Businesses and their processes continually evolve, and it’s a shame when the tools and applications they’ve invested heavily in can’t evolve along with them. Most workflow software have standard frameworks that managers can tweak here and there to align with their unique needs, but once business processes evolve, as nowadays they quickly do, it becomes harder to add functionalities to these solid architectures.
Where can you find a flexible workflow software that would be perfect for this emerging need? And how can you define it?
Consider the following four definitions:
Flexibility: Manage multiple, evolving business processes with flexible workflow software
The BPM market is expected to exceed $5 billion by 2017. And yet, some traditional process automation systems are still based on rigid frameworks. A software with built-in adaptive and predictive capabilities to self-adjust and automate repetitive processes is a better option, something that can help your managers identify ways to optimize business processes further, not just merely execute commands on auto.
Software that is based on newer technologies, such as graph database, helps address process requirements as adequately as possible. With a flexible and adaptive architecture that allows for a drag-and-drop visual interface, managers who don’t necessarily know how to program can create business process workflows without much difficulty.
Process-oriented: Make the solution more about the process
A successful system is human-centric and process-oriented. Anything that doesn’t allow people to perform their tasks in a natural way is doomed to be bypassed and rejected. People manage processes, and not the other way around.
According to an article from management site Alagse, important questions should be asked to define the processes that need to be considered when designing or choosing a BPM platform for an organization. Critical understanding between process times versus elapsed times should be established. Studying particular business needs, the coordination between various steps in a process, interface issues, and the way people interact or collaborate in a particular sector are things to consider when designing process-oriented software.
By putting an effort to integrate design plans with industry details, implementation of software solutions will be more streamlined rather than done in a chaotic, fragmented approach, which will eventually be more difficult to manage and integrate into existing and evolving processes.
Accurate applicability: Make the solution less highly IT-centric
It may sound ridiculous, but when it comes to developing solutions for a broader market, less input from programmers who focus on the software’s technicalities may be better. When it comes to actually setting up the workflow system, more input from the experts who will be using the product is recommended.
An article by the-chiefexecutive.com, where Rod Favaron – then president and CEO of BPM solutions provider Lombardi Software (which was eventually acquired by IBM) – gives an interview, depicts the CEO’s belief that getting the actual managers or users-to-be more involved with the process development is actually advantageous for the company, as they can provide valuable input with regards to their actual practical application.
To quote Favaron: “Firstly, they are best placed to know why certain processes may be failing, as they use and observe those processes daily. Secondly, it removes some of the bottleneck created when process changes go solely through the IT department.”
Agility: Make updates/modifications more real-time
Again, as Favaron explains: “Production processes change every 12 weeks on average, but can you change SAP applications that frequently? The reality is that processes change all the time; not because companies want them to, but because regulations change, or someone in the company has a better idea, or an organization wants to add new services.”
Process changes really do happen fast, especially in this age of “web time.” If you’re still using a software that imposes limits on how fast you can adapt to these changes, then you’re in for a huge competitive setback.
To eliminate the need for lengthy IT department intervention and costs of reprogramming and redeploying, a software that can allow you to make updates to your business process workflows on the fly and implement them with just the click of a button is a good one to keep in your organizational toolbox.
Finding an out-of-the-box workflow solution that’s easy to set up but can also be flexible enough to rise to the occasion is not as impossible or as expensive as some people think. Like one very satisfied customer of such a software, Mark Calabro, owner of manufacturing company 16kHz, points out: “It kind of evolves while you are working on it,” he said. “You start off with something simple and then you realize how much more technical, how much more elaborate you can make your workflows.”