Workflow Automation Fails

Posted by | July 28, 2016 | Uncategorized | No Comments

As they say, “Every rose has its thorn.” Workflow automation is intended to create efficiencies and increase consistency, but that isn’t always necessarily the case. Custom workflow software needs to be created thoughtfully, with a team of professionals who have seen it all and done it all. As leaders in custom software development in Omaha, we know exactly what the common pitfalls of workflow automation are, and how to avoid them. In this industry, knowing what doesn’t work is just as important as knowing what does.

Fail #1: Information About Process Management is Being Hoarded

Let’s say Suzie (not Suze, for all those Seinfeld fans out there) was part of the creation and management of a core workflow. Everything was flowing perfectly, until Suzie left the company without passing along vital process management information. Now, the employee taking her place either spends company resources figuring out the process, making and correcting errors, then eventually gets it. Or, they simply abandon the established, working process and create their own to get work flowing again. Neither of these outcomes are ideal. Be sure to procure documentation about every process with context around details and functions. A documented workflow system effectively kicks down the walls that castle builder Suzie has erected. This will seem like a back burner task…until Suzie has left, then it’s a full on situation.

Fail #2: The Workflow Prevents Manual Error Manipulation

There are many situations in which a person in a workflow or post workflow sees an obvious error but cannot manually fix the error or effectively alert relevant persons about the error. In these situations, the person using the software and the person having to clear up the mess the error caused might just wish for their old pen and paper process. The last thing we want is for your custom software investment to work against you. We will always suggest manual intervention in certain areas of your software development.

Fail #3: Your Workflow Lacks a Transparent Look Into the Sequence of Events

We see this roadblock cause the most damage in employee portals. Every employee loves the convenience of an automated process they can complete on their smart device. The problem arises when they have made a request or filed something that requires follow through…but it never comes. They’re not sure if their request got lost in the series of tubes that is the internet, they’re not sure if someone is working on it, or if they performed their submission incorrectly.

In any workflow in which a sequence of events would be relevant to someone involved, we suggest offering that transparently. It’s an oversimplification, but we love how Pizza Hut created their app; it shows a clear timeline from order to delivery; who’s making your pizza, and when it went out the door. ‘Cause people need to know about the status of their pizza!

Experience in workflow automation is really the only way to avoid these common fails, and we’re proud to say we have plenty of it. Not all software is created equally. The planning and thought that goes into your custom workflow software, is what will make the finished project a success. For more on the Volano process, click here.