What Does a Swivel Chair Work Task Involve?

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By Union Chair

A “swivel chair work task” refers to a workflow or process where a user has to manually switch between multiple computer systems or applications to complete a task, mimicking the physical motion of swiveling in an office chair. This inefficient process arises due to a lack of integration between the systems.

What Causes Swivel Chair Work Tasks?

Swivel chair work tasks typically occur when:

  • Legacy or outdated systems are still being used that don’t allow for seamless data flows
  • New systems are implemented without proper integration to existing ones
  • Business processes span multiple siloed applications that don’t “talk” to each other
  • Mergers and acquisitions lead to disconnected systems operating in parallel
  • There is an over-reliance on manual processes and spreadsheet-based data transfers

In many organizations, swivel chair work tasks have evolved over time as new tools and workflows are simply layered on top of existing ones. This leads to fragmented systems and disjointed processes that depend heavily on human effort.

Employees waste time toggling between screens, re-entering data, copying and pasting information across interfaces – often while literally swiveling between different desktops and devices, hence the term.

Swivel Chair Work Task
Swivel Chair Work Task

Drawbacks of Swivel Chair Work

Swivel chair work tasks lead to a variety of pain points:

1. Reduced Efficiency

Constant switching between applications severely impacts productivity as employees struggle to maintain context and focus. Organizations experience decreased throughput and output.

2. Higher Costs

Besides efficiency losses, swivel chair work also drives up operational costs due to the manual effort involved. More human resources are needed to manage the complex workflows.

3. Increased Risk of Errors

The repetitive re-entry of data across systems is prone to human error. Mistakes can propagate through processes and corrupt downstream data analytics.

4. Inconsistent Data

With the involvement of multiple systems and manual interventions, data inconsistencies creep in over time. This makes reporting and analytics unreliable.

5. Lack of Visibility

Fragmented systems mean processes lose transparency. It becomes difficult to track status, identify bottlenecks, and optimize workflows.

6. Poor Experience for Employees and Customers

Swivel chair work ultimately impacts experience – employees get frustrated with fragmented tools while customers suffer from delayed or inaccurate service.

Solutions for Eliminating Swivel Chair Work

Organizations are implementing various strategies to combat swivel chair work tasks:

1. Process Automation

Automating repetitive, rules-based swivel chair tasks using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) eliminates human effort and errors while boosting efficiency. RPA bots seamlessly transfer data between systems.

2. API-based Integration

Leveraging modern API-based integration eliminates swivel chair work by enabling real-time data synchronization across applications. This “connect once, reuse everywhere” approach avoids rework.

3. Business Process Management (BPM)

BPM software like ProcessMaker streamlines end-to-end processes spanning multiple systems into automated workflows with a single interface. This eliminates swivel chair tasks.

4. Unified Systems

Upgrading legacy systems or consolidating multiple disparate tools into unified platforms provides a “single pane of glass” experience, eliminating the need for swivel chair work.

5. Change Management

Evolving processes, systems, and employee mindsets through change management ensures automation efforts sustainably stick by addressing root causes like lack of training, resistance to change, and more.

Benefits of Removing Swivel Chair Work

Eliminating swivel chair work tasks leads to:

  • Increased efficiency and productivity – Automated processes complete 5-10x faster with 37% fewer human resources involved
  • Lower operational costs – Less manual labor needed with automated data flows
  • Improved data quality – Reduced errors and inconsistencies with seamless system integration
  • Better visibility – End-to-end transparency into integrated processes
  • Enhanced experience – Smoother journeys for employees and customers
  • Competitive advantage – Outperforming rivals still coping with disconnected workflows

In summary, swivel chair work tasks are incredibly inefficient, costly, and frustrating for organizations. Eliminating them through modern integration, automation, and streamlined processes unlocks immense benefits. The solutions are within reach – organizations must take steps to break down data and process silos. The rewards will follow.