Domino Workflow - effective key business processes management

„An organisation is as much effective
as effective its business processes are”
G. Rummler, A. Brache

Katarzyna Olszewska

The constantly evoking business environment, enforces the Polish business companies to continuously review the management processes they apply. Globalisation processes, rapid development of technologies, and aware and well-informed customers - these are merely three most important factors behind the great turbulence of the surrounding conditions.

In environment of quick and unexpected yet significant change, the key to achieve and keep the advantage over competition is the ability to identify, understand, and model the crucial processes of the business. Why is it so important? - The answer leads to issues in the management area called 'white stains'. 'White stains' are areas or points in the organisation structure which connect different functional units and which often are responsible for passing the subject work from one unit to another. How effective these areas are managed, greatly impacts the performance results of the organisation since hold both opportunities and hindrances of potential improvements in effectiveness. However, as implied by the practise, these areas and points are rarely even identified, which leads to low performance achievements. This is where the meaning of processes must be notified. Processes - designed courses of actions aiming to deliver definite product or service - must also flow through these 'white stain' areas in order to bring added value. This why each element of the process and the linking points between them should be clearly identified.

How does it relate to information technologies? And specifically, how does it relate to Domino Workflow?

While functioning in organisation where processes have been properly identified, one must also consider another very important question - and that is effective management of the identified processes. The information technology for sure is the means to enable change, improve management processes, and if applied properly, significantly increases the added value. However, this is not to say it is the panacea, able to solve all the management issues and problems. Neither will it be the magic rod which use can miraculously change the world around.

Domino Workflow is a tool that enables effective management of key business processes. For those who face inevitable re-organisation of business-as-usual and process designing it will bring enormous support in overcoming the difficulties of the challenge and establishing reliable foundations. On the other hand, for those already acquainted with process management Domino Workflow will help verify and improve the processes, if needed.
The basic idea of Domino Workflow technology is the objective to connect the right people with the right information, thus saving the time, improving the quality, increasing effectiveness, providing ultimate satisfaction to customers of the business.

What are the specific, definite benefits?
Workflow - a software tool for organising and controling tasks, resources, and roles required to complete the business process. It supplies sets of data and/or documents for each element of a task and automatically sends them to user, per the pre-designed operating rules.

They are numerous, diverse, and their significance depends on the type of business process subject to automation. They can be divided in two categories: relating to added value, and IT benefits. The latter strictly correspond with the nature of software delivered application.

The first above mentioned category includes:
    • significant reduction of time to execute process – you save time that normally would be spent for physical movement across the company in order to complete, modify documentation and deliver it to right people, you also save time of identifying the critical points of the process (e.g. workflow can cut the loan application processing from two weeks to one or two days),
    • increased efficiency through better work management - first, the users can better manage their business-as-usual, automation allows them to store and prioritise parts of tasks which they can receive in mailbox; the most important and time-sensitive actions can be done with priority, the inefficiency of typical office activities is eliminated; second, by assigning definite roles to individuals new tasks can be evenly spread and optimised increasing the effectiveness the whole work-group,
    • improved customer services - reduced service delivery time, improved control processes are even more significant when a task is initiate the customer themselves; the shorter the time a services or product is delivered (account opening, loan sanctioning, etc.); the supplied customer service programs (agents) allow viewing the status of unresolved customer service issues which can help address open issues which the customer is most unhappy about,
    • improved process control - if the business rules exist only in the minds of staff there is always doubt on the proper level of quality and organisation's efficiency. By formalising the rules (defining the rules in computers, e.g specifying which tasks require special authorisation track or what additional documentation should follow), the rules and principles are applied automatically in entire organisation,
    • effective cooperation and knowledge sharing - similarly to implementing the rules to computers leading to improved control processes, so can the best industry practices be implemented in relation to business processes; the workflow solution help popularise and apply the business processes across the entire organisation.

The second group of benefits gained by using Domino Workflow technology are strictly benefits, they include:
    • close integration with infrastructure and environment of Domino/Notes - Domino Workflow was built using services already included in Domino, utilising all its advantages such as security, message routing, replications, other services relating to group working,
    • integration with Domino.Doc - Domino.doc and Domino Workflow are closely inter-connected, one can join the functionality of Domino.Doc for managing document life cycle with abilities of Domino Workflow for designing and managing workflow cycle, and defining the cycle track the documents are to follow in business-as-usual of the company,
    • intuitive interface - allows swift modifications of processes by providing visual representation of each of the process steps, modified by indicating and clicking,
    • workflow process uniformity - the great advantage is given by the fact that all workflow applications are designed and developed in the same way, this enables the modifications of existing processes to define and introduce new ones,
    • information database - collection of information concerning business processes in a uniform way, analysis of this data by application, organisation, processes, locations,
    • lower costs of proprietary rights - highly developed working environment allows for designing workflow solutions without necessary additional costs of programming expertise; saves time normally spent on storing and re-use of workflow components.

References:
Domino Workflow: Automating Real – World Business Processes, Domino Workflow White Paper.
  1. M. Hammer, J. Champy, Reengineering w przedsiębiorstwie, Neumann Management Institute, Warszawa 1996.
  2. B. Olszewska, Współczesne uwarunkowania zarządzania strategicznego przedsiębiorstwem, Wyd. Akademii Ekonomicznej we Wrocławiu, Wrocław 2000.
  3. G.A. Rummler, A.P. Brache, Podnoszenie efektywności organizacji, PWE, Warszawa 2000.


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