What is the difference between processes and workflow?

4 Min Read
What is the difference between processes and workflow?

You can’t work with business process management without workflow management coming up, and vice versa. The two systems are critical to a company’s successful operation. However, that is only possible if businesses can distinguish one concept from the other. 

Processes and workflow are two of the most confusing terms in the business environment. One reason is that most people use them interchangeably. Since workflow and business processes are closely related, the confusion makes sense.

 Nonetheless, enterprises must ensure that they comprehend what each tool means and the value it adds to get the best from it.

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What is a Workflow?

Workflows and workflow process involve a series of tasks designed to accomplish a particular goal. You complete these tasks through a sequence of actions. Therefore, the process requires workers to follow specific procedures. 

Workflows are necessary for improving processes. Depending on the workflow, the tasks can be finite, involving multiple steps. Alternatively, they may be continuous.

What is workflow management?  Optimising workflows to boost productivity and efficiency.

How Do Businesses Use Workflows?

Workflows allow information, systems, documents, and activities to move from one section of an organisation to another. In a workflow, you can have one person striving towards an objective, an entire staff collaborating or a series of complex mechanisms.

Workflow Automation boosts their efficiency, thus, allowing businesses to get satisfactory outcomes. An example of workflow is customer representatives directing queries to the FAQs and then advising customers to send an email if further assistance is necessary.

So, how do businesses use workflows? A workflow establishes a blueprint to guide employees whenever they tackle specific tasks. For this reason, a company maintains consistency across activities. Different teams can meet the set standards without too many complications. 

Workflows also help an organisation scale. Steps that have been defined for certain tasks can be replicated at a higher level. With the right tools, companies can minimise mistakes, time delays, and data errors. Hence, processes become more reliable and accurate.

What is a Process?

A business process interlinks a range of systemic tasks. These repeatable tasks work together to achieve specific objectives. Think of processes as a step above workflow.

It’s through processes that an enterprise delivers goods or services to the end user. A business process involves a broad set of stakeholders, data, and impact. It aims to add value to the output. How a company structures its processes influence the cost of production and the quality of products or services. 

How Do Businesses Use Processes?

Therefore, a company should evaluate, model, and improve processes continually to meet evolving demands. Processes fall into three classes: operational, management, and supportive. An example of a business process is onboarding a new client.

Companies use business processes to deal with large-scale challenges that impede organisational goals. Through business process management (BPM or BPMS), an enterprise can identify the areas to focus on, allowing efficient resource allocation.

 Since you can tell which procedures are not effective, you get to eliminate wastage. Business Process Management software also helps forge organisational culture by guiding daily operations.

How to Differentiate a Workflow from a Process?

Before looking at the differences, it helps to learn how processes and workflow are related.  Workflows exist within processes. Hence, a business process depends on effective workflows to succeed. 

  • Processes are top of the chain whether as workflows are smaller parts of a process.
  • Workflows are small parts of a process, so need a process to exist.
  • Processes don’t need workflows to exist
    Processes naturally occur within a business, whereas workflows require more planning.

Both elements explain how organisations accomplish goals. When automated, workflow and business processes save money, increase accuracy and reliability and boost productivity. 

How Are Processes and Workflow Related?

However, differences exist that can help understand processes and workflow better.

 A workflow is tactical and micro-level, like signing a document, while a process is strategic and high-level, for instance, improving customer support. 

Workflows can only exist when they are processes, but a process doesn’t need a workflow to exist. 

Another difference is that processes occur naturally, while workflows involve planning, analysis, and modeling.

Checkify Processes and Workflow

Processes and workflow are critical for businesses because they are essential to getting things done. So, businesses should work on BPM and workflow management strategies that cater to their specific needs.

Checkify can help you with both processes and workflow. We offer Business process management software that helps you manage workflow.

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