Collaboration Workflow vs. Traditional Workflow

 

Posted by Gary Voight, CorasWorks President and CEO

Recently we were demonstrating the CorasWorks Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) solution to several people at a prospective customer.  At one point in the demonstration we were showing a workflow component related to promoting the status of a project, and then another workflow component related to approving a cost item into the project.  The senior IT executive noticed the workflow that is built into several CorasWorks software modules and asked when it would be appropriate to use a product like Nintex or K2 versus CorasWorks.  As it turns out they had several onboarding type needs and were considering workflow products.

It is an interesting question.  CorasWorks does have workflow components built into the CorasWorks Software Platform (v11), but we position our products as “collaboration workflow.”   That’s mostly because our products have been designed to support work management processes where there is a high level of collaboration between process steps (aka stage-gates). The prospect’s question illustrates that the workflow topic is confusing, particularly as it applies to when to deploy a workflow-centric product.

Here was my response to the prospect’s question:

If you have an accounts payable function that processes a large number of invoices per day, and you’re trying to reduce errors in the process, then a traditional workflow product like Nintex or K2 makes sense.

If you have a purchase request process that requires collaboration and some workflow, then a product like CorasWorks makes sense.  A “purchasing” example might go like this:

  • User requests budget to pursue acquiring a product and/or service.  This might require a business case, followed by an approval. This could be Stage Gate 1.
  • Once the approval is obtained, the user might need to engage other staff in pursuing alternatives….certainly a collaboration example.  Tasking and notification is generally required.  Once this process is completed this could be Stage Gate 2.
  • The decision in Stage Gate 2 might need approvals….and may have different paths dependent on certain criteria (i.e., amount of funding).  This could be Stage Gate 3.
  • Vendor negotiation would be the next step, requiring different sets of staff to be engaged.  This could be Stage Gate 4.
  • Project initiation could be the next step, which might include forming and assigning a team.  This could be Stage Gate 5.
  • Projects/initiatives not approved could also be tracked…..and might need to be saved for future discovery and analysis.

A CorasWorks solution is a great selection for this type of process, and for collaborative, work management types of workflow in general.

 

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