Workflow - Management of business processes

December 2016

Workflow

The term "Workflow" refers to the modeling and computerized management of all tasks to be accomplished and of the different players involved in carrying out a business process (also called operational process).

A business process represents interactions in the form of an exchane of information between different players such as:

  • people,
  • applications or services,
  • third-party processes,

Practically, a Workflow may describe:

  • the validation circuit,
  • the tasks to be accomplished among the different parties of a process,
  • the deadlines to be met,
  • the validation modes
Additionally, it provides each player with the information that is necessary to complete his or her task. For an online publication process, for example, it involves modeling the tasks of the entire editing chain, from the editor's proposal to validation by the person in charge of publication.

Example of a workflow for the publication of a document

The example above is a very schematic representation of how the workflow could look like for the publication of a document on an Intranet with the help of a publication interface:

  1. The editor proposes an article to the section head
  2. The section head takes a look at the document and validates it
  3. The editor-in-chief believes that the document contains elements that are non-current and returns the document to the editor
  4. The editor revises the copy and submits it to the section head
  5. The section head corrects some typos and forwards the article to the editor-in-chief
  6. The editor-in-chief validates the document for online publication

Workflow typologies

Generally, we distinguish two types of Workflow:

  • Procedural workflow (also called production workflow or managing workflow), which corresponds to known business processes of the enterprise and which is subject to preestablished procedures: The direction of the workflow is more or less fixed;
  • Ad hoc workflow based on a groupwork model where the players are involved in the decision of where to direct the workflow: The direction of the workflow is dynamic.

Workflow engine

The workflow engine is a tool which makes it possible to model and automate the business processes of the enterprise. This type of tool makes it possible to formalize the business rules of the enterprise in order to automate the decision-making process, i.e. the branch of the workflow to chose, depending on a given context.


Related :


Workflow: gestión de los procesos comerciales
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