January 16th 2014

If this, then that - how to optimize BPM with Workflow

Wondering how to effectively implement your process models?

Spotlight Workflow

Once you have optimized your models for efficiency and best practices, automating them in a cloud-based workflow management system contributes to increased success. Workflows unify information systems to help complete tasks, thereby, organizing process automation and execution. The improved coordination from a good workflow engine can help with reporting process performance and optimizing high-quality process.

Workflow & Business Processes

Workflows are business processes in action. The two topics are closely related since processes are the well-defined aspects of the connected sequence of activities defined within workflows. While a process covers the relevant process steps, workflows are generally a systematic definition of a pattern or a series of tasks within an organizational process.

The idea that workflow encompasses processes and vice versa may initially be challenging to grasp, but think of it this way; workflows can be considered as the parts of a whole in a network of process tasks. Each step in any process contributes to the overall executable workflow, while the end-to-end list of tasks and processes define the overall workflow.

In a business context, the term “workflow” is meant for a special kind of software system, one that incorporates efficiency-optimized process models. A good workflow tool uses the models as instruction to coordinate the activities within the functional roadmap of an organization’s business processes. With the incorporated models, a team can better manage process execution given increased visibility from workflow reporting features.

Workflow Accelerates Accomplishments

A good workflow system should be characterized by a clean and consistent structure, an efficient and cost-effective implementation, and a versatile design that supports an individuals ability to complete a process. Executing a process with workflow rules and steps offers many different positive outcomes including:

  • Task Automation – Save time on coordination efforts
  • Process Efficiency – Improved task completion rates with automatic notifications to participants
  • Visibility & Optimization – Increased productivity transparency allows for informed workflow management
  • Process Adoption – Increased loyalty and repeatability for process equates to consistent output quality
  • Reduced Risk – Predefined guidelines help to minimize human error and other risks
  • Teamwork(flow) – Clear communication and project assignments of tasks and responsibilities Process

Coordinating Workflow with a Tool

Workflow is a multifaceted concept of interactions that include: tasks and procedural steps for individuals, departments, or organizations; descriptions of necessary inputs and possible outputs; and finally, all managed within an automation tool. A workflow engine is the “intelligent” execution system that determines whether a process is ready to move forward.

The important features in a good tool offer multiple task options to help coordinate processes in your organization. Visibility to the status of these tasks can help to improve overall productivity. The different types of tasks may include:

  • Manual tasks: Task processing that is done outside the workflow system. However, the system can notify the relevant people (e.g. via email). Additionally, the person can confirm completion of the task directly in the system, so that following activities can be started and tracked.
  • Computerized tasks:  The workflow system displays all relevant information so the stakeholder(s) can work on the task within the system. For instance, one user can share a form requesting input from another user.
  • Automated tasks: The workflow system integrates with other related systems and automates events in the process sequence. The workflow engine is able to initiate activities in other systems where responses can be processed accordingly.

Workflow automation simplifies task coordination. Workflow systems expedite task management correspondence by leveraging IT systems like your CRM, email, and Excel®. Process automation and improved coordination with workflow not only saves time and money, but also improves the quality of the process results.

Good workflow engines also offer reporting tools that can help evaluate the performance of a process.  Unlike email, they also provide visibility into the current status of any item being manage within the tool. For example, it is easy to see the progress of a project, and who is currently working on completing the next task. These tools can also provide process performance breakdowns based on on key figures like cycle times, response times, frequencies of alternative paths or other volumes.

Workflow in the Cloud with Effektif

Profound developments have been made in the world of workflow over the past year. Workflow experts established the basic standards for integrating BPM products. Automating workflow with modern cloud-based services was made possible. Most notably, the new intuitive BPM PaaS, Effektif, that enables business users to create and execute their daily processes within minutes was released.

Effektif is the most modern workflow system available, and is specially designed for business users. It established market-leading techniques such as combining the use of BPMN 2.0 process elements with the latest knowledge about integrating business level software and processes.

In the recent article, Effektif Brings Workflow to the Cloud with an IFTTT-like Service for the Enterprise, TechCrunch recognizes that the ideal workflow solution, Effektif, aims to “automate workflow through a cloud-based service,” and is “aimed at teams looking to coordinate around shared tasks.” Effektif is a powerful BPM executable workflow platform that can take on even the most intimidating end-to-end processes.

Curious to know more? Sign-up for the free 30-day trial of Effektif! Register now at www.effektif.com