You are on page 1of 8

What Is Workflow?

Workflow, loosely defined, is the set of tasks—grouped chronologically into processes—and the set of people or resources needed for those tasks, that are necessary to accomplish a given goal. An organization’s workflow is comprised of the set of processes it needs to accomplish, the set of people or other resources available to perform those processes, and the interactions among them. Consider the following scenario: On a slow Friday afternoon in the emergency room, as one nurse prepares to go off shift, the clerk looks up from the desk and asks, “By the way, since you’re passing by housekeeping on your way out, would you remind them that room 12 still needs to be cleaned?” “No problem,” replies the nurse, and indeed, on a slow Friday afternoon, it is no problem. The informal methods and processes that the hospital has developed over the years to keep the enterprise humming work well, in general, and can work very well in optimal times. It’s no trouble to remind housekeeping to come up; it’s no trouble to run a special specimen down to the lab, and certainly no trouble to catch the attending physician during rounds to get a quick signature. Even if these small adjustments are forgotten, in due time the regular hospital schedule will bring the right people to clean the room, to pick up the lab specimen, to document the encounter. These same methods that an organization uses to get work done, however, can begin to show stress under trying circumstances. When the ward is full and it takes 12 hours for a room to be readied for the next patient, that impact is felt throughout the organization. When the number of small interruptions outweighs the amount of planned work done in a given hour, that impact is felt in slower progress, lower job satisfaction, and potentially lower quality of care. In many situations, it is very clear to all what needs to get done. Where organizations differ is in how they do it. The examination of how an organization accomplishes its tasks often concerns the organizations’ workflow. In health care, as in other industries, some workflows are designed, while others arise organically and evolve. The systems and methods by which organizations accomplish specific goals differ dramatically. Some organizational workflows seem more straightforward than others. Most often, when workflow processes are looked at in isolation, the processes appear quite logical (and even efficient) in acting to accomplish the end goal. It is in the interaction among the processes that complexities arise. Some of these interactions hide conflicts in the priorities of different roles in an organization, for example, what the nursing team is accountable to versus the physician team and its schedule. Organizations also adapt workflows to suit the evolving environment. Over time, reflecting on organizational workflows may show that some processes are no longer necessary, or can be updated and optimized. Workflow Analysis

a purchase. progress. A system is anything that has interacting. for example. Human systems -Physiological systems -. There are many systems we can analyze when it comes to your web site. Different kinds of systems might include:   Some systems are natural and some are made by humans. Computer systems -. editing and deleting records . or "flow" of work within a system and the rate at which that happens.like desktop systems. Here are some of the most common processes:         Planning your web site Creating your web site Redesigning your web site Updating your web site Using your web site Buying a product Searching for and sorting records Adding. or software applications    Workflow is the process. Workflow analysis refers to observing how this process takes place.To understand workflow analysis. the endocrine system or the skeletal system Communication systems -.like the nervous system. first you must understand the idea of a system. network systems. The analysis also involves evaluating the process and improving it for efficiency and effectiveness.the interstate highway system. interrelated or interdependent parts. In the case of software and web based applications. we look at how people engage in and complete a process -.phone (telecommunication) systems and the postal (mail) system Channels -.

Analysts next determine the desired end state that managers hope to achieve by the workflow analysis project. It also can cover . First. and two primary factors lead firms to undertake a workflow analysis. ongoing technological advances can offer more efficient and less costly ways of doing business. and firms often choose to review processes with a view toward automating them or incorporating the latest technology. Second.   Moving paper-based data between people Moving electronic data between people Working with others who can help you do any of the above Things to consider:   Do some tasks (like data entry) need to be done twice? Are there "hiccups" in any processes -. which means a certain task has long been done a certain way and can be overlooked as a process in need of improvement. A typical business continuously seeks to improve its processes. A goal of workflow analysis is to expose such legacy processes. including what is working and what is not. The final stage of workflow analysis is the recommendation of processes that need to be changed. collections. it is typical for so-called legacy processes to be firmly entrenched in a firm.   WHAT IS WORKFLOW ANALYSIS Workflow analysis entails reviewing all processes in a business with a view toward identifying inefficiencies and recommending improvements. the workflow analysts usually begin with interviews to determine how top managers view the company currently.any places where you always seem to get hung up? Many organizations design workflow early in their lifetimes but don't remember to reevaluate their processes as the organization evolves. automated or left in place in line with stated goals. The majority of the work in workflow analysis takes place with trained analysts interviewing employees and supervisors to document how business is done. New resources often get plugged into a process without a thorough understanding of how they might work best. Outside consultants can effectively perform a workflow analysis as they are experts at it and have no loyalty to any particular way of doing business. compliance. and human resources. Analysts then interact with the company’s employees to document the current state of business processes in the firm. In initial interaction with senior managers. The work begins with establishing desired results from the analysis with a firm’s senior managers. This includes all aspects of a business such as processing paperwork for sales.

