Looking Back 2017

Thank you for reading this "Workflow Sample" through a year.

The year of 2017, which is the eighth year of blogging, as well, I could post 52 articles without missing even for single week. This is also thanks to you readers, for your "Like" and "Share".

For concluding at the end of the year, I made a survey for top 5 most viewed articles. The result is as follows.
  1. Episode 515: Approval on Contract through Workflow! (Improved version) (2016-12-26)
  2. Episode 462: Planning - Approval (Starter Template) (2015-12-21)
  3. Episode 471: I won't Give an Approval to My Own Application! (by a director of a department) (2016-02-22)
  4. Episode 463: Procurement Request (Starter Template) (2015-12-28)
  5. Episode 510: "Post Facto Approval" in Expense Report Flow is Good Enough (2016-11-21)
Uggh... Sad thing is there is no tittle in 2017. (What is the worthwhile what we've been doing for a year?)

Ranking in Narrowed Down to 2017 Articles

Again, I made a survey on top 5 most viewed articles of 2017.
  1. Episode 531: Automatic Search on TV Listings (2017-04-17)
  2. Episode 519: What is Automation of Business Process (Part 2) (2017-01-22)
  3. Episode 520: What is Automation of Business Process (Part 3) (2017-01-30)
  4. Episode 521: What is Automation of Business Process (Part 4) (2017-02-06)
  5. Episode 539: A Step to be Considered as "Received" when the Time Comes (2017-06-12)
Hmmm... As I thought, "Auto-" was the keyword. (Even though the mission of this blog is to provide "concrete work sample"), "topics with high abstraction" was more popular as the result of 2017.

[Generate Random Number on Server-side]

Operation: User's affiliation Information

"Management Department", "Sales Department", "Development Department"...

A Task of "corresponding to request for estimate" that is triggered by inquiry via website, for example. Although it is offered automatically to "someone in the Sales Department", as a matter of course, "users not belonging to the Sales Department" can not undertake permanently.

Again, in the operation of the workflow system, it is extremely important that information of members belonging to "Organization" are maintained in the latest state. If such basic information were not properly maintained, the Process owner's day-to-day business process improvement would be in vain.

Of course, it is also possible to define a Business Process such as "inputting that Supervisor: Jefferson" each time making request. But, it is inefficient. (Even it would likely end up to help violation of rules or fraud to become frequent...)

*Samples of Organizational Tree

Challenge: Group not in Organization tree

Concerning "affiliation information" of members, reservation for addition and deletion has been automatized using API. (Reference: Episode 565: General IT Control Achieved by Automatizing).

However, how should I handle clusters of Users, such as "people qualified for Information security" or "Employee in training" or even "tennis circle"? I hesitate to call these as Organizations. First of all, hierarchy, I do not know where to put it in the tree structure of the organization... Certainly, a "tennis circle" is not in charge of official company work, so there is no obligation to maintain it. But you might want to take advantage of User groups such as "qualifier of information security" or "employees in training " for designing "allocation rule"...

[Account Issuance-ML Registration-Reservation]

Operation: User Management

When "job transfer of employee" occurs, the affairs of the IT department will increase.

In a case Mr. Ichiro is changed from "Sales department" to "Customer service department", for example... Speaking of Google Group, you have to delete the member "ichiro@example.com" as a member from "sales@example.com" and add members to "cs@example.com".

Note that in such a case, in consideration on "handover", it supposed to be an operation that addition to joining organization as a member will be conducted on April the 1st and deletion from withdrawing organization will be on April 30th.

Challenge: Automatize Change of Affiliation Information

As for the Google Group setting, it has been automatized by a business template in "Episode 544: Easy Management of Mailing List by Cooperating with Google Group (2)"! Since timer processing is also automatized in "API cooperation", mistakes and omission can hardly occur.

However, there is a lot more to do for "change of group setting". (Directory services are not almighty.)

Uhh? I want to automatize changes of organizational assignment also on the Workflow platform... But how do I do?

[Account Issuance-ML Registration-General IT Control]

Operation: Order processing by FAX

To receive orders by FAX, and handle it.

In this cloud era, "things natural for human to do" a decade ago are also objects of labor saving / unmanned.

