In the article before the last, "Episode 518: What is Automation of Business Process (Part 1)", I mentioned about two aspects regarding automation of Business Process, such as;
  • [A] Automation of handing over of Issue information between Processes
  • [B] Automation of processing in certain Step

Also, in the last article, "Episode 519: What is Automation of Business Process (Part 2)", I mentioned about the scope and implementation method of "[A] Automation of handing over".

In this article, I would like to organize the range to which "[B] Automation of processing" can be applied and the implementation method.

What kind of "processing" can be automated

Complete automation (Auto-Step)

Likewise the idea of "[A] Automation of handing over" is that leaving the delivery of Issue information from a certain Step to the next one to a computer, it leaves the "work inside certain Step" to the computer in "[B] Automation of processing".

Even in "Quote Creation and Approval" which is a Business Process with a high degree of human dependence, for example, it is possible to leave processing in Steps to the computer, such as
  • creating Quote PDF file,
  • sending email with file attachment,
  • posting summary of the Quote to Enterprise social network.

* Incidentally, it may be easy to understand with an expression that (instead of using the term of 'automation') "part of Step of Business Process to be unmanned", as long as it is not necessary to contrast with "[A] Automation of handing over."

Partial automation

On the other hand, there are some Steps that not to be automated completely.

For example, in the Step of "Creating a Quotation" in "Quote Creation and Approval" Business Process, supporting function such as
  • Calculate total amount
  • Calculate consumption tax amount
would contribute to labor saving of work. However, in this case, the Step of "Creating the Quote" is not unmanned, as some human input (human interface) is necessary. Therefore, it can be said that such Steps should be classified as "human Step".

[Quote Creation and Approval]
In "What is Automation of Business Process (Part 1)", the previous article, I described about two aspects on automating Business Process, such as
  • [A] Automate the delivery of Issues information between Processes
  • [B] Automate processing in certain Step

In this article, I would like to organize the scope of application of "[A] automation of delivery".
* Regarding "[B] automation of processing", I will describe in the next article.

What kind of "delivery" can be automated

How to define a Flow

In order to smoothly deliver "Issue information" in daily work, (as a matter of course) "Flow of work" must be defined.

In the age where Issue information was managed by "paper" or "signboard", it was sufficient that "Business flow" has been described in natural languages (sentences) such as business manuals. However, to let the computers do delivery, "business flow" is needed to be defined in a "manner that computers can recognize".

In other words, it can be said "the Flows comprehensible by the computer" are the applicable range of "[A] automation of delivery".

[Order Reporting flow-email notification]

What is a "Business Process" in the first place?

A Business Process is a sequence of "several Steps".

For example, in the Orders reporting Process that occurs daily on many companies, it is formed with Steps such as;
  • [1] Sales department employee: register the contents of the order
  • [2] Sales leader: Confirm the order details
  • [3] Sales department manager: approve the order details 

Automation, two aspects

And today, "automation of Business Process" which became popular as a topic under the keyword "productivity improvement" is discussed in either or both of the meaning of;
  • [A] Automation of handing over of Issue information between Processes
  • [B] Automation of processing in certain Step

What is "A: Automation of handing over"?

The antonym of "automatic" is "manual" or "labored", and after all, it can be said that "something that is not a human being" will be responsible for handing over. Today, "Automation with computers and the Internet" is the basic.

It can be said that these functions are necessary condition. In such an environment of automation, It will be transmitted automatically, i.e.;
  • If the output of the Step of [1] is input, it will go to the Step of [2]
  • If the output of the Step of [2] is input, it will go to the Step of [3]

As a matter of course, it is necessary to set Business flow in advance. And also, in reality, it is prerequisite that individual Issue information is managed in "digital data" (paperless).

"Handover" by Workflow

And today there are many products that correspond to splitting and looping of flow.

For example, the following Business Process definition (setting of Business flow) expresses
  • [1] Sales department staff: register the contents of the order
  • [1x] Sales department staff: Re-register the contents of the order (Reworking on rejected issue)
  • [2] Sales leader: Confirm the order details
  • [3] Sales department manager: approve the order details
  • [4] Sales department manager: Report on the content of Issue over 1 million yen to supervisory directors
(According to International Standard Notation BPMN: Business Process Model and Notation)

[Order Reporting flow]

Start workflow by external trigger

In the previous article "Episode 516: Method of Starting Workflow by "Email", I wrote about Workflow triggered by" Incoming mail ". Surely, I will be asked the question that "Is there any other way to start Workflow besides email?" (I have not been asked it yet, though...)

Yes, there are!

In the case of the Cloud based Workflow "Questetra BPM Suite", the APIs are provided as follows. "B1. Start Process" among them corresponds to all of HTTP / WebForm / Email. That is, it is possible to design a Workflow triggered not only by "Incoming mail" but also by "Web form input" or "Reception of HTTP request".
  • A. "Developer APIs" which Workflow system always provides (OAuth 2 / Basic)
    • A1. Operation by User (Workflow APIs)
    • A2. Operation by System administrator (System Setting APIs)
  • B. "Process Model connection API" which each business application provides
    • B1. Process start (Message Start Event) (HTTP / WebForm / Email)
    • B2. Standby in the middle of Process (Catching Message Intermediate Event) (HTTP)
    • B3. External transmission (Throwing Message Intermediate Event / Auto-step) (HTTP / Email)

Workflow to start Workflow

Even though it becomes a little "beyond the basics"... Since it has a function of "B3. External calling in the middle of Process", If you set it as follows
  1. X-Process as to "transmit HTTP request", and
  2. Y-Process as to be started by "Receiving of HTTP request",
so that connection between XY Workflows is also possible.

That is, you can realize the followings.

Well, now, In this article, I would like to think further about a method of"start multiple Issues at once" using CSV data.

[Batch starting of Telephone survey Process (Parent Process)]

[Telephone survey Process (Child Process)]

Happy New Year

New Year 's Days in Japan are "almost like holidays" from January 1 to 3, and will gradually return to "normal" from the 4th.

"Stock exchange", for example, it is decided to start trading (unless Saturdays and Sundays) on January 4th. (December 31 to January 3 are all closed holidays) Also, in the "Act on Holidays of Administrative Organs", December 29th to January 3rd is stipulated as "administrative organs holidays".

So, today (January 2), many workers in Japan are spending a lot of time doing nothing.

Whereas, if you are working as (*) a planner, you might want to put "inspired idea" on workflow even if you are on such a holiday.
* Reporter, Composer, New product planner, etc.

Business Process that can also be started by email

In the following Workflow, you can separately start [1x. Idea registration] by emailing, besides starting a Process" from [1. Idea registration] like other general application Workflow.

The point is where the person in charge of handling of the first processing Step (person in charge of Swimlane in which the first Step is) is decided by using the "From address" of the email.

Even though somebody might say 'if it is 'inspired idea', it is enough to just email to oneself'... If you understand this mechanism, for example, it can be applied to "Email linkage with other systems" etc. Taking advantage of consecutive holidays, you ought to try out "Business modeling" with the free version of Cloud based Workflow.

[Email Starting]