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(operating system)
The scheduling of independent jobs on a computer.

See also time-sharing, WFL.


The set of relationships between all the activities in a project, from start to finish. Activities are related by different types of trigger relation. Activities may be triggered by external events or by other activities.


The movement of documents around an organisation for purposes including sign-off, evaluation, performing activities in a process and co-writing.

[Stef Joosten "An empirical study about the practice of workflow management", WA-12 report, 1994].
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


(1) Any series of processing steps in an organization, whether manual, automated or both.

(2) The automatic routing of documents to the users responsible for working on them. Workflow is concerned with providing the information required to support each step of the business cycle. The documents may be physically moved over the network or maintained in a single database with the appropriate users given access to the data at the required times. Triggers can be implemented in the system to alert managers when operations are overdue.

Workflow Keeps Documents Moving
The manual flow of documents in an organization is prone to errors. Documents can get lost or be constantly shuffled to the bottom of the in-basket. Automating workflow sets timers that ensure that documents move along at a prescribed pace and that the appropriate person processes them in the correct order.

Workflow Integration
Integrating workflow into existing software applications may require extensive reprogramming, because although independent workflow software can launch a whole application, a workflow system must be able to invoke individual routines within the application. As a result, vendors of application software have teamed up with workflow vendors to provide the appropriate interfaces and/or they have developed their own workflow capability. Workflow standards developed by the Workflow Management Coalition ( provide interoperability between workflow software and applications as well as between different workflow systems (see Wf-XML).

Workflow vs. Workgroup
Workflow software is not the same as workgroup software, otherwise known as groupware. Workflow deals with the step-by-step processes, whereas workgroup systems are concerned with information sharing and threaded discussions among users.

Workflow vs. Workgroup
Workflow manages the sequential tasks required in a transaction, whereas the workgroup (groupware) focus is sharing information. (Illustration courtesy of Delphi Consulting Group, Inc.)
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References in periodicals archive ?
[1] Market Research Nest, "2018-2023 Global and Regional Workflow Automation Industry Production, Sales and Consumption Status and Prospects Professional Market Research Report"
In much the same way that you would design a database table structure, linking the tables of seemingly disparate data together with a visual design tool, some workflow automation companies offer object-based workflow design software to greatly speed up this process.
Xerox's Workflow Automation Solution for File Management provides HR staff a secure platform to digitally store employee data for instant access.
Workflow automation is a business process engineering tool that organizations can use to streamline processes, improve process performance, and gain control over processes and how people complete tasks within a process.
Leveraging technology with workflow automation frees clinicians to spend more time with patients.
Initial issue of the magazine include stories on: consolidating service contracts; paperless meetings; inventory control; using VAR to augment IT staff; workflow efficiency; greening IT infrastructure; workflow automation; reducing data entry; document management; network security; IP telephony; mobile computing; and, asset management systems.
Workflow automation conjures images of assembly lines, factories, and robots, but we deal with the concept all the time even if our jobs don't involve manufacturing.
CareSuite 8.0 is the third major release of the Picis Total Perioperative Automation[TM] suite, a complete integration of surgical scheduling, supply chain management, revenue management and clinical workflow automation for surgeons, OR nurses, department managers and anesthesia providers.
New server application Final Cut Server which works with Final Cut Studio 2 to provide media asset management and workflow automation for post production and broadcast professionals, has been introduced by computer company Apple.
"The Sievers 355 SCD is widely recognized as the market leader in sulfur detection," stated Shanya Kane, vice president and general manager of Agilent GC and Workflow Automation Systems.
This release features enhanced job scheduling and workflow automation. It includes centralized setup of distributed processing, where batches may be added to a job queue for processing or for parallel post-processing either consecutively or at a scheduled time.
They have penetrated most of the larger pharmaceutical firms by offering an excellent Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution that provides workflow automation as well as document tracking and versioning to ensure these organizations meet FDA (Food and Drug Administration) compliance requirements.