Actually, since we started using cloud fax service (Internet FAX) "eFax", "paper" ceased to exist. Since the received file is also automatically linked to the cloud-based Workflow "Questetra BPM Suite", human processing such as "Confirmation of order contents" is also recorded properly on-line. (Simple email collaboration)

I won't look for a sheet of "paper" anymore. Business improvement has already been done greatly. But at the same time, I am feeling like I can make even more improvement.

Challenge: List viewing of FAX files

For example, as these "cloud computing" and "digitalization" progressed, I have unexpected trouble in responding to business audits. Of course, I can ask them to log in Workflow system and use its monitoring function and data reference function to see the data, but it takes time to get used to the operation since there are too many "unnecessary functions for them" in the Workflow system. (A lot of explanation is troublesome)

And from their lips, "a word that goes backwards against the time" pops out ..., "Please print the order form on paper and bind it." . . (Oh, my god!)

Can I make "a lot of order FAX files" into a form that makes it easy to see / to search for, somehow?

[Order FAX Handling]

Operation: Year-end adjustment

A seasonal tradition, Year-end adjustment.

In December the year-end, the Accounting department settles the "income tax" which has been collected in approximation from January to November. For that, information such as "number of dependents" and "payment of premiums" of all employees is required.

Until last year, I have been using "Workflow that employees Start application."

As a matter of course, this flow doesn't let all the employees make their application one after the other, while staffs of the Accounting Dept. are waiting silently. In mid-November, they have to conduct internal announcement two or three times to tell "please apply by the end of the month!" Since about one out of ten employees would not keep the promise of due date of "until the end of the month", so when it enters into December, the staffs have to start urging to those people to apply immediately. Otherwise, they will not able to finish the settlement work within December. (The accountants will take the trouble as well.)

However, even though how huge that input form is, you can finish your inputting work in a moment if you try to, since you can complete it using "Start a new Process using these data" on the application you made last year, by only adding "+1" to the year information. (Moreover, it has automatic calculation function.)

Well, I want to spend the new year's eve without any worry. (The actual deadline by the government is January, which I reserve for correction of mistakes.)

* Incidentally, the template PDF has been devised to reduce the change work in every year. (QuestetraAdd-ons)
  • Application for (Change in) Exemption for Dependents of Employment Income Earner for 20XX (77 forms)
  • Application for Deduction for Insurance Premiums for Employment Income Earner and Application for Special Exemption for Spouse of Employment Income Earner for 20XX (154 forms)

Challenge: Urging to person who not submitted yet

However, it is yet difficult to comprehend "who has not submitted" in the case where "Employee-initiated flow" is used.

The schedule is tight. For the staffs of the Accounting department, what is important is "a list of those who have not submitted". Unlike other applications, "list of submitters" (a list of good employees?) is worthless.

Let's consider a Workflow which forcibly pours "Year-end adjustment document submission" to [My Tasks] of all employees! In that manner, you should be able to easily catch "employees who have not completed their application".

* Apparently in the near future, the year-end adjustment at companies will be abolished (NIKKEI 2017-10-16:"Policy to digitize Year-end adjustment procedures -The taxation Commission" (in Japanese )), so it is good for drill of "Process reform"!


Operation: Reporting and Reimbursement of Expense

We have realized systematization of "Expense report flow" in cloud based Workflow! (see Episode 559: Reason for Not Using Cloud Expense Management System)

We have introduced a mechanism to realize "multilateral grouping" (clustering)! (see Episode 560: Reason for Not Using Cloud Expense Management System (2))

We have implemented a mechanism for real time appending to Spreadsheet! (see Episode 561: Reason for Not Using Cloud Expense Management System (3))

Challenge: Unawared Date mistake

However, "challenges to be solved" appears one after another...

"Input mistake" began to be prominent from about the third month after implementation, when people got accustomed to expense reporting. It might be because they make reports by reusing past data, "date errors" are found frequently.

The president would wonder "How could the date be remained mistaken? Despite confirmed by the section chief, the director, and the accounting!"

