Few days until the end of 2014...

Thanks to you reader's support, I could achieve "Weekly posts" somehow. This entry will be 52nd in 2014, 411th in total proposing Business process.(*) Taking this opportunity, please allow me to express my sincerest gratitude to the readers of Workflow Samples, especially who gave me requests to write specific Processes, and who gave me comments and impressions on my posting.

*) 51 titles in 2014, 52 in 2013, 53 in 2012, 186 in 2011, 68 in 2010
*) One or two business samples [QAR] attached to each article, so the total number of the samples has become approximately 700.

Looking back, people talk about me that 'I'll be a quitter soon', especially the very beginning of this blog. Well, indeed, there is some proposition of Business Process which are 'no big deal' among them. But I'm willing to continue writing articles. So please help me by giving me 'pep talk' and 'straightforward feedback'

Articles Most Read in Japanese in 2014

Articles Most Read in English in 2014]

Well, now,

The following is the last introducing of Business examples in 2014, which is a very simple 'Blog Entry flow'.

[Blog Entry flow]

'I leave the rest to you!'

In the article before, I introduced several patterns about 'Postal Matter system' as Backend. These were mechanisms which "Postal matter file and Addressee" are conveyed through
  • An employee makes a request in the 'Input screen' at upstream Step
  • Another Workflow transmits via API

On the Backend side, tasks of 'Printing out documents, Signature, Enclosement and post' are carried out systematically.

It will never depend on the circumstances like 'tough negotiation on descriptions in agreement'. It's a mission of a backend that sending by post, solemnly without mistakes without delay. (Truly a 'Behind the scenes role')

Well today, we often see or hear the word "Backend" in a phrase of 'Backend as a Service'. That is, focusing on development of Smartphone App which End Users face directly, and leave the processing on the Backend side to 'Backend as a Service'. That is, focusing on development of Smartphone App which End Users face directly, and leave the processing on the Backend side to 'Backend as a Service'. Therefore, the development period of the whole system becomes shorter.

There are a lot of needs for Smartphone App Development in the world of Business Apps.

For example, implement a BEACON transmitter in the office. A smartphone throws the time that detect for the first time of the day towards Backend as 'Attendance time'. Also, when it doesn't detect the signal more than two hours, it will send the time that beginning of not detecting towards Backend as 'Leaving time'. There are enterprises which actively utilizing the Apps that adopted Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology for their Business improvement.

Then, into the following Workflow for 'Daily Report', what kind of APIs should we add to automatically incorporate these 'Attendance time' and ' Leave time'?

[Daily Report Workflow]
'Enhance the BPMS as backend!' (Business Process Management System)

What the hell is this? A spell or what?? Actually, this seems a 'remark not uncommon' for the people in IT industry. The point is, they are simply calling computers which are;
  • far side from human as 'Backend'
  • near side to human as 'Frontend'
among the IT system that consists of a lot of computers.

To be more specific, a mechanism (computer) which corresponds User Management, Database Management, File Management, etc. is called Backend, whereas PC applications or mobile applications are called Frontend. Recently, there exist terms of 'Backend as a Service' or 'mobile Backend as a Service', and focusing on 'Frontend development' for more convenience is becoming the trend.


Here in this world where Information Communication has well evolved, humans are always on the network also. A mechanism of Backend is not always must be composed only with computers. Business process management (BPMS) is the back-end systems, including humans. (It would not be called a 'Cloud computing' anymore, though...)

For example, humans may be interposed in a 'Billing system'. Rather, it could be better for the improvement of deliverable's quality by human interposition... So, I tried to think about a Backend, which is 'Postal matter Shipping Request system'. In this Workflow, although the cover sheet will be automatically generated, enclosing and posting will be done by humans.

Hum, if adding APIs more to it, the more automated 'Backend-system' it might become...

[Postal Matter Sending system]
General public to cooperate in the "power saving".

