What is a business workflow process and how does it help achieve business outcomes?
Workflow Process Overview
Workflow Process Definition
The definition of "workflow process" is this: It refers to a series of activities or tasks that must be completed sequentially or parallel to achieve a business outcome. The process is usually linear and proceeds in a sequence determined by actions or pre-defined business rules.
Workflow Process Mapping
It involves illustrating these activities and rules and identifying the actions, whether automated, from another system or human-based.
A workflow process receives inputs and produces outputs. Completed tasks (human or machine) propel the process forward and can be transformed or passed along to the next step by the workflow engine.
Workflow analysis allows business analysts to determine the efficiency of the current process and build toward a more efficient future state.
Business Process Management
While business workflow processes began in the manufacturing sector, modern businesses have adopted the term for capturing and optimizing business processes. Processes are often referred to in a "business process management" context in a business context. Business analysts use workflow tools like Integrify to automate these processes and eliminate as many manual steps as possible.
Workflow Process Example: New Hire Process
The workflow diagram on the right shows a straightforward new hire process workflow, diagrammed for clarity as a process flow. The various process steps may be handled by people spread across multiple departments throughout the process. Sometimes, an automated function may take action (for instance, sending out a thank you email or letter), while others require human intervention.
Note: To see a real-world example of this process, visit our Process Apps area.
Benefits of Automating a Workflow Process
- Streamline and speed up internal workflow by reducing manual entry and request handling.
- Track request status (completed, pending, or in progress, etc.) in real-time
- Identify performance trends (group and individual) over time.
- Identify process redundancies.
- Switch from single to parallel processing of tasks.
- Eliminate circumvention of organizational business rules.
- Provide staff members with reminders and alerts when tasks age.
- Allow 24/7 access to approve and monitor requests and tasks.
- Allow staff and management to focus on value-added projects and tasks.
- Reduced license overhead for enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, etc.)
- Monitor team progress against Service Level Agreements.
- Identify and remove process barriers or bottlenecks.
- Reduce errors and re-work.
- Reduce the risk of improperly approved requests, contracts, hires, etc.
- Improve compliance with audit trails.
- Increase output and increase productivity.
- Provide a unified, personalized request workflow experience for employees.
- Better align tasks with the skillsets and assign tasks to the most appropriate staff members.
- Drastically reduce paperwork and associated costs and waste.
- Reduce the need for manual decision-making and handling of business rules.
Three Tips for Automating Your Process or Workflow
Automation workflows are a great way to streamline processes and save time. However, there are some essential things to remember when setting up and using automation to ensure processes run efficiently and without issues. Here are three tips to keep in mind when using automation workflows.
Tip 1: Plan Thoughtfully
Before using automation workflows, planning out your process carefully is essential. Could you take the time to understand the scope of the workflow, document the steps and data points, and decide which tasks are best for automation? This will help you avoid any costly errors or delays in the future.
Tip 2: Monitor and Adjust
Once your automation workflow is set up, monitoring the process and making adjustments as needed is crucial. Pay close attention to any errors, latency issues, or other possible bottlenecks, and take the necessary steps to address them.
Tip 3: Consider Security
Finally, when implementing automation workflows, it's critical to consider security. Be sure to restrict access to sensitive data, use authentication and encryption, and review logs regularly to ensure no unauthorized access to data or systems.
Integrify's Approach to Workflow Process Automation Software
Integrify focuses on providing a platform for building customized, department-specific, and use case-driven automated workflows. Since no two companies are alike, we built Integrify to be flexible and extensible to meet your organization's business workflow management goals.
Flexible: Define workflow from scratch, start from a template, or have our experienced service team build what you need. Our software allows you to decide how your workflow runs. Choose tasks from various options and put them in the order your business rules dictate.
Powerful: Some of the largest companies in the world rely on Integrify to reliably power their most critical workflows (think cybersecurity response, customer onboarding, capital expenditure requests, etc.)
Extensible: Connect to other systems and embed widget versions of your forms wherever you need them, including intranets, Web pages, and other systems like SharePoint.
Service: Besides a robust, flexible workflow automation platform, Integrify provides white-glove onboarding and process design by seasoned, professional implementation staff. Get up and running quickly with guided help and hands-on work from the Integrify team.
Watch a Workflow Being Automated
How do you create a process?
Learn how to design a process by reading our blog post, "How to Design a Process."
How do you write process documentation?
Read our blog post "How to Write Process Documentation."
What is the best tool for process automation?
Check out our page, "Best Workflow Management Software" to learn more about available tools and considerations.
What are some examples of workflows that can be automated?
You'll find many great ideas for processes and workflows that can be automated on our workflow examples page.
Interested in Automating Your Workflow Processes?
We have various resources to help you navigate to an automated workflow.
Automate Any Workflow Process
To see how quickly you can begin automating your workflow, request a free demonstration or trial of Integrify.