A simple definition of workflow is: a collection of related tasks that are collaborated on multiple resources.
A workflow engine controls the execution of a defined business process. The sequence of tasks constituting a workflow could execute over a period of a few milliseconds or run for months.
Typically, business processes last from a few minutes to several days. Because of this, workflows can be thought of as long-lived transactions. The concept of workflow has been around for quite some time, however it has evolved considerably since its early days.
Technologies like Java, XML, and the web have made it easier to define and exchange information across applications. The growth of the web has also had a major impact on workflow, since there is now a ubiquitous platform to interact and participate in workflows. This empowers businesses using workflow and makes workflow-based tools especially useful.
As businesses utilize the web more dynamically for e-commerce and for interfacing with customers, partners, suppliers, and employees, the use of workflow technology becomes imperative. Using workflow encourages a business to capture and define the processes it uses.
ANT Workflow Engine makes it easy to modify process definitions, which enables a business to evolve processes and respond to market dynamics.
Automating processes using workflow results in improved efficiency and increased throughput. Furthermore the discipline that is enforced by a workflow engine results in more predictable system behavior since things don't fall through the cracks.
Process-based integration of systems makes it possible to automate processes which previously was either not possible or required unnatural data sharing. This reduces costs, streamlines processes and results in better process management and tracking. Resources can be used more optimally with motivated team members focused on business priorities which match their skills. Dynamic monitoring of processes as well as auditing of processes becomes possible.
Using ANT Workflow Engine implies reaping these benefits without having to expend a lot of effort, since the engine manages the process for you.
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