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Workflow: Definition and advantages

- Reading Time: 3 minutes

According to the statistics of the Workflow Management Coalition, workflows are at the heart of every company’s IT management. Whether you identify, monitor and manage them or not, they drive your business forward. Understanding workflows, workflow management and the potential of each will help ensure your organization’s success.

How do you define a workflow?

A workflow is a series of steps related to the processing of Data. In fact, a workflow is the modeling of business processes and the management of business processes. In its simplest definition, a workflow is the modeling and management of the tasks to be performed, and the different actors involved in the realization of a business or operational process. However, workflows focus specifically on data and are often driven by documents and reports. In addition, unlike processes, workflows can not be repeatable.

In the majority of organizations and businesses, a workflow or approval circuit consists of providing each actor with the necessary information, approval modes, processes, deadlines and even business rules.

Workflows can be entirely human-based, primarily systems-driven, or somewhere in between. Any time data flows between two entities, it is likely a workflow.


What are the advantages of using a workflow?

A workflow saves time and certainly guarantees transparency and reproducibility. It can also do much more as the benefits below prove:

  • Less project risk

When a project is at risk, it becomes more complex and the number of stakeholders can increase. Workflows can help reduce schedule delays. They can also help reduce disputes and potential costs by limiting the need to redo work.

  • Enables organizational change 

When a team works in a consistent manner, it limits the need for management to intervene in the business process and can lead to a better understanding of the workflow.

  • Implementing workflows can lead to process change

As part of workflow development, companies must take a thorough look at their current processes. This can lead to improvements and optimizations.

  • Better access to information

Critical processes can be examined at every stage, ensuring that there are no bottlenecks or problems. This monitoring allows project managers to determine if the process is working well from start to finish.

  • Define responsibility for the work of each area

Instead of staff not knowing exactly who is responsible for completing a task or what their own tasks are, a workflow defines it for them. 

  • Better visibility

A workflow is a way to visually communicate the process to stakeholders.

  • Focus on strategy

When a system is working well, managers do not need to focus on operations. They can focus on other aspects of their work, which can help the company grow and develop.

  • A workflow provides an audit trail

This is especially true when using a workflow software system. Records are kept of the progress and completion of tasks, as well as relevant details such as who took the action, when it was done, and any changes made.

BPM vs. Workflow: what's the difference?

Talking about workflow is easy. Everyone understands the idea that work has to go from one person to another to be processed. But, if you’re talking about BPM (Business Process Management), it’s a whole different realm. BPM sounds like a highly technical term reserved for experts.

A workflow management software gives you options to organize your workflows. This can include the ability to create conditional steps, create links to other software, or create parallel paths for an item to follow.

BPM software will give a much broader picture of all the processes in your organization. Not only do you have a robust workflow, but you can also organize common data sets, provide advanced reporting and monitor the progress of all your processes from a common dashboard.

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