September'22
  • 26 Sep 2022
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September'22

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Business Workflow - A highly configurable tool to manage diverse business processes

Background

In earlier days, organizations had a standard set of processes to deliver value across the chain. They had known suppliers and buyers across the value chain, and the key to success was executing that equation with efficacy and efficiency.

By the mid-twentieth century, on the arrival of IT systems, there was a rush to automate some of the routine operations to reach enhanced efficiency within the organizations. Later by the end of the twentieth century, software organizations improved the value chain and started supporting the business process re-engineering. This included the elimination of redundant processes and the various handshakes of information that were prone to error. This saw the success of ERPs like SAP, Oracle, etc., which eventually changed the way of doing business and reduced the time, cost, and effort required in reconciliation. These systems gave a unified view within organisations and solved the group company challenges. However, the successful implementation of these complex IT systems was daunting for any organization in terms of effort and time.

All these went well till the arrival of high-speed internet. The Internet was a big force that acted as a strong catalyst for change. While it enabled near real-time updates and reduced the overall life cycle of change in the business landscape, it presented challenging problems for conventional IT systems.

A typical case

Let us consider the business case of a retail organization, where a buyer places an order, which is fulfilled by a supplier, and a transporter delivers the goods at a distribution centre. The organization has a conventional IT system, where all the business rules have been configured in the system. Based on the purchase order, the supplier dispatched the materials, which in turn would be delivered by a carrier. Post the receipt of the goods, the system is updated, and goods are taken into the distribution centre stock.

Now consider due to some customer delivery-related issues reported at retail centres, there is a need for certain goods to be inspected by the quality team before they are received at the distribution centre. As the system change takes time, the inward team at the distribution centre starts maintaining on-paper approval from the quality team.

The complexity would increase manifold if there were thousands of suppliers and multiple distribution centres handling them, manually handling the above case. It will significantly hamper the productivity in operations for which the IT system was implemented in the very first place.

Need for flexible and configurable systems

To address the constantly changing business landscape, there is a latent need for malleable systems. The desired system should not only quickly accommodate the updated business process and associated rules but also can be easily configured by IT SMEs. The fluid structure of the application should be configurable enough to address ever-changing business rules and standardized enough to ensure IT functions can understand and implement it.

DL Asset Track™ Workflow is designed to manage a dynamic business environment

DL Asset Track™ is a permissioned Blockchain platform with a feature called business workflow, which helps to design business workflow among internal and external departments of an organization based on business rules. It has nodes that can represent business functions. These could be configured as per business needs.

In the above example, in case of a business rule change, a new node (quality team) can be added by the operator in the existing workflow. The participants of this new node can approve the goods post physical receipt.

Furthermore, it enables us to control visibility. In the above example, commercial information about the received goods can be hidden from the quality team or any other non-intended participants. With this feature, it is far easier to include any business entity as a node in the business workflow.

The malleability of business entities in the workflow can be understood from the fact that it can be anything from a big business function like Procurement to a small team in the Accounts Payable department, such as invoice processing. It can also be inter-organizational functions like the Accounts Receivable team of one organization and the Accounts Payable team in another organization, in the same business workflow.

Salient Features

• Configurable business entities, which could be a business function in intra-organization or inter-organization.
• The capability to configure business rules on the fly.
• Ability to control the visibility of the information at the business entity level.
• Workflow triggers based on certain events.
• Ability to add internal or additional process steps without any impact on the ecosystem - E.g., the business entity allows the implementation of the 2 Eyes - 4 Eyes principle (or the maker-checker principle)

Steps

Create a Business Workflow

  1. Create a business workflow.
  2. Enter workflow details such as the name, associated asset category, and asset profile.
  3. Configure the sequence of business entities as a node of the workflow.
  4. Configure business data (hidden, read-only, editable, etc.) while it moves across the workflow.
  5. Update the workflow settings, including the start and end date.
  6. Save and close the workflow.

Please find more information here


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