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It make sense to incorporate risk management policies into SharePoint and/or SharePoint Online workflow architecture

Workflows designed to automate organizational processes should be designed to support approved risk management procedures. The potential for problems to arise from workflows designed without attention to these procedures is too great to proceed otherwise.

Properly attending to this requirement means proposing applications of SharePoint’s out-of-the-box approval workflow not only “horizontally”, but also “vertically” within one’s organization. This step will ensure all of the stakeholders have been informed about the proposed automated process before it is actually implemented.

SharePoint, and/or SharePoint Online stakeholders can safeguard against the chance of implementation of workflows before this necessary “reality check” against approved risk management policies and procedures has been completed by incorporating the topic of workflows in a governance plan, and designating points of required approval within the publishing process for any of these automated procedures.

Anyone with an interest in learning more about why taking these steps should be mandatory for any organization need only read a recent article published in the Wall Street Journal. This article, titled Texas Hospital Changes Ebola Patient Account, includes mention of the type of problem we have just presented: “the hospital had ‘identified a flaw in the way the physician and nursing portions of our electronic health records interacted in this specific case,’”. The interaction between these portions, as clarified in a companion article appearing in the New York Times, on the same day, is actually controlled by two separate “workflows”.

Few, if any organizations want to take the risk of ignoring the kind of sound risk management policy required to ensure safe automated processing of otherwise repetitive tasks. But in the case of the hospital mentioned above, the fact two separate workflow procedures apparently were in place for two different groups of personnel, who otherwise maintained an important (if not vital) hierarchical decision-making system, potentially hid information of critical importance to the organization, itself.

SharePoint-Videos offers several sets of video training content on building workflows with SharePoint 2007, 2013, and even SharePoint Online, Office 365. More information about the sets we offer can be found on our SharePoint Corporate DVDs page on our web site.

Ira Michael Blonder

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