Business Process Workflow

Business process, or workflow as some may call it, is anything but thrilling to most people but for us, it’s a passion. We’ve been making money for almost 20 years automating business processes using various technologies. While building CX2, we decided to take our experience in solving business problems and implement a flexible and simple, yet powerful workflow engine. This provides flexibility while trusting the people and the process. Our general approach is to ‘trust and verify’ vs. ‘automate and forget’.

CX2: Processes with Common Sense

Traditionally, technology was used to build processes based on contingencies that rarely happen.  This tends to overcomplicate the items that happen regularly. We’ve seen it enough to know that we could do it better by trusting that you know how to do your job. In CX2 we do exactly this while making the process accessible and simple for all users involved.

Municipality Form Statuses

Below is an example of statuses for a sample form in CX2. Each status represents a possible step in the process.

New Residential Structure Form in CX2
 

Form Design Processes

Our process starts with form designs in CX2 and each form design can have its own unique process. Each step in the process is called a “Status”.  It controls many of the available options for that form while it remains in that status. As an example, if a form is in a status of “Plan Review” we may want to limit the applicant’s ability to change the form or make a payment. While a status of “Issued” may enable payments, but limit the ability of the form submitter to make changes to the form.

Process Owners

Regardless of what options are set for the status, a group is assigned to the form. This group is responsible for the form while it remains in the status. We call this group the “Process Owners”. The process owner is responsible for that form while it remains in that status. The process owner may then, at any time, change the status to what they feel is the next logical status for that form, without having a predefined path. This is commonly referred to as a state machine process. This process-type empowers the process owner (who knows their job best) to work the item as they deem necessary.  It allows the Process Owners to deal with any inconsistencies or variations, without overly complicating the application or the “process.”

Below is an example of some of the form settings available for a status in CX2.

CX2 Application Review
The drawback to this approach is that any process owner assigned could possibly skip steps or work around the process. Sure, this could happen but it could also happen with a predefined path or workflow as well. Our solution: an audit trail. CX2 logs every interaction with status updates as part of the form history. Any time a process owner updates a status, then who, what, when, and why is recorded. Ultimately, if somebody isn’t doing their job correctly, it’s logged and will be observed by others including their supervisors. Existing policies and procedures do not always need to be implemented via software when ultimately humans can make the right decisions while being held accountable.

Below is an example of the form review section of a form in CX2. This section is only displayed to the “Process Owner.”

CX2 Form
Below is the status selector being used. The “Process Owner” chooses the appropriate status, while adding notes which are included in messaging as well as the history of the form.

CX2 Status
Below is an example of the status history for a form in CX2.

CX2 Form History
Our goal in CX2 is not to automate people out of the process or to think for them. Ultimately, our goal is to make it easier for staff members to do their job; not for the software to do 100% of their job for them. This means a simpler process which can be deployed quickly and also be maintained or updated by the customer, without incurring additional costs or delaying deployments for months or even years. With this approach, we are able to get customers deployed in 7 weeks or less without charging a dollar for onboarding costs.