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Using SharePoint Workflows to Identify Inefficiencies in Business Processes

Workflows built on SharePoint lists and libraries can be used to identify problem points in business processes. Our newest DVD set of specialized training content for SharePoint 2013, Cheap Thrills in SharePoint presents several workflow examples useful for this purpose.

Why would an organization consider implementing workflows for this purpose? Any SharePoint stakeholders monitoring their return on investment will want to be aware of methods, like workflows. Because of SharePoint’s unique “reach”, missing an opportunity to use these no-code solutions to test intra-department procedures (such as the hiring process Ira Fuchs uses as the process behind the automatic document publishing engine he demonstrates in this course) would, in my opinion, be unfortunate.

Visio, for example, can be used to build workflows for other Office processes. There are also a number of third party products on the market, which can be implemented by large groups of users, in lieu of hard coding software for specific requirements.

But SharePoint is the only solution capable of serving as an entire online computing foundation for an organization. When SharePoint is implemented in this manner, it provides the data communications architecture for an internal Intranet. Add SharePoint lists and shared document libraries and you have a “neighborhood” for user interaction, which can provide a lot of highly useful data for gathering Business Intelligence (BI).

The office automation process Ira Fuchs uses as the backdrop for his presentation includes several points of contact from different groups within a hypothetical organization: there is a hiring manager, who wants to fill a requirement with a specific individual. There is also a manager in a human resources organization who is responsible for extending the offer letter. Finally, there is some unnamed internal organization responsible for the actual terms and conditions included in the hire’s offer letter, a related non disclosure agreement, etc.

By simply adding a series of approval workflows to the automatic document creation process described in this training set, it will then be possible to determine the points at which a hiring process may breakdown. So the benefit to the organization of implementing a no-code process development approach along the lines of what we demonstrate in this training set is actually twofold:

  1. The automatic document creation process does not require direct staff intervention and produces several documents, simultaneously
  2. The content columns of the workflow, and, perhaps, a set of recorded approvals, can both be used to collect highly useful intelligence about just how internal procedures are working out for the organization

Ira Michael Blonder

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