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What is a digital workflow?

Taking one step closer to the autonomous enterprise

  • Ron Vardinon

    VP Offering Management, Orchestration

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Published

03/23/2022

Automation technologies are evolving to transform how enterprises will operate, empower employees, and serve customers in the year ahead. And digital workflows are a big part of the equation.

Organizations use digital workflows to coordinate employee activities and to synchronize data between systems. The goal is to improve efficiency, responsiveness, and profitability as businesses redefine the future of work within an autonomous enterprise.

But what is a digital workflow? It's the definition, execution, and automation of business processes. Tasks, information, and documents pass from one participant to another for action, according to a set of procedural rules.

Now you might be wondering – so what is a workflow process? And what types of workflows are available? Let's take a look.

What digital workflows do

A digital workflow process automates a stream of employee activities. It reduces processing time, helps eliminate the potential for human error, and makes governance easier to manage. Simply put, with digital workflows, managers and employees can act faster and make smarter, more informed decisions.

The following types of workflows are currently in use:

  • Sequential workflow: Based on flow charts, a sequential workflow progresses from one step to the next without the ability to go back
  • State machine workflow: A more complex workflow, which can return to a previous point, progresses from state to state – that is, from one operation to the next
  • Rule-driven workflow: These workflows, based on sequential workflows, follow rules that dictate progress from one step to the next

Digital workflow best practices

Successful organizations adapt and customize their IT to meet employee and customer demand for better services and experiences. The challenge for IT is to find solutions that allow users to maintain control of the business logic embedded in existing processes.

That's where intelligent business process management software (iBPMS) can help.

iBPMS is an integrated collection of critical systems for digitizing, automating, and managing digital workflows. Today, iBPMS combines with systems of engagement for an orchestration layer that connects people to , applications, systems, and data. It incorporates analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), robotic process automation, and more.

As the iBPMS and low-code application platform markets converge, users will be able to create digital workflow applications in the cloud faster and easier than ever before.

Digital workflow examples

Now we can explore what a digital workflow might look like in your business.

  • HR: Workflow applications can automate and execute procedures such as onboarding, exit processes, and annual reviews
  • Banking: Workflows can automate client onboarding, approval cycles for investment decisions, and cycles for a mortgage or loan request
  • Manufacturing: Quality assurance workflows can address nonconformities, complaints, requests, and preventive maintenance
  • Travel: Workflows can handle client vacations, hotel reservations, flight reservations, and so on for travel agencies
  • Insurance processing: Workflows can speed up and simplify previously time-consuming tasks like manual intake, data extraction, rekeying data, and routing
  • Sales processing: Digital workflows can liberate sales teams to focus less on admin and more on growth without ignoring back-end operations

The benefits of digital workflows

And what happens when all of this comes together?

  • Improved productivity: Automated digital workflows transform productivity and reduce the time spent on manual tasks – essential as the pace of business transformation continues to accelerate
  • Greater process transparency: Through graphical representation, digital workflows help managers see the state of business-critical processes at every point in real time
  • Faster business reaction time: Workflow software helps businesses react quickly and smoothly to market fluctuations through process modifications
  • Improved accountability and alignment: Workflows can monitor time to execute business functions – creating productivity measurement and continual process improvement – and make it easier to keep an eye on governance
  • Better employee and customer experiences: Workflow automation isn't about replacing employees; it's about freeing employees from tedious tasks to focus on more strategic work. Plus, workflow software helps businesses reimagine processes from the customer perspective to create more seamless experiences

Preparing for the future of work

Today's digital workflow software is supercharged with modeling, execution, simulation, optimization, and monitoring features to accelerate digital transformation.

By introducing AI into digital workflows, intelligent automation starts to come into its own. With intelligent automation fueling digital workflows, businesses can generate data-driven insights to continuously uncover better ways of working.

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