You know how there are processes in your job which depend on several people to perform a part of the activity? And how sometimes the process gets stuck for various reasons? Well, then you'll love Workflow Management!

Workflow Management is a set of tools which route work "packages" - which can include electronic files and document images managed by a Document Management system - from person to person according to a set of rules and pathways. The work can be tracked and monitored. The workflow can be routed so that it balances workloads - making sure everyone gets an even share - and so that people who are absent are skipped in favor of those who are taking over for them.

It is also possible to track the progress of the work and obtain statistics on amount of work pending and completed by date and by user. Tracking of these statistics can help organizations anticipate time of greater or lesser need for resources, and locate "problem areas".

The effect of implementing Workflow Management is to increase the speed with which the work is performed and the volume of work that can be completed by the group.

Typically Workflow Management tools come bundled with a Document Management package. Some examples are LiveLink and VisiFLOW. Unfortunately, packages which have very strong Document Management functionality (i.e. Documentum) have been poor in Workflow Management, and vice versa (i.e. VisiFLOW). Now both sides of the spectrum are expanding, and the tools available are more comprehensive. They aren't perfect yet though.

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