Everyone "does" workflow. They probably don't call it workflow, but the reality is they are doing some form of workflow. By my definition most people actually do what I call work "routing" - which includes tasks like e-mail and even passing around paper based documents. Routing typically does not have the ability to track, manage, or otherwise monitor (at least in an effective and predictable manner) the effort. While routing is technically a form of of workflow it is only a subset of the elements required to be considered workflow.
Beyond Routing - The next step up from routing is workflow. A workflow can be designed, developed, and deployed in a predictable and repeatable manner. It may involve parallel and serial routing, it may involve recursion and mutliple iterations of steps. It may also involve interoperability between systems and humans. Caveat - This highlights one of the problems with the term "workflow." It is overloaded, overused and arguably mis-used.
Future postings will include some of the other elements that should be considered when evaluating Workflow and BPM systems. Look for future postings that will discuss some of these nuances and will try to shed light on these details as they grow and require extra effort and in terms of interoperability. These points will be covered in more detail in future postings and will involve the elements related to the different workflow components and how they interoperate to form a system.
- M -Modeling
- I -Integration
- M -Monitoring
- O -Optimization
The Routing - Workflow - BPM - DBA Curve
Below is a podcast that describes the high level elements in 5 minutes. Kudos to JP Morgenthal of The Burton Group for taking the initial step.
JP Morgenthal's io - http://www.burtongroup.com/AboutUs/Bios/PrintBio.aspx?Id=186