So you want to automate business forms and process?

Recently, we received a request from a client organisation (IT staff on behalf of business department) using SharePoint that they would like to automate an absence form(s) and process, to which I replied, you mean the process of managing absences! Then the client asked, how much will it cost to have this fully automated solution with electronic forms? I asked what is the process of managing absences together with who’s and how’s of the process interactions?

We frequently receive these type of requests to automate business applications and what we find is that there is a gap between desired outcomes and implementation together with  IT departments not aligned with their business. Of course, the time it takes to build applications and costs are the biggest factors that determine the feasibility of embarking on such process automation projects.

According to K2 (Forms and workflow solutions provider) experience, as a rough guidance, a business with 1000 employees may have around 400-500 processes that might be viewed as automation candidates. So you can imagine from asking a simple question on how long it will take? this is rather more dependent upon the following factors:

  • Number of related processes (workflow parameters)
  • Process value (who is involved and how much time, resources are consumed)
  • Process documentation (if not available requirement gathering and analysis becomes essential)
  • Data availability (tapping into existing data or create new data structures)
  • Effort required to design and build forms and reports
  • Reusable components, if using an existing SharePoint third party workflow software (Nintex, K2, etc.)

I hope this post helps you understand and equip you with some points of consideration you need to bear when building an automated business application.

Hope this helps!

Chirag Patel @techChirag

This post first appeared here: http://blog.pointbeyond.com/2013/02/08/so-you-want-to-automate-business-forms-and-process/

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