Management of mailing list

In the previous article, I introduced you a Business Process Definition of a Workflow in which (email address of) "newsletter subscribers" are added to "Google Group" automatically. (Task of corresponding to information material request.)

That was a mechanism by which one email address to be added to "one mailing list" automatically.

However, when you look around mailing lists inside your company, (even though it is on a downward trend due to the spread of so-called "chat tool") you will find various in-house mailing lists are used on a daily basis in many tasks, such as "Directive of the business policy", "Sharing information that should be limited within a department" and "Receiving system alerts".

Therefore, regarding management of mailing lists, it might be more cases where you want to add an email address to all of the "multiple mailing lists" at once.

Bulk registration to multiple Google Groups

The following Business Process Definition is "flow for new account request".

If there is a "new account request" from within the company, the IT system department will make necessary system settings such as "issue new account" and "modify LDAP setting".

What noteworthy is that the Step for addition and deletion in "multiple mailing lists" is automated. (automatization of Step)

That is, when an Issue reaches the Step of [Add Group Member] or [Delete Group Member], the Workflow system will send a request for addition / deletion (OAuth2). This means that, concerning a task of "addition / deletion in mailing list", the person in IT system department in charge is required only to confirm if selection is correct: "Google Group to be added to" (Checkbox) and "Google Group to be deleted from" (Checkbox). So the personnel in charge no longer needs to access "G Suite" dashboard and edit the Group setting one by one. (Admin SDK Directory API v1)

[Account issuance - List registration]

Information sharing by email

Mailing lists are useful.

It is used in many organizations on a daily basis, such as for "information sharing" within the organization or for "information announcement" to customers. However, there are not a few cases where "maintenance work" of the list is neglected.
  • Delivering to people who should not receive the email (Information leakage?)
  • Not delivered to people who should receive the email (Typical tragedy on newcomers?)
Such a kind of situation will be occurring all over the world.

Automatic addition of Subscriber

The following Business Process definition is "Information material request correspondence flow".

This Workflow will be initiated by request via Web by a customer. And, when the requested Issue reaches at the automatic Step "Add to Subscriber", the "customer's email address" will be automatically added to the mailing list (Google Group).

Such "automatization" of processing not only eliminates the trouble of the G Suite administrator accessing the management screen to manually copy the data, but also contributes to preventing troubles due to setting mistakes and time loss. Moreover, it realizes "Address addition history record" which was difficult by manual setting.

[Information Material Request Correspondence]

Productivity Improvement by Automation of Steps

In the last article and one before the last, I introduced you a mechanism to control "PayPal billing system" from Workflow system.

In these mechanisms (Workflow Application), an automatic Step (Addon Service Task) is arranged in the middle of the flow diagram. That is, each time when a billing Issue arrives these Steps, the Workflow system transmits "Requests" such as
  • Generate "PayPal Invoice" (PayPal Create)
  • Transmit a "PayPal Invoice" (PayPal Send)
  • What is the settlement status? (PayPal Check)
In other words, "accounting works" such as "generation of electronic invoice", "transmission of electronic invoice", "confirmation of status of electronic invoice" have been made unmanned. (REST / OAuth2 communication with PayPal Invoicing API)

Today, not only the "payment system" (*1) as in this example, but also the operation of various information systems are automated, and the productivity is improved. For example, preservation of quotation to "Storage system" (*2), or management of product master data in "Spreadsheet / Data management system" (*3), are typical examples.

*1: PayPal, Stripe, etc. *2: Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, etc. *3 Google SpreadSheet, Kintone, etc.

<Setting screen: PayPal Create>

<Setting screen: PayPal Send>

<Setting screen: PayPal Check> 

The fact that the process owner only needs to set properties of the Addon automatic Step (programming knowledge is no longer needed) is also one of the reasons for popularization.

Until which stage of situation change you should make unmanned?

However, there are not only "advantages" that unmanning brings.

In the previous article, for example, it was a business flow that it continues confirming (keep on looping) until the status of electronic invoice turns to "PAID".

It sure is, there is no human cost on "confirmation work" alone since human does not intervene.

However, if an event such as "order cancellation" or "remittance with another settlement method" has occurred, it may be necessary to stop the Task of "shipping processing" in some cases. Or depending on circumstances, it may become necessary to modify the processing of "recording sales". Yet, as for the situation change which "influence degree × occurrence probability" is large, as a business process definition, I would like to make it "within the range of assumption" as much as possible, not leaving it as "unexpected".

In the following business process definition, "CANCELED status" (cancellation) which is relatively frequently occurring has been taken into consideration. That is, it is added devising that alert email to be sent when payment is refused.

[PayPal Invoice Issuance-Cancellation notification]

Automatize billing

In the previous article, we created a workflow in which "PayPal Invoice" is automatically sent, by placing two automatic Steps "PayPal Create" and "PayPal Send".

That is, "billing data" which has been checked and approved in the human Step is automatically POSTed to PayPal side and then "PayPal invoice" is generated. And at the specified time (send command is delivered), it will be sent by email. After all, since it can be defined with only "Addon Service Task" ("Script Task" is not used), it is attractive to be able to build an "automatic billing system" according to your business even if you had no programming knowledge.