Certainly, "the date of payment" is a very important data item. It also serves as the data for determining the aggregation month of the monthly trial balance. Nonetheless, a section chief or department manager have plenty of check items to check... Even if "2017-11-20" was mistaken as "2016-11-20", they would "approve" it not noticing the mistake. There are only "6 items". So it's quite conspicuous if the date is wrong. (It sure is a trouble!)
  • A) Payment date
  • B) Record month
  • C) Accounts classification
  • D) Settlement amount
  • E) Assignment of claimer
  • F) Decision ID

[Expense Report flow-Input Check]

Operation: Reporting and Reimbursement of Expense

We have realized systematization of "Expense report flow" in cloud based Workflow! (see Episode 559: Reason for Not Using Cloud Expense Management System)

Moreover, we have introduced a mechanism to realize "multilateral grouping" (clustering)! (see Episode 560: Reason for Not Using Cloud Expense Management System (2))

Staffs in the Accounting team says they are turning their eyes on expense reports on which the rule "deemed to be approved by manager after 48 hours remaining automatically" has been applied.

Challenge: Sharing data with audit corporation

However, for the amount of information, it is not "the more, the better."

In the workflow, various kinds of data are included not only basic information such as "reimbursement amount" and "posting month" but also "person / time who made report", "document certifying payment", "project name" or "client company name". Certainly it is an important job to extract "information" from various data if it is a person inside a company.

Whereas, to an accounting auditor for example, "process of approval" and "time required" are unnecessary data. Or, for top executives such as a president and a board officer, there is no time to check "who spent a lot of expenses". For these people, it is more important to have the necessary data listed briefly, than "multilateral aggregate filtering".

Hmm, then should I "handcraft" the Spreadsheet for reporting?

[Expense Report flow-Spreadsheet]

Operation: Reporting and Reimbursement of Expense

We have realized systematization of "Expense Report flow" in cloud based workflow! (See Episode 559

Primarily, various other "Business flow definitions" are set in the Workflow platform. Therefore, it is not necessary to re-log in to the "system for expense settlement" even for expense reporting.

Moreover, the stagnation situation in Steps such as "Section manager approval" and "Department manager approval" is visualized on the Business flow diagram. The employee who makes report for, the boss who approves on it, and the directors, everybody makes confirmation about "what kind of report is on which Step" occasionally! And there increase cases where advice and comments about others' output are given! As you see, knowing "where the bottleneck for stagnation is" Is really important!

Challenge: Real Time Aggregation

However, it is somewhat doubtful about "whether the settlement list and the total settlement amount are accurately recognized?"

In other words, there are also mixed a large number of applications that ended up as "cancellation of expense reporting". Just simply aggregating all reports will not be the "accurate total expense".

Well, should I better using "expenses settlement cloud" which is specialized for expense settlement work?

[Expense Report flow-Status Control]

Operation: Reporting and reimbursement of expense

So-called "cloud expense management" is easy for system introduction.

Since it is a system specialized in management of expenses (out-of-pocket expense), both the reporting screen and the management screen are oriented to expense management from the beginning. There is no need to deeply worry about initial setting.

On the other hand, systematization of "expense management" is possible even in "cloud based Workflow".

However, since the workflow system is a general-purpose system, it is unexpectedly cumbersome to think up about items to be reported and to consider procedures such as supervisor approval, ledger entry, and reimbursement remittance...

However, from the viewpoint of employees who actually make report, there is no difference between "Expense management system" and "Cloud Workflow system". Eventually, the answer for "Specialized system vs general purpose system, which one is better?", is simply up to "organizational policy". Ah, it reminds me a controversy about "word-processor vs. personal computer" raised at the end of the 20th century.

Challenge: Delay in submission

However, the problem is that the accounting department gets angry that "There is no application for expenses!"

For example, a person in charge of preparing for an exhibition does his best until taking an approval in "flow of decision-making" (preliminary application). But when the the exhibition ends, he is not good at "reporting for expenses" concerning the contents of expenditure.

If a reporting task of "Exhibition at CERTAIN Exhibition" were already listed up on the "My Tasks" screen of the person in charge...

If it had already been automatically entered "ID of the approval document" or "Summary of the approval document" on the expense report screen...

[Expense Report flow]

Operation: Reception of "Information request"

  1. Number of received information requests
  2. Number of submitted estimates
  3. Number of concluded contracts

Although it is a classic marketing method, "1) Number of received information requests" is an index that directly linked to "3) Number of concluded contracts". The correlation is extremely strong. Therefore, many companies set it up as KPI. Car dealer, insurance company, moving company, design office, and so on. It does not matter whether the scale is big or small or which type of business it is.

In the meantime, in order to realize a smooth Workflow, there are some companies that accept requests from customers at the "Form Start Event" of cloud based Workflow. By using a Workflow, downstream Steps such as "Address printing" and "Shipping" are also executed without mistake.