'Consumers' thoughtfully suppress 'purchasing', understanding the circumstance of the service provider (power firms). What a humble story... Contrary to the "economic rationality". However, now in Japan, many citizens are cooperating, recognizing the necessity of it. Especially the local government and public institutions, they must attempt the power saving initiatively. (Innovations for 'energy saving' and 'cost down for renewable energy' are being desired.)

In the previous article, we studied a mechanism of auto-detection, in which
  • 1) a Workflow is launched in the morning on weekdays
  • 2) it records the power supply and demand hourly (utilizing APIs)
  • 3) it alerts if the usage rate exceeded '89%'
  • and when it exceeds '94%', human will perform 'power saving procedure'.
This can be said that 'systemizing the crisis management manual'. If you use a cloud-based workflow, it will be built in three-four hours.

Yet, in this setting, we did not assume the business scenario, i.e. 'case that suddenly raising of power usage, 88% to 96% within an hour'. Realistically, it won't happen. (rare case) However, If it requires only few changes, we want to incorporate it into the setting. Now, how should we do?

[Power Saving Procedure flow] (Previously shown)

'Checking every an hour... 10 times a day...' (Loop)

It is really annoying though, I have to do... Since we are a public institution, so we must take the initiative to perform "Power saving". The checking operation I mentioned before, is about "power usage" which the electric power firm announces. Alert when the actual value of 1 hour average exceeds 89%, and if it exceeds 94%, 1) Turn off MFP and the shredder, 2) Turn off the hot water supply machine, 3) Turn off the office lighting, 4) Stop the elevator, etc..

Since '3.11' in 2011 (Earthquake & nuclear accident), power firms in Japan are publishing 'power usage' every 3 minutes (or 5). Despite in autumn or winter other than midsummer, the usage exceeds 90% once or twice a month.

Indeed, 'People who are really need the power' should be priority, but frankly, it is an annoying job. Even though I'm using Twitter and Email notification service, they don't totally fit our business. I wonder if I could manage, using APIs?

[Power Saving Procedure flow]

We will redesign the definition of "Decision-making flow" on this occasion.
  • Internal regulations have been established in preparation for stock listing,
  • Organizational structure has been flattened.
Since the business rule became simple, I will rewrite the 'Business Process Definition' from scratch, rather than to modify existing definition. That's what I thought, so I redesigned "Decision-making flow".

Whereas, I cannot discard data of past decision-making. Actually,I need to 'Refer' or to 'Search' them. Also 'Quarterly summary' and 'Summurise by sections'...

Questetra: Cloud Workflow v10 gets Expanded Free Tier
  = Unveiling New Filtering Chart for Business Process Improvement = (2014-11-07)

Especially, I think it is significant that to keep data of the same month last year in the state of easy reference. These are very important reference information to make new 'project' or 'determination'. Hmm, isn't there any way how to migrate the business data of the past, to the "Decision-making Workflow" which newly operating?

[Decision-making Approval flow]
'Renewal of Maintenance Service Contract' demands more sales force than you think.

You know what, my firm provides 'Maintenance Service for Communication Equipment', but they haven't adopted "Auto-renewal" for the contracts. So, each time, I have to request my customers to make their "Renewal Procedure" and the "Payment". I guess a salesman for insurance would feel the same way; it is tough...

Well, as the business manual, first I send an email asking 'Please renew the contract'. (Of course, the sales personnel must make phone call or visit the customer, afterward.)

  1. 60 days before Expiration : 'Acknowledgement of Renewal'
  2. 30 days before Expiration : 'Reminder for Service Expiration'
  3. 7 days before Expiration : 'Notice of Service Expiration'
  4. 7 days after Expiration : 'Appreciation for your long term usage of our service'

In those emails of four in total, the mail body and sent date,etc. are already set by the Workflow system. Therefore, all I have to do is only to transmit them without any modifying, normally. However, it is quite difficult not to forget to do, somehow.

