Business
27 października 2020

Workflow — what is it all about?

​These days, workflow is all the rage in managing teams, people and their tasks within individual processes. It can be either a very simple sequential process in which individual actions follow one another, as well as a more complex and comprehensive set of processes taking place simultaneously and having a specific impact on each other, in line with relevant procedures, rules, routes (acceptance paths) and roles. Optimising workflow in organisations can be a daunting task, which is why there is dedicated software to help them handle it effectively.

Workflow — what does it mean?

In the simplest terms, a workflow can be defined as a flow of tasks, information and documents taking place within a given process. The term covers both very simple and standard scenarios as well as more complex or specific ones. In the modern business world, various process modelling techniques are used to determine how tasks are separated and processed within the framework of the execution process. The main purpose of their implementation is to make the chain of events as efficient as possible in order to ensure that concrete and intended results are achieved in a reliable manner.

Workflow can be implemented in order to better organise the work of a team of people — it can also be understood as a computer process and dedicated software. In the case of the former, the organisation appoints a manager responsible for the organisation of work within the company, who personally distributes tasks among employees (process participants) and directly supervises their proper completion. Each task has its rules and guidelines to be followed and must lead to a specific, measurable result. In the meantime, employees are informed about the role and importance of their task for a specific project. On the other hand, workflow in the context of the class of IT solutions for business is based on business process digitalisation and automation by means of dedicated software used for managing and optimising workflows, understood in this case as the totality of tasks and related documents, information and data — in other words, all kinds of files necessary for their proper completion.

Workflow management software

The main purpose of workflow carried out by dedicated workflow management systems is digitalisation and automation of selected business processes within the organisation. Dedicated workflow management IT systems take advantage of innovative technologies to ensure fast and efficient flow of information between individual participants of the process, who can transfer individual tasks, data and documents in a convenient and safe manner. This in turn enables significant simplification and acceleration of assigning and delegating tasks, improvement of information flow within the organisation and elimination of the risk of errors, downtime and omissions. In addition, it also increases the quality of tasks and decisions, bringing the organisation to a completely new level of functioning.

Workflow management software, or a dedicated workflow system, is nothing more than a special, technologically advanced IT tool designed to efficiently monitor, manage and optimise workflow. As a dedicated platform, such a system serves as a basic tool for managing the realisation of individual tasks and entire processes. Workflow management software is based on business process automation. The most innovative and technologically advanced software solutions of this kind take advantage of technologies and mechanisms extending beyond pure workflow engine, including technologies such as low-to-no-code, machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), business process automation (BPA), robotic process automation (RPA), smart optical character recognition (OCR), digital signatures and many others.

What are the benefits of dedicated workflow management software?

The implementation of such an advanced workflow system in the company brings numerous benefits — the realisation of individual tasks and entire processes becomes more effective, efficient and less time-consuming. Advanced solutions of this kind enable modelling a sequence of steps within a given business scenario and assigning specific tasks to individual employees, defining the so-called business rules, setting up substitutions, as well as monitoring the progress of work, while allowing for its optimisation along the way. This in turn enables employees to be effectively guided through the processes and tasks, and what is more, instils confidence that they are carrying them out in accordance with the procedures and rules in force at the time, which gives them peace of mind and job satisfaction, Additionally, managers and directors gain a practical and powerful tool to effectively enforce and implement new rules and policies — thanks to the workflow system, it just happens by itself.

Aggregating tasks in a specific place and assigning them to individual employees and teams has a positive impact on the quality of communication within the organisation and improves the exchange of information, while reducing information chaos. A workflow system with a well-designed structure ensures easy access to the necessary data for all participants in the process, including employees from other departments, staff members on business trips and people working remotely from home. Top-down access privileges protect confidential company data against leaking.

The entire solution is monitored by manager, who has access to insights about the progress of individual tasks, allowing them to constantly monitor project implementation and respond if any irregularities are detected. Workflow management software also informs about current workload, future workload, bottlenecks and exceeded deadlines. As a result, modern workflow systems provide organisations with better control of business process activities.

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