And the automatic transmission of the "Acceptance email" (placing an email transmission event) would be also "royal road". The customer can recognize that "the request was accepted". In addition, "Acceptance number" should be described in the text body. Doing so, the customer can make inquiry for questions through the phone or chat by tracking the "Acceptance number".

Challenge: Identity confirmation with Acceptance number only

"Process serial number" (# {processInstanceSequenceNumber}) is convenient for "Acceptance number". After all, KPI management is easy with it.

But at the same time, it is also a "number easy to infer". For example, when "cancellation of application" came by telephone or chat, it may be a situation inevitable to confirm "identity verification". In other words, if you are asked to cancel acceptance number 123 in a sincere voice, you may accept it as it is. But when you face a person who is likely to be malicious, you will confirm the identity by asking "email address". This could be called customer discrimination.

However, if it is a long number like a cipher text to be a "hard to infer number", it will be inconvenient. Not only "KPI management" becomes troublesome, but also it is hard to verbally tell on the phone, and it is rather difficult to guarantee that it is unique. Hmm...

[Information Request Correspondence]

Operation: A Large Amount of the End of the Month Billing

The monthly billing business at the end of the month has become to be conducted without missing!

With regard to "charged amount" to each customer, it became possible to catch in real time that who has input or who approved and when. Moreover, thanks to the "Automatic Step" which accesses the credit company API (Stripe API), charging to credit cards are directly performed from the Workflow system. In other words, it eliminates "dual entry" into the accounting system.

Challenge: Reduce Dependence on Human

However, this Business Process is still depending on "data input by human". That is, a human (sales representative) is in charge of input of "billing amount" that is crucial.

Certainly, "customer information" is set automatically, and "card billing code" (Stripe CustomerID) is also preset. Furthermore, "list of billing work" also appears on the list of Offered without missing, so it is easy to do the billing work by multiple people cooperating. So, I think that "labor saving of inputting" has been realized at a fairly high level, but...

However, the information on "charge amount" (billing amount) is in the "Sales management system" which is an "external system" from the viewpoint of the Workflow system. I wonder if there is a measure to automatically acquire sales summary somehow? (Today, "API economy" is urged out, and I think that where Business Process Improvement is heading to is "unmanned"...)

[Credit Card Charging - Recursive call-Full automation]

Operation: Monthly Credit Card Charging

Great labor-saving has done on the billing operation at the end of the month!

In the new Workflow application, "credit card charging" is automatically carried out as the department manager approves "Billing amount of this month" registered by the sales representative. There is no necessary for the Accounting side to do work such as "printing / signing / mailing of invoices". Of course, you don't need the work of "bank payment confirmation", either. Stripe, bravo! API economy, bravo! Questetra, bravo!
Incidentally, it gains favorable reputation also among customers.

They say it is good with that the expense details can be confirmed in "notification email", not to mention that the actual work such as "approval on invoice" and "procedure of bank transfer" has gone away. (Paperless)

(I wish "bank APIs" to be opened soon, as well...)

Challenge: Who is not charged?

However, it is hard to confirm "if I charged all the customers or not" at present condition.

Certainly, it is simply to Start (reuse start) the Workflow manually from "1r". However, relying on "manual" for its start, it would be hard to realize, for example, "to charge all the customers who billed in the previous month without oversight".

When the number of billing increases, "billing mistake" may incur, one day...

[Credit Card Charging - Recursive call]

Operation: Charging to Registered Card

I did create a mechanism of "Credit card registration"! (See previous post)

The mechanism is, credit card information such as "card number" and "CVC" is committed to Stripe (Payment Service Provider), and only "Stripe Token" (tok_ {24 characters}) as "deposit number", flows to Workflow. That means, it complies with what Japanese government is advocating that "Achievement of non-possession of credit card info by March 2018". (Non-possessing = The primal measure for protecting credit card information)

This will bring down "the risk of credit card info breaching from in-house system" to zero! Customers can make web registration without worry!!

* Stripe Token is a specification that can only be used for one processing (single-use token). In this example automatic conversion from "Stripe Token" to "Stripe CustomerID" (cus_ {14 characters}) is also done simultaneously. (Auto-step "Token to Cus_ID")

Challenge: Eliminate Manual-work in Charging Operation

But wait and look. What I did is just realized only "protection of credit card info".