So, I imagine if they could be sent automatically when they have been left till 'transmission day'. (I don't care it might cross.)

[Sales Activity for Contract Renewal]

Billing job? It's simple. Just to print out 'invoice PDF' and put it into window envelope. (Though, it's the words by accounting stuff.)

Data for the billing, such as 'Contents of Delivery' or 'Billing Address' has been set in the data items of "Order-Delivery process" already... The 'Invoice PDF' has been generated automatically on the Workflow... So, inputting errors by the Accounting personnel will never happen. Yeah, things have become convenient nowadays. I'm not good at typing, so I'm so happy that I don't have to. (Of course, I always check on Billing amount and the date, etc., if they are properly or not.)


Actually, there are some Steps that some sort of skills are required among such billing jobs... The Reporting of when Non-payment occurs is that. That is, 'How to report to in-house smoothly, when the payment from the customer could not be confirmed on the deadline day'. It may sounds trashy, but it is difficult to be done properly.
For instance, suppose if I sent an email to a in-house Sales person in one afternoon, in insipid single line sentence such as 'I don't' confirm the payment from ***, Co..', it will make some kind of bad atmosphere. Whereas, if my report delayed, the supervisor will blame it on me... (Either way, there will be no praise for me.)

Hmm, is there a way to improve the Business Process, like automatically (1) Fixed form email will be sent to whom concerned, and (2) Demanding Task will be assigned to the salesperson?

[Billing-Payment Confirmation flow 1]
In the morning, a Task in the title of "Daily Report, Nov. 4th" is added in your 'My Tasks'.

Not bad...

If it were not for this function, you would have forgotten to submit 'Daily Report' on the half of the weekdays. (I'm sure about it.) Incidentally, 'Submit by the time you leave' is its rule. Submit it on the next day, even if you forgot. Even worse, in the morning after the next, at least.


Although all the members are flowing a 'Daily' on this Workflow in their own way,,, I'm aware of something wrong in this function of [Automated Start].

That is, the mechanism is that the Task is automatically added to 'my Tasks' of all in every morning of Monday to Friday, whereas it will be piled up in vain when you took a few days off.
For example;
  • Bereavement leave, major holidays, Christmas holidays, etc..
  • Childcare leave, maternity leave, nursing leave, etc..
  • (There might be irregular shift workers...)
Well, on the Reports for few days, you would have worked hard, one by one. But for amount of 30 day, 60 days, or even for one year, it is definitely impossible.

[Daily Report flow 1]

There is a term of "Business Process Improvement".

A person who speak of it in abbreviation BPI, may be a severe 'Improvement-maniac'. Nevertheless, to keep on delusioning a vision of a 'Business Process' To-Be on the daily basis, is wonderful. After all, After all, Day-to-day operations of all would be a subject that should be improved along with the progress of science and technology. A "Business Process Management System" is merely a tool to help for conceiving the improvement idea. No improvement, no growth!

Well... I have covered the Business Processes that employees to submit their 'Improvement proposals', so far. Those are in the following two articles which explains effective frameworks for an Organization to accumulate improvement ideas.

However, ideas always come up suddenly. Particularly, a good idea that I hit upon, it comes up always on unfavorable occasion... In my bed, in shower, or even in the bathroom... Then, the next moment, it starts to evaporate into the air.

On such a scene, you'd better type it down on the email apps in your Smartphone.

In the following Business Process definition sample, I have added a trick that on receiving an email of 'scribble of an idea', it will be saved as a draft in [My Tasks] of the sender. That is, you will brush up your 'scribbled idea' into a formal 'Improvement proposal' to submit, when next time you are at your desk.

[Improvement Proposal flow (Designation / Email start)]
The purpose of Business Process Management (BPM) is 'Continuous Business Improvement'.

Indeed, if you create a "Business Process Definition" once, business data will be passed efficiently, and be accumulated with less noises, under the name of Business Standardization. That makes you feel like as if your business has been improved magnificently. However, on the other hand, suppose if you continue using it as it is. The way of proceeding your business will become stale soon, and it will no longer be able to keep up with changes in the market environment.

