What is Workflow Management Software?
September 3rd, 2018 • workflow
Workflow Management Software is also called a workflow management system (WfMS). It is a type of software that helps businesses take control of their regularly occurring processes and automate them. It falls under the broader classification of business process management (BPM), but workflow management software tends to be more human-centric and the user is less dependent on programming or coding. With the help of WfMS, enterprises can automate business processes entirely or in parts, depending on their requirements.
The core of a workflow process lies in the fact that the workflow must move serially from one task to another – either human or system tasks – in a progressive coordination. A WfMS can simultaneously run several varied workflows and allow users to design their own processes.
Additionally, many kinds of workflow management software tools offer integration with other cloud-based apps such as email, automation applications, databases, and GIS that are used by a client organization to optimize their processes.
Who Uses WfMS?
Any company that regularly uses web-based applications can find a lot of value in workflow management software. As an example, a publishing firm might use a WfMS to initiate a new publication order, move it over to subsequent phases (like proofreading, designing and printing), request the chief editor’s approval, and push it for publication.
People who use workflow software the most are business leaders like department heads, senior managers, and process owners who want to automate repetitive processes. Depending on the kind of software they use, they can either setup the automation themselves or with a consultant.
Workflows might be sequentially simple like the one mentioned in the previous example, or more complex. Let’s say a book is being published in three languages and translation is a required part of the process. If one translator takes much longer than the others, the entire process gets stuck at that point across the three functions. Web-based workflow software must be able to handle these types of complications with ease.
Benefits of Using Workflow Management Software
Automation boosts productivity. Workflow management software is beneficial because it facilitates automation to repetitive processes and cuts on cost and time.
Additionally, most modern systems have evolved to become cloud-based which allows companies to manage workflows from anywhere with an internet connection. A thoroughly-put WfMS also incorporates other important features like issuing reports, tracking SLAs, integration with other cloud-based apps, generating notifications on important events, etc.
Workflow management software replaces the hassle of paperwork and ensures minimal redundancies along the process. It scales up productivity and puts business processes into the big picture for organizations to make informed decisions about their future operations.
WfMS vs. BPM vs. Project Management
Workflow management software and business process management software server similar needs. BPM software tends to be more technical and focused on the process and data while workflow management software is focused on the tasks and the people. BPM software tends to take on a more structured, technical aspect of the organizational processes.
Project management, on the other hand, is a distinct discipline. Conceptually, project management and WfMS follow the same model for completion of tasks. However, workflow management software is applied to organizational processes that are repetitive. Project management is more focused on one-time processes and data pertaining to a peculiar project and its lifespan. The nature of each project is usually unique and it is planned to achieve pre-defined organizational goals.
Common Features of a Workflow Software
Every company is unique in its processes and requirements, so there is no one-size-fits-all workflow solution that satisfies everyone. However, organizational processes across industries or their departments can be strikingly common. The majority of workflow software options try to resolve these hurdles by automating repetitive processes, tracking and following pending tasks, and issuing insightful reports.
Given the advance in business technologies and their growing dependency on IT, most of the workflow systems these days have upgraded their offerings on the cloud. Similarly, trusted WfMS will incorporate a host of other services such as allowing users to design their processes, create forms, give SLA status indicators, issue KPI-based reports, generate notifications, defined access controls, and so on.
Click here for a full list of features you should expect from a Workflow Management System.