PROCESS MANAGEMENT GLOSSARY

What is Workflow Management System?

Workflow management systems provide a platform for workflow management and process automation.

A workflow management system is a digital tool capable of assisting in the analysis, design and modelling of new processes. Its purpose is to provide an adequate flow and storage of information among process agents (usually through the use of forms), bringing more efficiencies and effectiveness in delivering value to customers, whether internal or external. Thereby, providing the necessary performance data for the monitoring and continuous improvement of this process.

What should the workflow management system handle?

A workflow management system should handle these three things:

  1. Easily set up and tweak automation of repetitive processes. Either through management or individual workers.
  2. Automatically notify and follow up on tasks in the process which are incomplete.
  3. Display an overview of overall performance with custom metrics. Plus, the ability to make comparisons with previous settings and time periods.

The trouble with the WMS today is that there are so many different products available, each with its own feature set. Unfortunately, there are no requirements that need to be met to call your product a WMS. This makes finding the right software for each organisation much more complex than it should be.

Example of a process map built in Gluu. A small part of Gluu's workflow management system.
Example of a process map built in Gluu.

Most important features of WMS

With that said here are some of the most important features you should look for when choosing a WMS:

Code free process mapping

If you really want your process owners to build and tweak your workflow it’s crucial that it’s very easy to make those changes. Process owners must be able to make changes alone and efficiently. It is also important that those making changes feel ownership over their work.

KPI Reporting

Once you have your process maps and workflow set up it’s very important that your WMS has powerful reporting features. It’s one thing to document your business processes, but to truly improve them you need information on how they are performing.

When you have a visual overview of how tasks are being completed it can become clear that certain tasks have bottlenecks that need to be fixed. With a complete workflow overview, you will notice unnecessary actions and tasks to improve.

Role-based Access to Processes

Much of how business’ function is not necessary knowledge for the majority of an organisation. Also, many tasks may contain or give access to sensitive information. For these reasons, it is beneficial to have the option of restricting what information users can edit and access.

Automatic notifications

Notifications have an immediate impact on the day-to-day process. Giving precise instructions at exactly the right time, every time is only possible through automatic notifications. This ensures employees are on task throughout the day.

But, also notifications can be sent to management when certain criteria are not met. This information can prove useful in finding exactly where bottlenecks in a process are. Or identifying who may need extra training.

Further resources on Workflow Management Systems:

Read our guide to simple process mapping


Source: Guide to the Business Process Management Body of Knowledge – ABPMP BPM CBOK on Amazon.

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