It is needless to say, but it is desirable that improvement proposal of "Business process Definition" will keep on springing naturally from inside the company, in order to achieve continuous improvement. That is, by their free will, employees should continuously submit improvement proposal, such as;
  • What if changing [the Business flow] to ******?
  • How about changing [the notes on Operating screen] as ******?
In the last article of "Business Process for Business Process Improvement!?", I have considered about an environment in which all the employees can propose at anytime.

Whereas, it is still difficult to continue pointing out the improvement challenges realistically. So today, we are going to discuss about a mechanism which you can let workers submit improvement proposals forcibly, by expanding the previous sample.

[Improvement Proposal flow (Designation)]

Want to improve Business Process. Everyone thinks so.
  • Want tochange the 'flow'.
  • Want tochange the 'data items'
  • Want to change the "team formation"

Having said so, there are not many supervisors who understand (a) What is 'to be improved'? Suppose some of them have acknowledged several challenges, there are quite less supervisors who understand (b) which improvement is on high priority now. Furthermore, suppose some of them knew the priority, supervisors who know (c) how to improve the, are very rare...

Even if there is a platform (BPM System) to improve the Business Processes, it is human that actually makes changes in the rules.

Unfortunately, it is a long way to go to the days when a computer would give proposals for improvement to humans, understanding the company policy, personality of the members, and the situation of society, etc... All we can do is to start to recognize the points which should be improved.
  • a. Recognition of what to improve.
  • b. Consideration over the priority.
  • c. Formulation of improvement policy (consensus)

The following Workflow is a Business process which the workers at their work site propose 'what to be improved' to help their supervisor to 'a. Recognize what to improve'. Even if all the employees make their proposal once a week, quite a lot of 'things to be improved' will be accumulated.

Incidentally, this is, "Easier said than done".

It might be taken to devise such as:
  • All the proposals will be rewarded with $ 5.
  • Monthly commendation of MVP (Most Valuable Proposal)

[Improvement Proposal flow]

Continuing to the last article, let's study about a business of 'In-house questionnaire'. The last time, we have considered about a general Workflow that is capable of giving 'arbitrary questionnaire' to 8 people at most. There were two points:
  • Prepared Swimlanes for 8 people and
  • Designed that the answer data from 8 to be stored.
It is good that it makes possible to do various surveys.

However, it is not realistic that giving a questionnaire to 50, 100 people in this method. Of course, you can expand the Workflow to:
  • A. Preparing 100 Swimlanes and
  • B. Defining answer data from 100 people to be stored
It seems nonsense in several meanings. Among them, what is problematic in particular is that it is 'very inconvenient format' for data aggregation. From the aspect of aggregation, it should be recorded in the unit of 'Answers', instead of 'Questionnaire'.

The following Business Process example is a definition of two separate Business process of 'Preparation of Questionnaire' and 'Answers to Questionnaire', so that to be the solution to the 'Problem of diverging data items'. Each of them will become a format of easy-to-be-aggregated, by connecting Business processes which are different in its 'repeating unit' such as n answers against one given questionnaire.

[Questionnaire Preparation flow]

[Questionnaire Answer flow (User Designation)]
Thinking about an operation called 'In-house Questionnaire'. Nothing special, it is a questionnaire given to the staffs within an organization.

For example;
(1) A method of 'Web form' for answering
Speaking in Business Process definition of Questetra, it is the [Form Start Event] to place on the top of the flow. A 'Web form for answering' will be created automatically. Each time answers are entered, a Workflow will be Started. (Not restricted to in-house users)
=> Tour 220: [Auto Start] Auto Starting Triggered by Published Web Form Entry

(2) A method that a Task of 'Answer Questionnaire' to be assigned periodically.
To place [Timer Start Event] of Questetra on the top of the Flow. A task will appear on the list of [My Tasks] of people concerned, at configured time such as 'once a month' or '4 times a year, certain date and time'.
=> Tour 217: [Auto Start] Auto Starting at the Time You Fix

In either of these methods, a variety of working steps such as "Confirmation to respondents for a description that can be interpreted in different meanings" or "sending a thank for answering" can be designed in the downstream process. However, it means to create a Business Process definition (Process Model) each time giving a questionnaire in both of the methods. These methods would be good for questionnaires which is importance or be given repeatedly.

