Gundam Sortie Workflow

Monday, December 26, 2011
Let’s make the process (workflow) so that sortie Gundam. This process will help rookie soldiers successfully work for the fight. It is quite helpful. (I wonder really it is helpful…)

“Gundam Sortie Workflow” defined in this article is composed of roughly four tasks: “1. Detecting Enemies”, “2. Order Action Station”, “3. Sortie Command” and “4. Sortie”. However, there is a case that no sortie is actually done. So we must take care of where the bifurcated points are defined and when the process is finished on the way. Let’s learn more detail!

First, this process starts from “1. Detecting Enemies”. There are two cases such as radar detects enemies automatically and humans find enemies visually. Anyhow, a flight controller must report to the Captain. From the point of view of designing workflow, you should not list detailed development in this case. We want to focus on abstract process such as “report to the Captain”.

By the way, if you report to the captain orally, the business record cannot remain (rather the workflow system has no role in this case). I sincerely recommend to report with ”Questetra BPM Suite SaaS Edition” .

…Yes! Using this workflow, Captain Bright Noah could check the situation by email even if he has been working at his own desk or has been exercising in the gym (!!?).
…Yes! “Alert in the ship” will be automated if the alert system works together with RESTful. This is convenient.
…Rather, what were reported and when they were reported are automatically saved as “business record” . This is so convenient.

By the way there are two flight controllers in the White Base. As you know, Oscar Dublin and Marker Clan are the only two. Therefore, the process of this workflow will stagnate if those two persons are absent. This fact is to be specified as “risky item” in the Risk Control Matrix (RCM) documents.

[Gundam Sortie Workflow]

It is the idea that counts when it comes to small gifts and souvenir for Sales promotion. Novelty that 'seen somewhere' is not very impressive.

In such a case, you would better ask Professional. Much better than a bunch of 'amateurs' in House...When you think so, External companies begin to join the Workflow.

The Novelty Production Workflow, here we introduce to you, begins with a setting by personnel in Marketing, the request of quantity, theme and etc..(Task [1. Request Setting]) 'The external Pro' (novelties sales company) will create a proposal(in GoogleDocs,etc.), and enter the URL into Task

[Novelty Production flow]

People ask works. This is a familiar story.

However, you don't know what have been asked in-house. If you can visualize them and analyse, you will see the "chain" of works. Yes, the chain is that true Workflow.
Here, we are going to consider a simple flow to visualize and to manage.

[Asking Flow]

'Wish to accept "Campaign Registration" with Google docs's Web Form!'
It's really frequent story, in this Cloud Computing era. In many cases, using the "Google Apps" Web form. Some people may combine with Google Sites. It's really easy to create a Public Form. Amazing Customizability. Even the totalization is in real-time. And the best point is, it is for free!

But yet, merely accepting them is not satisfying. Yes, want 'Quick Response'. For example, 1. Sending completion email, 2. Shipping out relating materials, 3. Passing over registered information to Area sales staff,,, want to achieve such a Workflow. However, Google Apps provides no Workflow function.

Now, here comes a Workflow, dynamically cooperating with Google Apps, 'Questetra BPM Suite'! It is also for free. It will help more people more efficiently, yet will be able to respond quickly!!

[Registration flow Area select]

"BPO" stands for Business Process Outsourcing.

To outsource non-core business, such as Affairs, Accounting, Personnel, Welfare Program, or Contact Center. Among them, companies that are outsourcing "Information system" are frequently seen. (Especially, it is called "IT outsourcing".)

e.g.: Claim Management, Data Entry, Data Analysis, Agency Management, Sales Training, Product Testing, etc.

For the trustee side, advances of System Integrators, Printing companies, Consulting companies,etc. are remarkable, as well as "BPO Vendor which specialize in BPO" and "Offshore BPO companies which take advantage of low wages of outside country". The market will still continue to expand. (Incidentally, the Japanese BPO market is already one trillion yen, even though the growth is slower compared to the global market.)

In BPO, "visualization of business process" and "development of operation manual" is very important for both entrust and trustee. However, those are difficult. Now, we assume a scenario that a trustee (outsourcer) will propose business process (interim process) on the step of sales negotiation.

The following is a business process for "business of designing and proposing business process". (complicated...)

[Workflow to design Workflow]

"Proposal" is important. A lot of proposals are written with keywords like "New Business", "New Products", "Business Improvement". The more the better for a company. In reality, only a few of those proposal is adopted.

