Process Builder vs. Workflow – Which is right for you?

• BPM

Workflows and processes are an integral part of the modern digital workplace. Put together, they help

  • Organize work into the steps needed to deliver it
  • Automate project progress through the various steps it takes to deliver outcomes
  • Create one source of truth for tracking progress on a project

In essence, workflows and processes form the backbone of digital automation and make it easy to do more with the power of tech.

Now, considering their close similarities, it might be easy to mix them up. As a result, organizations that need either of the two may not be able to make the best choice that moves their work forward.

In this article, we’ll be taking a holistic look at what processes and workflows—what they are, how exactly they work, and which will fit your needs best.

What is a workflow?

A workflow is a repeatable sequence of steps needed to achieve a business goal.

It’s an outline of tasks that apply in the process of getting a specific outcome delivered.

A workflow receives data from a human or an automated source, processes, and gets a certain task done with it.

What is a process? And what is a process builder?

A process is a step-by-step outline of tasks, interactions, and layers of input that’s needed to derive an outcome.

Sounds familiar to a workflow? Yes, and no.

On the surface, a workflow and a process look quite similar, but the further we look, it’s easy to see differences in their structure and their intended usage.

On one hand, a workflow defines a work-flow, i.e. the sequence of steps and tasks that’ll need to be taken to get an outcome. A process, on the other hand, includes:

    • The sequence of steps needed to get an outcome, i.e. the workflow,
    • The sequence of staff and human input needed to deliver the objective,
    • Numerous layers of data, and metrics necessary for achieving the endpoint, and
    • The multiple layers of interactions that apply throughout the process.

In essence, workflows are working parts of a process. The workflow focuses primarily on the steps of input that get an objective from to-do to done, while a process includes all other variables, and generally apply in bigger picture situations.

By derivation, a process builder is a tool or software that helps organize tasks, interactions, and data into an orderly format that can be automated and used repeatedly.

Workflows vs Processes

A workflow is a documented outline of the tasks needed to deliver an outcome. A process, on the other hand, records the tasks, human input (applicable team members), and data needed to achieve a (most often) bigger picture target.

A workflow is most often small-scale and is used for outlining smaller tasks that require just a series of steps to achieve them. A process outlines steps, relevant human input, and keeps a track of data required to deliver a more critical, organizational-level outcome.

A workflow can serve as a part of a process. A process can include several workflows.

A workflow can either be executed from start to finish by one person or a limited group of individuals; a process typically involves passing work across from one expert to another, who makes their input at every stage until the work is completed.

So, which should you use?

Based on our guide above, it’s easy to infer whether you should employ a process or workflow for your business needs. Use a workflow if:

      • You can easily execute alone or with a limited team, or
      • Your target is a smaller picture goal

On the other hand, a process might be a better bet if:

      • Your tasks are typically multifaceted and require input from several departments across your organization,
      • Your outcomes are bigger picture and more mission-critical to your business or organization,
      • Your intended outcome requires bundling several workflows together.

How to create processes and workflows

Workflows and processes are clearly outlined blueprints for getting work done. They clearly spell out what it takes to move a target from to-do to done with minimal friction.

But that level of organization isn’t by default. It’s deliberately planned out right from the start.
Generally, in order to create fully-functional workflows or process, you must:

        • Define your targeted outcomes,
        • Define the layers of input required,
        • Identify relevant agents,
        • Test your workflow/process to see if it achieves the outcomes you desire.

Here’s our comprehensive guide for creating workflows and processes that help your organization achieve more with less.

Benefits of using workflow and process builders

Now, with a better idea of processes, workflows, how they’re different, and how they apply to your business, we have an interesting outcrop to address.

Workflow and process builders.

Workflow and process builders are software tools that help you create workflows and processes. That’s it. Simple.They help you automate the inner workings of your workflows and processes which transform your outlined tasks and action items into systems that operate intuitively.

Workflow and process builders, in essence, make workflows and processes what they are since they add that layer of automation that transforms them from to-do lists and task outlines into powerful pieces of customizable tech.
Here are the benefits of using workflow and process builders.

Automation

Workflow and process builders are used to create outlines of repeatable tasks and human interactions that add up to a business outcome. Workflow and process builders essentially make these systems operate on their own (to a greater degree) and saves a team time that’d been used for manually organizing tasks every time.

Speed

Judging by the automation factor, workflow and process builders not only help teams spend less time on repeatable tasks; they also help organizations get more work done faster since numerous moving parts of their systems and processes no longer need to be manually serviced.

Resource efficiency

With a switch from manually handling tasks, responsible stakeholders, and data flows, workflow and process builders help teams achieve increased efficiency, in that they can spend more time and resources focused solely on creative tasks that can’t be automated.

Need to know: Workflow rules and process functions

A workflow rule is an instruction or a set of instructions bundled together, that determines how information or work progresses from one stage of the workflow to another.

A workflow rule lays out what happens at each stage of the workflow and the conditions that have to be met in order for the flow to continue or be repeated until a target is achieved.

Similarly, a process function defines the interaction between two variables at each level of a process. A function determines what happens, depending on the input of factors and outcomes from higher up in the process flow.
Workflow rules and process functions are the automation engines of workflows and processes and make it easy for work to progress through each of the stages of both systems respectively until a target is achieved.

You need a workflow creator and a process builder. Use Kissflow.

Now, we’ve established that whether knowingly or not:

        • You use workflows to get tasks done in your organization,
        • These tasks bundle together with other variables to form repeatable processes, and that,
        • The less time you spend manually organizing your workflows and processes, the better.

So, how do you simplify your workflow and process management so you can spend less time on repeatable tasks?

Quick fix—use Kissflow.

Unlike other tools that help you manage either processes or workflows, Kissflow offers one platform where you can simplify your workflows and tame process chaos altogether.

For your process management, Kissflow offers:

        • Simple work-flowing capabilities
        • Intelligent team management, whether you’re working with a team of 1 or 100
        • Smart process functions that automate your work intuitively

And for your workflows, Kissflow offers:

        • Step-by-step task outlines
        • Detailed work-flowing capabilities

Put all that together and you get a workflow creator and process builder designed for simplifying your business systems with automation so you can do more with less.

Try out Kissflow today.