What is Workflow and How Does it Influence a Company’s Operations?

Effective management of workflow has immense significance for each company’s operations. Workflow is a broad concept that describes both, the flow of information between particular facilities participating in the processing thereof, as well as the flow of documentation between employees performing specific activities. Workflow refers to basically each aspect of the professional operation of companies and constitutes one of the most often used methods of managing teams of employees.

Workflow, that is, manual and automatic workflow in the enterprise

Workflow

Workflow is a concept concerning virtually every area of the organization’s operations and processes occurring in-house – from supporting to the core. It is understood as a manner of managing a team of employees and tasks assigned thereto, in which flows, roles of the persons engaged in the process, and the sequence of activities that should be performed have been defined and automated. The flow of information exchanged between entities participating in processing thereof also constitutes an important aspect of workflow, which is related to managing and providing access to relevant data and documents used by employees in the performance of a specific process.

Moreover, workflow often defines business process automation, which is executed via special IT systems. Simple and routine activities can be taken from the scope of employees’ duties and handled by relevant mechanisms (e.g. with the use of OCR or AI elements). Information, documents, and particular tasks comprising the process are automatically transferred between employees on the grounds of relevant procedures. The software supports the work of the whole team allowing precise specification of roles played by particular persons in a given process and assigned to them, strictly specified tasks.

The most important term comprising the concept of workflow is the process. It is simply a task that should be worked on. Whereas, within the process, there is an activity that is related to the parts of the task, which have been divided between particular employees working on the whole task. The activity is divided into a manual part, that is, the one personally performed by the employee and an automatic part – performed by the system.

Workflow automation, that is, workflow systems and functionality thereof

Workflow systems allow organizations to better define and control activities related to the business process occurring in-house. Workflow automation systems give the opportunity to measure and analyze all processes, which allows ongoing monitoring of their work, improvement, and reinforcement of the effectiveness of particular processes. Furthermore, workflow automation executed via workflow systems can be integrated with other types of software used in companies, including document management, accounting and production systems, and many others. It facilitates the management of all interdependent structures comprising the enterprises.

Workflow management systems offer a number of functions very useful in each enterprise. Among these, it is worth mentioning the presence of tools used for defining processes that allow the dynamic implementation of changes to business processes. Whereas, another function comprises the possibility to distribute documents, which allows quick and efficient transfer of documentation among employees or departments and has a positive impact on the flow of documentation in the company, and accelerates the process of making decisions. Furthermore, an important function of workflow systems consists of the automation of tasks, which allows programming automated performance of certain activities.

Benefits from workflow automation via workflow systems

The workflow system is not only the tool improving the flow of information and documents among employees but also a developed and highly functional software, which gives a possibility to manage business processes in a complex manner. It is invaluable support in the coordination of whole processes, enforcement of implementation of procedures, and best practices, not only within the job position but also within the framework of cooperation of many employees, departments, or branches. Workflow automation allows for balancing many in-house processes. Implementation thereof gives an opportunity to eliminate all problems related to workflow executed manually, which can be easily disturbed or slowed down.

Workflow automation via workflow systems offers numerous benefits for each company. It allows obtaining access to applied working methods and controlling particular processes better. The possibility to track the course thereof on an ongoing basis allows the introduction of changes thereto and enhancement of performance thereof in the future by introducing necessary improvements. Furthermore, the workflow software allows us to control the time spent on the performance of particular tasks and to adjust assumptions to actual progress. Automation also benefits employees. Each team member has, in fact, assigned strictly specific tasks, which has a positive impact on the level of their engagement and improves general productivity.

Which technology to choose?

Workflow automation software should be chosen with full awareness of the purposes and business scenarios for which it will be used. In the case of the more advanced, enterprise-grade use, it will certainly be advisable to use more complex low-code platforms than simpler no-code tools for the so-called citizen developers.

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