Work-flow Content, Forms & Documents
For companies serving large numbers of customers and employees through huge contact centres and complicated business processes (e.g. utilities & mobile phone companies) the workflow challenge is immense. Intranet portal solutions could provide the answer!
In days gone by, forms were completed by hand, typed up onto paper and mailed internally through the organization for approval by reviewers and stakeholders. Many such documents got lost along the way and both customers and employees paid the price for processing and decision-making delays.
The modern organization automates such processes of review and authorization through online workflows and approvals. The applications are endless; authorising timesheets, signing off documents, agreeing reports and running projects – all these processes can be handled by your intranet portal.
Enterprise Workflow Solutions
Imagine the scene. Your central sales team at head office has updated your company price list and attached terms and conditions of purchase. This is then workflowed to all local sales teams for their review and comment. After this, the revised list and terms are wok-flowed to your legal, compliance and commercial teams for their revisions. Next, the documents make their way to the sales director and CEO for their approval before finally reaching the web team for publication to the intranet and internet sites. All this happens on the portal without any printing and in less than three hours! This process used to take a week before the portal and consume reams of paper and gallons of printer toner!
SharePoint 2016 Integrated Workflow
For simple work-flow applications, we recommend SharePoint 2007 from Microsoft. In the SharePoint portal, workflow is integrated as standard. Process owners can create a workflow on the fly, directly in the portal (without the need for IT department help). The owner defines the process then adds members of staff or groups to it. The system even allows for staff holidays by redirecting processes to available alternative workers.
The work flow is not then set in stone and can be adapted (for organization or process changes) using simple drag & drop interfaces. Requesting completion of a form, which needs to be checked by one member of staff, signed off by another and actioned by a third is simple. The system can even send email reminders to staff involved in the process.
Enterprise Workflow Solutions
For more complex workflows, specialist suppliers such as K2.net, Progress and Ultimus compete with the big e-business suites (IBM, BEA Systems and Oracle) and smaller, open-source vendors like Savvion and Intalio. Where a strong regulatory environment calls for top-end solutions, these vendors come into their own.
Work Flow Solutions – A Summary
Work-flow solutions dramatically improve the efficiency of key business processes and reduce error rates and wastage. For all but the top-end requirements (of a heavily regulated organization), integrated workflow solutions (e.g. SharePoint 2016) should suffice.