For is master graduation thesis in Industrial Engineering Oscar researched why 80%+ of Workflow Management implementations failed or failed to increase productivity. Business Process Magazine published 3 of his articles on the topic. Some findings were;

  • The digitized systems were 1-on-1 copies of paper workflows.
  • The systems didn’t support a process step the business needed.
  • Systems were optimized for one department, but not for the other(s).
  • Systems started simple but ended up very complex.
  • Staff didn’t understand the system because of workarounds.
  • Etc. etc.

However, the phenomenal success of companies that succeeded in the implementation was enough allure for the failing 80% to keep trying. As an alternative many shifted to unstructured processes using email systems. The amount of emails these days are a clear indication that those processes are still in place.

Much of the findings are still valid today and the question if an operator is satisfied with the system will often show you where.