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Introduction

Banner Workflow is a flexible workflow management tool provided by Ellucian.  It is useful for improving efficiency of business processes, by automating many of the steps and ensuring appropriate business logic, rules and conditions are enforced.

Product strengths

This product works best for business processes that are simple, well-defined, and unchanging over time.  It is great for automating mundane data-entry tasks and managing processes that involve several parties, such as an approval process for purchase orders, grade changes, and the like.  It is also great for communicating changes to interested parties and for being able to track online the status of a process as it flows through its various steps.  

Here is a more concise list of its strengths:

  • Improved communications: workflow is great at sending emails
  • Consistent process implementation
  • Adherence to organizational standards
  • Work list:  multiple people can manage the queue (versus email!)
  • Status of tasks
  • Centralized storage of relevant artifacts

Product weaknesses

This product has challenges with processes that implement many changes all at once.  For example, if a student wanted to declare two majors and required approvals from deans of both colleges associated with the majors, then workflow would not perform well if both approvals needed to occur in order to complete the process and make the change of adding both majors.  Or, if there were a process where a batch of many POs all needed to be approved at the same time - Workflow may not handle this well.  

Also, while Workflow is great at generating email notifications, it is not able to handle replies to those emails; thus, any process that would require an email response would be challenging (although, there are some times when the user can be directed to a webpage to provide information as needed).  

Lastly, Workflow does not perform well in scenarios where forms need to be dynamic.  For example, some modern forms are able to hide sections of the form depending upon other choices you've made in the form, such as showing a box for "Enter child's name" when you check a box that says, "I have children".

Here is the concise list of product weaknesses:

  • Batch processing is not easy (it can handle individual people, checks, etc. but not a group of people, checks, etc. very well)
  • Email replies are not possible
  • Dynamic forms are not possible

How to get started

If you're interested in talking about how Workflow can be used in your office, please send an email to cis-est-ba@spu.edu and a business analyst will respond to you.
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