Your business processes may not be documented but your business already has and is using them. How well defined are your processes? How well are they executed by your team? Are they followed every time? Are they followed in the correct order without steps being missed? Do you or your managers have the proper insight and visibility into properly managing the business process?
Where are your business processes defined? Are your processes loosely defined in your head and communicated to your team verbally? What happens when a change to the workflow is made? How is the process change communicated to your team? Hopefully not verbally passed along from one employee to the next?
BPM systems and BPM methodologies sound confusing and some business analysts and consultants might have you think it's true. It can be if you let it. But like most things identifying the need and getting started is the difficult part. The first step to improving your processes is to determine your business goals and document them. Preferably online using an easy business process management system where your team has access to review and consult them. Why online? Visibility, definitiveness, versioning and redundancy. Redundancy is one of those things that is never thought of until it’s too late. If your office burns down tomorrow what is your backup plan? Where are you client records? What step were you on for that new client? Are you able to find a temporary office and continue business as usual? Workflow management software solutions like, Flowmingo makes takes away that worry about redundancy. No matter where you’re located you’re able to access your business process and continue right from where you left off.
Process Visibility affords the team an overall sense of where and how they fit into the larger process. Knowing exactly what happens before and after their responsibilities. With a better understanding of the entire process, team members feel empowered to offer suggestions on improving the overall efficiency of your business. Empowered to help each other.
Definitiveness. The location of the most current, up-to-date process is always understood and available to the team when executing the process. Eliminating confusion when, inevitably, processes need to be altered. Creating your processes online provides a central repository for all your workflow processes. Easily defined, altered and executed.
Versioning. Online BPM Software solutions are ideal for saving previous versions of a workflow process allowing you to measure the efficiency of each version.
Types of Processes
Are your processes linear or do they contain multiple branches with different outcomes based on a decision or condition? Flowmingo handles both and with real-time progress updates, users are able to quickly understand the workflow progress.
Linear processes are workflows that flow from one task to the next without deviation. All the tasks in the process must be completed in order to complete the overall workflow process. Easy to understand, simple to follow and measurably useful in optimizing your processes, linear workflows are a great starting point. Many will liken a linear workflow process to a todo list. They are not. Todo lists, while useful in their own right, are unstructured and usually haphazardly completed. Many times, out of order. Linear processes force an execution plan. Your execution plan. The tasks are completed in order every time. Todo lists are great for shopping. Do you want to treat your business like a trip to the supermarket?
Multiple branched processes contain a type of task, we call decision tasks. The decision task alters the flow of the process based on the user’s input, thus branching the process. Branching or forking the process will usually result in a different process ending status. For example, a process may contain a task to validate a rental tenant's credit history on a rental application. Depending on the prospective tenant's credit score the workflow may branch down one of two paths. One branch resulting in proceeding with drawing up the necessary paperwork to onboard the new tenant. The other branch may result in a task to inform the prospective tenant they were not accepted. That is to say, one branch will be completed and the other will not have been. This is a very common workflow scenario and allows your team the ability to easily review, based on workflow outcome, how many applications were taken, how many approved and how many declined.
Creating the rental tenant's rental application as a business process in Flowmingo allows your team to better manage the process while giving them and you, quicker oversight into the status of each applicant in your process. In this case, without opening a file cabinet or sorting through a stack of papers on your desk.
Decision tasks. Our decision tasks are designed to ask the user a simple yes/no question, then based on that response, move on to the correct next task. In the example above, the user would be presented a question "Is the applicants' credit score above 600?" Based on input, the correct branch will be executed. It is yet another, simple but powerful, distinction from a todo list. Decision tasks and the ability to change process execution paths also differentiate workflow management from project management.
Other uses for decision tasks. Decision tasks may also be used to create a process loop. The process loop would continue indefinitely until the decision condition is met before breaking out of the loop. For example. In order to help improve the business operations of the office, a small physician's office may have a process whereby they submit an insurance claim to a healthcare provider. The healthcare provider may be slow with remittances so the physician's office will set up a loop to check the status of the claim every couple of days or weeks reducing the possibility of lost revenue and increasing customer satisfaction for their patients.
Business process automation through scheduled workflows
Processes do not need to be manually initiated. A powerful feature of a software driven workflow is the ability to automate process creation on a scheduled basis. For example, a small manufacturing plant may have defined a workflow to review safety documentation, fire extinguishers and emergency eye flushing stations monthly on a production floor. Flowmingo allows you the flexibility to automate processes daily, weekly, monthly, etc.
Online business process systems work. Often though, they are out of reach of smaller companies due to high implementation costs, requiring the need for outside consultants and infrastructure requirements. We remove those barriers. We provide a simple, intuitive interface and reasonable pricing.