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Business processes are the fundamental ways of operating a business. They describe the steps that a business takes to achieve its goals and objectives. Some business processes will be very structured, e.g. warehouse management or accounting, others may not be, e.g. product engineering or marketing strategy creation. The effectiveness of business processes to desired business objectives is an operational issue that affects a company's bottom-line. Hence, it is important to manage business processes. This management encompasses activities such as process analysis, process definition, process modelling, process simulation, process implementation, process optimization, process mining, and process evaluation.
Structured business processes can be supported using software called a workflow management system. As the name implies, this software makes sure that work is allocated to individuals in the business, that information is routed to the individuals who need it, that the progress of work can be monitored, and that business decisions that are part of the business process happen on a timely basis.
Because individual steps in a business process require and produce pieces of information, e.g. about an invoice or an account, and typically require use of software systems for completion, there is a strong relationship between workflow management systems and other software in the business, e.g. accounting system, inventory management, etc. Business process and workflow management provides an integrated way of using these resources as part of doing business.