Workflow automates business processes to increase efficiency and automate decision-making.
Workflow technology has been in use for quite some time. Commercial applications of workflow were introduced in the early 1980’s. Today, several types of workflow are used extensively to increase processing efficiency and automate decision making. While the different types are similar in name, they are quite different in how they work.
- Forms-based workflow – Provides automated and ad-hoc routing of forms and attached documents.
- Ad Hoc workflow – Commonly associated with collaboration and engineering applications. Permits users to specify how documents will be routed.
- Application-based workflow – Workflow technology provided as an integral part of a business application. The workflow permits automation of activities within the application environment but has only limited access to other applications or systems.
- Production workflow – Workflow technology designed for high-volume, repeatable business processes across multiple business applications and environments. Production workflows can consist of hundreds of decision points and commonly incorporate a rules engine that defines workflow object movement throughout the system.
Most organizations can benefit from the use of multiple workflow types. In many cases, one workflow system will hand off a workflow object to another workflow system for further processing. Having multiple solutions available ensures that users will have the tools they need to efficiently review and process work.