Migrating the Notes Workflow to the Cloud
Achieving Simultaneous Review Flow by Multiple Officers

Q. What kind of operations do you use Questetra for?

Mitsubishi Pencil group consists of Mitsubishi Pencil Co. Ltd., 43 subsidiaries and 3 associated companies with approximately 2800 employees. We manufacture and sell writing instruments and peripheral products in Japan and overseas, including “uni” brand products.

Since our foundation in 1887, we have been working to improve quality and innovation as the market-leading writing instruments manufacturer in the world, under the company motto ‘the highest quality is the best service’. Now about 45% of our sales are overseas.

We are using Questetra for about 30 business operations from General Affairs to Human Resources, such as, for example, the Decision Making flow which we call “President’s Office Approval”. In the President’s Office Approval the important management projects will be reviewed by multiple directors at the same time, such as investment in new facilities or a new information system.

Q. What workflow system were you using before introducing Questetra?

We were using Notes 6.5 before Questetra.

The Workflow was quite well built so we had no functional problem, but we wanted to replace it with cloud-based general-purpose software and standardize operations by the end of 2012. This is also in line with medium-term management plan to improve the efficiency of existing operations, which began in 2010.

We actually investigated and tried a variety of products and found that most of the cloud-based Workflow products are simple and linear, so those did not meet our requirements. And then at a cloud-related exhibition we were lucky to find Questetra, which can easy perform complex tasks such as concurrent processing and looping in the cloud. It was a major advantage compared to Notes that the Workflow creation screen is very graphical and intuitive, so complex workflows can be created even without being an application expert.

Implementing the Migration to Questetra from Notes By in-house Members

Q. What trouble did you have in the Migration process?

We assumed a replacement period of about six months, and I think it actually progressed as we assumed. It was completed successfully without major problems.

Specifically speaking, we started the test run in small groups of 10-20 members from around December of 2011, then increased the number of users gradually since the beginning of 2012. By July 2012 approximately 800 employees were using the system for day-to-day operations and procedures.

Though we omitted some parts that were implemented in Notes, I think it is great that with only a small number of in-house members we have realized the building and operation of the workflow system. Also, we are once again satisfied with the fact that we can change the flow of operations by ourselves as many times as we want to improve the usability for the users.

One of the difficulties was to respond to internal requests from employees who were used to Notes’ screens and operations until they got used to the new Questetra screens. We had some meetings between administrators of users of each Workflow to work out the specifications for the replacement. At the same time we created a manual for all users and held briefings at each site. After starting operation we followed up by responding to enquiries, and in a few months I’d say it has settled down.

Q. Are you going to increase the number of Apps in the future?

For example, we are planning to actively utilize it in the administrative procedures of domestic offices and overseas plants.

For overseas factories, there are procedures such as factory shipment, domestic inspection and shipping, and we consider it necessary to promote the visualization of bottleneck processes and rework points.

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