Once upon a time (isn’t that a great way to start an article) I was working a project where I was the SME (that’s subject matter expert – I love that title) where a consulting firm was running the project to automate accounts payable. I clearly remember the project lead, who was a very smart man… really knew his stuff (that’s an important fact for this article) stand up in front of the team and say, “how many electronic approval processes (workflows) do we want this company to have.
Then the conversation started, and somehow the team, including myself, came up with the magic number of seven. I really don’t know where we got seven from, but the project lead like the idea because, to him and the rest of the team, it seemed that seven would make things a lot easier to manage.
As we went through the project, the seven became twelve, then fifteen, then thirty and at the end they had forty-seven approval processes. I was talking with the project lead, doing a little post mortem, and he really had a sense of failure around the forty-seven workflows. I told him, after realizing it myself, that the number of electronic approval processes were irrelevant.
Why is it the wrong question?
It is irrelevant because it is the software’s job to sort out which invoice needs to be attached to what approval process. Why it’s the wrong questions is because it shows a real misunderstanding about the purpose of AP Automation and how automation can positively impact the organization. The real question is, however many different process do we have and what service provider can provide us the flexibility to achieve those approvals.
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