Can't I put various questionnaires on the flow, more easily and freely?

To check the level of understanding, to aggregate the opinion, to vote for candidates of get-together venue, for example... What kind of Process diagram could be a Questionnaire Workflow which can be used for general purposes? (Even though, it will be good enough that creating another Business process definition by duplicating a [Process Model] and editing on the necessary points.)

[General Purpose Questionnaire / Review]

[General Purpose Questionnaire / Review:'1. Setting Questions and Answer Choices' screen]

In the first place, 'a Business operation' is a series of working steps. Along these working steps, day-to-day issues are flowed repeatedly.

It may be confusing, but counting of "flowing Issues" will be varied by "how you think about the Operation". In this particular questionnaire case, depending on the assumption which is at the level of 'A. Each every answer' or at the level of 'B. Each every time of the questionnaire given', the definition of the business will differ greatly, and its number will be also different.

This Business Process definition, is something like generic and repeatedly usable, and allows that given the questionnaire in its upstream and be answered by the workers in the downstream. That is, the iterating cycle is assumed at the level of 'B. Giving of the questionnaire'.

A variety of questionnaires to be given, such as 'asking evaluation on the workmanship of the new poster' or 'asking improvement of the draft proposal', are set in the upstream and it will be answered at the downstream. Although, the degree of freedom such as number of questions you like to set, is reduced because the format of data set (data items) in the Business Process is basically the same.

It can be said, though in strange way but, it's not a bad sample to recognize about the level of abstraction (unit of repetition) of operations.

Reference) What is This Thing Called 'Business Process'?

It might be confusing but, Questetra has an expansion to define a Working Step on which unspecified number of users can work. (We call it 'a Team Task'.)
It is not in the world standard notation of BPMN, but Dr. Soley, the CEO of Object Management Group, mentioned that 'It's a very interesting extension, very Japanese!'. (It might become a part of the world standard in the future.)

[List of Process Data Item]

<Similar Models>
<<Related Articles>>
The evolution of "Remote Work platform" is awesome. Cloud-based services are evolving rapidly, for example;
  • Email
  • Calendar
  • File manager
  • Web conferencing
  • Workflow(!)
  • etc.

File sharing was achieved only on Corporate LAN when it was 5-10 years ago. But now, it can be 'Always synchronize with local' on the cloud. That means, there are no longer spatial constraints on the file sharing with coworkers, even if for translating job, for Web designing job, or support service job.

In recent, "Sqwiggle", a tool for remote work of which free use limitation has been expanded, is notable. Briefly, it is a device to share the appearance of work at home, etc. with the teammates, by 'still image of every 5 minutes'. The 'presence' of coworkers can be recognized each other in a natural way, for it is not the live broadcasting of video. After all, it provides 'motivations as if they are working seated next to each other'. Well, speaking in detail, there might be some negative opinions in various levels, such as 'possibility of information leakage from still images' or 'Load on CPU by the camera'. (Shall we federate Questetra with it?)

Anyway, the environment, in which we can experience the 'new ways of working' that we never knew, is growing.

As enterprises, they can only continue to experience "new ways of working", by incorporating the new information and communication technologies. If you do not go to experience sequentially in the trial and error, you will not be able to even experience the tools of the next. (If you are doing nothing but only feel pity for a person who attends to a computer beginner's class, you will be standing on the side to be pitied.)

The following is an Online timecard system, which also serves as a daily report.

