Subject to a variety of interpretations, “workflow” can mean anything from the steps in a work process to Business Process Automation.
It is fairly general term that can be applied to refer to either:
Workflows can be as simple as filling out and getting travel requests approved, or as complex as the steps involved in connecting disparate departments to manage inventory.
The traditional processes in a business without workflow automation software are tenuous.
Employees have to physically hand deliver documents, sort through files, and notify people of tasks they need to complete via email, notes and meetings.
These manual procedures can often be defined, standardized and set to specific business rules in an electronic environment; this is workflow automation.
Workflow automation is a defined set of rules required to accomplish a specific goal; the software is able to automatically route tasks through the process to each subsequent step, all the way to the completion of that goal.