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Status Driven Work List to Workflow Inbox : A big leap for some ?

I have been working on a couple of projects recently that have been using the Composition Environment (CE) to create both Guided Procedures and BPM Processes.


I have noted that when these projects have been demonstrated to the users it has been hard for them to “trust” that the workflow engine will keep track of all the items and that items will not “fall” through the cracks. When I first encountered this I thought it was a problem with the technology…what is this thing called the UWL (Universal WorkList) ? What is SAP Portal ? Where is SAPGUI ?


However after digging a bit deeper I think this is about much more than the technology. I think it is more about changing the culture of organisations from one where WorkLists created by “Status Codes” stitched together by “expertise” is replaced with “the system” understanding the process and “involving” the right people at the right time. For many people that I speak to they find this very un-empowering. They feel that the system is taking away part of their job – which it is!. To counter this “fear” I have found that the following needs to be built into the system :-


  1. Build in delegation and escalation processes from the start. Show how processes can’t get “stuck” in the system.

  2. Provide ways for the workflow to start ad-hoc workflows or queries e.g If the user is expected to approve or reject something, provide the ability to also “raise a query” to a “super” user.

  3. Provide flexibility to build alternative process flows that can be created quickly and easily. Don’t make the users feel that they have to get every process documented in the system. Once you show the ability to start one process from another they can start to see how the “super” user can start to define process variants over time – it does not all have to be defined before go live.

  4. Focus the “expertise” of the users on the execution of the task not the ways of joining those dots up.


If these features can be demonstrated I have found that the acceptance of the system by the users is much greater, they can see how they can start to “leave the system to do the day to day stuff” and they can focus on how to handle the “exceptions”.


What else is key ?

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  • Agreed, getting users to trust the system is often the most important cultural hurdle. As I like to explain it to end users: The point of these technologies are there to take away the administrative burden of juggling what needs to be done and leaving people to just get on with their job.