In the following "Proposal Review Workflow", proposals are sieved in each stage. The president will read finally survived proposal only.

But, it is not interesting only to adopt "Survival" of the proposals into business process. Rather you would better make those sieved out proposals into assets of the company. That is, to build an environment that "Reusable Proposal" can be excavated.

[Proposal Review flow]

Every salesman has one's style.

"I hate the word 'Primary Contact'. It sounds inorganic to me. I wanna know clearly what my prospective customers are. Let's call them [A. State of Seeds], or [B. State of Sprout], or [C. State of Harvest]. See? Now it sounds organic!" (I don't get it... )

I feel it is almost out of elegant word of 'SFA', I tried to design a SFA Workflow for him.

[Process Model]

"Weekly Report" and "Daily Report" is an effective tool to visualize situation and plan of team work. (From the manager point of view, it will be important as 'evaluation data' of each member.)

However, those Dailies and Weeklies always ended up "forgotten" or "not submitted".  It would be better to make them displayed in "My Task List" automatically.  In the following Workflow sample, a Task "1. Write Weekly Report" starts up every Monday at 9:00 am. That is "Timer Start Event" starts the Process.  Member users have to do is only to add some and 'save', everyday.  The "Deadline", final submission is Friday, four days after started.

1. Write Weekly Report, 2. Check & Point out, 3. Response to Pointed out, 4. Confirmation

BPMS is also convenient as ' Supporting Complaint Tool'.
*BPMS: Business Process Management System

Indeed, even if a cross-department 'Complaints Support process' has determined, the 'Workflow To Be' would be changed. Adding handling products, changes in company organization, changes in business environment, in some cases it would be altered by periods and seasons. (It is difficult to conventional 'Workflow system' to make it out.)

In addition, we strongly suggest you to consider well on 'Data Items', when you build a 'Complaint Support Workflow'. That is,

  • What kind complaint and how often does it come in?
  • How long does it take to solve certain complaint?
  • Who supports it?

"Operational data" which enables analysis on these, must be recorded strictly.

For example, trying to think about choice data of 'Type of Complaint'... "1.Product Defect, 2.Unclear operating methods, 3.Gaps between the expectation, 4.Others" Are these enough? (Thinking over it, I can't sleep at night)

1.Registration, 2.Designation, 3.Primary Response, 3b.Advise, 4.Final Response, 5.Rating

Paperless FAX Auto-Link To Workflow

Monday, October 24, 2011
Standard BPM activity (business improvement activity) is 'Productivity Improvement'. However, it is not only a few cases to aim 'Paperless' in this Eco era.

Recently, in order to eliminate paper waste FAX receive, "Paperless FAX" (Internet FAX) has been introducing more and more companies. Digitized data, you might as well deliver it surely to the destination. (and everything be recorded)

For a Salesperson, it will be very convenient that he/she can check those FAX away from the office. For a manager, it will be also convenient because FAX transmissions will be visualized, how many and what kind of. (search and aggregation as well)

p.s. By the way, if received FAX paper was left on the FAX machine for hours, this could be 'Productivity Improvement'.

1. Destination Check, 1b. Judgment Destination, 2. FAX Receive Check

SFA stands for Sales Force Automation. That is a system to share "Sales information". Some information is by "walking his/her feet off", some is from "Information Request".

Examples of starting SFA process: Getting name cards at exhibition, applications for sales campaign, Product introduction during supporting claims, etc.

If you want to build your own sales flow, it is one of the way to study "business process to be" in BPM system, not using existing SFA services. The Flow you made would be "the competitiveness" of your own.

Incidentally, your policy that "what kind of Sales Information should be shared" must be seriously considered in advance in pursuing the originality. If the Policy was vague, it would end up mass-production of "salesmen struggling to futile entering work".

