A must read for anyone who works with electronic records is the testimony that Carol Brock, Certified Record Manager, gave to the Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census, and National Archives of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on “Federal Electronic Records Management: A Status Report.”

One of the things she says in the report that I want to highlight is, “There is no magic wand of technology.” Vendors may claim their product is “plug and play” but to fit into an agency’s business process some design work is necessary. If you are in charge of that design, I would highly recommend these 7 Best Practice for Workflow and BPM from Rich Medina.

1)Always Design To Optimize Potential Failure:

In other words have multiple plan B’s for when things do not go as planned. “your final production process always differs from how it was originally designed.”

2)Focus on what will lead to successful execution in production

Everything else is secondary benefits. Before you go for the bells and whistles make sure you have the fundamentals down first.

3)Profile Your Candidate Processes And Then Fit To The Right Kind of BPM Tool

classify your processes as to where they fit in the following dimensions: 1) pervasiveness (scalability in terms of numbers of users), 2) level of capabilities (basic to advanced; specific to general), and 3) types of users and applications (knowledge or process).

4)If you do Business Process Management in the Cloud address the following issues:

•Security, segmentation and confidentiality
•Business continuity (disaster recovery) and availability
•Flexibility and customization
•Vendor, product and project risk

5)Research if any BPM offering from this vendor has been successful in production for at least 3 years.

This controls risks and makes sure the product can handle basic functionality.

6)Digitize the paper-laden process first, and then live with the new electronic environment for 6 months or so before redesigning and automating the processes.

This allows the user to avoid automating the paper process which may already be broken, provides an opportunity to implement change management and allows for time to review before moving onto next step.

7)Design information lifecycle management and records management into the workflow.

” RM is most successful when the documents to be managed for RM are already under the control of a structured process and a managed document system.”

I’d highly recommend you click and over read the whole article.