Workflow management for business operations

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By Peter Hilton

Using Signavio Workflow in the business

While traditional Business Process Management (BPM) software serves the needs of process analysts and software developers, web-based workflow management tools help a different group. This article explains why Effektif is the perfect tool for business operations.

For the purposes of this article, business operations is the department (or departments) in an organisation that directly provide revenue-generating services to customers. Operations departments are often colloquially called ‘the business’, which highlights the difference with supporting ‘overhead’ functions such as the finance and HR departments.

Effektif helps operations departments in three areas in particular:

  1. operational responsiveness
  2. operating cost reduction
  3. quality management.

Although these topics apply to other departments, they start in operations.

Operational responsiveness

Operations managers value operational responsiveness – their ability to respond to changes in the current situation. They typically achieve this through a discipline of continuous improvement, which requires up-to-date information and the ability to regularly make small changes to how they work.

Using Effektif to automate business operations workflows contributes to continuous improvement in two ways. First, the Effektif web application gives operations managers direct visibility of their team’s work on cases and tasks that helps them identify improvement opportunities.

Secondly, and more importantly, business operations staff can make their changes to their automated process models directly in Effektif. When they can manage their own process automation without depending on support from IT, they avoid delays.

Operating cost reduction

Business operations performance depends on revenues and costs. Business process automation can deliver significant value but often at very high costs. Traditional business process management system (BPMS) implementations require external consultants, IT projects that include custom software development and, sometimes, high license fees.

Effektif contributes to cost reduction by offering an approach to business process automation that reduces costs. Using Effektif avoids the need for custom development or implementation consultants, and focuses on providing support for human tasks.

Effektif makes custom systems integration possible, but allows you to delay this until processes with manual tasks have demonstrated the value of further automation. Similarly, you can still apply a traditional BPMS to any processes whose stability and high case volume justify it, but with more certainty.

Quality management

Operations departments often use a structured approach to quality management, perhaps as part of a quality management system or a business process management (BPM) approach. These approaches generally address quality by focusing on consistency, including standard processes.

Effektif with standardised quality processes in several ways. Most obviously, you can use Effektif’s process builder to make the process explicit, which replaces unread process manuals with web-based process guidance, making processes easier to follow. Meanwhile, Effektif’s form builder and email notifications free you from office document form templates and manually emailing documents.

Effektif also has an additional benefit when you use for quality processes: it automatically captures information about who did what and when, so you don’t have to manually maintain an audit log of the work your team does.

Photo: Eduardo García Cruz / CC BY-SA 2.0