The other day, at the Super Networking 2019 event (5/25, 2019) held at Kyoto University, we showed off the “Workflow Visualisation Kit (tentative title)” to stimulate discussion of business improvements in organizations.
We talked to visitors who might be interested and used the Workflow Visualisation Kit to discuss business improvements, which was more exciting than we expected. Moreover, it was a good opportunity for us to get some good feedback.
In this article, we will introduce how we demonstrated the Workflow Visualisation Kit at the event.
What is Super Networking
Before that, we will briefly introduce Super Networking.
Super Networking (Super exchange event) is a unique event with the theme of “exchange” as the name suggests. It is hosted by the alumni association of the Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University and it is free for anyone to attend.
Students, managers, researchers, artists, and others gather at Kyoto University for various purposes and they exchange their ideas with each other through sessions and exhibition booths.
At this event, we prepared the Workflow Visualisation Kit and tried to exchange ideas with as many people as possible so they could know the merits of Workflows.
What is the Workflow Visualisation Kit (Tentative name)
We, Questetra, propose an approach using the “Workflow Diagram” as a business improvement method for enhancing the quality and efficiency of your business.
Therefore, we’ve developed a Cloud-based Workflow, Questetra BPM Suite.
Questetra BPM Suite has a function to create a workflow diagram that can be used to discuss business improvements. However, there was an issue that it was difficult for other members to cut in and operate the workflow because originally only one member in the discussion could operate the workflow diagram.
We supposed it might be better to create a situation where everyone in the discussion can operate a workflow diagram, in order to stimulate the discussion on business improvements. So we decided to make the Workflow Visualisation Kit.
What is a workflow diagram
The workflow diagram mentioned in the previous section is a business flow. The diagram has the following advantages.
- Organizing a workflow easily
- Clarifying the division of roles
- Easily understanding the operational order
If you work in a team you can enjoy those advantages by drawing a workflow diagram for your team. Moreover, the diagram helps you see the whole picture of the work and the current situation, therefore you can discuss business improvements more easily.
Discussions on business improvements using the Workflow Visualisation Kit
At the exhibition booth, we prepared warm waffles for visitors and discussed business improvements with them.
We provide the following editable elements with the Workflow Visualisation Kit.
- Swimlane (a representation of a person or organization involved in the work)
- Process Owner Name (person in charge of the work)
- AS-IS/TO-BE Checkboxes
On this board, the workflow diagram is completed by placing parts that represent the Start, End, and Tasks of the workflow, and then draw arrows with a pen to connect them together.
As for the discussion on business improvements, first, we hear the familiar tasks and draw a workflow diagram of it (AS-IS). Second, we identify the challenges you currently face by looking at the workflow diagram. If there are any issues, we consider improvements and reflect them in the workflow diagram (TO-BE).
In the diagram above, although it is for inquiry handling, the members of Support receive all inquiries in the AS-IS version. The challenge was that oversights occurred in the initial Task because the inquiries exceeded the amount that Support can handle.
Then, in order to reduce the burden on Support, we considered an improvement to the flow where requests of legal inquiries were sent to the members of General Affairs without passing to Support.
When discussing improvements while looking at a workflow diagram, we feel that issues and ideas while looking at the entire business, making a note of issues that we have noticed (referring to the issues that cause oversights, discussed in the picture above), and reflecting improvement plans immediately in the diagram helped us facilitate discussions, after all.
In particular, we think that easily writing down memos is more helpful than discussing improvements on a computer.
Through discussions on business improvements using the visualization kit we created and demonstrated at the event, we realized that visitors became more cooperative when creating a workflow that is related to their work. At the stage of drawing the AS-IS workflow, not only do they come to think of the entire business, but they can easily describe what and where the issue is, once they complete the workflow.
Being able to immediately draw issues as a memo was a value of the visualization kit that we did not anticipate much in advance.
In the future, we are going to utilize the visualization kit at seminars and with our customers.