A CIO's Secret to Working Smart, Not Hard: Workflow Management
By Therelee Washington, CEO, AgiliShare Solutions Group
One of the best things about system application services is the ability to automate and translate procedures into automated work tasks and processes. Aligning these processes with business procedures is pivotal in operation’s ability to transact daily functions efficiently.
“As workers continue to become more and more device driven, our ability to integrate automation through our workflow systems will play a measurable factor in client engagement”
Workflow management systems allow business users to define different workflows for different types of jobs or processes.
A workflow consists of repeatable patterns of business activities enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information. This is an important element of application design.
When you have a poorly designed, inefficient workflow, it disrupts the user’s ability to effectively do their job. This can happen in two ways: a poor user interface design or a systemic problem that distracts users' attention away from doing their work to fixing the problem at hand.
Making Workflow Appealing
If you simplify the process first and develop an automated approach to support it you’re closer to the workflow solution. Even the most experienced software architects face daunting challenges with the workflow design process. So if you have a solid workflow design that means you have put the necessary business-process analysis, redesign and usability analysis into the equation from the start.
When business operational procedures are more efficient and streamlined in work management and delivery of task and operational support services, everyone wins. And as technology evolves and our society becomes more socially and collaboratively intertwined, we must lean toward automated processes to more efficiently support our goals and initiatives. In this way, organizations seek solutions that deliver constant insight and status into information and operational procedures.
Things that Keeps a CIO Awake
Workflow Management is often, mistakenly, associated with Human Resources and the need to improve those processes. One of the things that keep CIOs awake at night is related to system availability or problems related to system performances.
I believe CIOs could enjoy more undisturbed nights of sleep by implementing platforms that support automated systems and infrastructure-related tasks. The ability to translate error related logs into actionable system tasks would allow the system to execute and perform actions to address some of the repetitive problems.
Technology to Impact Workflow Management
Mobility and Cloud will definitely have a significant impact on the enterprise business environment. Embracing these trends and adapting our efforts to effectively integrate them will enhance our insight, process automation, redundancy and strategies.
As workers continue to become more and more device driven, our ability to integrate automation through our workflow systems will play a measurable factor in client engagement. By using cloud services that plug and play in a way that’s familiar and intuitively figure into everyday life will engage users and further streamline processes.
Our organization uses Office 365 as well as an on premise SharePoint hybrid instance configured as our primary Content Management, Messaging, Communication, Collaborative, Workflow and BI system. We use Azure as our Cloud services host of our legacy CRM application tied together through sophisticated workflows which drive our process automation and client engagement model.
Advise for Future-Proof Strategies
As people move more quickly toward diverse methods of communication, we will see more untraditional communication methods emerge.
Millennials are more likely to think a company should use IM, mobile text messaging, and personal social themed application pages rather than traditional email methods. Microsoft has taken giant steps toward these more unconventional communication methods.
Social communication tools are being brought into business processes to provide more ﬂuid workﬂows and enable data gathering to make better business decisions. Using social networks and user-friendly graphic interfaces helps remove obstacles around disruptive and ineffective workflow procedures.
Lessons Learned and Advice Shared
As CEO of AgiliShare Solutions Group, my biggest responsibility is managing resources, delivering information and defining processes. My efforts must be effective, measurable, scalable and sustainable in support of our efforts to provide the best quality service. As the one who is responsible for driving our vision and operational goals, my thoughts and approaches are practical and simplistic.
While technology presents a multitude of opportunities and advancement, it often falls short of the simplicities and commonalities that individuals bring. I’ve found that throughout the growth of many redesigned and redeveloped applications there is one simple and common goal – Information. The ways in which information is delivered, retrieved, used and repurposed is the ongoing challenge and the impetus that will continue to drive and change technology.