Workflow for SMEs

In Australia in June 2011, there were 230,638 business with between 5 and 19 employees; and a further 81,006 employers with 20-199 employees; according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.  Businesses of this size struggle with process – they are large enough to deal with increasing specialisation of work; but the costs of specialised solutions (HRIS systems; Case Managment Solutions; Sales systems) can be prohibitive.  Often, this results in continuing with paper or spreadsheet-based systems well beyond the point at which they are efficient for those businesses.

The economies of scale to build and deploy workflows for an organisation means that it is typically large organisations who have the process knowledge, skills, and time available to undertake a process mapping and development process and to get the full benefit of a workflow automation process.  On the other hand, all organisations use workflow – the nature of work is that any process involving multipe steps or people can benefit from going through review and automation.  In many cases, this means that Small and Medium enterprises don’t get the benefits of workflow… despite being the largest category of employer.

Web and Flo, having worked with large and multinational organisations for over a decade, and an SME ourselves; have decided that enough is enough – and have started developing a library of best practice workflows that we will make available to SMEs for free, or on a subscription-model.  The idea is to consolodate the process information we’ve gathered over many years, and make the available to organisations that until now haven’t been able to benefit from BPM and Workflow Automation.  We’d welcome any input into what processes are the most painful for business as the outgrow their paper and spreadsheet-based systems.  Please feel free to comment in the blog or reach us at the Web and Flo website if you’re interested in learning more, or in registering as a Beta client.

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Revenge of the Workflow / BPM keywords

A while ago I went through the list of several Workflow / BPM vendors homepages.  I listed a few of the words that were often found among them.  I figured this was a somewhat unscientific was to determine what were the types of things that potential clients would be looking for in BPM products.  I have since gone back to my survey and added a few more sites.  Here are my results for key words that appeared on 30% or more of the websites.

achieve
application
automate
based
better
BPM
business
capability
change
collaborate
compete
complex
control
cost
customer
define
deploy
design
efficient
enterprise
environment
execution
fast
finance
help
implement
improve
information
integrate
intelligent
management
modeling
monitor
optimise
performance
process
productive
project
rapidly
resource
service
software
solution
streamline
system
task
time
user
work
Workflow

One thing I noticed absent from the list was acronyms for things like BPMN, BPEL or OMG.