Automating COMPLEX WORKFLOWS with Salesforce –
The shortage of scalable tools for knowledge workers
For decades, many IT organizations have been dealing with developers outside of the IT department as if they were insurgents – their weapons were Excel and Access.
-Mike Rollings (Gartner), Citizen Development: Reinventing the Shadows of IT
Knowledge workers need to use multiple systems to get their work done, often with a combination of enterprise process applications, other data sources, and end-user computing tools such as spreadsheets. They frequently have to work around the predefined process in some way, especially for collaboration and customer communication. The systems may be augmented or integrated in an ad hoc, unsupported manner in an attempt to improve the functionality and information context.
Few organizations, until now, have actively supported the efforts of their knowledge workers to solve problems themselves.
The tools knowledge workers use today to help them achieve their objectives are like the land of mutant toys.
They do just a fraction of the job needed, they can’t work together, and they create a slew of problems, including:
- Duplication of data
- Lack of security
- Lack of scalability
- Lack of oversight
- Need for hardware and software
- Inability to be included in workflows
- Inability to leverage new technology
Indiscriminate use and abuse of spreadsheets is typically rampant, resulting in:
- spreadsheets being emailed around the organization for data collection and synthesis;
- spreadsheets being used as part of a core process without anyone really knowing how they work;
- spreadsheets so massive that a human can’t possibly comprehend them;
- employees spending an inordinate amount of time cutting and pasting, updating, consolidating and re-entering data onto spreadsheets;
- frequent instances of out-of-date information in spreadsheets;
- multiple versions of the same spreadsheet circulating around the company; and
- spreadsheets being used to produce recurring, error-prone reports.
WORK-RELAY – A NEW APPROACH TO PROCESS MANAGEMENT
Build complex Salesforce workflows
What is a project, really? It’s a set of defined tasks, assigned a timeline and utilizing a set of resources to get the project done. All of this is managed to reach an end goal – to deliver the project, in scope, on time and on budget.
But projects are not the only elements of a business that follow a sequence of events to reach a specific goal. Processes, like projects, have steps that are followed to reach a business objective.
Among the differences between a process and a project is that a process is not assigned to a specific timeline, and a project, while likely similar to other projects, has distinctive elements that require customization in the planning and execution. Yet businesses have both processes and projects. At its core, a project is really a unique instance of a process that has a timeline associated with it.
But processes and projects have always been documented and mapped in separate ways and with distinct software applications. And to some degree, this makes sense. Project managers and business process analysts have different skill and knowledge sets, and need different tools to map their work. But in the end, the two are still related.
This is why Work-Relay was created. Work-Relay is a 100% native Salesforce app – so it runs on a platform you already use. It is a process-driven project management application. It is a single tool that supports both elements – processes and projects. There is no need to import information from one application to another, or duplicate it due to a lack of integration. Instead, there is a single interface for both process design and the management of projects.
Work-Relay enables the creation of a repeatable and well-designed process that can then be used for an instance of a distinct execution. Users can take responsibility for design or management within the tool, based on their skillset. Time becomes an element in process design, projects have insight into how individual tasks fit into the larger picture. These two interlinked business elements are brought together in a single application.
And because Work-Relay is built within Salesforce, it provides all the benefits associated with a fully native app. As part of the platform, Work-Relay enables communication to occur in a number of ways, including SalesForce’s own collaboration tool, Chatter, through email and even with SMS. Plus, Work-Relay is Lightning Ready and Salesforce 1 mobile enabled.