<Types of Sales Information>

  • A1. Grasp customer needs 'Visualization of Quote Data'
  • A2. Grasp competitors 'Competition with X's products'
  • A3. Feature customer interested in 'The modeling feature is very popular'
  • A4. Customer's budget 'The budget for 5 years is 100k'
  • B1. To share proposing activity 'I made a visit'
  • B2. To share personal connections 'That Director is my classmate'
  • B3. To share preparation 'Took 2 hours on PowerPoint'
  • B4. Advices 'Should send a letter not Email'
  • C1. Negotiation Schedule 'The settlement seems before the end of Oct.'
  • C2. Success - Failure management 'We Failed'

1a. Request Support, 1b. Lead Info, 2. Assignment, 3. Primary Contact, 4. Contacts, 6. Result

Many businesses will issue a bill on a monthly basis.
Three elements of the Cloud "IaaS. PaaS, SaaS" is not to say, the bill of staffing (business dispatch), Credit sale recovery (many industries such as construction manufacturing industry), etc., in various industries, bills have been issued every month.
Because the Business flow is routine, the effects from optimization and improvement are great.
In the following workflow definition, "Billing flow" for next time is automatically started before finishing current "Billing flow". That is, leaving a copy of itself before it dies. Specifically, "Message Throwing Intermediate Event" (Duplicate) calls up "Message Start Event" (Start Duplication) right after Task [3. Shipping Bill].

0. New order, 1. Charge Info, 2. Check Charge Info, 3. Shipping Bill, 4. Payment Confirmation

Fault! Report It Through Workflow!

Monday, October 3, 2011
Accuracy and swiftness are indispensable in fault publication. Especially, how the time can be shortened between occurrence and primary announcement. Presentation format of "Fault report" may be different depending on businesses (industries), but to create statement it is almost the same process (Workflow)
  • Web Business (Web Services in wide sense)
  • Data center Business
  • SaaS Business
  • Communication Business
  • Transportation Authority
Furthermore, it is apt to forget, it is most important to closely analyze on gathered information of those fault. Not only improve business processes in case of fault occurrence, we want to analysis periodically of support history such as time reported.

1. Fault Detection Report, 2. Assignment, 3a. Primary Statement, 3b. Primary Report (application), 3c. Primary Report (Infrastructure), 4a. Scheduled Announcement Update,
4b. Scheduled Recovery Report (application), 4c. Scheduled Recovery Report (Infrastructure), 5. Check Primary Statement, 6. Check Recovery Completed

Typhoon season is coming in Japan. And when weather warning issued phone rings around on a telephone tree. (A Chinese whisper to tell school closed)

Recently however, many school quit telephone tree network and switch to mailing list to distribute information, for the reasons such as "Emailing has got popular", "concern for personal information", "making it real-time" and other.

Distributing 'Emergency email', the most important thing is "to create sentences never misunderstood". Email information distribution is handy, but misunderstanding promotes confusion. You would better make it a rule always to deliver email after being reviewed by other stuff than who made draft.

In the following workflow, consider about (1) Drafting the distributing texts, (2) Quick reviewing and calibration, (3) Quick approval. (It is ideal using smart-phone to to review and to approve).

1. Draft, 2. Calibration, 3. Approval, 3b. After approval

Whistle-blower on "Anonymous Web Form"

Monday, September 19, 2011
Nobody would deny the thought of "Regulations document is important for corporate compliance". On the other hand, it is not realistic to all employees to get interested in the "Charter" or "Regulations" continuously.

1.To maintain a compliance system.
2.The essence: All the employee must comply "Constitution and laws".
3.The policy: "Mutual Surveillance system" should be built.
4.The method: Install "Accusation forum" which acknowledged throughout company.

This way of thinking is right. Establishing a postbox inside company will do. But thinking on "stress on posting" and "troublesome on collecting", it would be better done online. There will be no "Lost" or "Hushed up".

1. Post, 2. Check Post, 3. Survey & Statement, 3a.Respond Question, 4. Bulletin Answer

There is no ending at completing production of packaged software or Website creation. Rather, better to say starting working on updating to "Change requests". Sometimes "Bug" will be reported

Following Workflow chart is designed focusing on efficiently status management in "Bug reports" and "Request" (A case all employees are with accounts of Workflow)

1. Registration Request/failure, 2. Nomination respondents/Prioritization, 3. The primary answer, 3a. Support questions, 4. Final answer, 5. the primary response confirmation, 6. the final answer confirmation

[Bugs & Requests [2. Nomination respondents/Prioritization] screen]

Secureness for Password Reissue

Monday, September 5, 2011
Working on ID & password issue seems subdued, but it is extremely important. Failure in the operation may cause "Information leakage" or " information system hijacking", which may disrupt even business continuity. At least issuance logs should be exactly recorded.

The following Workflow model is for

  • A. a case of "automatic start" by "Workflow for pre-employment training program" of Personnel Department.(New ID issuance)
  • B1. a case "Applieed" ID for temporary employment.(New ID issuance)
  • B2. a case of "Forgotten Password" or "Change Account name" (Issued ID update)

Case 'A.'is on Trans-Workflow connection, 'B.'is on Web form connection. (Process model connecting API)

As a matter of course, talking over account issuance or re-issuance, we also must talk about "deletion". We will talk in some other time.

