Process editors are entirely different from other process visualization tools as processes visualised in these tools become real, working processes immediately after saving them. Hence, if you use a process editor instead – or besides – a process drawing tool (such as DRAW.IO or Evolus Pencil) you will end up with a real, functioning workflow which you can use. Practically after saving, all tasks will be managed by the workflow, providing you the opportunity to distribute tasks, follow events, manage documents and so on. The visualizations prepared in process editors are the same as the ones created in the process modeling tools – at least by the look. The difference is that you have to attach the appropriate forms, templates, and responsible persons to each step of the process. Also, you have to set a deadline for each step and for the whole process. For example, you can set up a process with a 15 days deadline (from start) and you can set up all steps’ separate deadlines to fit this frame. A great example of process editors is the xFLOWer Process Editor, which looks like the following:
The below picture is a complex HR process from the xFLOWer Process Editor. It is an actual workflow used by an HR management company.
To make things easier, process models can be separated into blocks and embedded into each other:
And what is the purpose of all this? These processes are running in a workflow system and companies are using them!
Workflow systems are software tools which enable process management throughout organizations. The system controls and carries out business processes through which operational tasks are done – each and every day. The system also alerts participants about tasks, deadlines, events or even forgotten documents. Workflow systems also have to be able to manage documents, as documents are crucial for most administrative processes. Reports, preset KPIs and other process and performance relevant data can be mined from the system in the form of complex reports, but by using a BI system for data analysis, these reports can be visualized or combined with even more – and sometimes unstructured – data. Advanced workflows are able to manage company resources or even distribute them in case a process requires so. For example, if a colleague receives the task to drive to a different office for a meeting, the system can automatically assign a car from the car pool to the colleague and for the expected time period. Also, in these cases, other relevant documents and data are attached to the process. The greatest advantage of workflows however is most probably automation. Administrative and other repetitive tasks can be automated, therefore freeing the workforce from boring, repetitive tasks.
In the previous posts we have concluded that all operative tasks, performed in the company are parts of processes. Beyond that we explored the methods to think through and model company processes. But what is the purpose of all this, if nothing more happens? What is the next step? What is the point of modeling processes if we do not implement them? Not much, really. The next step is therefore implementing the already modeled processes – and for that you will need a system that supports your process efforts.
It is not a surprising first reaction when we come to the issue of enterprise software. Workflow systems were indeed scaled for large enterprise usage – and their prices were in line with their scale.
But that is the past.
The progress of technology enables us to use enterprise level functionality for a reasonable – friendly, to say the least – price. Most often, cloud based workflow systems are able to manage SME process needs for the fraction of the cost of a large enterprise system while maintaining most of the functions. Therefore, it is more than advised to implement such a system and start managing your processes in a workflow. It will save you tons of money, rationalize your operations and save your most important asset: time.
However, the most important business aspect of implementing a workflow system is that it earns money to your company. On one hand it saves costs by rationalizing business processes, on the other hand it makes money by maximizing the productivity of the organization through business process management and automation.
With this post we arrived to the end of our workflow and business process management basics series. Yet it is not over – more excitement is yet to come as we will examine cases of workflow usage and how to achieve more ordered operations in your company. We will see real life examples of workflow usage and business process management cases. We believe that the contents of our next post will be useful for many businesses. Join us and learn how to make your company more efficient and better operating!