Routine and Workflows: Crying for Automation [Commentary]

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Routine and Workflows: Crying for Automation [Commentary]

May 10, 2016

CIOReview has recently featured an insight by Dr. Antonis Papatsaras, CTO, SpringCM, “Streamline or Die: Implementing Workflow Management Systems”.  Here at Actionspace, we could not but take to heart this theme as it so closely resonates with Actionspace views, beliefs and mission, and asked our CEO and Product Owner Valentin Smirnov to share his opinion on how processes define business practice these days.

Flip Side of Growth

Can you imagine a CEO be any happier than when his business is growing at an accelerating speed? Meanwhile, the flip side of growth might bring missing visibility and control. “In today’s fast-moving economy, as companies split, merge, change and develop, it’s increasingly necessary to have a tool that can track, manage and coordinate tasks across an entire organization; provide visibility into the business; and foster collaboration and innovation,” says Dr. Antonis Papatsaras in his article.

We completely agree that speedy and transparent organization of teamwork and daily procedures is essential today, to say the least. Simply using email to structure business operations is Stone Age - it leaves you blind in terms of projects' state and progress tracking.

But the very core of an organization is processes and procedures. Managers are constantly concerned to streamline processes in order to reapply them more effectively on a daily basis. According to the internal SpringCM’s study mentioned in the article, “by adopting a form of workflow automation, customers can see productivity and process gains of up to 40 percent”. Processes are unique and authentic for each business function. However, standard or repeated tasks might abide by similar rules, involve the same set of employees and documents, follow the same time schedule. Such kind of tasks can be seen often in accounting, bookkeeping, finance, or legal services firms. And there is a lot of room for efficiency improvement.

“When too many tasks and projects are going on simultaneously and processes are becoming more complex, managers and team leaders start losing grip of daily operations. This is the time to consider switching to a specialized software to save both time and energy”, says Valentin Smirnov.  

Flexibility Makes Perfect

Dr. Papatsaras recommends to consider the following key aspects when choosing workflow management solution:

  • “A workflow management system needs to accommodate a variety of organizational structures through role-based accessibility”

  • “Visibility is critical to ensuring each task is progressing correctly and on time”

  • “A system that is not flexible does not account for inevitable fluctuations of every company’s staff and processes”

  • “The ability to automate some processes is another important quality”

  • “The system should be able to adapt to and integrate with new workflow process technologies” and

  • “...must be highly agile”.

Valentin Smirnov offers a closer look: “The challenge in managing daily teamwork is to create a human-friendly crystal-clear system that would engage every person and allow them to perform familiar tasks without leaving the digital framework. Now, this is critical, the framework needs to be seamless and flawless – an efficient recurring process (like a template), friendly to its users”.

With business constantly developing, processes cannot sustain without updates. Projects and tasks need to be renewed every now and then, by their performers ideally. It must be simple as ever: we revise results, polish, save and rewind processes.

The workflow management system needs to be easily adaptable and intuitively understandable to any knowledge worker. Adjustments and adding to the corporate knowledge base must take seconds.

“A workflow management system needs be flexible enough that

changes can be made on the fly”.

Thus, not only management reaches a new level of automation, but business evolves step-by-step through advancements at a molecular level. Ultimately, what we get is consistent reduction of response-to-changes time.

Advice and Lessons Learned

Dr. Papatsaras recommends using multifunctional cloud-based solutions while keeping a close eye on organization’s security.

When reading his advice, we could not but think about the principles Actionspace was built on. Valentin Smirnov suggests the following characteristics as key:

  • Quick and transparent automation of simple processes

  • Comfortable communication on tasks

  • Instant adjustment of existing templates

  • Mobile access across all devices

  • Workflow data analysis and report generation

And all of them wrapped in a plug-and-play easy-to-use solution will foster quick response to external changes. Dr. Papatsaras seems to agree with us here: “By providing the means and mechanisms for a team to reduce inefficiencies, create visibility into task delegation and completion, and automate less critical processes, the team does not need to focus as much on day-to-day workflow management. This puts the company in a better position to zero in on the higher goals of creating good products or services faster and providing more relevant features to the customer base”.

We want businessmen to get rid of routine fatigue and bring daily management to a whole new level. Actionspace is designed to organize and streamline recurring and time-consuming corporate processes, unlike numerous business solutions, which focus solely on project and task management or personal productivity. Actionspace steps in to allow each person on the team to perform their functions in a single framework, integrated into the familiar corporate infrastructure, without overlooking tasks and missing crucial information. At the end of the day, business is sure to benefit from increased visibility and possibility to track projects’ progress live and effortlessly. Corporate productivity is our top priority and inspiration for the future.

 

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