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Written By: Bob Napierala on


It has been my experience that companies have many products that have process management and workflow capabilities. Some of them are part of their IT platforms (Microsoft SharePoint, IBM WebSphere etc.), while others are part of Plant Design Management ‘PDM’, Product Lifecycle Management ‘PLM’ and Enterprise Resource Planning ‘ERP’ tools. With such a large number of capabilities, companies often develop multiple solutions to manage these processes – and these solutions are tightly connected to existing products. From a particular standpoint, it lets customers maximum the reuse of product capabilities and organize a dedicated process management and workflow solution integrated with data managed by a particular system (PDM, ERP etc.). But, one of the biggest drawbacks of that kind of situation is that organizations have multiple silos of disconnected solutions, with multiple process/workflow management implementations.

So my question is how many ”workflows” do you need in an organization? More precisely, I’d like to discuss how to organize separated and disconnected workflows and business processes management solutions. The following are priorities needed to organize this solution:

  1. Establish a single process modeling environment
  2. Engage in multiple process deployment
  3. Posses access to process /workflow execution in a built-in user friendly environment

A single process-modeling environment would allow users to organize and maintain a single picture of their organizational processes.  It is key to design a set of goals and brainstorm the urgency for completion of each workflow.  Starting with a detailed plan is essential to overall implementation.

Multiple process deployment can resolve the procedure of integrating processes into many existing systems. This depends on the specific system deployed by the company, and can be done in different ways – but the goal here is to keep the process connected to a specific solution as much as possible (i.e. product data management and/or any vertical solution in the organization). Access to this data is very important since most of process logic, in many cases, depends on this information.

Most of the processes require user involvement for control and data submission (i.e. document approval, ECO management etc.). Immersive access to process/workflow execution and control from the regular user daily environment is critical – because this is what guarantees the user’s acceptance. A process solution will be live only when the company uses it rather than bypass it.  A user-friendly interface is essential to success, or employees will not stay engaged in development.

So, where do you start? 1- Analyze what system can be used to keep overall control of processes in the organization; 2- Choose process modeling tools; 3- Analyze how to connect multiple workflow and process management solutions that already exist in the organization; 4- Give priority to solutions that have immersive integration in the user environment.

Workflow automation and business process management software is key and are designed to help businesses of all sizes expand their capabilities, improve their processes, capture data, shorten cycle time and ultimately reduce risk and increase profitability.

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