A while ago a friend of mine was talking about the workflow capabilities of a data capture system he was working on. He said that it managed the flow of information from step A to B to C and then repeated steps B and C until C was deemed correct in which case the workflow instance ended. He believed that he had a workflow system.
Well he was wrong but he was not alone. A lot of people think they have workflow systems because in some small component of their system it manages the flow of information or tasks.
So what makes a Workflow System something different from a System that merely has workflow capabilities?
Well Workflow or BPM systems by their nature can be reconfigured at the drop of a hat so in my friend’s case he could add a step D without ever having to touch a line of code. In addition workflow systems were not designed for one process or a set of processes or an industry or a particular problem or set of problems. Instead workflow systems were created with the idea of a continually evolving set of requirements and continually increasing efficiency, automation and reach.
BTW I am trying to compile a list of quotes from famous or semi-famous people where the quotes in some fashion promote a workflow and workflow software in someway. For instance "The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order." – Alfred North Whitehead
If you have any quotes could you please post them as a comment.