Mistakes in "Total amount", for example, or in "Charge"... Risks of occurring such error in "charging operations" is not yet zero. Suppose if you had sent a charging statement to "email address of Mr. Brown" with "addressee name of Mr. White"...doesn't it make you shill?
  • Customer's name
  • Customer's email address
  • Token or Customer ID
Data like as above should be automatically entered beforehand. By making so, error rate will be close to zero. The burden on "unreliable boss" who is in charge of checking at the downstream Step will be alleviated a little.

[Credit Card Charging]

Operation: Acceptance of credit card registration

Want to promote credit card charging...

If I could charge to "credit cards" according to the service usage record automatically, very smooth settlement would be possible. If I could digitize "bill issuance", I would drastically reduce cost on payment collection.

I would like to prepare a "card payment system" like an electric company, gas company, or mobile phone company.

Challenge: Risk of credit card information data breach

However, as security requirements become more stringent, "holding a credit card number" seems to be a big risk.

Our company is not a power company nor, a big company such as Google or Facebook. In other words, it seems that we unlikely could comply the requirement that "PCI DSS" says. "What important is," the credit companies (Acquirer) say, "not to possess cardholder's info".

Alright, I'm going to leave cardholder's info such as PAN, PIN, CVC, to "Payment agencies", as it is advocated in a document by the Japanese government that "we aim for non-retention by March 2018". (But how?)
  • PAN:Primary Account Number (card number)
  • PIN:Personal Identification Number
  • CVC: Card Verification Code/Value (3 digit number. Formally CVC2, aka CID)
* Reference: Payment services (PSD 2) - Directive (EU) 2015/2366

[Credit Card Info Reception]

Operation: Vulnerability Response Process

They say, "There is no software without a weak point."

In other words, computers and communication devices with countless software built in are "full of dangerous weak points". There are also business systems that manage sales and salaries...

"Vulnerability Response" by IT department is, in simple words, "repair work of software".

Specifically, the IT department collects vulnerability information from "IT information site" or "Google Alert email" on a daily basis. If information relates with the software used by the company's computer, they conduct "patch application" or "version upgrade", etc. Although there are many software perform "automatic patch" and "automatic update" by themselves recently, there are still not a few "incidents that must be handled manually".

Incidentally, once or twice a year, a security test ("vulnerability assessment") by a specialized contractor should be carried out to check whether the repair work is done properly.

Challenge: Response depends on individual

However, a tremendous number of "attack methods" are found everyday.

"Methods of attack" on old software are also reported almost every day. Even though "weak points" should have been overcome by daily repair, it seems that attackers are also improving their ideas and power, day by day. It seems to continue forever. "Vulnerabilities" announced by CVE, for example, are count to more than 10,000 annually.
(CVE:Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures)

It is no longer the amount that IT department can check through. The reality is, that experienced employees are responding using their "individual information network" and "smell?"

Hmm, wouldn't be there any way to deal it more systematically?

To put it more, I would like to record and share precisely about who decided what kind of judgment on urgent vulnerability. For example, I would like to look back on when and how the correspondence was made against sensational vulnerabilities such as "ShellShock" or "Heartbleed". (OpenSSL, GNU bash)

[Vulnerability Response Process]

Operation:Soliciting Improvements from in-house

It seems that the Japanese government seriously wants to make "work style reform".

Certainly, there are "creating documents that no one sees" or "inefficient exchanging" also inside our company. I would like to think about a method more actively to absorb concrete "improvement idea", such as "introduce cloud service for certain work" or "utilizing IoT". For example, "mid-career employees" and "temporary workers" are grumbling while they are drinking... It is really wasteful if it just ?ended up in vain.

However, even if the president cried out that "Improve the business process and increase productivity!" at the morning meeting, specific "improvement proposal" will not come up.

Oh, yeah. First of all, let's ask "Internal Audit Office" to accept "idea submission" like the image of the so-called "suggestion box".

And let them operate a Workflow such as let it advance to 'on-site hearing step' and 'president reporting step' about good ideas. And let them operate a Workflow which make it advance to 'on-site hearing step' and 'president reporting step' about good ideas. (Business Improvement Idea Reception Process)

Challenge: Form that anyone in the company can post to

However, all the workers do not have "login ID" to the Workflow platform.

