It is crucial for knowledge workers to build their own process management solutions.
The health, competitive power, and even survival of an enterprise largely depends on its ability to understand and harness the power of knowledge workers who are enabled to take responsibility for providing automatic solutions to meet many of their business needs.
– IBM System Journal, SOA Meets Situational Applications: Examples and Lessons Learned
The speed and efficiency of a responsive organization can only occur if people think for themselves and control their own actions. The notion that some central person can do all the thinking for everyone is a quaint idea from the days of the industrial revolution, when we lived in a slower, simpler and more predictable world.
– Michael Hugos, Business Agility: Sustainable prosperity in a relentlessly competitive world
 
Knowledge workers are required to make decisions and judgments based on their knowledge.
Process Management Solutions

Process Silos are Killing Your Productivity

Silos are often heavily guarded fortresses which are protected by impenetrable vines of bureaucracy, entrenched interests and Established Ways of Doing Things.
Process Silos
Silos limit the workers’ access to knowledge about their customers and their opportunities to use that knowledge to better serve the marketplace.
Process Silos
Silos obscure the overall visibility of work being done in the organization as a result of multiple interfaces, disjointed processes, and complex data integration.

Automating Workflows – The shortage of scalable tools

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, which is why automating workflows is so important.
Few organizations, until now, have actively supported the efforts of their knowledge workers to solve problems themselves.
But this doesn’t mean that knowledge workers have simply accepted this. They have gone off and found whatever tools they could to help them get their jobs done.
The tools knowledge workers use today to help them achieve their objectives are like the land of mutant toys.
Automating Workflows

Managing workflows in Salesforce – On the frontlines

Start managing workflows in Salesforce!
Value creation is more and more based on intellectual activity rather than manual dexterity or brute strength. But we continue to use the management and organizational structures that worked for the factory and the field. Here success was determined by standardization and efficiency. These in turn demanded adherence to a set procedure. We used people as cogs in a machine when we could not devise a machine to do the job.
Ian James, The Process Consultant
Managing Workflows in Salesforce
 For the past two decades, much of the focus for information technology deployment has been on automating or even eliminating less-skilled jobs. This has been largely effective, and organizations today are able to do far more with fewer people. Workers today spend less of their time on routine tasks than was possible just ten years ago.
These types of automated systems are givens, commodities that can add little additional value to the organization. What are left are the unstructured business processes that have received little attention from management until now.
Harnessing and coordinating these unstructured processes in a way that provides customers with a consistent, cohesive and agile experience is what is needed to become a Customer focused company. How do these unstructured processes manifest themselves in the organization?
Situational process management is an important part of workflows.
It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.
W. Edwards Deming
 
situational process management Flocking birds are an example of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS). There is no lead bird micro-managing the other birds and telling them all where to fly. The individual birds self-organize by adhering to a few simple rules.
One of the key advantages of Xpeditor is having situational process management.
Xpeditor works well because it is grounded in the way that knowledge workers actually work, rather than the way we think they should work. We always try to make things run like clockwork, but they rarely do. Instead of trying to make the clock work better, we need a more realistic way of looking at the way things really happen.
The self-organization leads to unpredictable results; you cannot predict the specific patterns that will emerge, but the behavior is adaptive and highly robust.

You need to build smart workflows.

 
In order to truly become a customer company, you need a customer platform – a platform in which sales, service, marketing and applications, even products can leverage shared customer data and processes.  
–Salesforce ebook
Cloud computing makes it possible to create new “business operations platforms” that will allow companies to change their business models and collaborate in powerful new ways with their customers, suppliers and trading partners – stuff that simply could not be done before.
-Peter Fingar, Dot.Cloud: The 21st Century Business Platform
No matter how good your user development tools are, it’s going to be exceedingly difficult to build smart workflows that are stable, coherent, efficient and effective software solutions for your organization when your system environment looks like this to business users:
  Build smart workflows

Seeding the database on Salesforce App Cloud

All [citizen developers] need are services that can supply them with data to feed these tools. IT can facilitate their efforts by supplying data services that virtualize complex data sources.
Mike Rollings (Gartner), Citizen Development: Reinventing the Shadows of IT
When a user wants to build their own business process solutions, chances are they need access to data that already exists – accounts, products, transaction history, etc. Collaborative work management solutions that rely on existing data can be built much faster when a base inventory of reliable enterprise data feeds is pre-established so the data can be consumed and mixed as needed for a process.
Seeding the database Seeding the database is a highly cost-effective and practical way to eliminate or reduce the amount of time users need to spend to find the data they need, and the need to make requests to data owners and/or IT.

Eliminate Process Silos on Salesforce App Cloud

The Business Operations Platform externalizes the control of processes away from individual applications. It makes them equal peers, subjugated to the Business Operations Platform layer that controls the execution of the processes, the provision of services, and the delegation of tasks or activities to the individual applications according to their specific uses and needs.
– Peter Fingar, The Business Process Platform in the Sky
 
Need to eliminate process silos? We can help!
Like a digital nervous system, a platform is much more powerful than the sum of its parts.  The functionality provided by the situational process platform is designed to work together.  So, for example, every application is automatically social-enabled and mobile-enabled, and a single permissions schema is used in all the different functions, including workflow, reporting, and social networking.   This dramatically reduces the time required to build function-rich solutions.
Having just one platform to deal with allows users across the organization to start building solutions immediately and deploy them quickly, globally, and inexpensively.
 
Eliminate Process Silos You could create your own business operations platform by cobbling together disparate social, mobile, process and cloud products. Or you could simply use a comprehensive, integrated, extensible, and ready-to-go platform.
Normal people can and will innovate of their own initiatives if enabling conditions are present.
A. Van de Ven, The Innovation Journey

Are you a Salesforce admin? Start process-driven application building.

The reason big new things sneak by incumbents is that the next big thing always starts out being dismissed as a “toy.”  This is one of the main insights of Clay Christensen’s “disruptive technology” theory, which observes that when a new product or service is introduced, it is dismissed as a toy because when it is first launched it undershoots user needs, but then tends to get better at a faster rate than users’ needs increase. How mainframe companies viewed the PC, or Kodak viewed digital cameras are obvious examples.
There is always great skepticism (admittedly justified, for the most part), especially on the part of IT, about whether end users are capable of developing their own applications beyond some spreadsheets and Access databases.
But this time it’s different. We have reached the perfect storm of conditions that will transform the landscape for end user application development.

Lowering the barrier

Given an appropriate set of tools and services, technically savvy business users can build situational processs by themselves.
–  Mike Rollings (Gartner), Citizen Development: Reinventing the Shadows of IT  

Build a Process Competency Center for Salesforce

By engaging with end users and helping them help themselves, IT can accelerate the exploitation of new technology and help end users create competitive advantage and build closer links to their business peers, while managing the risks of EUAD (End User Application Development).
– Ian Finley, Research Vice President at Gartner
The key to making Salesforce Admins successful with building process-driven applications is to build a Process Competency Center.  The objective of the Process Competency Center is to support business units as they build their own solutions, either on their own (with community support through the enterprise social network) or with support from other resources. The Process Competency Center makes available whatever users need to get their solutions built, as well as protect them from making mistakes, including things like legal infringements and security violations. Having a centralized or departmental situational process Process Competency Center also makes it easier for business units to share administrative and other service costs.
It includes the following functions: