When should I use a new sub-system?

The notes below help you to understand when you would increase the number of sub-systems on a workflow system. It is important to consider this carefully as sometimes you may be better off with multiple route variations or multiple workflow systems instead.

You will likely require multiple sub-systems where:

  • You have multiple processes to track which are related.
    • E.g. Year End Accounts and Corporation tax both relate to the same set of figures so it makes sense to track them together as two sub-systems.
  • They all relate to the same job (i.e. share a job date / frequency).
    • In the above example the Year End Accounts and Corporation tax both relate to the same Year End and are both annual.
    • You would not create 2 sub-systems to track Year End Accounts and a Personal tax return as, whilst both are annual requirements, they have different job dates and so for one the job date would be incorrect.
    • You would not create 2 sub-systems to track quarterly VAT and monthly management accounts because the frequencies are different.
  • The processes are independent of one another making it impossible to incorporate them all into a single workflow.
    • For example our new client onboarding template has sub-systems for: Internal processes, payment mandate, anti-money laundering and professional clearance. It would be impossible to combine this into a single process as you can not control the order in which all the different, independent aspects progress.
    • If you have monthly bookkeeping and monthly management accounts, you might conclude that the management accounts will always happen after the bookkeeping meaning you do not need two sub-systems, just add the management accounts stages after the bookkeeping stages. 
  • In a typical situation a client would require all components to be undertaken.
    • Whilst some clients will be 'Accounts only' or 'Corporation tax only' a typical client will require both Year End Accounts and Corporation tax meaning they would suit 2 sub-systems.
    • Conversely if all client would be either A or B then you could probably manage this by setting up 2 routes on a single sub-system. For example you might have a payroll workflow and want a separate workflow for payroll+pension, as all clients would be one or the other (and never both) then this is where multiple routes are needed.
    • "We do this AND this" typically = sub-systems where as "We do this OR that" typically = routes.
  • There is a 1:1 relationship between all sub-systems.
    • For example you could never have a job with 1 x Year End Accounts job and 4 x Corporation tax jobs, there is a maximum of 1 sub-job per job. So if you wanted to have a workflow to track quarterly Corporation tax payments this would need to be a separate workflow system to the Accounts workflow.
    • On a recurring workflow each client will be active or inactive on each sub-system so it is fine to have a job that has one sub-system active (e.g. Year End Accounts) but not another (e.g. Corporation Tax). On an ad-hoc workflow system with multiple sub-systems all jobs create with a sub-job for each sub-system, these can then be deactivated or activated via workflow actions.
  • You do not wish to have multiple workflow systems.
    • This is of course an alternative but would mean setting up another trigger which may be identical to one you already maintain.
    • On a multiple sub-system workflow you can also have workflow actions that interact between sub-jobs, for example you can set a target to complete the Corporation Tax as the date the Accounts were signed + 30 days. Or on the New Client example you could block all sub-jobs from progressing until AML checks had been completed.
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