If "login ID" was required for idea posting, temporary workers and part-timers are not able to post. (I suppose the inefficiency of the work-floor could be surely being pressed on to part-timers and temporary staffs...)

Thinking carefully, it needs to secure some degree of "anonymity", as well.

I would like to endorse bold idea such as, for example, "Improvement idea to lower manager's fraud risk".

Hmm, it seems that soliciting questionnaires on "a completely opened webform on the Internet" is one of the way, but it makes me feeling nervous somehow. (The URL might be exposed, or people who have nothing to do with might make suggestion...)

[Business Improvement Idea Reception Process]

The Task:Feedback to Weekly sales report

"Sales of one week" is now to be written to Google Sheets. (See Episode 550)

Since every store manager edits one file (e.g. "Sales report 2017-08-27to2017-09-02") concurrently, the following improvements are achieved.
  • Each store manager has become to be aware of other stores
  • Store managers have become to point out incorrect input each other
  • Summing work at the headquarters has become unnecessary (as it is left to Spreadsheet)
  • The executives also have become to browse the file and actively checked the trend of each store
In other words, "sales data" including comments from each store manager has been used actively inside the company. ("Sales data" was dead before...)

Challenge: No comment by management

However, there should have been "feedback" from managers in the headquarter to all the store managers.

Even though all the store managers work hard and reporting, it is sad that there are not any comments from the managers in the headquarter. It doesn't matter how simple these words would be. Just express your gratitude to the store managers who are eager to your smile...

Doing so, the executives will be able to understand "what the managers in headquarters are thinking about actual data / what advice they are giving".

[Weekly Sales Report-Feedback]

The Task: Weekly sales report

I have each store manager report sales of the week.

It sure is good to operate a simple "Sales report Process", which is
  1. Each and every "Store manager" makes reporting
  2. "Director" at the headquarter confirms
However, those store managers seem to be working only "watching their boss".

I suppose it could be better, for example, to produce "more chances to access data of other store".

If you are using G suite, "Google SpreadSheet" is available to edit the same document by all store managers (* up to 50 people). And it will reduce labor for "summing up" of "Headquarter director". Regarding "mistakes on input", store manager who made mistake could aware of it by him or herself for comparing with data of other stores. Or, maybe managers would mention about "input mistakes" each other! (It may lead to activate communications between stores, and that leads improving productivity...)

Challenge: Preparation of the new SpreadSheet is troublesome

However, then, someone is needed to prepare "Spreadsheets for reporting" every week.

It would be too much for "directors" in headquarter to ask to do. They are hard on others, and easy on themselves. Like, they never have tried to be in time for deadline even for claiming out-of-pocket expense. Hmm, the biggest challenge seems to be the first Step at which "to prepare a new SpreadSheet and announce it to every store managers every week precisely".

[Weekly Sales Report]

How to announce personnel information

The task of "announcing information on personnel changes (change of assignment or position) to in-house" is tricky.

There are various types, such as promotion / relegation / recruitment / retirement / leave of absence / department transfer / seconded ... and also individual circumstances differ from each other.

As a feeling of a HR staff, he or she may want to let everybody know about it a few months in advance, if was a case where, for example, "a happy retirement of an employee who has been trustworthy". Whereas, in the case where "being headhunted by a competitor", HR may want to keep that secret. Also in the case of "taking a leave for family care", there are people who want to positively let it known to their colleagues or related people in advance (in consideration of breach of confidentiality obligations), while some other people may want remain in silent.

Basically, we should solemnly switch the "information that is secret within the HR department" to "information publicly known inside the company", according to the "prescribed disclosing rules". (Personnel notice)

Challenges on practical operation

In Japan, many companies adopt "in-house posting" as a publication method.

However, with the way of printing on paper and stick it to "bulletin board" or "wall", there is only few chances of looking at if, for employees who go out often, who are on long leave or teleworkers. On the other hand for staffs of HR, the tasks of "posting the notice at a fixed timing" or "stopping the posting at the scheduled timing" is unexpectedly a big burden.

Whereas, other companies adopt the way of "announcing verbally at morning briefing". However, also it must be said that it is difficult for people who are on long leave and teleworkers to obtain the same amount of information as attendance at the morning briefing. Moreover, there are also risks that 'date of change' or 'change department' etc. are not accurately conveyed because of being verbal.

[Personnel Change Information Publication]

Analytics tells 'particular building company is in trouble'?