If you provide it as one of the Workflows, the worker will be able to submit daily report, in the same way processing other tasks flowing on it. You don't need another dedicating timecard system. As the first step for "Remote working" (Telework / Telecommuting), how about experience for trial of clarifying 'Hours worked'.

[Daily Report-Timecard]

Improvement on 'Business efficiency'.
Improvement on 'Business flow'.
Ah? Could 'Business Costs' be reduced to Zero?

In my daily life that thinking about the way how 'Business operations To Be', sometimes I imagine the ultimate of it. Even though it is a very simple idea, but won't it be the ultimate summit, if 'the labor' becomes zero, and so as 'the Costs'?

In fact, there are not only few Business Process in which human processing can be completely eliminated, such as 'Auto-answering to Online Estimate', or 'Auto issuance of Event Participation'. When it comes to 'Stock Trading' or 'Currency Trading', you'll get better result if you leave it to Automated trading system.

However, it is risky to go to completely automation at a jump.

There might be cases to fall into trouble just because it is automated (human could have avoided), for example, because lack of consideration on 'Exceptions', or not assumed 'Malicious use'. Or even, there would be new human trouble cases because not having a good command of automated tools.

The following Workflow, "Internal Reminder", is a Business Process which contains no human processing. (Full automation operations)

It is nothing but just a very rudimentary Business Process that is only to send precautionary email for quarterly fiscal closing date before two weeks in advance. Yes, it is a very tiny Business Process. However! It could be the "Great First-step" for 'an organization which targets and goals is automation as far as possible'.

[Internal Scheduled Reminder]

Working passively!?

It sounds so negative expression. However, fundamentally 'works' are categorized into;
  • A. Leader-driven Business Process
  • B. Member-driven Business Process

And there are a lot of Business Steps (Task) that are to be classified to 'A. Leader-driven'. These are the operations which are triggered by the followings.
  • a1. Boss requests the translation of a document.
  • a2. Boss instructs to finalize the Planning paper.
  • a3. Boss assigns the responder of client's inquiry.

On the other hand, triggers to 'B. Member-driven' jobs are as follows.
  • b1. Submitting a Daily report to Boss.
  • b2. Submitting a Decision-making request.
  • b3. Requesting approval on an estimate for a client to Boss

As you imagine, it is easy rather in 'A. Leader-driven', doing the jobs that come falling from the leader. That's the way human beings are.

Now, the following Workflow which is in a sort of 'the job done at a certain time', is neither 'A. Leader-driven' nor 'B. Member-driven'. It is a trigger to be called as 'T. Timer Start'. This comes under so-called 'Routine work'.

In fact, this is very easy. Many people impose tasks to themselves on Mondays or Fridays. After all, issues that are started automatically, would establish a rhythm of work.

[Timed Email-Timer Start]

Business Flow Diagrams are mainly drawn for the purpose of business improvement of 'Team operation'.

However, jobs done by 'more than one person' are not the only business operation. There exist so many jobs which to be completed by a single person. The following Workflow (Business Flow Diagram) is a Business operation of encouraging "somebody of the future". (What?)

First, let's try encouraging 'yourself of the future'. (Totally, all by yourself...)

The way how, is simple. You just make an email to be delivered to future you. New school term starts from today (Sept. the 1st), if you were a student. Why don't you try sending an email to you, at 9 o'clock in the morning of the day of one week after, writing 'you are ready to recite all of "Addition theorem of trigonometric", now?'

Indeed, drawing a Business Flow Diagram for 'One-man job' is nonsense. Moreover, It almost completely doesn't make sense, if
  • There is no one to explain the Workflow to.
  • There is no one to monitor the progress of the Issues flowing there.
However, please reconsider well...

[Timed Email]

Folks naturally think this and that about the 'way it should be', when trying to promote RINGI-system (Decision Making method) into paperless.

