Novacura has launched version 6 of Flow — a leading solution for business process optimisation. The key functionality introduced in the new release is its capacity to define roles and assign tasks regardless of the ERP system actually installed. Read the interview with Artur Buła of Novacura Poland, who explains how Novacura Flow solves issues for Polish businesses, and how a modern IT solution should respond and adapt to business needs.
What are the main problems faced by Polish manufacturers?
The clearest problem turns out to be inflexible ERP systems, where business processes simply freeze up. They work exactly as they were designed to — between several years and well over a decade ago. The ones who have to grapple with this situation are primarily front-line employees, because system limitations reduce their work pace, forcing them to perform tasks that might otherwise be performed by an intelligently designed application. Our observations seem to indicate that the tool most often used by warehouse logistics or maintenance departments is the Excel spreadsheet, distributed by staff over e-mail. This is the disappointing reality of many Polish businesses.
Does Novacura know a way to change this?
Our primary goal is to convince businesses that things simply do not need to be this way. ERPs can be modernized easily and rapidly by an external process management application that is tailored to meet the specific needs of an individual business. I’m talking about our Flow solution here. Thanks to Flow, companies can do away with error-ridden Excel work and the need to send tons of e-mails or circulate superfluous documents.
Importantly, implementation doesn’t require a revolution. Flow is non-invasive — you might call it a system add-on, because without interfering with the structure of the system, it rearranges and modifies obsolete processes while enabling entirely new ones to be described. What kind of new processes? Any! The sky is the limit for our customers here.
We are able to adapt our system to any requirements — it’s almost like magic. The customer dreams up a better world and sketches out their desired flows; then we program these and deliver them in the form of a turnkey business application that is user-friendly and extremely simple to operate.
Every so often you launch a new version of Flow. Does this mean that the previous version needed improvement?
Business changes dynamically just as the world around us does. We observe these shifts, talk to our current users, and incorporate the lessons we learn in the form of improvements and extensions to our application. Now the time has come for a sixth version. This is a turning point, because Novacura Flow has grown to be a full process engine, dedicated to support critical processes and organize operations at a company-wide level.
What are the key new features in Flow 6?
The most important change by far is the option to define roles and assign tasks. It’s worth noting that this activity is independent of whatever ERP system in use by the customer. Until now, Flow has not supported processes as complex as these. Yet we have been aware that they are an important aspect of day-to-day work for companies throughout the world, which is why we were so keen to optimize this function. Of course, these aren’t the only changes. In the new version, for example, we have enabled support for multiple processes at a time, ensuring convenient and flexible communication that covers employees and business partners alike. This is particularly crucial when it comes to supporting critical processes that require the co-ordination of various experts and departments as well as quick decision-making.
We wanted to make the sixth edition even easier to operate and more focused on the user experience than previous iterations. And we’ve succeeded. Even though Flow is extensive, users should have no trouble carrying out their tasks from start to finish. We were also eager to strike a balance between maintaining simplicity of operation and adding more advanced options requested by our customers. Development is very important to us, but everything must remain true to the spirit of Flow and continue to satisfy users’ needs.