In the last article and the one before the last, I introduced you (nearly unmanned) Workflows that informs "trends of web access of the last week" to in-house.

Once this business process is in operation, employees will be able to check the latest information obtained through the "Google Analytics Reporting API" every Monday morning by e-mail. As the result, daily work for "Customer support" or "Sales" will be more efficient.

However, it might be better if "Information that is not in Analytics" is written as well. That is, it may be possible to gain deeper understanding and insight on trend information such as "links that a lot of inflows" and "Pages that referred by specific customers", if it also has included information which is not in Analytics such as;
  • 'delivered a press release on last Tuesday'
  • 'held a user seminar on last Thursday (in which the particular building company participated!)'.

API acquisition of calendar information as well

The following Business Process Definition is a mechanism in which information of the events of last week, that have been written in the in-house calendar for "Public relations schedule and exhibition schedule" (Google Calendar), is added to the email notification.

When operating this Workflow, employees who would receive notification emails will be able to see "related information that may have affected Web access" at the same time.

[Website Operation Report 3]

Ranking on popular pages

In the last article, I introduced you a way of automatic generation of "weekly reports" by automated communication with "Google Analytics Reporting API".

The point was the automated Step (Service Task Addon) which automatically retrieves data aggregated in the following rule.
  • Dimension: ga:hostname, ga:pagePath, ga:pageTitle
  • Metrics: ga:pageviews, ga:sessions

In this Step, "List of web pages that got a lot of access" is gathered into a multi-line text. If you set to "filter" something like "ga:pagePath=~/blog/" you can also automatically get the ranking of "web pages under blog folders".

Notification email that is embedded these texts would be very useful information for Marketing team.

Tens of thousands of other patterns of aggregation method

But now, I would like to aggregate data of Google Analytics in more different perspectives.

While in the previous example, ranking was retrieved with the above "three dimensions" and "two metrics", Google Analytics has about 260 dimensions and about 230 metrics. In other words, a wide variety of data aggregation is available, by changing its combination.

For example, when you aggregate not only on the aspect of site contents ("Behavior (BEHAVIOR)") but also "AUDIENCE" or "ACQUISITION", you should be able to extract information such as "What kind of people are accessing?" or "What kind of site has it been derived from?".

Reference: Dimensions & Metrics Explorer

[Website Operation Report 2]

Is it an analysis tool, or an aggregation tool?

Anyone who is involved in the web industry knows about the existence of "Google Analytics".

Although I might not need to explain again, "Google Analytics" is a service that is to know the number of visits and visitors on particular website, and it is an indispensable tool for people who work in the industry, for surveying such as "popular pages" and "unpopular pages" or "investment effect of online ads".

On the other hand, for many people it can be said "a too much functional tool".

In order to display the information which you want to see, you must go through complicated procedures because its multifunctionality. Even those who log in to "Google Analytics" every week, to make "in-house weekly newsletter" for example, actually use only a few functions of it. Therefore, many people use "custom reports" (dashboards) and "custom alerts" (email notifications) trying to make the every time work efficient.

No abnormality in aggregated value this week!

The following Business Process Definition is "Website Operation Status Reporting Process" to be conducted weekly. Every Monday morning, "a draft of report that aggregated data of Google Analytics has been inserted" will be prepared. Therefore, marketers can complete a report for the entire company just by entering a brief commentary. You do not need to log into "Google Analytics" unless remarkable changes occur.

[Website Operation Report]

Maintenance on Google Group registrants

In the last article and the one before the last, I introduced you Business Process Definitions which automatized addition or deletion of members of "Google Group" to be carried out.

If Google Group is being used as "In-house information sharing tool" in your company, these functions such as automatic addition and automatic deletion could be very useful as "mechanism to guarantee timely update".

Height of reliability requirement

However, even if you introduced such a mechanism, "maintaining correct members" is not easy.

In some cases, for example, you could have added a member to a "wrong group" (system administration screen) in corresponding to a rush-request. Or, there may be cases where a user him/herself commits "unsubscribe processing" (User setting screen). Those cases are state of "Information will reach people who should not reach" or "Information does not reach the person to reach".

"What? Was there such a notification?"

An employee worked without receiving information via mailing list for months feeling something was strange. That kind of Tragedy (which is a very terrible thing) will always occur someday.

[ML Member Confirmation]

This article has the improved version.

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]