Workflow vs. BPM

Scott Cleveland's picture

There seems to be some confusion between Workflow and BPM [Business Process Management]. They are not the same thing, so let me provide some simple clarification. 

Workflow
Workflow has no logic. If a workflow product sends a task to me, when I am finished it goes to the next person designated in the workflow chart. It is a simple routing tool.
Workflow has no concept of logic/business rules.
Business Process Management [BPM]
BPM has logic. You may create if/then/else logic tables that will determine the next step. The next step could be routing, send an Email, run a program, etc. If I am working on a task, the next step may be defined by the actions that I take.
Basically, you may define the business rules that you would like your business processes to follow. Business rules allow you to: Determine who will perform an activity; What activity they will perform; How long they have to perform the activity; Who will receive escalation notifications; What steps they can add to the process; What information they have access to; Define what information is to be required; Etc.
My Thoughts…
Each has its place. If you are looking for a routing tool, then a simple workflow solution should get the job done. If you wish to manage your business processes and would like your company’s business rules followed, then look in the BPM arena for a solution.