Those who work with BPM often find themselves working with concepts of workflow and processes. And even some people with some experience in the area can confuse these two terms, which, incidentally, is very common.
In this post, you’ll understand more about what workflow and processes are, and clearly understand their differences.
In our blog you can also see: BPM and workflow are not the same thing: understand their similarities and differences
Understand workflow and process definitions
It’s important to remember that we use the word ‘process’ in many contexts, such as law, for example. In this case, we’re referring to business processes.
What are business processes
We can define business processes with a sequence of activities (subdivided into tasks) ordered in a logical way, with cause and effect relations between them, and with the objective of delivering a product, service, information, decision or other output to an internal or external customer.
The chain of processes of a company, that is, the sequence of several processes of a business, aim to add value to a final delivery, a product or service. This increases the market’s perception of its value over the costs incurred to produce it.
The greater the positive difference between perceived value and cost of production, the higher the profit of the company tends to be (in the case of for-profit organizations).
In this context, continually analyzing, modeling, and improving processes to be more efficient and effective is a great way to make companies more profitable.
Check out more information in this article: What is business process management?
What is workflow?
Workflow is a set of technologies and tools that enable documents, information, activities and tasks to flow appropriately in the company, or department of a company. Those involved in the process follow a sequence and practice certain procedures so that they can achieve the process objectives.
You don’t necessarily need to automate workflows, with the aid of technology, but this is undoubtedly the best way to obtain satisfactory results.
By utilizing the workflow and its tools, you can reduce process failures, data transfer errors, time gains and delays, bottlenecks and wastes. And you can increase procedure reliability and accuracy.
Differences between workflow and processes
We’ve put together a small summary of topics that show some interesting contrasts between workflow and processes. Read on to better understand the difference between these two concepts:
- Process is a sequence of tasks, workflow is a way to make this sequence more productive and efficient
- Process is something that exists naturally and flows intuitively. A workflow is analyzed, planned, modeled and automated consciously and with well-defined purposes
- Process is the way a team coordinates and communicates to deliver a result. Workflow is a technology or tool that can help to do achieve this result in the best way.
- Not every process is automated, the goal of workflow software is actually to automate processes
- Workflow is a consequence of the existence of processes, so it’s possible for a process to exist without workflow. Conversely a workflow cannot exist without the corresponding process.
Workflow is a small portion of what BPM can do for your company’s processes.
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