Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQ )
Frequently Asked Questions
We are different, this is for sure, but different is disruptive, and disruptive is survival in the modern market!
Here are a few frequently asked questions. We are updating this regularly so feel free to check back on this page whenever you like. Or, a better idea might be to subscribe to our newsletter, where questions are answered all the time. Just another part of our commitment to our customers and their ongoing success in business with FlowBiz!
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What is the value of FLOWBIZ workflow to my business?
Adopting the right business Workflow process management solution will provide a work management platform that simplifies and streamlines the deployment of work activities between people, applications, and systems in a structured and collaborative manner.
Additionally, FlowBiz Workflow Solutions will allow you to create dynamic business Workflow process models (simulating real-life, real-time Workflow processes) that can be dynamically maintained and refined, based on changing business requirements.
- FlowBiz Workflow adds value to your organisation by helping you:
- Reduce operating costs
- Manage, measure, and improve Workflow processes
- Improve quality and reduce errors
- Eliminate paper-based operations
- Improve visibility into your Workflow processes
- Automate steps in your Workflow processes and reduce cycle times
- Improve communication among employees, executives, customers, and partners
- Extend the value of existing business applications and technologies.
What is Business Process Management (BPM)
FlowBiz delivers a scalable BPM solution
FlowBiz is more than merely another layer of technology. The FlowBiz answer to BPM is to offer a scalable and a complete business-driven solution that allows a business to streamline, automate, and manage internal and external business Workflow processes. This then reduces costs while increasing customer satisfaction, product quality, and revenues.
Utilizing the core products of Workflow Connect and/or Workflow Automation provides control and visibility into the management of people, systems, and business environment, and coordinates these elements to help:
- Analyse and optimise Workflow process performance
- Simplify and automate Workflow processes
- Capture and enforce best practices, policies, and procedures
- Improve productivity and work quality
- Detect and respond quickly to changing business events
- Interoperate with disparate systems and applications as part of a business Workflow process
- Foster collaboration among employees, customers, and partners.
Whether its Workflow Connect or Workflow Automation, there is a product that is right for all levels of the business.
What is the difference between workflow connect and workflow automation?
Workflow Connect uses user driven processes without complex business rules or principles, whereas Automation combines both user and computer driven processes and can require little or no human interaction.
With Workflow Connect, the operator decides how tasks are assigned and when to implement jobs. Along with these benefits they of course receive all of the documented step by step how-to-do details so that as they execute their work tasks they are automatically following standard operating procedure. This always leads to an enormous boost in work / product quality and reduces the cost of Quality Control and Quality Assurance.
With Workflow Automation, in addition to the business procedure portal, you get a push / pull tool that delivers assigned procedures, work-in-process product, and work tasks to the employee(s) that you assign those business objects and activities to.
With either Workflow Connect or Workflow Automation versions, a fully documented process flow built with Workflow Designer automatically becomes training content that can be delivered directly before an employee at his/ her own workstation where your production takes place, or stay within Workflow Designer for hard copy versions.
Additionally…. Workflow Automation allows you to setup and manage the assignment of tasks and business rules & logic. Both Workflow Connect and Workflow Automation also enables you, to monitor task completion, to reassign tasks at whatever stage in the workflow that they currently are, and to track the amount of time it takes to complete each step by step task over time. This data is the equivalent of exhaustive time studies performed by an Industrial Engineer or other trained associate, right there in your work management tool, collected as the actual work is performed and at no extra cost.
Because both Workflow Connect and Workflow Automation tie a customer to their work-product, work-product to the process documentation that describes how to produce them, and work-product and processes to the department (department associates) that will actually produce them, you can at any time communicate to your customer(s) the status (state of completion), location (stage of production), and estimated time left for completion of their work-product.
There is no need to worry about tasks, procedural or otherwise (e.g. Tasks assigned on the fly), because once a task has been assigned the employee at that workstation will be reminded with alarm messages that tasks are coming due, or are overdue and need to be addressed according to the business rules and or logic that you have set up to handle such situations.
Moreover supervisory personnel can monitor all critically due or about-to be due tasks / work-product and can reassign, escalate, or make other necessary decisions to see to it that any show-stopper issues get resolved and that the tasks are completed. Threaded back-and-forth communication can be started for tasks and or work-products thereby creating an active task history the benefits of which are obvious. (Centralized communication, no more hidden or lost communication, speedy issue resolution, historical information that can be manipulated for root cause analysis, auditing, and knowledge mining.
