When is a Workflow System not a Workflow System

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.


5 thoughts on “When is a Workflow System not a Workflow System

  1. Pingback: processi » Blog Archive » tb: When a workflow system is not a workflow system

  2. That´s right, Only A to B flow not means a workflow system. It´s a huge wrong concept of developers, CIO and IT professionals.

    Congratulations for blog.

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