Lhe workflow, or “workflow” for the official literal translation, says what it means. It is indeed a question of formalizing the treatments to be carried out, the path to be followed and the actors concerned to accomplish a specific work in a context of sequential execution.

Workflow definition

Workflow A workflow management tool is used to model and automate workflows in the company.

The workflow tool makes it possible, for example, to specify the document flow circuits by identifying the parties concerned, the actions to be carried out and the deadlines.

Workflow, literally “work flow”, is the representation in the form of a flow of operations to be carried out to accomplish all the tasks or activities grouped together in a single business process.

The workflow allows the modeling of business processes within the framework of BPM Business Process Management, a more global approach.

The variations

There are several types of Workflow depending on the context and the type of use. Let’s go over the main ones:

Administrative workflow

To better understand, an example of application in the tertiary sector with the administrative workflow.

The management of loan requests for a banking organization, claims processing files for an insurance company or the reimbursement of expense reports for any type of organization are examples of applications for workflow tools such as: administrative or tertiary.

For each of these cases mentioned above, the documents to be prepared follow a specific path comprising tasks of verification, investigation, information or approval. Computer workflow tools make it possible to define the path for each type of document, to control deadlines and to precisely monitor their execution. The workflow tool is flexible enough to make it possible to modify the predefined circuit during the journey in order to avoid any form of blockage.

Ad hoc workflow and procedural workflow

the ad hoc type workflow, unlike procedural workflow more locked, allows users to intervene dynamically on the path in order to deal with unforeseen events more effectively.

A good workflow tool also incorporates the notion of traceability. It is a question of keeping the precise memory of the treatment of a file or more generally of a product during the process of realization.

An already old rationalization

Workflow is not a recent concept. The idea of ​​automating workflows is as old as the generalization of business computing in the late 1970s. The concept has evolved since then, as have IT tools, standardization and modeling.
The workflow applied to the tertiary sector is a rationalization instrument quite similar to the already very old practices practiced in the industry.

For the record, the workflow in the tertiary sector is not a recent invention linked to the deployment of IT either. During the 1920s, many administrations used internal circuits of pneumatic tubes for the transport of documents …

Web resources

  • wfmc.org: the site of the Workflow Management Coalition, a group of actors from the world of Workflow and BPM.
  • ABOUT THE WORKFLOW MANAGEMENT FACILITY SPECIFICATION: the OMG (Object Management Group) site. This specification is based on the work of the WFMC (see link above) now available in the public domain.

Software package

  • bonitasoft.com: Bonita is an Open Source software product for the Workflow and BPM project.
  • Flow.microsoft: Microsoft’s Workflow solution with predefined templates.

On this subject, see also

  • Critical business processes, how to identify them?
    What is a business process? How to identify a critical activity? ISO 9000: 2000 thus defines the process “Set of interrelated or interactive activities which transforms inputs into outputs”.
    This definition is actually quite incomplete. Let us return to the general definition proposed by Le Petit Robert: “A process is a set of phenomena conceived as active and organized …
  • What is BPM? Business Process Management
    What is BPM? Business process management, business process management, How to manage the project. BPM, Acronym for Business Process Management, which can be translated into French as the management of business processes.
    This is a key concept. By placing business processes at the center of a global integration reflection (process-centric), BPM offers a new angle of perception …
  • Kanban method
    Kanban is the key method for implementing Just in Time, a principle of industrial management where production is drawn from demand and not driven from forecasts. The term – Kanban – means label in the Japanese language and it is precisely this management of labels which regulates the exchanges of information between the different stations of the production process in order to deliver a finished product on time. Let’s see it all.
  • How to Map the Processes
    To identify the main business processes and their interrelationships, it is essential to establish the mapping. But how do you map the key processes or business processes? What are the tools?

To read…

Workflow and process modeling. This book presents the techniques to identify, model, and redesign business processes. It explains how to implement the workflow …


Workflow Modeling
Tools for Process Improvement and Applications Development

Alec Sharp, Patrick McDermott
Artech House
(in English)
449 pages

Available : www.amazon.fr (Kindle format)

Site reference book

A concrete cooperative strategy approach for effective decision-making in the field …


Dashboards of the innovative manager, the bookThe dashboards of the innovative manager
A 7-step process to facilitate team decision-making

Alain Fernandez

Publisher: Eyrolles

320 pages

Consult the technical sheet »» »

To buy this book:


Ebook format: PDF & ePub, Kindle Edition


Share this article …

Email this article's link




(total cumulative shares> 105)



Leave a Reply