What is a Workflow Engine? 

A Workflow engine is a software that automates a sequence of tasks, driving them step-by-step based on predefined processes. In addition to automating tasks, workflow engines can make decisions to guide the approach to the most efficient step, thus reducing the decision-making time for employees. Workflow Engines perform these functions with a timed response.

Workflow Engine

How Workflow Engines have Revolutionized Process Management in Businesses

Traditionally, businesses carried out most workflows through paperwork or emails for process approvals. However, businesses have shifted to workflow management tools to automate their workflows in recent years. This softwares allow companies to automate their workflows for speed and efficiency and eliminate redundancies to improve overall productivity. 

Most of these softwares come with built-in workflow builders, which allow users to build a workflow and automate it without having to code. The workflow builder lets users schedule tasks in sequential order, assign jobs dynamically based on data in the form, and include conditions, exceptions, etc.

Workflow engines are pre-programmed scripts that execute steps based on your workflow design, i.e., how tasks should flow from one stage to the next. Essentially, a workflow engine is a piece of code integrated into software that moves a job from one step to the next.

It’s worth noting that the workflow engine has no say in ‘how’ workflows are carried out. Instead, it follows the design and executes the tasks.

The Key features of a Workflow Engine

Workflow engines allow your employees to perform less manual, repetitive tasks. Most of the software options available include some or all of these features: 

  • Low-code configuration 
  • Management with visual designers
  • Drag-and-drop visual workflow builders
  • Version control
  • User authentication to control access
  • Code-based, developer-friendly customizations
  • Support to run over a long period, for longer process lifecycles 
Workflow Engine

Benefits of a Workflow Engine

The right workflow engine provides complete transparency to each task, making it simple for everyone to hold themselves accountable for their work. Following are some additional benefits of workflow engines that make them worth it,

Seamless Flow of Data

Workflow engines allow data, documents, tasks, and events to flow in harmony.

Increased Visibility

Each employee gets access to the task information, making it easier to accomplish them on time.

Reduced Bottlenecks

Workflow Engines allow you to identify and eliminate redundancies quickly since each task and process is transparent.

Improves efficiency and reduces costs  

Workflow Engines drastically reduce traditional systems such as emails, documents, and memos. Hence, saving money and resources without losing the data.

Workflow Engine

Use Cases 

The following are some of the most common use cases of workflow engines: 

Employee Onboarding 

According to research done by Brandon Hall Group, businesses with robust onboarding processes have 82 percent higher employee retention and 70 percent more productivity.   

Furthermore, around 58 percent of organizations rely on manual employee onboarding processes, resulting in a fragmented and frustrating employee experience. 

Thus, an organization can develop a strategic rather than administrative onboarding process using work engines.

Approval Processes 

Traditionally, manual approval processes resulted in considerable costs. To illustrate, the Centre for Advanced Procurement Strategy data suggests that the average cost incurred per purchase order ranges from $50-$1,000, depending on the industry. 

Using a workflow engine can reduce these costs considerably through automation. For example, an automated approval process would look like this:

  1. Employee submits a purchase request 
  2. The request for approval is automatically routed to a supervisor   
  3. Once signed, the approval is sent back to the employee 

Thus, allowing the employee to easily track the request’s status without spending time tracking down the supervisor for a signature.


What is a business rules engine?

A business rule engine has a set of conditions embedded in your workflow management software that carries out an operation provided some specified conditions are met. It sets criteria for how the software should perform within specific parameters.

The following is an example of how an e-commerce website can have rule engines applied to its payment gateway:

  • Apply a 20% student discount on the item if the buyer enters with valid proof of college enrollment. 

Do you need a business rules engine or a workflow engine?

To fully optimize your workflows, you need both. The workflow engine connects teams to simplify everyday operations. The business rules engine is a critical component of a broader solution, especially for businesses with a complicated set of rules.    


To summarize, workflow optimization involves streamlining your team’s workflows to get more done with less. Furthermore, a workflow engine plays a crucial role in triggering tasks to ensure that processes continue to progress. It also streamlines data flow, increases visibility across teams, eliminates bottlenecks, and reduces costs. 

With Fresco’s Online Whiteboards, you can start building your custom workflows and automate them using a Workflow management tool.

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