The most attractive and cost effective characteristic of our Business Management Solution is the modular yet tightly integrated nature of each layer. You can start at the bottom layer – Workflow Designer and lay the documentation and process flow groundwork, later advancing to the other layer of browser based distribution of procedures and how-to-do work steps, within Workflow Connect and then eventually to workflow Automation.
I already use Visio to model business Workflow processes. How is FlowBiz workflow different?
Applications such as Visio usually only provide tools for graphically and statically illustrating the activities and routing paths of workflow processes.
These models are essentially static drawings, the best of these programs allows you to link to other documentation or applications and link between charts and procedures.
FlowBiz workflow models when used within Workflow Connect or Workflow Automation are fully configured, actionable Workflow processes that make it easy to go from concept to reality. The model accurately reflects the live Workflow process because it is the live Workflow process!
FlowBiz’s Workflow designer graphical modelling environment helps business users quickly model workflow processes and then configure workflow activities and transition details such as performer, action, business rules/conditions, deadlines, and other information.
With its unique interface Workflow Designer also allows procedural information to be aligned with the business workflow process and is available as an integrated procedure interface with full active HT.
Why choose FlowBiz workflow?
FlowBiz Workflow provides a complete business Workflow Process Management platform that accelerates business results and produces a measurable return on investment.
FlowBiz achieves this by helping you foster an effective, productive, and mutually beneficial relationship between business users and:
- Remove the barriers that stand between the conception and the development of business solutions
- Provide a unified environment and a collaborative methodology for developing business solutions
- Make it easier for you to communicate, analyse, optimise, measure, and manage your business Workflow processes
- Deploy complete Workflow process management solutions and produce demonstrable results with them as quickly as possible
- Become an innovative leader in business Workflow process management
- Delivers an interoperable Workflow process-based infrastructure that integrates your people, disparate systems and applications under one platform
- Gain total control over your operations with the power to model, test, analyse, optimise, and monitor, your Workflow processes quickly and dynamically
- Rapidly deploy and connect to existing systems for immediate return
- Utilise user-configurable interfaces adapting to any skill level and organisational role
- Increase profitability and reduce operating costs by streamlining operations
- Reduce IT technology costs by leveraging and adding value to existing systems and applications
- Bridge the gaps among your people, systems, and applications so that you can extend your business Workflow processes across your enterprise and beyond to business partners and customers
- Boost productivity by automating routine tasks, enabling straight-through Workflow processing, eliminating paperwork, and collapsing cycle times
- Enhance employee morale and customer satisfaction with improved responsiveness and easier, more efficient ways of conducting business
- Improve the quality of products, services, and information by simplifying work, eliminating errors, and catching and fixing problem transactions
- Enforce Workflow process excellence across the extended enterprise.
How is FlowBiz Workflow different from other BPM Solutions?
FlowBiz Workflow offers features unique among BPM platforms that can both inspire and enable managers to make their vision for Workflow process improvement and hence better business a reality.
FlowBiz Workflow gives you complete visibility into your organisation, its operations, and performance. Perhaps the clearest advantage is that FlowBiz Workflow makes your people part of the Workflow process and not just bystanders waiting for emails to tell them what to do. In particular, FlowBiz enables you to:
- Illustrate, analyse, and optimise your Workflow processes through user-friendly applications
- Define and then automate your workflow processes with powerful, business rules and rapid, graphical development tools
- Test business scenarios based on variations in inputs, resources, constraints, and other parameters
- Detect and respond quickly and effectively to changing business events
- Extend workflow processes and best practices to other departments and divisions in the enterprise, as well as to partners and customers
- Make employees, managers, customers, and partners as efficient and productive as possible with a configurable, easy-to-use interface for work, management, and reporting
- Extend the value of existing IT infrastructure through an extensive API set that provides interoperability across your disparate systems, saving you time and money in your BPM initiatives
- Adapt and extend into the future through support for standards in rapidly emerging platforms; the FlowBiz platform provides safe and seamless collaboration and interoperability
- Scale your solutions for department and enterprise-level performance.
