Business Process Management | News
Columbus Tech College Streamlines Workflow with BPM
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Columbus Technical College has adopted business process management software to streamline IT purchases and for other operations. The Georgia college is working with Process Director from BP Logix, which combines functionality for workflow, business intelligence, document management, electronic forms, and reporting.
Initially, the IT organization sought improvements in its business functions by mapping out its processes--such as purchasing--on a whiteboard and converting paper-intensive operations into automated workflows that ran on homegrown online applications. The first use was in improving the purchasing process. "Requisitions were one of my nightmares. If I ordered a Smart Board two years ago and wanted to remember the vendor, finding that vendor was difficult and time-consuming," said Director of IT Robert Szabo. "I like being able to delegate and administer workflows, as that is exactly what we wanted. That raises the bar towards getting things done. Having information available online, knowing who submitted what, who needs to take action, and having the ability to look up anything is critical. That's why the business process approach was necessary for us."
But as users in other departments saw the benefits of the business process management effort, they too sought automation. To keep up with the number of requests, IT began searching for a solution that would work across functional areas in the college. After evaluating 22 products and trying seven short-listed applications for four months, the team selected Process Director based on several criteria. IT sought a program that would provide a common interface for electronic forms and the ability to delegate and administer workflow. In addition, the software needed to be Web-based, extensible, and mobile-friendly for BlackBerry and Smartphone users.
Szabo said he especially likes the "Save for Later" feature, which allows a user to find a task in the task list, work on it, then put it aside until later. "With our requisitions, for example, the ability to transfer work and not have it fall through the cracks is important. Save for Later enables us to stay on top of what needs to be done. And the manual six-page budget form, historically a challenge for our users to complete, was no problem at all with that capability," he said. Users have also found the forms in Process Director easier to use than previous online forms, because they tap into real-time data for dynamic updating.
Now the implementation is surfacing in other operations, including the annual budgeting effort and leave-of-absence application processing.
BP Logix products have also been used by the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and the California Community Colleges Technology Center, hosted by Butte College in Oroville.
Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at email@example.com.