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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 ?
Harrop, C., 2015: Rocoto Workflow Management System. [Available online at]
Workflow management systems are "human-centered systems," because workflows must be designed, deployed, and understood within their social and organizational contexts, and because, at the same time they must be conveyed, facilitated, and navigated in large-scaled operational knowledge collections.
Buyya, "Megha workflow management system for application workflows," in Proceedings of the IEEE Science & Engineering Graduate Research Expo, 2009.
In terms of managing productivity, even if all of the frontline resources are occupied at a given point in time, both the telephony and workflow management systems can be configured to push first-tier tasks into the queues of second-tier specialists, in order that these may be handled by anyone who possesses a particular background skill.
A knowledge-based workflow management system (K-WfMS) is proposed to increase the adaptability of WfMS against organizational changes (Lee et al., 1999).
Until now, planned maintenance or workflow management systems have been either bespoke or asset led and usually Windows based.
As new technology became available, Building Inspection staff realized that substantial efficiencies could be gained from use of an integrated workflow management system. Repeat customers would not have to have their name and other contact information re-entered each time an application was filed.
Vertafore Benefits offers employee benefits brokers and agencies a web-based workflow management system for managing sales, implementation, policy management and renewal processes.
PS ProActive, is a new workflow management system designed to enable accounts departments to streamline admin intensive methods of operation.
PS Financials introduced PS ProActive, a workflow management system that's designed to reduce the administrative burden on the finance department.
Integrated within the retailer's PIMS, prescriptions waiting to be filled are filtered into ScriptPro's SP Central, or the workflow management system. This software prioritizes all scrips by patient, then filters fulfillment orders to its robotics systems that sort, label and fill requests that pharmacists and technicians can check at any point in the process.