My organisation is global. Does FlowBiz workflow provide foreign language support?
FlowBiz is localized to English. However with its Localisation support and Unicode interface a company can extend the user interface to support different languages based on a person’s location.
Will my organisation have to change the way we do business in order to implement FlowBiz workflow?
The FlowBiz solutions allows companies to leverage their current people, business relationships, and IT infrastructure.
FlowBiz provides the tools to simplify and accelerate business transactions between people and systems globally. It is fundamental to the FlowBiz approach that the solutions “fit into” an organization, rather than the organization fitting into the FlowBiz solutions.
How are Workflow processes designed and developed?
FlowBiz provides an easy-to-use, graphical workflow Designer, offering powerful functionality in a point-and-click environment.
Through the workflow Designer, business analysts or workers can quickly model workflow processes, easily configuring sophisticated routing and business rules, deadlines, Workflow process variables, and more, through the various tools provided.
FlowBiz workflow process designs are clear, clean, and easy-to-follow visually. Use your existing electronic documents (such as those created in Microsoft Word or Adobe) or build intelligent forms supporting pre-population of data and more using FlowBiz’s Forms Designers.
FlowBiz also provides a way for the Workflow process designer to simulate business conditions before deploying a Workflow process in a live production situation. Whether its prototyping utilizing Workflow Connect or initial business intelligence gathering utilizing Workflow Automation the designer can visually test and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Workflow process definition while saving time and valuable resources without affecting other processes.
For the End user How is FLOWBIZ workflow different from traditional workflow products?
Traditional workflow products focus on the routing of documents between people within an organisation this makes a person a bystander to the Workflow process and hence not fully understanding what is required.
The information provided to the person is typically task-oriented, driving the completion of a single activity, such as processing an invoice. Traditional workflow products do not integrate with business applications and normally utilise email as the messaging system.
FlowBiz Workflow, on the other hand, coordinates work between people and systems internal and external to an organisation and makes the person part of the Workflow process. FlowBiz Workflow is business process oriented, involving many tasks, people, and systems.
For example, Workflow processing an invoice might be one activity in an overall FlowBiz Workflow order fulfillment workflow process that can be monitored and tracked in real time across all workflow players.
How is FLOWBIZ Automation different from traditional application integration products?
Traditional application integration products focus on the exchange of data between systems and applications.
Traditional applications are typically task-oriented; driving the completion of a single activity, such as updating multiple systems after an Account representative processes a telephone order. They typically do not involve people as part of the complete process execution.
FlowBiz, on the other hand, is business process oriented, involving both automated activities, or data orchestration and manual tasks performed by people as a complete process solution. This means process-controlled integration is driven based on the whole automated Workflow process rather than a single event and thus more flexible.
For example, using FlowBiz Automation, a Client Service Officer (CSO) might be notified about a client making a specific request that the CSO has expertise in, rather than the client’s request simply going into a queue that may be handled by an inappropriate person.
FlowBiz automation also provides exception-handling capabilities that add value to traditional application integration products.
For example, if the on-line system from another program was down, and a FlowBiz business process integrated with the application FlowBiz Automation could kick off a workflow process that alerts an administrator.
How do users participate in FlowBiz Workflow processes? How do users build and administer Workflow processes?
People interact with FlowBiz Automation or Workflow Connect through a Web browser based user interface. FlowBiz Workflow Connect or Automation also includes an easily configured Web browser portal.
Within the Administration area, administrators can access the Workflow process design interface and Workflow process tools, create and view reports, administer the FlowBiz system, establish security, and manage users. Within the Work Area, users can initiate Workflow processes, access work assigned to them; view the status of executing Workflow processes, and run reports. Overdue tasks are color-coded in the work-list. Work items can also be sent via e-mail or other optional devices such as SMS to users who may not always have FlowBiz open on their desktop.
When a user clicks on a step in the browser, a web form or application is presented to the user, along with any accompanying attached documents or other information. When the user has completed an activity, the work item is removed from the work list and proceeds to the next recipient in the Workflow process flow.
Depending on which system you have installed, if Workflow Automation is installed, the user is led a long a predefined path following predefined rules. For Workflow Connect the User decides how a process should be followed based on the process flow predefined for them. Either way the user has certainty over what is required.
