back to basics they say. So, what is Workflow? flow of work? my take is, it is typically a graphical map of activities connected to specify the order of things that happens in a business process. It also specifies who does it and what happens and the rules that drive it. from my coding background I also see that as a depiction of algorithms or computer programs. But, the high value of application of the workflow concept comes from business process implementations – BPM!
It gives us automation, tracking, control, reporting and insight. This insight comes through the graphical nature of the process (self) documentation and from the tracking, monitoring, reporting and the possible mining of the data associated with these collected over a period of time.
Other key aspect here is integration. Typically we automate a manual process. The pre-requisite for automation is the thing exist in a manual form 🙂 and this process be it human based or not, spans more than one business domain. hence the integration across those business domains is required and typically an assumed feature. Hence the tools that provide the workflow capability has some out-of-the-box support for integration.
Integration is also required for storage, security and reporting components.