Acceptance system – decision system
Workflow systems are in fact decision support tools
The workflow itself seems to make no sense. It’s like running around a construction site with empty wheelbarrows. It gains it only when we think about it through the prism of measurable effects. In a broad sense it can be organizational or cost optimization, but in the strict sense it is a set of actions accompanied by decision making.
If we look at the most popular processes of document and case workflow, then in each of them we deal with broadly understood decision-making, usually in the form of acceptance or lack of it.
- Invoices workflow – what is its main purpose? Approval is usually preceded by a description, substantive and accounting verification.
- Vacation requests – the result is consent to the employee’s absence.
- Contracts approval – this is quite obvious.
- Purchase requests – similarly.
- Incoming correspondence – accepting correspondence is an activity seemingly devoid of any decision-making element. But is it really so? It is necessary to determine whether the letter is actually addressed to us, what type of case it concerns, whether it requires proceedings, who will deal with the given topic; and in the next steps, whether to me, whether I will take care of it, when, what actions are required, etc., etc. A whole series of decisions.
- Even reporting processes, e.g. support ones, are basically based on making decisions – whether the application is justified, what is its status, who will take care of it and finally whether it has been carried out.
Of course, decision-making processes occur in many systems, if not in all, but in the workflow they seem to be their essence and inseparable element.