Especially in corporations of Japan, they must reconsider from the basics first, either (a) to inherit the style of traditional Japanese which seeking approval also by the directors of other departments, or, (b) to migrate to the system of obtaining an instantaneous decision only from the approval authority.

The following Business Process definition is a flow to obtain a judgement of approval directly from approver who is right above the proposer in the Organization tree, when a 'Proposal (Project)' was submitted to the Firm. That is, it's a flow diagram focused on speed which does not inherit the Japanese traditional style. Even though you can call it as a 'RINGI- system', of course, but we dare to call it a 'Project Approval system'. An excellent point is the mechanism that it automatically calculates the time it took to approve.

In addition, some people would like to give a Split Condition for the case that the proposer and the approver is the same person. However, there are different Roles and Characters in a person, so it is good enough to propose by oneself and to approve as well.

[Project Approval flow]

Between you and me, 'Corresponding System failure' is kind of exciting(!!)

For IT systems, "failure" is always an accompany. People in general probably think this job 'must be exhausting' or 'must be a heavy load', but it isn't really. Once I start working on them, adrenaline is secreted, my brain is awakened, don't know why, but I can explore the cause of the failure intently even though the middle of the night. And when I have done, I feel very refreshing. It's a healthy work unexpectedly. (Although, I lose the aspiration, right after that.)

Then, when overcome these "emergency" together, the knowledges of heretofore will be organized, and the teamwork as an organization will also be fostered. Also, it is not bad from the viewpoint of technical training. (Of course, we cannot withstand if the occurrence was too frequent...)

(Please don't tell anyone...)

The following Business Process definition is a Workflow to manage emergency issues which are called 'Trouble Ticket'. When a Trouble Ticket is opened, it will be notified to people who concerned, and people in charge will be assigned. Directors or people who have [Data Viewing permission] among employees will be monitoring the situation in real time. (And on the Enterprise Social networking, chatting will be frequent, such as '"What frequency" do you mean by "intermittently"?' or 'Who will be the "Part of Users"?'...)

In addition, the final deliverable of this Business Process is "Final Report". Reports will be created by each of both of Technical team and Web Team.

[Failure Corresponding flow]

Speaking of 'Electronic Appliance that transmits emails', it is the 'Smart Thermo Pot' which appeared in 2001. (the method of communication is unusual, though.)

Electric kettle that casually watches over aged parents who are living away, is something of a popular product in Japan. Now, it has equipped 'Outing Button' in the latest model, the kettle will send emails everyday with 'the time that water is poured' and 'the time power is turned on', as well as 'the time of going out and coming back'. (By the way, the name of the kettle is 'iPot', but it is not a product of Apple.)

And in 2014, when you look around, you'll see many instruments that transmits email in reasonable price... (You can say various things are connected to the Internet.) Among them, scanners and web cameras can be said fairly mature "Data Input device". The price is around 30000 jpy. You might call them that business improvement tool which very high return on investment.

The following Business Process definition is an Aggregation flow for questionnaire on paper.

It is a mechanism that the collected paper questionnaire such as Customer Satisfaction Survey of franchise restaurant chain or Contractor questionnaire of life insurance, is captured with scanner at each store, then the texting work will be started at the headquarter. That is, the Workflow of the headquarter is Started triggered by the 'Email sent from the Scanner', the personnel put them into data manually by looking the scanned image (PDF, JPG) on the monitor screen. Above all, it is great for grasping the progress of data working in real time. Yet, aggregating of the performance of workers is easier.

In addition, this sample model is capable of 'Double data entry'. As a matter of course, utilization of telecommuters and BPO service should be considered, if it is a Cloud-based Workflow.

[Questionnaire Aggregation flow]
You don't get 'Internal Control' kinda thing so well.
You will run away, if someone asks you "Try to explain some cases of internal control".

But you don't have to think it's so difficult. It simply is 'Activities to eliminate Fraud'.
  • a. Slogan on the Office wall, ' Fraudulent Accounting, NEVER!'. (Control Environment)
  • b. Analyze whether there might be a guy that pilfer the cash in the office. (Risk Assessment)
  • c. Summarizing the authority of the Director and members into a strict regulation. (Control Activities)
  • d. Keep the mechanism that customer complaints to be surely transmitted to more than one person. (Information & Communication)
  • e. Keep the Daily-Reports to be able to be browsed by management personnel of other departments.(Monitoring)

These activities for example, are one of the 'Activities to eliminate Fraud'.

However, it should be noted today, that we cannot ignore the use of computer and internet for the activities of this kind. That is, all the enterprises must (1) Understand the IT environment surrounding the company, (2-1) Promote the use of IT that supports those activities, and same time (2-2) tightly manage the IT itself. In fact, the internal control of Japan is assessed in six terms , the above five plus "Responding to IT".

The following Workflow definition is an operation of 'Issuance of New User Account' for IT system. It is no exaggeration to say that business to support the foundation of "Internal Control".

You will understand by looking at the business flow diagrams, it is also compatible with "Delete issuance in emergency" or "Delete Account", in addition to "Account issuance". That means, all the User Accounts that being used right now, will be able to be checked that when it was requested or when it was approved by the supervisor, at any time. In addition, the request data which flowed on this can be an important basic information on creating Control Reporting by the Management, such as;
  • 'Was it requested at an appropriate time?'
  • 'Useless account has not been issued?'
  • 'Check system for Account Issuance is working well?'

[System ID Management (Except Password reset)]

  • I'm going to eliminate the waste in work!
  • I'm going to smoothen the transferring of data!

Thinking about projects such as 'Paperless' or 'Email replacement', the operation that hits my brain first and foremost is "Sales related operations".
  • Approval flow for "Estimate"
  • Sharing flow for "Orders Information"
  • Progress management for "Product Shipment"

Indeed, improvement of efficiency of those operations would directly lead to "Increase of Sales". Moreover, the improvement cycle would also be shortened because 'Issues' will be flowed almost every day.

However, for organizations that (a) experience of drawing Business flow diagram is poor and, (b) not got used to BPMS tool,,, there will be a high risk of being stuck up with such as;
  • Range of Business Process definition is too large
  • Business data items are too many
  • Configuration of Split condition is too fine
  • Lack of unification on Cautionary statements on Input form

when trying to use a "Business Process Management (BPM) tool" for (1) Defining business flows and, (2) transferring business data, actually.

It is one of the best moves that to specify the business, which is closed to internal company and with a smaller number of steps, as a pilot project, if you wanted to proceed your business process management activities (BPM activities) steadily. The following "Business Process definition" is a flow of "Expense Report (External Payment Request)", with fewer Steps. It is very significant in terms of internal control and mutual supervision, when you stop using e-mail and verbal to communicate, and let the issue data flowing through the Business Process Management system. In addition, the aggregate data will also be a very valuable business data.

[External Payment Request (except Payments made on behalf, Credit card settlement)]

"Non-programming"... It is still a hot keyword in the industry of Business System, as ever.
  • A. No need of programming knowledge
  • B. Need programming knowledge

What I mean is not using programming languages such as Java or Python or Ruby, however, there are needs for building an IT environment that is innovative and suits themselves.

It may be a rough parable, but it is like an argument over "A. should wear the clothes off-the-shelf with altering?" or "B. should make fully made-to-order clothes?". There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods, and the method to be adopted is different depending on the IT the environment to be demanded, and the skill of the operator.

Now, in the following Business Process definition, a Step called [Script Task] that is using the programming knowledge, is built into.

While the flow of the entire business is expressed with "A. Standard processing icon", "B. Processing of its own" is incorporated into a part of the steps. Actually, it is merely making the previous coverage, "Upstream Process of Entering the Client Name, the Template" into a black-box by [Script Task]. That is, the processing of the data is completely the same.

[Upstream flow Order-Delivery-Billing (Script Task)]