Workflow management comprises the modeling and evaluation, simulation and control as well as logging of company processes with the aim of coordinating the employees working on these processes and controlling the course of the process. A special aspect in connection with workflow management is joint and networked collaboration.
In this SoftGuide section you will find an overview of software and solutions on the topic of workflow or workflow management. Workflow management software is used for business process automation. The workflow management software ensures - based on certain specifications - the execution of predefined workflows as well as the technological support of business process management. As a rule, the software supports the creation of process maps and process models, includes the generation of process descriptions and contains modules for release workflow or workflow development, as well as BPMN symbols and key figure management. The software for workflow management usually also includes output options for analyses and reports with evaluations of flow efficiency.
A workflow is a plan of operations. This workflow outlines the operational aspects of the business process by means of structured steps. These steps build on each other. Once a step has been executed, its result determines the subsequent step. The processing of these steps in the workflow can be IT-supported.
Workflow management includes the administration of all individual workflows as well as their modeling, simulation, control and monitoring. A workflow management system supports this planning, management and monitoring. The system includes tools with which the individual workflows can be created and edited. Here, systems with graphical interfaces and the ability to create even highly complex processes without programming knowledge via an easy-to-use Workflow Designer are advantageous. The system assists in modeling the individual work steps as flow diagrams. Workflow management systems often provide preconfigured workflows that can then be easily adapted.
Workflow management systems (WMS) support the automation of routine company processes. This involves freeing structured tasks and processes from duplicate or superfluous work steps and then automating them efficiently with IT support. The goal of workflow management is to coordinate the process agents or teams. The processors can often be distributed spatially or, in the case of remote work, they can process the individual work steps and monitor the progress of the process from their home offices. The processing of the operations of a well-created workflow takes place smoothly and without errors. The quality of the processes is usually improved by workflow management, the processing times are shortened by automation and the transparency of the process is increased.
The areas of application for a workflow management system are extremely diverse and vary from company to company. Basically, workflows can be used regardless of the size of the company and the industry. In the following, we have listed a few typical areas of use that come into question for most SMEs and also for larger organizations and corporations.
A workflow management system usually includes a graphical workflow designer and predefined workflow templates. Individual workflows can then be created or predefined workflows can be modified or supplemented using drag & drop. Sub-processes can run simultaneously or independently of each other. Rules are defined that take effect automatically when corresponding entries are made by an agent. The next step is the execution by means of the workflow engine. The workflow engine monitors the compliance with the process steps and starts with the respective following work steps according to the defined rules. In addition, the workflow software includes a monitoring component. Monitoring is used to evaluate and subsequently improve the workflows.
A typical example of a workflow is the vacation request. An employee starts the workflow process by going to the Self-Service Portal and clicking on "Request leave". The leave request is then recorded via a form. Once the form has been completed, the request is automatically forwarded to the employee's supervisor. If the request is approved, it is forwarded to the HR department, where it is checked whether the relevant remaining vacation days are still available. If this is the case, the corresponding vacation days are recorded in the personnel department. If the supervisor does not approve the leave, a notification is sent back to the applicant. If there are not enough vacation days left, a message is also sent back to the applicant.
Definition and creation of order-specific workflows
Graphical representation of the workflow status
BPMN, BPMN 2.0 workflows
Notifications about status changes via email, instant messenger, or SMS
Predefined templates for typical processes
Define and assign tasks for colleagues
"on the fly" changes to processes
Control over the processing of tasks by means of a traffic light system
Integration of other enterprise solutions via API / interfaces
Reminder and escalation functions
Multi-user and multi-client capability, network capability
Connection to various databases
Interfaces for import and export
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