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This page dicusses potential benefits of workflow and types of problems workflow solutions are meant to address.

Potential benefits

  • Better definition of business processes
    • Encourages the organization to make complex business processes defined and reproducible
    • Encourages the organization to define business process ownership, roles, and business rules
    • Ability to understand the capabilities of organization; business processes represent what services you are capable of delivering
  • Improved execution of each business process
    • Data can be keyed once and carried through a workflow
    • Authorized users can monitor the status of each workflow
    • If a participant is unavailable, the workflow engine can re-route work to another user
    • Some decisions can be automated
    • More easily break business processes into parallel steps, coordinated by the workflow engine (not limited by paper forms)
  • Improved management of business processes
    • Ability to gather metrics on execution of workflows
    • Ability to audit and trace workflows (improve accountability)

Problem statements

Members have contributed the following examples of problems to be solved using workflow:

  • Page:
    UW Madison Problem Statement (Itana) — UW-Madison: New Hire Workflow Problem Statement. The New Hire process crosses many systems including ERPS (HR and Financial) as well as local systems (Parking, Library, etc.) This process would benefit greatly from an enterprise workflow system. Complexity lies in the integration of the systems with the workflow system and with role definitions in the enterprise. The many departmental variations on the hiring process make the culture change a challenge.
  • Page:
    U of U Problem Statement (Itana) — University of Utah: At the University of Utah, workflow is a problem because:
    • There is not a clear owner of business processes, a process is not necessarily consistent across administrative boundaries (BPM issues)
    • There is not a useable electronic representation of organizational relationships (identity management issues)
    • There are many exceptions to who is authorized to approve actions (role assignment and management)
    • Some critical identifiers are not used consistently across administrative boundaries (data management and definition issues)
  • Page:
    University of California, Irvine Problem Statement (Itana) — UCIrvine:  Delegated Access Control and Periodic Access Review Workflow Problem Statement.   As requested by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in an SAS112 audit, and for better compliance with PCI DSS,  UC Irvine needs to create a much tighter process to control access to financial business transactions, formalize periodic access review by data proprietors, and formalize enforcement by Internal Audit.  An enterprise workflow solution with clearly defined roles becomes critical for tracking who requested access, when and why; who approved this access; who last reviewed access and what problems were identified; and who revoked access, when, and why.   Any required training as well as background checks that are needed to qualify for a role also must be automated.   This effort is also required for streamlining manual and paper based yearly audit reports, that are currently collected from multiple systems. 
  • Page:
    Payroll cycle problem statement (Itana) — Each payroll cycle requires participation by many actors, including individual employees, their supervisors, campus/division financial offices, a central payroll office, and central IT.

To add another example, create a new page and add the label "problem_statement" to your page.