Workflow & Workflow Management

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Executive Summary

Workflow Management is the automation of work and business process. It is adopted to streamline existing business procedures, but it is often implemented as a core element of business reengineering activities as it changes the way of working. It's most popular in labour intensive industries where a document, goods or service is delivered through many stages and involve many people. This is why industries such as insurance, banking, legal and cargo logistics are among the pioneers of workflow management.

Workflow management is not a brand new concept, back to the Middle Ages; monks were adopting certain procedures to manage the copying of scripture process. But only until mid 70s, with the rapid development in information technology that people have started to automated business processes. In last 15 years, workflow has evolved from procedural documents to computerized systems, which design the process, assign different levels of authority, track the progress and manage the process.

There are four major types of workflow systems with increasing complexity, namely Production Systems, Messaging Based Administration Systems, Web Based Systems that link up internal and external processes and Integrated Systems that combine various sub-systems. We can see that workflow systems have developed from the linear systems (production and manufacturing) in earlier days to a matrix of systems linking up at various interfaces.

We conducted a mini research with companies in Hong Kong and the UK. The respondents were from publishing, financial, trading and retailing industries. It is found that most respondents have adopted some workflow management systems ranging from a few months to several years. And also, it is very likely that they will continue to use and develop the systems in the future. The major benefits of adopting workflow systems are:

(a)Increased Efficiency
(b)Reduced Operation Cost
(c)Streamlined Business Process
(d)Centralize Control & Decentralized Execution

Standardized systems with flexibility for local customization will be the trend of workflow systems. As we have been more ‘networked' with both internal and external information systems, it is very important each systems adopted are connecting to each other. Workflow systems will form the backbone of various sub-systems. Content

Page
1.Introduction
1.1Abstract5
1.2Background6
1.3Purpose7
2.System Overview
2.1The Workflow Overview8
2.2Key Features8
2.3Life-Cycle9
2.4Types of Workflow System12
2.4.1Production Workflow Systems12
2.4.2Messaging-based Workflow Systems13
2.4.3Web-based Workflow Systems14
2.4.4Suite-based Workflow Systems15
3.Origins of Workflow & History
3.1History17
3.2Workflow in the Olden Days18
3.3Evolution of Workflow19
3.3.1Image Processing19
3.3.2Document Management19
3.3.3Electronic Mail & Directories20
3.3.4Group-ware Applications20
3.3.5Transaction-based Applications20
3.3.6Project Support Software21
3.3.7BPR & Structured System Design Tools21
3.3.8Relationship with Business Process & Business Process Reengineering21 3.3.9Separation of Workflow Functionality22
Content
Page
4.Case Studies
4.1Commercial Workflow Management System Products23
4.1.1Service LOG23
4.1.2Lotus Notes24
4.1.3SAP System26
4.2Research of Workflow Application in Different Fields28
4.3Compare the Current WfMS Products to the Industry Development31 4.4Workflow Management System Apply in Logistic Industry (Hactl)33 4.4.1Community System for Air Cargo (COSAC)34
4.4.2e-Logistics System (HEx)35
4.4.3e-Reception Checklist Services (e-RCL)36
4.4.4e-Pickup Services36
4.4.5e-Report Services36
5.Benefits
5.1Why Should a Business Use Workflow?38
5.2The Key Benefits of Workflow39
5.3Success Factors43
6.Development & Trend
6.1The Model 10 Years On46
6.2Tools Development46
6.2.1Workflow – Old Tools...
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