the basics

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.

windows workflow

So now that the windows workflow foundation (WF) has been branded under the .NET 3.0 umbrella we can kind of see the importance given to this technology. This means the workflow is here to stay as part of the framework and will continue to evolve. That’s a good thing.

But, this would mean that the workflow improvements may have to wait for the the framework releases. It will be much slower. given the importance of this technology tying it to the framework means that one day we could even see language constructs to help workflow style processing. although I like the xoml approach it would be cool to have a WF# offering as well 🙂

anway, looking at the Office 2007 beta, we can see WF manifesting itself through sharepoint and the standard applications like word and excel. It is already there in the Team Edition of VS.NET 2005.

I dont know whether Vista will have some OS level tools built on WF. May be as a showcase. Reading through the 5 or so articles on the Microsoft Architecture Journal edition 7 themed “Generation Workflow” it is clear that MS has looked at many applications for the WF. Not just the Human workflow.

I am still waiting to see Biztalk’s tac on WF. Should be interesting.

welcome to all (about workflows)

This blog is dedicated to the Workflow technology. I am starting to focus more and more of my time on it (for work and play). so I thought it is time to get serious about sharing my views online.

Workflow, in my opinion, is a business tool thats primary purpose is to help users manage their tasks (business processes) efficiently.
Organisations use workflow implementations to get their business processes semi-automated.
Business Process Automation is a big impact thing. Correctly implemented and carefully managed, it can yield many breakthroughs in productivity.
There are very interesting things happening in this area of Information Technology that is making it more accessible to all.
I am looking at how this 20 year+ old technology has evolved by K2 and others, and how it can be better delivered to the masses

See how we go.