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…

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…

Are file rooms making a comeback?

Via Flickr - Mohamed Baseeth

There was a time when all important company information was on a shelf or in a file cabinet.  Well organized companies could be fairly satisfied that people could find legal documents in the legal department and accounting files in the accounting department.  And with photocopiers and overnight delivery services, documents could even be shared.  When the department appointed a czar to manage their stash of documents, it all seemed to work even better.

But we all know how the story ends.  The czar retired, the company bought four other companies, people forgot the alphabet and this new-fangled computer thing arrived.  Then people weren’t so happy.  Documents weren’t easy to find.  However, with email and the internet, documents did become easier to create and…

Connected to Compliance

As we roll out compliance workflow I am reminded how information technology (“IT”) is so tightly connected to the concept of compliance.  Information, as in vulnerability reports, access requests, firewall logs, hiring statistics and much more, is the key component for compliance.  Technology, as in firewalls and workflow, is both the end purpose and solution.  You know the headlines, data breaches, ESG issues, government regulations, these are all issues that require corporate compliance measures.

Compliance is basically setting up policies and procedures that ensure best practices for corporate security, effectiveness, goals, etc. and then auditing the adherence to those policies and procedures so that risks can be avoided.  The best solution to minimize the deviation from the policies and procedures and to lessen the burden of audits, is to use technology…

Yep we need that

You or your co-workers have been away from the office for a long time now. What are you missing? That is not a question about certain people or favorite lunch spots. It’s a question about information. Has this experience exposed deficiencies or nurtured already advancing digital processes?

Some companies are finding that there were still some hard copy documents that they needed access to.  Maybe it was just random documents that were slow to enter the digital realm.  These are the documents that come in to certain people directly, but take a long time to become digital and accessbile to all.  Maybe it is a certain type of document like drawings or archived customer files that have been more difficult or…

Just like people, Bots are diverse

Via Flicker - Peyri HerreraWe have been researching the idea of creating a Bot as an enhancement to our workflow and document management solution.  The struggle is defining what this Bot is going to do.  There is no single definition of what a Bot is or how it can be used, but we generally think of it as a process automation tool.

Despite “Bot” sounding like it could be a piece of equipment, ie. RoBOTic Process Automation, it is generally a software solution that could be mimicking human thought process or even keystrokes.  There are a lot of thought processes and physical processes that could be automated.  Is there an ideal use of such a diverse and powerful tool?

There is probably a Bot being developed that collects the mail delivered to the office, opens it, scans…

Try doing less, it really works

via Flickr - Juhan Sonin

It is usually with good intentions that a project is tackled with extreme attention to detail.  Every possible variation of input and output are considered and analyzed.  Focus groups are put together to gather information from all interested parties.  The process is time consuming but can result in some good data being gathered and a successful project outcome.  It is the right way to do things.

Now the hard part is trying determine how users will find that data if they need it again.  The data that was gathered may have dug up some minutia but also large sets of data that will be used every day.  The trick is to provide the everyday user with the ability to find information in a few clicks…

It’s not so simple

via Flickr by John McSporran At some point every business probably feels a bit undervalued or unappreciated by customers or maybe by the markets.  This may or may not be justified, but we’ve all been there.  Over the years we have gained a deep understanding and appreciation for one group of businesses in particular that might feel this way – manufacturers. 

There is tremendous complexity in the manufacturing business model of sourcing parts, labor and materials, making something out of that and then selling and servicing that product.  Then there are also government regulations and customer compliance requirements to factor in.  There are highly complex software applications that help keep the cost of that seemingly simple widget at $2.00.  It’s really not so simple.

It starts with design, which generates drawings and a parts list.  Bids for the parts…

Folders and paperclips, the original workflow tools

via Flickr by Michael CoryI don’t think I would like to be in the folder, inter-office envelope, paper clip or staple businesses.  They had a great run.  They served a very good purpose.  But it’s time to move on to new forms of workflow.  Yes, that’s right, paper clips, folders and envelopes were the first workflow tools.

Paper clips and staples separated documents into relevant parts.  Folders and envelopes kept the collection of information together as it moved through the company for decision making purposes.  Plenty of business decisions still rely on a collection of data and documents.  So where have all the folders and paper clips gone? To digital workflow packages, which are the new tools for business process.

Some business processes can be very simple and decisions can easily be made with limited information.  For instance, maybe it’s a…