However, it was "out of scope" for "work of checking whether 'PayPal invoice' was settled".

Automatize throughout deposit confirmation

In the following Business Process, an automatic Step called "PayPal Check" (Addon Service Task) has been added furthermore. In other words, this Workflow system is set to continuously check the settlement status for "PayPal invoice" that has been sent, periodically and automatically.

Specifically, an Issue which is staying at "(3. Unpaid retention)" will arrive at "PayPal Check", each time when
  • the accounting staff proceeds the Issue, or
  • retention time of 12 hours passes.
So, the settlement status is inquired via secure communication (OAuth 2 communication / PayPal Invoicing API). If the status is "settled (PAID)", it will store "Settled time" and "Settled amount", and the entire process end, without returning to "(3. Unpaid retention)".

[PayPal Invoice Issuance-PayPal Check]

Invoice directly connected to settlement

"PayPal Invoice" is an electronic invoice in the format of "Email".

From the viewpoint of the person who received the mail, it is very simple since you can click on the "View and Pay Invoice" button and immediately complete the settlement processing (card payment / PayPal account settlement). Of course, even when "in-house transfer to accounting personnel" is required, it is very easy to do, just a transfer operation on email client.

Also, viewing from person who issued the invoice, it is very easy since its procedures are only
  1. Login to PayPal and enter billing data
  2. (receive Settlement completion notification)
comparing to conventional "Business Process of invoicing in paper" took
  1. Create Excel data of invoice
  2. Printout the invoice
  3. Mail the invoice
  4. Confirm remittance in specified bank account

Moreover, we do not receive credit card information, so there is no "information leakage risk".

In recent years, it has also gained much attention on the aspects of "productivity improvement" and "teleworking environment improvement". (PayPal Invoice)

[Example of received email]

API connection to Workflow

"PayPal invoice" does not require introduction of particular system.

However, this ease of "you can send an invoice by logging in to PayPal" also brings new challenges such as "ambiguous approval by supervisor" and "difficult to make mistake checks by multiple people". Especially if a company emphasizes "Business Process", there is a possibility of being discussed as a problem on governance.

In the following Business Process definition example, we have realized the policy that

"to utilize PayPal invoice without logging in to PayPal"

by implementing API control from the Workflow system. That is, the data which have been approved and checked in the workflow system is automatically linked to PayPal side through the API, and the "command to send the invoice email" is also delivered from the Workflow system via the API. And all work records of "When and who did what" are all recorded on the Workflow system side.

* If it is a Cloud-based workflow "Questetra BPM Suite", it can be realized for free. (By importing the Business Process definition, you can build it in a few hours.)

[PayPal Invoice Issuance]

Passive Step of "Receiving acceptance report"

Illustration production, Website production, Interior construction... "Acceptance inspection" is accompaniment to these outsourced businesses.

Issues based on contract is, not simply 1)"to deliver" the deliverable, but through 2) the step of "Receiving an acceptance report" from the client, and finally you can 3)"Claim the commission fee".

(Although there are cases in special business relationship where "Acceptance inspection step' is omitted and "immediate billing on delivery" is allowed...)

Pathetically sincere efforts and ingenuity have been performed all over the world, such as
  • attaching a sample of "Acceptance report" for clients, or
  • titling the slip as "Acceptance report request (cum-Deliverly note)" instead of "Delivery note".

Not yet decided what the Step is for to do?

However, "Receiving of Acceptance report" in the reality, there are not only cases that
  • A) They give "Acceptance report" on the delivery day.

There occurs various cases such as
  • B) they will send "Acceptance report" to the inspection deadline limit, or
  • C) the client presupposes the application of the "provision on deemed inspection passed" without submitting the acceptance report.

Moreover, there could be
  • D) cases where it is judged that "the deliverable do not meet the specifications" and forced to extend the acceptance period, or
  • E) cases where it is judged that "the deliverable do not meet the specifications" and forced to re-deliver.

So what kind of Business Process diagram should you draw for such cases? In particular, for cases of C) which is "doing nothing until the deadline, then ends", it is difficult how to express it.

[Acceptance inspection corresponding flow]

Measuring working time on certain process

For example, when you want to measure the "time required for translation" in the translation process, you can consider a method that having "reporting (inputting)" actual working time" together with the"translation result".

However, in that method, it requires to have the workers to measure the actual work time in the means such as;
Such an act of "self-measuring and reporting working hours" must be a major effort.

* However, there are still advantages that it is possible to respond flexibly, such as temporarily stopping the measurement, when time to be excluded such as "coffee break" or "corresponding to interrupt work " occurs halfway.

The accuracy of the reported value

Also, "Inaccurate actual work time" may be reported as a result.

For example, the "work time" would be entered a little differently from the fact, if it is a system in which some incentive affects to make the "translation time" looks shorter (or longer) in terms of personnel evaluation and ability assessment.

Alternatively, if there are workers who are proud of their outcome of the work itself and have no interest in such as "translation time", we have to assume that 'perfunctory data' will be entered.

[Translation flow]