manufacturing processes such as receiving raw materials or parts. Analysts will also review time spent and effort expended interacting with customers. Workflow Analysis and Consultation What is Workflow Analysis? This is the process by which an organization can do the following: Identify and Evaluate How Well Existing Processes Are Achieving Organizational Goals Suggest Ways of Streamlining/Optimizing Processes What is a Workflow System? Image-based Workflow Designed to automate the flow of paper through an organization. This information then is usually presented to top managers along with recommendations for improvements. The framework is aimed to address business processes. Adjusting the analysis as necessary. automated or both. by transferring the paper to digital "images". Workflow Analysis is accomplished by: Breakdown Process into Component Parts Map (Schematize) The Process(es) Coordination-based Workflow Benefits of a Workflow Analysis A proper Workflow Analysis offers several benefits. and shipping finished goods. rather than the optimization of information or . First. Workflow analysis looks at everything every employee of firm does with a view toward documenting how each task begins and moves through the organization. including sales and customers service. Form-based Workflow Designed to intelligently route forms throughout an organization. these form-based systems can notify or remind people when action is due. After the initial documentation. processing or assembling them. In addition. the analysts then examine the workflow to identify areas in which processes can be streamlined. it identifies what an organization Designed to facilitate the completion of work by providing a framework for coordination of action. Forms are automatically routed according to the information entered on the form. workflow analysts typically present findings to lower-level manages to ensure the results of the analysis match the reality of the company.

The Workflow Analysis will illustrate how we should be doing things and shows the changes needed to maximize resources (both personnel and material). Demand Media     inShare0 Share o Bit. It brings to light any obstacles to the proper implementation of changes and allows the organization to quantify the projected cost benefits. The Tools of Workflow Analysis When evaluating Workflow. By doing this.does / how they do it (processes) and the costs associated with those processes. In other words. the Workflow Analysis is the tool that allows the organization to streamline its processes and realize the associated savings!!! material processes.lyBloggerDeliciousDiggGoogle BookmarkGoogle PlusInstapaperPosterousStumbleuponTumblrYahoo! BookmarkxRSS  Email . it is important to remember that software and computers are simply tools used to assist the user. Relevance of Workflow Analysis and Organizational Structure by Roslyn Frenz. we are able to identify and eliminate problems such as “bottlenecks” and “redundancies” within the system.

An analysis of workflow tells the manager what happens after a project is delegated to a department or work team. The analysis may include a list of which employees complete each task. Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images Related Articles       Organizational Structure Analysis What Is the Relationship Between Organizational Functions & Organizational Structure? Roles of Organizational Structure Geographic Organizational Structure Problems Implementing an Organizational Structure How to Change Organizational Structure Workflow analysis helps managers understand the process leading to task completion.Workflow charts show organizational structure. Organizational structure refers to the company's overall division of labor into departments. Relationship Between Organizational Structure and Workflow Analysis . as well as the lines of formal authority and the ways work is coordinated among employees. and when and how the tasks are completed.

Work team managers further divide the project into tasks that can be competed by individual team members. Organizational Structures Organizational structure can be thought of as having two dimensions. Workflow analysis may be applied to workflow interdependency situations to determine ideal methods of communication and resource allocation. Change management processwww. bosses. Elements of horizontal structure include human resources. multiple functional teams or members of different departments must work together to complete an organizational goal. called workflow interdependency. Conflict may arise over the amount of capital designated to the budget. a marketing team and a finance team may need to work together to create an advertising budget. has potential to cause communication issues and disputes because employees may be unfamiliar with each other and may have to share resources. holistic model for managing the people side of change Protein Identificationwww. marketing and finance.com Research-based.com For free flow (R&D) documentation and process driven (QC) workflows. the vertical structure designates executives. department heads and managers. NuGenesis ELNnugenesis-sdms. task goals are reported up the vertical chain of command until the workforce completes the organizational goal. An organization's vertical structure signifies who has the authority to delegate and supervise other employees. Workflow Interdependencies Often. Division of Labor A possible division of labor begins with the business owner or top executives creating a strategic goal. Read White Paper! .change-management. An organization's horizontal structure divides the workforce into functional departments or teams.com Improve Reporting with SAS Business Intelligence.ProteomeFactory. In many cases. who divide up the labor into projects to be completed by work teams. The goal of organizational structuring is also to create an efficient workforce.SAS. vertical and horizontal. rapid and low priced! Business Intelligencewww. Basically. This situation. For example. by establishing work responsibility and allocating the administrative authority to delegate tasks and control employees. the goal of workflow analysis is to figure out if any efforts are being duplicated and to learn which tasks can be eliminated. The executives delegate tasks related to the goal to various department heads.com and Characterization by Mass Spec: competent.waters.Workflow analysis is a smaller-scale examination of the same dynamics that power the entire organizational structure. As elements of the project are completed. This streamlines the efforts of the workforce.

Luis Gomez-Mejia. 2006 "Organizational Behavior. John R. Sixth Edition". Ninth Edition".. 2005 Pearson Education: What Is Organizational Structure? Resources .. et al. Schermerhorn. et al.Ads by Google References     Daniel Hoang: Using Workflow Analysis to Improve Business Processes "Management.