Workflow – the devil of technology systems.

I hate all discussions that involve technology workflow processes.  Hate them.  If you want to get me riled up just bring it up.

Everyone thinks they need it and knows exactly what they think they need.  But rarely do they really understand the complexities that they are introducing to their business processes.  The great thing about manual processes is that they have an extreme amount of flexibility.  System driven processes rarely do.

The irony of system driven workflow is that it is often designed by the “end user” in such a way as to prevent them from needing to ever go into the system at all.  They want to handle everything via email and never have to log into the system at all.  That’s the dream – a system that allows them to stay in email and not need to learn anything new.  It’s also not possible.

Even the easiest to use system in the world requires some degree of learning and process change.  Moving from Office on your desktop to Office 365?  Learning curve.  New keyboard?  That delete key may be in a different place.  Trying to improve the controls on your leasing processes?  Guess what – that’s going to require something that checks and verifies that the controls are being followed.  Change happens.

Workflow can be great when used in moderation.  Increase the amount of workflow that you have over time but don’t bite off too much too soon.  Too much change is a recipe for failure, just as not enough change won’t fix the problem you are trying to solve.

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