It is no longer an uncommon that letting a Workflow system processing, such as;
  • "Auto-calculation" for consumption tax",
  • "Auto-generation" of invoice PDF,
as the sophistication of information system progresses.

You can reduce mistakes and reworkings greatly by automation of intermediate steps. And also it leads to a shortening the required time for the entire process.

However, on the other hand, excessive automation will result incomprehensible of the mechanism, and become incapable of corresponding upon occurrence of troubles.

All the more reason, when it includes auto-steps which error occurrence rate is not negligible, such as
  • "Auto data retrieving" using communication network
  • "Auto data storage" using communication network
  • "Script Step" with lots of if statement
  • "Script Step" including decimal calculation
(Actually, it might be a great agenda in "era of utilizing Cloud.)

[Invoice Issuance-Sampling check]

Want to automate "Prorated billing".

Rent, Water charge, Cloud service... In any field, "invoicing process" is a very important business. No mistake is allowed. Even though a human would do the credit investigation and address input, I want to let a computer do the calculation of "prorating".
  • Indeed, a computer is a machine.
  • It makes no mistake.
  • And it is fast.
But on the other hand, it also has stupidity such as, one third multiplied by three equals "0.999". There is not much difference about this aspect between a calculator and a supercomputer. (Oh, I hear voices of objection from users of J programming language, etc.)

In the following Workflow, prorating calculation for "a service which monthly fee is 10,000 JPY" is automated.

It is a simple sample flow that, inputting information of "used X days in month MM of year YYYY", then automated until "generating of invoice PDF".

In this example, as obvious on the flow chart, even an "Approval Step" or a "Send-back Step" is not arranged for the sake of simplicity. A very plane Business Process. Therefore, it is useful as a base for the development of applied system, such as "printing out automatically" or "automatically transmit email with attachment".

[Invoice Issuance flow]

I wonder how many characters a Japanese person can read and write.

We have 48 pairs of "hiragana" and "katakana" (syllabaries), but the number of "kanji" (logographic) is counted to approximately 10 thousand. It is also said 30 thousand including characters that are not used in day-to-day life. Japanese people can describe any species of fish in one character. Our feeling for "limitation of 140 characters" of Twitter is greatly different from western people. (They say Chinese has 80 thousand.)

And in Japan, a lot of time is devoted to "learning kanji" in school education.

Almost Japanese kids would become able to read and write approx. 10 thousand characters through 6 years of elementary school. Then they learn another 10 thousand in 3 years of junior high school, and in high school and college or university, they encounter more complicated kanji. Eventually, general member of society is said to be able to effortlessly read about 3000 kinds of kanji. ( Even I probably am able to WRITE kanji barely 10 thousand of them, honestly.)

Although people who were born and raised in Japan would not care, this kind of story goes down well for European language speakers.

Well, such Japanese people have been struggling with "Computer processing for Japanese language" in various ways.

Not only the disadvantage of "too many characters", we encountered troubles from various causes, such as, "no word separator (space)", or "Several readings for the same character", or "Many characters in different meaning exist for the same reading", or even "the shape of the same character varies according to vertical or horizontal writing."

The following Workflow is for testing of the outputs to PDF.

Even though more than 10 thousand characters are designed in Fonts in Japanese, there are possibilities of occurrences of trouble that "particular character does not exist in the Font" upon embedding business data onto [Template PDF] automatically at a Step in the middle of Workflow. This is a Testing Flow to detect such a trouble in advance. The most important point is whether "Font data" has been embedded in the [PDF Template] file or not.

[PDF generation test]

It is easy to promote "Improvement project" if the "Originating source" was outside the organization.
  • (a) Internal trigger
  • (b) External trigger
After all, business operations by (a)Internal triggers are "Workflow that is closed to in-house".

For a Leave Request flow that starts from "an employee" or Decision-making Request flow, which starts from a "subordinate", for example, Workflow administrators unintentionally tend to be in a mood that "It doesn't need to be in a hurry for revising", or "It might be managed somehow in the actual operation".

Whereas, for operations by (b) External triggers, they won't be so.

For example, Brochure Shipping flow, which is started by a request from a customer, or Procurement-Settlement flow that is started by billing from a supplier... These will be directly linked to the company's reputation. In other words, a motivation such as "Want to improve the Process to complete operations faster without mistake" is naturally shared within the members.

The Workflow below, is a Payment Confirmation flow for "Event participation fee".

The Process transmits "Receipt PDF" automatically via email when the secretariat confirms the payment via credit card or bank transfer from participants.

You see an enthusiasm like
  • Want to convey "Thank you for joining" as soon as possible,
  • Want to confirm remittance (payment) without any oversight.

[Payment Confirmation flow]