Workflow applications help automate business or work processes, reducing human intervention to the least possible extent. It contributes to enforcing rules, allowing businesses to have greater control and visibility over their processes, and at the same time reduce deviations or errors.
Businesses constantly re-engineer their business processes to keep up with changes in their ecosystems, and to remain effective. Such re-engineering is marked by churning existing applications.
Increasing broadband speeds, greater computer penetration, the rise of the cloud, and the spread of mobile computing has led to technology playing a more central role than ever before in business processes. Businesses now find virtue in big data analytics, and lean philosophy to realize their strategic goals. Any successful re-engineering based on such developments would require major modifications to workflow applications.
In the past, the scope of workflow applications depended on whether the data connected to the process was online, and even if online, whether all the key components of the system could be connected as and when required. The increasing penetration of computing, including mobile computing now makes it possible to implement workflow applications to just about any process. The rise of the cloud makes it possible to access such applications anytime, anywhere. And this allows the launch of workflow based applications for processes spread over different geographical areas.
The new workflow applications of today are more powerful than their previous versions as well. Today’s workflow applications typically run in a distributed and heterogeneous environment, undertaking single tasks in parallel, and requiring special transaction functionality for supporting environments.
The success of any workflow application ultimately depends on the strength of the data model, especially that of the user tables and the workflow process design. However, beyond such basic database schema, the application interface has become more critical than before.
Most workforce application languages use the XML syntax, which makes manipulation by software easy. However, such manipulations require highly technical knowledge, outside the scope of most end users. Developers solve this problem by having graphical UIs for the workflow processes, making it easy for end users to make the app do their bidding. With mobile computing all set to displace traditional desktop computing as the default way in which people access the internet, workforce management apps would need to have their interfaces redesigned, using responsive web design or any other mobile friendly option, if nothing else.
Today, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Google Apps offers low cost and highly efficient workflow-based apps. It is possible to develop highly customized apps quickly and easily, with seamless data transfer from a Google spreadsheet. This offers the added advantages of advanced security offered by Google, 2,400+ pre-configured connectors that facilitate seamless integration of Google Apps with other SaaS or on-premise applications, 100+ pre-configured API connectors that facilitate easy drag-and-drop development design, and more.
Hosting such an app on the cloud, on a pay-as-you-use model offers the benefits and flexibility of the cloud to the end user, while providing quicker returns on investment for the app developer.
All workflow based applications require frequent upgrades to leverage the latest technology, and remain aligned to the changing nature of business. Of late, the rise of the cloud, the mobile computing revolution, the spread of big data analytics, and other changes necessitate re-engineering.
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