Workflow Automation Software

Millennia Group Blog

Go ahead, take two weeks off

Via Flicker - Bernard Dupont

Banks and other financial institutions have a requirement that all officers must take two consecutive weeks off work.  The reason, which is advocated by the FDIC, is so that the institution has a better chance to uncover fraudulent activity.  If the employee is gone for an extended period, strange correspondence and irregular transactions handled by the backup employee could expose the fraud.

However, irregular and strange don’t only relate to fraud.  That type of activity can be related to current business processes.  Our last post was about how costly exceptions to the standard business process seem to go unnoticed because managing the exception becomes routine for that employee.  Therefore, whenever there is employee turnover or extended PTO, plug in a…

Workplace Bias, the Process Kind

Via Flickr, The Detective by Paurian

We love to dig into our client’s business processes and help them overachieve their stated goals of improved efficiency or compliance.  It’s a mentally challenging and stimulating exercise that we really enjoy.  However, we have learned that part of the challenge is the fact that there’s a real bias to under-divulge information about what the current process consists of. 

This bias is not intentional by any means.  It’s a function of unconscious acceptance of exception management as part of the job.  Put more simply, most employees just handle the issues that come up when there is an exception, and it doesn’t register as a “step” in the process.  However, it is exactly these exceptions that take the most time and…

Mission Not Impossible

Via Flickr, Tony Werman and Funtoosh

It’s difficult to claim that you are compliant with internal or external rules and regulations if you don’t have a good base to start with.  Take the concept of the accurate value of your customer contracts for instance or exposure due to vendor contracts, both part of any Sarbanes Oxley regulations (SOX).  It’s hard to imagine having complete confidence in those values or exposures, defined as no more than 5% deviation by SOX, if you don’t have confidence in the collection of supporting documentation.

The focus on customer contracts should take precedence and probably does already in terms of recording the contract terms in your billing system.  But the effort for the most part is still a manual…

Bring on the auditors!

Regulatory and other entities that audit

Does the thought of going through an audit scare you?  What is an audit?  According to The American Heritage Dictionary, an audit is – An examination of records or financial accounts to check their accuracy or confirm adherence to policy or regulation.  And what does an auditor do? Performs verification and substantiation procedures.  And what types of audits are there? Financial, compliance, internal, security and many more.   

Audits are not something that most of us enjoy going through.  Not for nefarious reasons, but mostly because of the extra time demands and that feeling of uncertainty about providing the required information.  Your accounting system or ERP has been designed to collect and keep your transaction information.  However, can your auditor verify and substantiate the transactions or adherence to…

You need a smaller house

Via Flickr - Nicolas Boullosa

Has anyone experienced the dad who angrily says ‘where’s my screwdriver’, because it wasn’t put back where he thought it should be.  Are some of your family members more organized than others?  Is one more detail oriented or creative or devil-may-care?  Maybe if your house was a lot smaller, say one room, you wouldn’t have this problem.

Ok, blow that up by 1,000 work associates and think about your critical information.  You can’t make that “house” smaller.  No HR department can choose work associates who all think and work alike.  And you can’t effectively force a single method.  What can be done to give users a reasonable chance to avoid wasting time looking for that screwdriver?  Or more importantly, avoid a negative compliance or…

How old are you?

Explore

Try to remember the days of all files being on a shared network drive or all data in spreadsheets.  Try to remember creating and sharing the responsibility of managing a spreadsheet.  What was the largest group of cohorts that you worked with to create a spreadsheet?  Is that easier now than before?  If you need to go back and find the final version of that file, is it easy to do?  Is it easy to share internally and externally?  Do you even need to create spreadsheets anymore?

Is your world any better now that you have implemented that all-encompassing, do all solution be it ERP, contract management, collaboration, or document management solution?  Is it easier to create, collaborate on, find and share information?  Is there better…

Report v Workflow

Two weeks ago I attended the Realcomm IBCON Real Estate Technology Show that was held in Scottsdale and it was very well done given the Covid restrictions.  There were many vendors with fantastic solutions for everything from monitoring building systems to managing the due diligence process.  Based on my observations, all of the vendor offerings had a dashboard and very nice reports to help users digest the wealth of information these solutions gather and provide.   

This week I had a good conversation with a colleague about a potential need for workflow.  As I listened to the concept it occurred to me that part of what was needed was reporting, maybe even a dashboard.  However, part of the need would definitely also benefit greatly from workflow. …

Risk – Identify, Calculate, Assume, Navigate

Business is full of risk and yes, I CAN live with it.  In fact, having a risk management approach to your business can be hugely beneficial.  Once you have identified the risk and calculated the amount of risk, you can either assume or avoid the risk.  If you assume the risk, then it is imperative to navigate or manage that risk.

Most businesses manage a variety of risks usually around customer, vendor, market or government.  Lately that has expanded to include environmental and social media risk.  It turns out that beyond being excellent tools for improving efficiency and enabling remote work, document management and workflow are risk management tools as well.  Here are some thoughts on how the two work together and how these tools will…

Wow that’s messy

How can artificial intelligence (“AI”) help you?  Cleaning out the garage or basement?  Reorganizing your closet?  Organizing your family photographs?  Some readers are experiencing anxiety just reading those words much less actually trying to complete those tasks.  But AI is not going to help in those scenarios.

Here’s another anxiety generator – reorganizing and cleaning out your company file server.  Imagine how good that would feel, especially if AI did it all.  Sorry, but that is not likely to happen either.  At least not on its own.  But you if you want to achieve the significant benefits of well organized, accessible information, here are some tips for such a large, complex project.

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Magic and madness

How can it be that there is both magic and madness when it comes to implementing workflow?  The magic is when you experience the efficiency of a successfully completed process – the approved budget, the signed contract, the approved scholarship.  The madness is getting to that point.

Getting a digital workflow process designed and implemented is fun for people like me who love the challenge of figuring it all out.  But it can be complete madness for others as they work to define the real process and consider options made available by the technology.  If you want the magic and to avoid the madness as much as possible, follow these steps.

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