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Kintone: A "No-Code" Approach for Seamless Workflow Automation
Dave Landa, COO
Modern enterprises are constantly trying to enhance performance and monitor internal operations for smoother workflows, while reducing overall operating costs. However, workflows tend to have complex dependencies, causing organizations to miss vital opportunities for increased profit.
“Many companies and teams are using inefficient tools to manage complex processes, resulting in overloaded spreadsheets, disconnected data and overcrowded inboxes that lead to communication breakdowns and process delays,” observes kintone COO Dave Landa. “These lumbering workloads further lead to inadequate performance metrics and limited visibility, restricting CIOs in implementing productive strategies and identifying underperforming business areas,” he adds.
In such a scenario, there is heightened need for agile, centralized processes that ensure efficient business functioning. Cybozu Inc., Japan’s leading groupware provider and a public company since 2000, launched kintone globally in 2011 to help organizations to do just this.
kintone offers a cloud-based “no-code” platform to transform inefficient processes managed by Excel spreadsheets and emails, static project documents or inventory sheets into live, centralized, automated, and collaborative applications. The company has developed tools to enable clients to not only visualize the process, but actually manage and execute the workflow by letting team members know what actions they need to take when, tracking the project’s progress, enabling in-line collaboration and document storage, and providing full visibility via detailed custom dash-boarding, all in a single application.
“Many organizations have unique and changing operational requirements but may lack the immediate IT resources to upgrade existing or build new custom applications to meet these complicated project management and operational needs,” says Landa.
“Our platform empowers personnel with the best business knowledge but who may not have IT expertise to easily create and quickly deploy custom applications that best suit their team’s needs, while providing access controls and data security features that IT departments require.”
The core value propositions of kintone are pre-built services— such as the automated workflow module, the application templates library (CRM, SCM, asset management, project management, HR management, inventory management, expense reports, etc), the analytics/reporting platform, the notification and collaboration tools, the mobile app containers for instant mobile deployment, and the API modules for quick and easy integration with 3rd party services.
“Applications are built from our template library, our excel spreadsheet conversion tool, or by scratch via a drag-n-drop UI. Clients then easily layer on automated workflow requirements, detailed permission controls, notification triggers, and analytics dashboards, all using simple configuration settings rather than hard coding. This makes it not only agile to build initially but also to iterate on as processes and people change,” illustrates Landa.
Being a key player in business process management, kintone understands and can address clients’ needs. For instance, American Electric—a 60-year-old Hawaii-based electrical contractor— was struggling to manage unprecedented customer demand for residential solar installation services as state regulations changed.
The company approached kintone to create a customized installation management application to manage the process from sales to close, through designs, permits, and approvals to final payment. In addition to greater clarity and reporting, kintone’s native mobile app enabled all team members to view and update records and documents while in the field.
“kintone is saving us considerable money in terms of operational efficiency that results when information is available to the entire team from anywhere,” states Rehan Siddiqui, Director of Engineering, American Electric.
To date, over 4,000 companies have built and deployed nearly 250,000 apps on kintone for over over 130,000 end users.
For the future, “kintone is focusing on enhancing data access controls and workflow automation tools, while providing more seamless integration to Internet of Things data and systems,” concludes Landa.