Implementing effective workflow management is not an option for a company if it is to attain and retain a sound competitive position. Understanding and rapidly communicating what customers want to internal managers, who then can ensure that these needs are met quickly and accurately, is essential to every business. Automated workflow management helps speed the organization’s response time and improves the accuracy of the communications and activities that result in the products and services that customers value.

Workflow processes are made up of three distinct categories of activities: value-adding, hand-off, and control. Value-adding activities are the ones that matter most to the customer, as they affect the end product of the workflow. Hand-off activities are ones that move work across functional, departmental, or organizational boundaries. Control activities refers to various techniques used to design and execute automated routing procedures and to track the current location and projects status , jobs status, or outputs.

Automated workflow management uses technology enablers to improve the flexibility, speed, and responsiveness of various processes. The aim is to use various forms of information technology such as imaging ( Scanning), e-mail systems and e-commerce facility to bridge the gap between activities and locations, eliminating queue (e.g., work left waiting) and transfer time (e.g., work moving across distance), and cost using the workflow.
The familiar theme embedded in workflow management is that competitive success depends on maximizing the amount of value created for customers, using the minimal amount of resources.  

Workflows can be considered as most effective way of streamlining the time and cost required to manage business processes commonly used by most of the organisations like project approval or document review, by managing and tracking the human tasks involved with these processes.

In the context of Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies, workflow can be explained achieving the desired outcome by reason of movement of documents or items automatically through a sequence of tasks or actions related to a business process. Business processes commonly used within an organization can be consistently managed using Workflows by attaching business logic to documents or items in a SharePoint list or library.

Microsoft SharePoint Technology provides many features that can help you integrate and streamline your business processes by developing business workflows.
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