Workflow Systems – Integrated and Independent Systems

Traditionally, systems are designed and implemented not only by procedural codes but also by the processing logic performed by the application, expressed as workflow. Having a system where business logic is implemented using procedural or functional codes has consequences, wherein increasing complexity and demand to adapt them to new requirements, any process modification requires code modification. In this case, the code will need to be modified, tested, and maintained, so each modification consumes considerable resources. Using workflow systems facilitates the task of modifying business logic, as one can visually perceive the impact of changes and no need to change functional code.

Integrated Workflow Systems

As a result, software systems increasingly integrate a workflow component that facilitates business process modeling. These components are not autonomous systems, they are incorporated into the application, known as Integrated Workflow Systems (Figure 1), which consist of activities and their causal and temporal ordering, performed by a common system [1],[2].

Figure 1: Conceptual architecture of integrated WfMS [1], [2].

Integrated WfMS contain a dedicated workflow component that is fed with visual models that capture process logic as well as execution information using the functions performed by the application.

Independent Workflow Systems

If there is more than one system, the so-called application-independent workflow system (Figure 2) arises, it is nothing more than dedicated WfMS, which ensures the invocation of applications as specified in the process model, as well as the transfer between these systems [1], [2]. It interacts with other applications such as ERP, inventory manager, and others, playing a driving role in the exchange of information between them, managing all the logic within organizations.

Figure 2: Conceptual architecture of application-independent WfMS [1], [2].


In this post, we talk about two kinds of workflow systems, integrated and independent. One that facilitated business process modeling and a dedicated WFMS.


[1] M. Weske, Business Process Management: Concepts, Languages, Architectures 2nd Edition. 2012.
[2] M. Weske, Business Process Management: Concepts, Languages, Architectures. 2007.