How to automate business processes from orders to sales with the help of open source software

Various types of companies face often repeated business processes and handling support tickets which are common for almost any tech company. Moreover, managing typical tasks and providing recurring services are often complex business processes that require cooperation from several departments. Typically these kinds of processes are often performed by employees with little to no experience and poor quality of execution which may lead to major service failures and overall service quality decline.

Automation seems to be a silver bullet. However, the perfect can also become the enemy of the good in business. Basically, there are two bad choices to take from: investing into your own business processes automation system and integrating it into your current infrastructure or keeping everything as is and risking your competitiveness.

The problem

Facilitating and managing cooperation between multiple departments is hard and requires patience to go through numerous meetings, possible conflicts and people who just quit. Complex business processes multiply potential shortcomings, people might misunderstand particular steps and things that might go wrong.

Here is a case of signing up a telecom service subscriber. There are two ways to verify service availability: automatic and manual. Coverage zone DB might just not have enough data as part of it is still stored on paper or in a bunch of poorly structured Excel files. Thus, the whole process might take even more time and as a result in unwanted delays that disappoint potential customers.

Signing up a client requires multiple systems to work together: HelpDesk, billing and CRM. The more steps you have to take, the higher the possibility of input mistakes that would not be there with a single solution in place.

How to

There is a way to handle orders by utilizing OMS (Order Management System) and describe business processes with the help of BPM (Business Process Management) methodology. Here is a BPMN 2.0 (ISO-approved standard) diagram depicting the process of buying online:

Business process architects design actual processes in BPM systems that trigger alerts for various departments responsible for handling tasks. This way management is able to monitor every single stage of any given business process that can be given its own deadline, alerts and responsible actors.

Manless operation and full automation reduces the amount of possible mistakes, standardizes complex business processes and update them according to changing requirements. Thus, you get more happy clients and more money for the company.

It is not cut and dry

BPM systems usually include web portals as a feature and become yet another thing for staff to get used to. BPM system developers pay little to no attention to UI attractiveness and usability as it’s aim is to demonstrate system capabilities. Clients are supposed to build their own application by themselves via BPMS API. There is no point in buying automation software without integrating it with other systems (for example, storage) though the process of it is extremely expensive even if the initial system is shipped for free. There is no room for middle and small businesses on this playground and only big corporations can afford this type of expensive integration.

Open Source

We believe that it is impossible to make a universal solution for every single business case. Yet, we have come up with a tool that is easy to adapt to almost any type of business. Hydra OMS is an open source order management application integrated with a BPM system.

Here orders are stored in a built-in DB with no need to use external storage. Instead of monstrous web portals we created a user-friendly interface. Emdeddable BPM widget is integrated into it and it is there to carry out current business processes via Process Execution Wizard. With the help of Hydra OMS you can automate ticket and order handling in a step-by-step way.

This way you don’t have to rely on making each and every decision on a microlevel: just fill in the fields in a step-by-step way and follow the instructions. Every process can be designed and structured by qualified professionals that follow Six Sigma and Kaizen methodologies.

Here is an example of a typical process describing a paid leave request and it can be illustrated by the following BPM diagram:

Here is the form shown by Hydra’s Process Execution Wizard when the business process reaches the Handle Request stage:

Layout and particular fields are easy to edit and the widget can be embedded into your own web application. The system triggers notifications and sees every single step of the process.

Hydra OMS is an open source application and is easy tailored for particular business needs with no waste of time and money on external tools integration.