How can I view the current status of a Workflow process ?
FlowBiz’s Workflow Monitoring tools provide real-time representation of a Workflow process in progress. At a glance the status and path of a workflow at any point can be displayed.
Including showing who, what, when, and where as well as a graphical depiction of where the Workflow is at! Time-sensitive critical Workflow process details, including milestone reports and other time dependent events are displayed.
FlowBiz’s monitoring tools are interactive business intelligence tools. Authorized users are able to take action when monitoring Workflow processes in motion. Authorized users can reassign, cancel, and escalate. With Workflow Automation, depending on their how the Workflow process is designed, an authorized user can alter a Workflow process path and activities making changes to any workflows that have not been started, or changes to any workflows in progress.
What business applications or tools does FlowBiz support?
FlowBiz Workflow supports all Microsoft applications, or most other application utilized within a Workflow process. With its advanced connector capability FlowBiz can work with or within other applications.
FlowBiz Workflow Automation can be can be configured to interact with another application getting data from an application and sending data back to another application, providing the application allows FlowBiz automation to do these actions.
Can FlowBiz be embedded in our organisation’s corporate portal?
Yes. FlowBiz functionality can easily be embedded in portals. Reports, work lists, Workflow process lists, and other data from FlowBiz can be delivered as complete, self-contained packages of information, which can be integrated into an existing portal.
FlowBiz also ships with its own Portal tool, if you do not have a corporate portal or would prefer not to integrate for whatever reason.
What reporting functionality does FlowBiz workflow support?
FlowBiz Workflow’s extensive data capture and reporting capabilities, gives many Business Intelligence reports as well as a customizable reporting tool.
Naturally FlowBiz workflow ships with a set of standard reports for monitoring Workflow process details and statistics in real time to give business owners real time business intelligence about how well processes are running. Create custom reports within FlowBiz or export report and/or Workflow process metadata to CSV, for assimilation into advanced reporting tools, such as Crystal Reports.
For each Workflow process instance, FlowBiz archives and provides visibility into a full audit trail of Workflow process data supporting historical reporting, benchmarking, trend analysis, and the like.
Custom reports are easily written by the FlowBiz professional services team if required.
Is FlowBiz workflow specifically tailored to particular industries?
FlowBiz Workflow process models are all designed by the business process experts in an organization and thus suit any type of industry.
FlowBiz has been deployed in many environments from mine sites through to sophisticated membership systems. What makes a company unique are its business processes, FlowBiz Workflow fits an organization’s business processes, a business does not have to change its long fought for methods of operation to use FlowBiz Workflow.
How about quick start processes? And applications?
FlowBiz has a range of applications it has developed with leading Industry experts. These applications integrate into our core products to provide a seamless route and value for money solution.
Quick start processes are also included as part of any installation for Workflow Connect or Workflow Automation. Not only do these Quick start processes provide out of the box functionality they are installed in a separate database for practicing workflow design and for training purposes.
With copy and paste functionality the speed of developing or customizing these workflows is limited only by the imagination of the workflow designer.
What tools are available for customization of automated business processes?
FlowBiz’s graphical Workflow Designer offers many advanced features that adapt to and support an organisation’s business practices.
Activities and routing rules can be easily defined to set options such as participants, deadlines, transitions, etc. The workflow Designer works seamlessly with database tools, web form design tools as well as the security system that is pervasive across the complete system.
Email gives participants the flexibility to route work items to recipients who may not be part of the defined Workflow process. This feature is especially useful for review and approval Workflow processes, responding to RFPs, and other collaborative projects that may involve vendors or other external recipients.
Simply clicking on a link in a workflow allows a user to interact with the workflow at the correct step in the workflow.
Must I hard-code individuals into Workflow process definitions?
No. FlowBiz supports the creation of user groups and hierarchies to avoid hard-coding individuals into Workflow processes.
Hierarchies can represent the variety of reporting structures that exist within an organization. User groups represent roles, departments, teams, or other conceptual definitions of individuals or multiple people.
One or more people may be assigned to a user group; people may be assigned to multiple user groups; one or more user groups may be assigned as recipients of an activity. The hierarchical format of FlowBiz’s user management aligns well with corporate directory structures and can integrate with most standard Active Directory and LDAP structures.
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