Gauteng Business News

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ERP: Workflow Manager: Better Business Process Control


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For many companies, business processes lack visibility and as a consequence, cannot be easily understood, managed or optimised. Directly addressing this issue, enterprise resource planning vendor HansaWorld has introduced Workflow Manager to its Customer Relationship Management module, allowing its customers to see, understand and control workflows better.

Alan Sher, HansaWorld SAF Director and Product Manager says Workflow Management is designed to be easy to use, providing a visual representation of business processes complete with alerts to keep track of actions and responsibilities as they relate to customer data in the CRM system. “The feature itself comes at no additional cost to HansaWord CRM customers, but adds powerful new capabilities which can be set up by the user themselves,” he says.

Workflow Management is particularly useful in situations where there are handovers from one person to another as a business process runs its course.

Sher points out that business processes are universal; “HansaWorld itself uses Workflow Manager to keep track of our sales process, providing a visual representation of leads, follow-ups, persons responsible and the status of projects. Should any step of the process fall behind scheduled updates, the system draws attention to it with a simple red, yellow or green highlight.”

The system also reminds the persons responsible if they haven’t performed a scheduled action, and gives managers an instant overview of the performance of the process and the people within it.

While HansaWorld’s sales process is an example of an enterprise business process, Sher says processes are found in all companies. For example, in a restaurant, a waiter visits the table and takes an order and passes it to the kitchen. The chef prepares the order, then passes it back to the waiter, who delivers the food and follows up with drinks orders, subsequently preparing the bill and handing over to the cashier.

These examples of simple business processes, notes Sher, typically aren’t codified. “This is the case for many companies throughout South Africa. The business processes exist as a concept in the owner or manager’s head; they aren’t ‘visible’ as a diagram or schematic and therefore must be explained to staff members verbally or demonstrated; the staff member might then adapt the business process to suit their own workflow.”

Sher says Workflow Manager removes uncertainty and it supports improved productivity by automatically drawing attention to who is responsible for what. “It’s like an automated project manager, particularly useful for teams of people who work together to achieve a desired outcome.

He points to the example of a signage company that erects outdoor advertising billboards. “The process starts with a quote being sent to a customer. The quote is monitored for feedback and once accepted, a job record is created, then Workflow Management is applied across the perhaps 10 people who print the visuals, assemble the billboard, apply the visuals to the sign, then invoice the customer and collect payment. Workflow Manager provides the information to synchronise activities and personnel, and provides all in the business process with a clear view of progress, actions and responsibilities.”

In this particular example, adds Sher, Workflow Manager also takes paperwork out of the process, removing a manual, error-prone and time-consuming aspect of this company’s operations.

“By introducing Workflow Manager, our customers can boost productivity, accelerate business processes and improve management of people and materials – and all that comes at no additional cost,” he concludes.


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