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What is Workflow Software?

By David White
Updated May 16, 2024
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Workflow software provides a way for a computer to achieve its highest potential — to do work for the user so he or she can get on with other important tasks. This software comes in many functionalities, and some of the most familiar do some of the most common computer tasks.

One of the benefits of workflow software is that it can help save a user time by automating routines and subroutines that he or she would otherwise spend time on, such as data entry and email filtering. The software can be configured to process data entry in such a way that it runs in the background, allowing the user to concentrate on other more important tasks. The same is true of email filtering, the process of slotting email messages in different folders according to instructions that are either preinstalled or installed by the user.

Retailers who specialize in online and/or phone orders from customers often find much to like in workflow software. This kind of application can automate such normally time-consuming tasks as order processing, refunds, and merchandise tracking. It can be configured to handle such tasks and guarantee that all of the data will get to the right places. This is a side benefit of using the software: the ability to avoid human errors that unavoidably crop up in business-related tasks.

With the growing popularity of electronic communication, more and more employees are sending and receiving emails, faxes, and digital images. Scanners are often used to create such digital files. Workflow software can help here, too, by automating the scan-and-send process. A user can configure his or her software to do this by designating a Scan folder, say, and instructing the program to scan anything placed in the folder and attach the result to an email. In some cases, a user can even number the files and designate corresponding email addresses, so he or she needn’t spend time addressing each individual email.

Another useful task performed by this type of software is file conversion. One of the most popular kinds of file conversion these days is making PDF files out of just about any other kind of file. Adobe®, the creator of pdf, makes software that allows just this sort of automation; other applications made by other developers offer the same sort of functionality.

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Discussion Comments
By anon940330 — On Mar 18, 2014

Anyone have recommendations for workflow software companies that are geared to small businesses? It seems I am too small of a fish for many of the companies I have called.

By anon289611 — On Sep 05, 2012

Workflow is a great thing and if you have a chance to have a graphic workflow than you can feel much happier and not so stressed at all. I use Comindware task manager to draw a graphic workflow of the tasks I have.

By anon140259 — On Jan 07, 2011

If it's about workflow charts, then I'd think the best would be the new Creately desktop version, which has been just launched.

By anon85254 — On May 19, 2010

Workflow and BPM (Business Process Management) coalesce more and more. Modern BPM/Workflow systems do not relay on client/server concepts except for their internal architecture. They are designed for orchestration and collaboration of loosely coupled resources (i.e., services, web services, applications, human resources, whatever) and therefore build a totally new platform for the visual development/analysis and execution of government applications.

Combined with web-technology you can also manage inter-company processes in the cloud. BPMN 2.0 is a specification in this direction and IYOPRO is one of the new tools that follow these ideas.

By WayneByrne — On Feb 20, 2010

Workflow (as opposed to BPM) means managing the process of getting work completed while BPM is focused more on defining the process.

By workflowguy — On May 31, 2009

to annon 19928 some vendors built in workflow software which really means that they have some workflow component that works only with their software. Where as pure play workflow vendors sell software that bridges/integrates a lot of different types of software.

By anon28556 — On Mar 18, 2009

Workflow software comes in many different 'flavors' from very generic to very industry specific. For example, we have been working on one specific to the Large Format Printing Industry. Anyway you cut workflow is pretty much a must for companies today.

By anon19928 — On Oct 22, 2008

Oracle and major vendors built_in workflow software, there are also 3rd party workflow software, what are the key differences?

By anon7280 — On Jan 23, 2008

Workflow is more server/client these days and less about the individual and more about the organization they belong to. It also reaches the realms of process modelling, similation, and business activity monitoring.

Cheers,

Craig

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