A workflow is a sequence of industrial, administrative or other processes through which a piece of work passes from commencement to execution. A workflow management system is a software system that helps in the setup, execution and monitoring of such workflows in an organization. It helps in the collaboration, synchronization and automation of one or more business processes. It provides visibility into process and performance metrics which helps in determining whether a process needs improvement, and if necessary, performs an escalation on it. The iterative and redundant business operations carried out each time a work is completed leads to reduced organizational productivity. Workflow management systems help in automating these tasks to facilitate increase in productivity and guarantee the follow-up of unfinished tasks. Key application areas include infrastructure solutions for the manufacturing industry, IT industry, hotel industry, etc.
The market is segmented into messaging-based workflow systems production-based workflow systems, web-based workflow management systems, suite-based workflow management systems and others
Workflow management systems help organizations to incorporate thorough procedural changes in order to gain competitive advantage. Increasing need to fulfill the ever changing demands of the customers by providing superior customer experience, reduced job completion time, etc., are some other major forces driving this market. Additionally, there is an increased emphasis to cater to the needs of a fragmented customer base which is a key driver to the growth of this market. Emergence of the culture of flexible working hours has made the concepts of mobile workforce and work-from-home popular. It has become essential to provide information access to such a mobile workforce, irrespective of their location. Adoption of cloud computing techniques has facilitated the growth of cloud-based workflow systems. Enterprises and Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) prefer such cloud-based systems that provide infrastructure as a solution because their deployment does not demand high investment in IT. These systems also help in considerably reducing paperwork in an organization. The major restraints in integrating a workflow management system in existing organizational workflows are high technical costs and adaptation difficulties. Implementation of these systems can be difficult if the boundaries between tasks undergo frequent changes. They are best suited only to those businesses that have processes made up of clearly defined tasks.
Key vendors include IBM, SAP, HP, Oracle, Microsoft, EMC Corp., Pegasystems, Bosch GmbH, Fujitsu and Tibco Software among others. The vendors constantly focus to innovate and remodel the existing architecture so as to develop better and more comprehensive solutions.
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