Automated Workflow

10 January 2020

finao specialises in automating workflow. Workflows are like stories, they usually have a start and an end (and sometimes a middle). In the business world workflows are important as it usually means data is being passed between people in a predetermined flow (in accordance with business requirements).

Some workflows are structured (they are linear) and some are unstructured (nonlinear). The difference between these workflows is the way the workflow develops dependent on the data entered.

A linear workflow will have a start and end regardless of the data entered. They are usually predictable and repetitive (the form just needs to be completed). A linear example is a Site Diary - A Site Diary will usually be started (opened) at the start of a shift and then finished (closed) at the end of the shift. It may also have a middle where activities are added or visitor inductions are recorded.

A nonlinear workflow can become very complex. A simple example is an Incident form, the incident is reported (started) and the user selects whether it is a WHS, Environment or Quality incident. An organisation may deal with these types of incidents very differently. It is almost certain that different SME's would be engaged dependent on the incident type. Once the incident has been initiated and the subject determined then it may be reviewed and a Corrective Action generated. This then introduces additional workflow complexities.

Complicated, complex workflows are very common, especially when you deal with forms such as the 'permit-to-work' process. A worker may be doing a simple job in a low risk environment or a complicated job in a high risk environment. One workflow may be a few steps or a few hundred steps. finao has developed a complex high risk workflow for a client that has up to 152 steps. The probability of a single form including all 152 steps is very low but the type of high risk work requires all variables to be considered.

Workflow will usually include assigning responsibility with a timeline. This means that the next person in line is automatically notified or, the person completing the form selects the person responsible. In the examples above the Site Diary may go to the Project Manager for review / approval, in the Incident form the SME would be responsible. If the next step of the form does not have someone assigned then it is not doing its job!

With a finao system you have the option of notifying responsibility through an email, an SMS or an online / in system notification.

The advantage of adding a date for completion of the workflow is that reminders can be sent if the task is not complete. If the task is not completed in a timely manner then an escalation process can be integrated (automated workflows inside automated workflows).

finao systems have an inbuilt to-do lists, this means that when a person logs into the system they can see what needs to be done (in real time) and by when.

Many clients currently manage workflows through excels, finao has nearly 10 years experience developing these excel based workflows into automated, easy to use, easy to manage online forms.

And remember, the automated workflow may be part of a broader organisation process.

Benefits of automated workflow;

  • Real time reporting
  • Improves efficiency
  • Simplifies workflow (due to automation)
  • Assigns responsibility
  • Ensures accountability
  • Provides an auditable trial
  • Improves management visibility through visual representation of the status

For more information on finao and automating workflow, contact Terry Down (