What is Workflow?

The automation of a business process, in whole or part, during which documents, information or tasks are passed from one participant* to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules.
*participant = resource (human or machine)

Why Should a Business Use Workflow?

The Evolution of Workflow Management consists of the automation of business procedures or "workflows" during which documents, information or tasks are passed from one participant to another in a way that is governed by rules or procedures.

Workflow software products, like other software technologies, have evolved from diverse origins. While some offerings have been developed as pure workflow software, many have evolved from image management systems, document management systems, relational or object database systems, and electronic mail systems.

Vendors who have developed pure workflow offerings have invented terms and interfaces, while vendors who have evolved products from other technologies have often adapted terminology and interfaces. Each approach offers a variety of strengths from which a user can choose. Adding a standards based approach allows a user to combine these strengths in one infrastructure.

The Key Benefits of Workflow

*       Improved efficiency - automation of many business processes results in the elimination of many unnecessary steps

*       Better process control - improved management of business processes achieved through standardizing working methods and the availability of audit trails

*       Improved customer service consistency in the processes leads to greater predictability in levels of response to customers

*       Flexibility software control over processes enables their re-design in line with changing business needs

*       Business process improvement - focus on business processes leads to their streamlining and simplification