems to be talking about hackathon competitions these days and the programmers who huddle together in teams to code apps in a short amount of time (usually a few days) and present them to judges.  The concept is really cool and fosters innovation and an outlet for programmers with ideas to demonstrate their creativity and programming skills. 

We loved this concept and wanted to provide a similar outlet for the rest of us with ideas, but who are not programmers and don’t have as much time.  So we started a similar competition last year during our annual customer conference:  The Configurathon™.  The concept is very similar to a hackathon except for 3 main differences:

  • It is open to anyone, not just programmers, as there is no programming involved.
  • The apps are built on Intellect through drag and drop configuration (hence the name).
  • The total competition time is 2 hours, with the first half hour used for setup and going over the rules. 

The results are amazing!  Last year’s winner was a CRM mobile app that blew the judges away with its ease of use and richness of features, not to mention that it was built from scratch in just 1.5 hours.   This year’s winner built an event agenda management mobile app.  This one was especially astonishing given the competitor had just taken the basic training course in the conference and joined the competition on the third day. She had no prior experience in building apps in any platform, let alone Intellect.

We’re really excited about the Configurathon™ and look forward to future events and what the competitors will come up with next. 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, Low code platform, Platform as a Service (PaaS)

Why It's Crucial that Your Business Go Paperless

Posted by Chris Fisher on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 @ 02:30 PM

Over the past few years, businesses around the world, regardless of scope and industry, have made the move to paperless, which includes documents such as contracts and invoices as well as automated business processes required for digital transactions, approvals, and eSignatures. While no business may be 100% paperless, there are many advantages to making the transition. Of course, if your business has been using and relying on hard copies of documents for several years, a change in practice will take time. To convince you of its importance, here is a look at why it is crucial that your business go paperless:

  • Focus on the Essential Tasks: Did you know that a room full of documents, complete with images, in high-resolution color, could be stored on one hard drive? For a business, this means going paperless can result in savings on storage costs as well as reduced hassle for dealing with mountains upon mountains of documents. In addition, it is frustrating to look for a single document and have to sift through dozens of files. If you move to a digital database, this will hardly take a couple of seconds. To put this simply, you can focus on the essential tasks and do away with the menial stuff by going paperless.
  • Keep Your Documents Secure: Creating a backup for documents stored digitally is convenient and hassle-free. In addition, the documents you stored online are synced on the cloud. In case of a disaster, natural or otherwise, you will still be able to access your documents, as and when required. This ensures greater security for your documents.
  • Boost Your Business’ Velocity: In today’s fast-paced business environment, you have to keep pace with the competition to not just survive, but also thrive. Going paperless and automating business processes is an effective way to boost your business’ velocity. You can speed up internal processes, improve your compliance for any audit or regulation, and streamline your dealings with your clients. Servicing clients quicker will result in more sales and repeat business.

In addition to these benefits, which affect the bottom-line, a move away from paper will benefit your business’ reputation as well. Existing and potential customers will view your business as responsible, as reducing dependence on paper means fewer trees have to be cut down, hence benefiting the environment.

So, as you can see, going paperless is the way to go, if you want to take your business to the next level. 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: Paperless Office, Business Automaton, Workflow and Business Process Management

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

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