What is workflow management?

A workflow is a series of individual work steps which together comprise part of a business workflow or other kind of organizational workflow. There is a logical relationship between each of these individual activities, which take place in a defined time sequence. Faster processing, end-to-end information availability, lower error rates and cost savings are just some of the positive effects of effective workflow management.

What is a workflow management system?

Utilizing a workflow management system can help you improve the quality of your processes with a host of real benefits for your business, including shorter (process) lead times, reduced costs and greater transparency throughout all process stages. The Doxis workflow engine is SER’s dedicated workflow management software.

Workflow management system benefits

A workflow management system provides users with a uniform platform to manage normative and adaptive process workflows, and thus leverages numerous benefits for the entire company. Digitalize and optimize all kinds of business processes, automate structured processes, add ad hoc, knowledge- and case-based workflows, and implement ad hoc and standardized workflows separately or combined. Workflow management is yet another tool in your armory to help shorten task processing and lead times, easily comply with relevant regulations (such as the laws on retention periods), and introduce clarity and transparency into your business processes. With a workflow management system, you not only access context-related information anytime for sound decision-making, but also benefit from audit-proof archiving of all types of documents and files.

Workflows vs. business processes

Although they have different meanings, the terms "workflow" and "business process" are often used interchangeably.

The term "workflow" describes the technical execution of business processes from an operational standpoint. It relates to the "how": How is it to be done? Workflows consist of a number of specific work steps and tasks, involve staff and technical resources, and support business processes using applications and systems.

By contrast, a business process refers to the design and analysis of work processes. This is about the "what": What is to be done? Business processes often closely tie in with the company's strategy and targets, and cover both core and supporting processes.

A direct comparison might look something like this: To give an example, electronic inbound mail processing in companies is a business process. All of the activities that form this process — such as the digitization of inbound mail and the classification and automatic forwarding of inbound documents to the right person in the right department — are the associated workflows. With an ECM system, modeling these electronic workflows is simple.

Normative and adaptive workflows

Normative workflows are routine tasks and recurring work processes. Their strong predictability makes them easy to automate using electronic workflows. These are known as standardized, structured or normative workflows. For example, as part of inbound invoice processing, digitized invoices can be processed using workflows: starting with extraction, classification and validation, and including verification, automatic posting and even the subsequent audit-proof archiving of both the invoice itself and the entire transaction.

Adaptive workflows are knowledge- and case-based, making them impossible to automate. They are dynamic, unpredictable and unstructured. The employee decides on the next step based on the circumstances. If the company works with an enterprise content management system, the employee has access to all the information they need to process the service case — in the form of electronic files within the workflow. Not only can the employee use the information to make sound decisions and determine the next work steps and further work process to ensure a successful outcome, but they can do this ad hoc and make adjustments at any time.

Adaptive case management

Adaptive case management is a tool for mapping business processes in a way that both supports employees as they work on a business case and gives them the necessary leeway to make individual decisions in pursuit of a successful outcome. ACM solutions thus facilitate the decision-making process, allow employees the freedom to take decisions themselves, and incorporate flexibility into the workflow.


Flexible workflows courtesy of adaptive case management

Easily adapt standardized processes and keep all information on a case at users' fingertips with adaptive case management (ACM). Find out here how ACM can help make your processes more service-centric.

Easily automate workflows

What does Doxis have that other workflow management systems don't? That's easy: Doxis stands out from the crowd thanks to the extensive flexibility it offers for digitalizing business processes — from standardized workflows to more dynamic knowledge- and case-based business processes. Whether it's simple to-do lists, rules-based business processes, case management, or much more besides, this innovative software application allows you to efficiently plan, model, manage, monitor and measure a huge variety of workflows, as well as map end-to-end normative (structured) workflows and incorporate adaptive (flexible) elements as necessary.

12 good reasons for the workflow management engine

In our brochure, you'll learn:

  • how modern workflow management can optimize your business processes
  • where to harness innovation potential in your digital business process management
  • how ECM & BPM can be unified on one standard technology platform
  • how agile business processes change the requirements of companies
To the free brochure

Do you have any questions?

We are happy to answer your questions about workflow management. Would you like to experience workflow management with Doxis firsthand? We would be pleased to give you a live demonstration of Doxis — also at your place of business! We look forward to hearing from you.

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