0. Approver Nomination, 1. Approval, 2. Authorization Code issuance, 3. Input from Hearing, 4. Check P.W.Change, 5.Confirmation

[Password issue: [2. Authorization Code issuance] screen]

Visualizing "Next Press Release"

Monday, August 29, 2011
"Workflow for Press release writing?"
"Nobody can take my place, and can't teach how to do my job"

In spite of how big the company is, there are a few tasks which is done by only one person. But you'd better not to give up defining them into Workflow. At least, it will be a big advantage just to clarify the progress of each project.

The following is a Workflow defined the outline of "Writing Press release". In this Workflow, smaller tasks such as gathering information and proof, are not mentioned. An overall definition.

0. Idea Proposal, 1. Maturing Material, 1a. Advice, 2. Draft, 2a. Advice, 3. Register Agent, 4. Web Upload, 5. Analysis, 6. Feedback

[Press release: [2. Draft] screen]

Responding Query is a tough work. "Understanding" and "Expertise" are necessary, but also "Explanation" is much more important. Nobody can learn them overnight.
In any organization, it's good to share "Best Practices of answering query" among them. At first it takes time, but will gradually be improved in efficiency, quality and time it takes.
The following is, a Workflow that not only to create a statement in local language (e.g. Japanese) against a variety of queries, also on what should be managed as the FAQ, builds a database both in local languages and in English. Database compiling system may be different, but in any case data should be posted automatically upon completion of the Workflow.
-Internal Only FAQ: Groupware, In-house blog, Facebook Unpublished group, etc.
-Web Publishing FAQ: Official blog, Discussion site (Google Group), Facebook Published Group, etc.

0. Manual, 0a. Exception, 1. Designation, 2. Create answer, 2a. Important clients, 2b. Advisory, 3. Passage, 4. FAQ, 5. Translate

[Query: [2. Create answer] screen]

"Info Request Accepts" is an effective marketing technique not only for Business to Business, also good for Business to Customer. In some case, it would be outsourced. Anyway they must be handled with speed that prospective customer satisfaction.

Data from Web form is passed into Workflow at "Message Start Event". (Icon that thin-line circle with envelope)

0. Exception, 1. Irregular check, 1b. Clerical questions, 2. Important clients, 3. Mail Processing, 3b. Questions

[Info Request Response: [3. Mail Processing] screen]

In Japan after the earthquake, products and services related with BCP are in "emergency demands". Demands for Cloud-related products are growing also in IT industry. (Everyday we find in newspapers such words of "electricity saving"and "telecommuting" and "BCP")

BCP stands for Business Continuity Plan. Compare to "Contingency Plan", BCP defines actions that "action in order to recover the business" in relatively long-term, whereas Contingency Plan is focused on "actions in emergency"

But creating "business continuity plan" is not easy. It is necessary to consider during peacetime "How should major operation processes be recovered"on assumed scenarios such as "blackout" or "traffic network breakdown". So to consider this, not only one must be familiar with the flow of operation in peacetime, in some cases he also will be required consideration of the perspectives advanced management.

The following is a Workflow model "to prepare for Workflow under assumed condition"

1. Workflow and Assumption, 2. Study Flow chart, 2b. Discussion, 3. Review, 4. Confirmation

[Creating Flow chart: "2.Study Flow chart" screen]

One of the motivations for introduction of BPMS or Workflow System is "De-email".

Email is certainly useful, but It is difficult to organize as the "record". And in fact mailing list is used in many case, but it is wasting of time for everyone reading those email. Yet, it's not sure that the contents must be read is read by who needs it. ( Journals)

A. Important knowledge is kept as a record that anyone can refer at anytime.
B. Urgent information that needs to be shared is informed to who needs it, and participants can recognize if he checked it.

It is true to say for any improvement activities, important thing is to set targets. If you challenge daily in-house information sharing flow, We recommend A. and B. above as "initial goal". And authorization to view

1. Create Journal, 2. Check Journal, 2b. Send Back, 3. Check Journal

Let's talk about Business Process Outsourcing.
Even if there is a centralized organization responsible for specific tasks within the group companies, may say that is outsourced.

