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Leveraging Digital Transformation with WMS
By Setrag Khoshafian, Chief Evangelist & VP of BPM Technology, Pegasystems
To start, it’s important to note organizations are experiencing an impending need for digital transformation across their technologies, including platforms, best practices, and methodologies. Organizations need a robust digital transformation platform to keep up with their competition, and workflow management has to be part of the platform to create a more productive and innovative workforce.
With the emergence of technologies like cloud, analytics, social, and mobile, we are moving from pre-determined, structured workflows to more dynamic work processing environments. There’s also an increasing emergence of automation in workflow management, whether it’s robotic process automation, intelligent systems that guide the workers, or even physical robots in the workplace. As a result, there are multiple dimensions of how workflow management can foster innovation and growth. Workflow management has the ability to create rapid change, enabling digital enterprises to efficiently bring new products and services to market levering a digital transformation platform.
When adopting a workflow management system solution (WMS), organizations need the solution to have model-driven capabilities within a greater digital transformation platform. In the past, WMS components such as integration, user interface, and user experience were not model driven, which increases complexity and reduces efficiency. These components and several others such as decisioning rules and analytics need to be model-driven for faster innovation, whether the workflow assignment is in operations, IT, or business to streamline processes, and accelerate and automate work. This will empower workers as they carry out tasks assigned to them so they can quickly and efficiently create the best end product possible. In terms of workflow automation, models that mine through data analytics as well as digitized business policies can assist the workers with their tasks. Transactional data as well as Big Data aggregated from a plethora of channels (such as social via the Internet) can be the sources for predictive modeling. These models are subsequently digitized and automated to guide the worker.
IoT-Mitigate Workflow Management costs
The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to dramatically impact workflow management. To start, we need to think about how IoT is being used across everything from small to very powerful devices, including simple wearables to highly sophisticated machines such as turbo engines. These devices are constantly sensing and recording multitudes of data, such as temperature, location, pressure, and human activity but that’s all they’re doing–emitting the data. Organizations need the ability to aggregate this data and analyze it in real time to correlate events, messages, and happenings that could be relevant to workflow management. End-to-end workflow management orchestrates work across multiple participants, including IoT devices, robots, humans, as well as enterprise applications.
With The Emergence Of Technologies Like Cloud, Analytics, Social, And Mobile, We Are Moving From Pre-Determined, Structured Workflows To More Dynamic Work Processing Environments
It’s critical to actually understand that data and use it to detect or discover patterns and take action accordingly to solve specific objectives in the context of workflow management system. IoT enables these connected devices to become participants in the workflow system: digitized process tasks that can be assigned to these devices together with human knowledge workers coordinating and collaborating on resolve the workflow. With IoT, you get much more value from a workflow management system when you have intelligent decisioning helping guide the work being done, creating more efficient workflows. It should also be noted that automated or semi-automated robots are increasingly becoming an important category of connected devices. Thus in modern day workflow systems, the orchestration of work assignments should support IoT sensors, fully automated devices, intelligence assisted human workers, robotic assisted human workers, as well as cognitive and innovative knowledge workers.
With a workflow management system orchestrating tasks for humans and connected IoT devices, it is easier to coordinate and determine when the business objective is complete. Automating reduces errors, saves time, and avoids waste. This translates into substantive cost savings. With large-scale, complex solutions being driven by IoT events, work is assigned to the optimal person or device. Workflow management becomes extremely important in providing business value to the IoT as connected devices become sources of or participants/workers in various workflow instances achieving specific business objectives.
WMS within the context of a digital transformation platform is a key component in coordinating internet-connected things, as well as utilizing the data from these things to intelligently process work. These workflow solutions are critical in reducing costs and mitigating risks. Furthermore, IoT is launching a new wave of revenue generating solutions. Workflows coordinating linking value streams through automation are becoming essential components of these creative solutions. One-off IoT applications provide some value, as well. Enabling workflow automation through multiple devices, value streams, and human participants, as well as enterprise applications to get the work done, is an entirely new level of revenue and business value generation. Without these solutions, workflow management can get extremely costly. The only cost for a WMS is the underlying platform, but it results in much more efficient and accurate work as well as new revenue generating opportunities. It reduces errors, eliminates the need for manual handoffs, and offers end-to-end integrated orchestration and collaboration between people and devices.
WMS-Balance Task Distribution
As the pressure increases to go to market with new products and solutions while doing more with less, project managers need a streamlined way to manage these projects and their employees. In fact, many organizations are realizing that some aspects of project management can be automated to enable project managers to focus on important tasks. Once repetitive tasks are automated within a WMS, project managers can focus on accelerating the completion of WMS development tasks associated with completing a particular project. A successful WMS is model-driven, making it easier for project managers and their personnel to quickly come up with new solutions. Managing a project through a WMS as a digitized workflow introduces significant advantages, especially for evolving agile methodologies.
One of the biggest frustrations project managers face is dealing with projects across siloed business units, or companies that have been acquired and are running on different systems. A key component for project managers is having a centralized place that incorporates elements from each component of a project. This is why I recommend a WMS incorporated into a larger digital transformation platform that breaks down siloes and compiles data from all aspects of a business to complete a project in the most efficient way possible.
There is also a customer experience element in WMS. Many projects arise as a response to customer requests, and need to be responded to quickly and accurately. To do so, a WMS needs to incorporate data on that particular customer and ensure their problem is solved in the most efficient way possible, across any and all business siloes. Often, the resolution for the customer request spans beyond the call center or customer interaction channels, and might involve several back office workers and applications. A good WMS will link all the elements and resolve the customer’s issue speedily and efficiently by orchestrating the work across the enterprise, including all of the departments, data, or participants who need to collaborate to optimize the customer experience. With the right WMS tool, project managers can ensure the end result of a project results in happier customers.