Workflow Software Overview
What is Workflow Software?
A workflow is best understood as a series of related tasks, which take place in a sequence. Typical workflows are document-centric and route a document through a series of steps for approval, updating, or editing. Workflows can be invaluable in multiple scenarios, such as document approval, HR (i.e. onboarding a new employee), CapEx approval, IT service, expense report process, claims, and more.
Workflow software helps create, automate, and track the tasks involved with workflows. This software is designed to be used by non-coders. Simple drag and drop graphical user interfaces (GUIs) allow almost any user to create an automated workflow. The automated workflow will route the document to the appropriate users and software systems. Dashboard reports then update the workflow progress, including any delinquent steps in the process.
Benefits of Workflow Software
Companies today do a lot of repetitive manual tasks that can benefit from workflow automation. Some of the benefits of workflow software include:
Monitoring and control of processes
Increased visibility to bottlenecks or constrained resources
Reduce response time to the customer
Creation of audit trail
Workflow Software vs. BPM and ECM
Workflow management is similar, but differs from process management. A workflow is a sequence of activities needed to complete a specific task, whereas a process is a series of repeatable actions to achieve a goal. Workflow software automates workflow management, while Business Process Management (BPM) software streamlines all business processes and workflows to create a more agile and efficient business.
There is also some overlap between workflow software and Enterprise Content Management (ECM). One of the key objectives of an ECM system is to improve workflows, but an ECM system also is concerned with other objectives, including information governance and managing unstructured documents.
Workflow Software Features & Capabilities
Most workflow software on the market should include the following features to help create, automate, and track workflows:
Graphical workflow builder (drag and drop) builder
On-the-fly changes to workflows or forms
Create task and workflow interdependencies
Workflow progress tracking and reporting
Approval process management, including defining user roles and responsibilities
Automatic escalation management
Process enforcement and compliance tracking
Third party integrations (CRM, Sharepoint, etc)
Reporting and analytics
Import/Export of data
On-premise or cloud based installation