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Avoiding The Imaginary

Our business at Aestiva is paperwork automation. We automate processes in a variety of arenas - from procurement, to human resources, to expense management, to inventory and asset controls.

We have a near 100% success record. Some wonder why and how? There are many reasons, but one of the reasons is our avoidance of the "Imaginary Problem."

The imaginary problem is the problem created in your imagination. It can come up when you are working with Aestiva on a new automation.

Imaginary problems are more common than you think. One of the more common genres of imaginary problems are those related to the need to repeatedly remind users to approve or review a document.

Automated approval systems, like Aestiva's, include highly visible audit trails that say when a user approves or reviews a document. Failure to approve or review a document on time results in the prominent display of untimeliness. Former abusers quickly learn they can no longer hide. Even the worst offenders change their stripes. Few systems require repeated notifications.

Exceptions exist with Help Desk and Ticketing systems, but most often the extra notifications have the reverse affect. The unintended consequence of the repeated notifications is to actually delay the desired action. Some users may delay their action since they know they will be notified again later.

Another common imaginary problem surounds the need to over-verify information on forms before they are submitted. Verification is important and needed. But most often setting which fields are required is sufficient.

The need to automate every contingency can backfire on you. When you go too far your system becomes inflexible. Future changes in business processes can no longer be solved with a single call to Aestiva support asking us to add a field to your Power Office form.

When you over-verify simple cost-free changes are no longer possible. Instead, you suffer delays and costs when changes are needed -- the exact opposite of what you were trying to accomplish by automating your paperwork.

So, if you are looking to set up a paperwork automation with Aestiva, try to avoid imaginary problems. Better waiting till the problem is real before asking Aestiva to make your system more complicated than needed. Chances are the changes will not be needed anyway.

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