Automating Complex Business Processes
Last week, we talked about point-to-point integrations (data being sent back and forth between two systems). It's a technical-sounding term, but integrations are used by a LOT of businesses today because they help automate business processes. Things like support ticket systems, Request a Quote forms, automatic social media posting, email client software integrations, automatic login systems— they are all built using point-to-point integrations.
This week, we're delving deeper and looking into systems with multiple integrations and complex workflows—automations that really change a business's efficiency for the better. We're referring to processes like:
- Employee Onboarding/Offboarding
- Service Request Management
- Service Catalogs
- Access Management
- ERP Software Management
These sorts of complex processes are typically very involved (when they're not being automated, that is)— they require a lot of work to maintain and often a lot of staff as well, and, as a result, there's a greater potential for mistakes to be made along the way. They can also be costly to maintain, as so much employee time is typically poured into them. And, when there are a lot of ball-dropping opportunities within a process, customer response time is often slower as a result— sometimes, it becomes just plain unreliable for the customers. Finally, businesses spend a large amount of time and resources maintaining these processes when they could instead be focusing on profit and expansion.
And THIS is the point of automated integrated systems — to change those business processes from complicated, exhausting, time-consuming, and expensive nightmares to... Simple. Easy. Affordable. They're meant to make your business run more efficiently, make your employees happier with their jobs, build your customers' loyalty toward your quality of service, and open up more time and resources for your other business goals.
Integration Management Solutions
Integrations DO simplify business processes, but it's important to be able to organize and manage them easily too. If you have a bunch of integrations running for various tasks but no way to manage them, then they may end up being more confusing and frustrating than helpful. Luckily, there are a handful of both proprietary packaged solutions and open source management tools that offer central hubs in which to control and keep track of your process workflows.
Like usual, the pros and cons of open-source versus proprietary software for this instance mostly lie in ease of use. At Trail 9, we've set up Drupal (our recommended open-source content management system) to manage our clients' integrations on many occasions. It's completely doable, and it can work very well.
For a solution with higher usability and a more organized overall system, we recommend looking into Kinetic Data's software, kinops (yes, it's a lower-case k)— a hosted solution that offers ways to manage pretty much any and every business process you can think of. It has a central hub with a user-friendly interface, so you can keep track of all of your tasks, approvals, and forms within any given process. There are a lot of options of how you can organize your workflows, whether it's by department, service, or however you choose. You also control what aspects are seen or not seen based on the user login, so your maintenance crew won't be able to see your HR submissions, for example, if you choose.
A kinops Process Management Example
So, let's say your company onboarding process is being managed with Kinetic Data's kinops solution. According to your setup, when someone applies for a position on your website, that data is sent to your kinops instance and specifically to your HR department. And, as things progress with the applicant's hiring process, various people can approve or deny them at different points of the workflow, which affects the next steps the workflow takes.
Once approved, it's time to bring the new employee onboard! Meanwhile, your onboarding process can be automatically funneled into a separate part of the workflow where all of the new employee materials needed are automatically generated, like new employee forms, a company email account, benefits and orientation information, and whatever else they need to start at your company.
Throughout this whole onboarding automation, besides submitting the necessary approvals when prompted, no one has to do anything but let the workflow run on it's own. Besides being convenient for everyone, this eliminates all human error as well— all of the employee's information from their application and throughout their approval and onboarding process is automatically taken and stored, so there's no re-entering any data and no opportunity for checkboxes to be missed.
Want to Start Automating your Business?
Like our above onboarding process example, you can use kinops to control, organize, and manage any of your automation workflows. It does require some setup and technical maintenance, which is why we've begun offering that work to our clients as a service. If you're interested in seeing how kinops or Drupal can provide a central hub for managing your integration workflows, or if you're interested in creating automations for your business in general, give us a call at (708) 320-8643 or send us a message.