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Workforce Management vs Workflow Management in the Back-Office – What’s the difference?

8 min read

Having the right workflow and workforce management capabilities in place can significantly improve your business performance and productivity in the back-office, especially when combined together.

Workflow consists of orchestrated and repeatable patterns of business activity, whereas workforce management is an institutional process that maximises resource performance, workforce planning, and competency for an organisation.

Workforce management (WFM) takes care of your people (or robots) and aims to improve productivity and performance from the human perspective by placing the correctly skilled people in the right place at the right time.

For more information on WFM, check out our article: What is Workforce Management?

Workflow manages your processes and projects, it improves productivity from the perspective of the work itself by defining tasks, splitting them into manageable chunks, and allocating them to individuals and teams.

  • Workforce – deals with your people
  • Workflow – deals with your work and processes

When the two capabilities are implemented harmoniously, the effect can be truly transformative for a business, which can be achieved with a tool like OPX.

OPX was specifically developed to transform Back-Office operations and streamline the integration with front office processes. It supports the end-to-end processes from the digital capture of incoming work to smart work allocation based on the priority of the task and the skills of available agents.

Understanding Workforce Management

WFM is about managing the people in the context of the work they’ll be doing. It deals with; the who as well as the how when it comes to workforce planning requirements.

Back Office WFM systems provide operational intelligence on:

  • The work that needs to be completed
  • When it needs to be done
  • Who is best placed to do it
  • Which systems they’ll need to use

In this way, a workforce management system can be used to identify where there are major resource or skill shortages, surpluses or system bottlenecks, and consequently plan, schedule and forecast the right agents to fulfil business needs and efficient workforce planning.

It is a great way of spotting areas of the organisation that need re-engineering and building a business case for getting it done.

Understanding Workflow Management

Workflow management is interested in gathering information about service demand and the processes used in the delivery of that service, in order to automate the process flow where possible, and track cases through sequential or parallel activities.

Today, a workflow is a joint effort between Operations and the IT department. Developed in-house, it involves a great deal of business analysis followed by a development stage, (changing core business systems), and then implementing a test phase which will involve technical and end-user acceptance criteria.

Related Content [Case Study]
ReAssure Back-Office Workforce Optimisation

Differences between Workflow and Workforce Management software and how this impacts the Back-Office

Part of the difference between workforce management and workflow solutions is the level of detail and the way the two systems look at handling workload.

Workforce management understands people and processes and is often looking at higher-level tasks and the bigger picture for efficient workforce planning. Workflow systems, on the other hand, tend to provide information based on activities at a granular level, such as the number of new cases per process being started, and can often report on the completion of each activity by individuals. However, in isolation, they often lack the visibility of resourcing these tasks.

OPX Back-Office Optimisation: Workflow and Workforce Management

It is clear that both workflow and workforce management solutions are important in a back-office environment where work volumes are high with numerous complex processes involved.

OPX is a Workforce Optimisation solution that incorporates both workflow and workforce management to seamlessly manage resources and processes together, regardless of their worldwide location, in a holistic fashion.
Providing a wide range of capabilities, OPX supports your entire back-office operation, including:

  • Real-time Planning of Work
  • Real-time Resource Planning
  • Performance Management
  • Utilisation Analysis
  • Capacity Planning
  • Complaints Capture
  • Conduct Risk Management
  • Real-time KPI Management
  • Skills and Competency Analysis
  • Process Reporting

By changing the way in which people process service demand, OPX is able to change culture and behaviour, allowing organisations to:

  • Increase productivity
  • Increase utilisation
  • Drive down costs
  • Manage resources regardless of location

Highly modular and quick to implement, OPX supports back-office end-to-end processes: from the digital capture of incoming work and smart work allocation to human and robotic orchestration and the automated output of digital customer communications.

Related Content [Whitepaper]
4 Reasons Why You Need Back-Office Technology