Now a days, not only Information Technology department and Call Center sector, but also General Affairs and Accounting department be outsourced. It's a very rational way of thinking that each company does "specialized"job. But in the real scene, it's not only few cases that you want to be done in-house. We often feel dissatisfied with "speed" or "quality", not "cost"

However, what if company that provides BPO services made full use of BPM system, and successively got closer to what customer demand? What if they could suggest improvement in the monthly meetings, and revise Workflow at the day by using "Workflow diagram"?

To make it simple, we inquire into a Workflow of outsourcing General Affairs to make Business cards.

1. Business Card Request, 2. Approval, 3a. Undertake, 3b. Q & A, 4. Completion Report, 5. Completion Confirmation

[Business Card Order "3a. Undertake" screen]

At this moment, 'how many' estimates that not expired been presented?
At right this moment, 'how much' expected total sales that probability counted will be.
What Is 'current status' of the XXX case?
How much is the 'latest estimate' of the YYY case?

Sales-related information is essential for management decisions and business policy decisions. Sales support system of today (SFA) can visualize sales-related information in "real time". Especially, managing on the line (cloud computing) means a lot. For example, it is possible to find an estimate submitted in the past anytime anywhere. You will never present different estimate to the same customer.

But if "Estimating process" or "Order accepting process" can be defined itself, Business Process Management system (BPM) can accumulate "Sales-related information". (Furthermore, it will be connected into "Production process".)

0. Lead, 1. 1st Contact, 2. Proposals, 3. Estimate, 4. Order

[Lead-Estimate : "2. Proposals" screen]

  In some company, task of Translation occurs in "department here and there". Such as translating "Web Site" or "materials for presentation" or even "Notes that printed directly on the product"... In this situation, translation team will respond to requests from many departments. And then "Translation Flow" doesn't belong to any particular department.

  In the process of maturation of Business Process Management, they often make certain process into common task (into Service). This translation team is now an organization that provides "In-house translation service".

  The following Workflow model is an example of English-Japanese translation that is assumed to be called from business process of several departments.

0. Manuscript/Nomination, 1. Nomination, 2. Translation, 3. Review

[English-Japanese Translation[1. Nomination] screen]

Writing proposal, creating web content, drafting press release, making business report... Any document should be reviewed, and it is important to make it a habit. One who done the job gets a chance to be advised form a third party perspective.

In the following workflow model, workers ask to be reviewed each every time on their deliverables such as proposal. He may designate his boss or coworker as a reviewer.

1. Review Request, 2. Action, 3. Confirmation

[All-purpose Review Request: "3. Confirmation" screen]

  • Title(text)
  • Request to(user)
  • CC address(string)
  • Complete until(date)
  • Detail(string)
  • Correspondent(discussion)
  • Files(file)
Actually the workflow model above is exactly the same structure of "All-purpose Request Flow. If you already have applied "All-purpose Request Flow", you will soon get used to "All-purpose Review Request Flow" as well.

This workflow is not only to make easy to designate and ask for reviewing, will always be able to find deliverables of past. And "The most complete deliverables" will be referred many times as knowledge.

Instead of completing deliverables secretly, to create a culture of being reviewed open and proudly, I want you to operate "All-purpose Request Flow" and "All-purpose Review Request Flow" together. For knowledge sharing...

<Configuration of mail: 1>

<Configuration of mail: 2>

<Similar Modeles>
Operating Workflow system, jobs come in through workflow one after another. From your supervisor or Web form, or registered on the clock. Workers give them priority then deal with them untiringly.
But now, how do you deal with jobs that don't know how to be handled. it occurs often... However, we hesitate to thrust jobs into the flow by email or oral.

The following Workflow model is very simplified "All-purpose Request Flow". And it's also convenient to experience Workflow system. It helps to request 1 on 1. Specifically, in those situations.

  • [Execution Request] Please review on document A.
  • [Execution Request] Please answer to Mr.C about subject B.
  • [Consideration Request] I think it's time to execute idea D. Please give a consideration on it.
  • [Consideration Request] We should correct an expression on the web site as "AAA". Please consider on it.
Tru ly, this Workflow model is very important to the theme of "Discovering undefined Workflow". Just because it is undefined, we apt to tell requests by email or oral. Eventually, there will be no record of the job. "No sight, no improvement"
And you find a job often comes on the record of "All-purpose Request", you should start defining it as a workflow.

1. Request, 2. Action, 3. Confirmation

[All-purpose Request: "3. Confirmation" screen]