In what context do you use Questetra?
Honda is promoting internal digital transformation (‘DX’) to provide better products and services by utilising data and digital technology. By reviewing internal business processes, including operating and manufacturing processes, and promoting DX, we aim to improve the efficiency of existing operations and expand the creation of new value.
We are reforming our administrative work with the aim of using the time saved by streamlining through DX for creative work that should be done by people. The first thing we did was to organise our work and clarify roles and tasks. By handling tasks that both people and the system are good at, work efficiency and quality can be further improved. We also aim to utilise artificial intelligence in the future. To utilise artificial intelligence, it is necessary to organise the tasks that both people and artificial intelligence are good at.
Visualisation of business processes is the most important factor in organising increasingly complex operations. There are several systems for digitising forms as workflow tools, but there are few services that organise tasks (work processes) by swimlane (person in charge of processing) and visualise them in workflow diagrams. We consider that the most important items for business reform are workflows that follow standardised rules and have good visibility, and that the workflow diagrams created can be operated as a system as they are. We chose Questetra BPM Suite (hereafter, Questetra), which enables workflow diagrams to be created using the international standard (ISO 19510) Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN).
Workflow diagrams created with Questetra can be operated as workflow apps (systems) as they are. Systemisation construction managers and checkers can see the problem points of the business before systemisation just by looking at the workflow diagram. Therefore, by organising operations and rationalising them through systemisation at the same time, they can get closer to fundamental reform. It is also possible to build up small improvements while operating the system, and agile development can be achieved.
What are the selection criteria?
It can be used to establish workflows for all departments and employees, and to reform complex administrative processes. The problem for administrative departments is that once a system has been created by the IT department, modification of the system is a major undertaking, which means that changes cannot be made and the system can be difficult to use. There were also basic problems such as not being able to get out of the paper application process because it was not the right time to develop the system in the first place. Therefore, everyone needs to be able to develop their own workflow apps.
Questetra not only offers good process visibility, but also no-code system development. This low development learning cost was a key selection point. In addition to the digital transformation of simple paper approval tasks, the transferring of increasingly complex business processes is also a target of DX. To organise complex workflows it is important to be able to draw workflow diagrams in accordance with BPMN, and to have visibility and common understanding: with Questetra, complex workflow apps that mix multiple departments, personnel and system processes can be easily created, and task and business reviews can be achieved while building Questetra apps.
Furthermore, Questetra is capable of API integration with external cloud services. Honda uses services such as Microsoft products, etc. Integration between Questetra and Microsoft products such as Excel and Sharepoint was an important factor in the selection process, as it reduces the man-hours required for saving and transcribing. This was an important point in the selection process. Another selection point was the ability to convert entered data items to PDF and easily send them as email attachments, which is a frequent task.
What type of work is it used for?
It is used for a variety of tasks, including internal applications and tasks requiring review.
As for application work, we have started using the system for all administrative processes at Honda, including software use, training reception, use of company vehicles and applications for general matters.
An example of this work is the construction of FAQs for internal use. In this task, the secretariat sets frequently asked questions and allocates the task of preparing a ‘draft answer’ to the person in charge of the relevant area. Review and proofreading tasks are then sequentially assigned to reviewers and proofreaders, and the completed FAQs are automatically posted on the groupware and shared as the latest information with all concerned. In the future, we aim to replace proofreading and translation tasks with AI to further improve efficiency.
What have been the effects of introducing the system?
By using Questetra, the visualisation of business processes has progressed, and efficiency has been improved through the elimination of tasks, rational process reviews and the sharing of duties. For example, in the case of the aforementioned FAQ management work, it was originally necessary for the drafters and reviewers of to get together and proceed with the work through meetings. However, by using Questetra, the tasks between the people in charge have been clearly defined, and the passing of tasks has been automated, allowing the people involved in the work to proceed efficiently at their own pace. This eliminates the hassle of writing emails, which is a common problem with email-based handover, and allows the participants to concentrate on the tasks assigned to them. The common problem of unread emails is also eliminated and tasks can now be carried out without fail. In addition, the administration office can now check where tasks are stalled, so it is possible to monitor progress.
Other examples of this include General Affairs applications that involve work requests to contractors. The application forms are automatically stored in a folder built within Microsoft’s cloud, and we have started sharing that folder with the contractor. Until now, we had to transcribe the application forms into an Excel form, upload and store the attached documents submitted by email into the folder, and send them to the consignee by email. By automating these complicated tasks with Questetra, centralised data management and increased efficiency can be promoted.
The digital transformation of these administrative tasks is also being promoted with the aim of laying the groundwork for essential reforms, such as data utilisation and the integration of people and AI, in anticipation of next-generation reforms.
What is your future direction?
We promote the use of Questetra in all administrative tasks within the company. We have established an in-house training system so that all employees can create their own workflow applications and respond flexibly to changing business requirements. To this end, we have established a variety of support systems, such as workshops according to skill level, support and consultation by experts, and a community of users.
The system provides an environment in which anyone who applies can build workflow applications. On the other hand, because the environment can be used by anyone, confirmation meetings are held to teach construction know-how while minimising unforeseen obstacles arising from misconfiguration. The confirmation meetings also have another aspect: by having DX experts check the processes, we are able to propose more rational processes and build an easy-to-understand UI. In this way, we encourage operational departments to simultaneously reform processes and evolve DX to accelerate reform.
In the future, Questetra will continue to be used as the core foundation for linking APIs with external microservices and replacing tasks with artificial intelligence, in order to respond to Honda’s diverse operations in a short period of time.
Honda values a corporate culture of originality and challenge. We want to spread the culture of youthfulness and ingenuity to the frontline once again by reviewing the wasteful and routine work that we take for granted, and by building up reforms that are familiar to us as DX, and we hope to pass this culture on to our products. We consider process reform by Questetra as one of the important services that will play a role in Honda’s reforms.