Workflows are used for all types of processes where several employees need to perform tasks and have to share information with one another. Additionally, considerable cost savings are made, quality and transparency are increased and lead-time and customer satisfaction are improved. Manual coordination of business processes and information becomes a thing of the past.
The following list should give you a glimpse of workflows that are commonly used by our customers; however, this list is by no means exhaustive. We can show you many more examples in a live demo. Please get in touch with us: Contact.
For specific examples, you can read quotes from our Customers and press releases making the News.
This process, also known as pre-mastering, involves the production of content that will be released on e.g. DVD, UMD, Blu-ray, Playstation and/or internet etc. Because of their diversity (e.g. Java programming), these processes are among the most complex in the industry. Important parts of the process include project management, data acquisition, post-production, graphic design, supplier integration for multi-language subtitles, authoring, and especially a lot of QC steps.
Post-production takes place in various companies such as broadcasters and studios. The work steps are the same: order management, scheduling, ingest, QC, dubbing, editing, color correction, effects, subtitling, distribution, archiving and accounting. For so-called digital intermediate workflows, the following can be added: washing, scanning/digitizing and exposure. Each production house ultimately has its own ways of working and tools with which the orders are processed.
Often referred to as Content Factory, this is about producing bulk files for different platforms (broadcast, cinema, airplane, disc, VoD portals like Youtube, iTunes, for mobile devices etc.). Here, customers, systems and staff have to be integrated into a workflow; otherwise, the process can no longer be efficiently managed. Typical process steps are ordering and receiving data, QC, conversion, encoding, second QC, packaging (digital), delivery (transfer), archiving and accounting.
For content owners such as movie and music studios, it is becoming increasingly necessary to digitize analog media content, 1, to save them from progressive deterioration and, 2, to make them available to current production processes. The workflow system supports and controls this simple yet vast mass of work processes by controlling software systems and providing employees with the right forms. Typical process steps are assessment, digitization, copy, analysis, correction, transcoding, playout and long-term archiving.
Television in particular is facing radical change of its production methods. While analog tapes were previously processed by special machines, the progress of the computer industry in recent years has made it increasingly more efficient to work digitally and file-based. This moves process steps closer to one another and production processes work together faster and better. The workflow system supports these new processes by integrating these smoothly and flexibly, displaying them transparently and giving all stakeholders space for their actual work.
Typical process steps are planning programs and content, recording (ingest) of material or movies, receipt of live material such as news or events, creation of promos, various post-production stages (editing, QC, encoding, subtitling, packaging and delivery), synchronization with other systems like program planning, rights management, asset and sales management and, at the end, accounting.
Workflow for subtitling/translation
More and more programs are re-used globally and therefore text, dialog and visuals have to be localized into various languages. It sounds easy but it has matured into a vast mass of mostly recurring processes for planning, employee management, material management, translation, and quality assurance as well as a range of technical process steps for the realization of the final media product.
To advertise programs in TV or on VoD platforms, various promos (e.g. teasers or trailers) must be created. First, the versions needed (length, stories, languages etc.) must be defined. Then people need to be found and the tasks needs to be scheduled. Someone has to come up with the 'story' for a version, and then someone else has to edit it, while others do approvals, synchronization, graphics, delivery and so on. A single promo, of which a station might have hundreds per month, can consist of up to 50 or more tasks. Only a workflow can plan and manage all the tasks in a structured and transparent way.
The distribution of a product is often more complex than a simple delivery, because it has to fit, along with suppliers and systems, to the very specific customer conditions. Therefore, these processes are often directly connected to production. They consist of collection/packaging, supply planning, approval, delivery, tracking, confirmation and settlement with customers and suppliers.
For digital content, such as for TV stations around the world, it is no different from the delivery of physical goods.
Planning is often not a separate, detached function but is bound into a process that consists of inquiry, pricing, release, then different, often interdependent, design tasks for various employees, and finally, actual data collection, re-release and various technical accounting processes.
For example, a creative lead will ask a TV station about various production capacities that are necessary for production: studios, trucks, camera operators, lighting technicians, editors and so on.
If equipment is to be given out, the process is always a relatively elaborate one because it is necessary to make the request, approve it, schedule it, give the equipment out, take it back and invoice it. If there are any problems, e.g. if something is returned broken or not returned at all, then the system must also be able to handle this situation. If there are a number of storage operations and complex deliveries (e.g. from entire containers to various places worldwide), the processing in the workflow forms must be able to take place transparently and with a barcode/RFID scanner.
These processes are also referred to as B2B supply chain workflows. Production processes are often dependent on supplies or tasks are outsourced to subcontractors that need to be managed. Using workflows, orders are generated directly from the customer's requirements and delivered on-line to suppliers who enter their working and billing information to the workflow, which can then be seamlessly and automatically processed to the subsequent process steps of production, delivery and payment. This allows purely EDIFACT-based methods and expanded WebEDI for instance, to be replaced.
On-demand and pay TV channels or other forms of customer integration must usually be managed by different people in a process. From the initial application to activation, the assignment to groups and rights management, contract modification where applicable and termination, as well as technical activations and hardware deliveries etc., are all examples of activities that must be systematically organized in a process to provide customers with timely and good service.
Workflows for Production/Service Provision
This is the real core of any business, in which staff in particular and every piece of detailed information must be coordinated: who should do what where, with what and by when? The workflow-based task management distributes each task individually according to process and customer requirements, status, etc. to the right resources, which can also be machines or software systems.
In the media industry these can be planning, costing, shooting, ingest, restoration, rough cut, approvals, post-production, sub-titling, broadcast or completely different process steps.
In the sales process, as the name already suggests, there are a number of process steps from the creation of an 'Opportunity', through 'Follow-up tasks' to overview and approval and the 'On-boarding' as customer. These steps can be ideally represented in a workflow with suitable forms, so that teams can work together more efficiently, independent of time and location.
Each company has its core processes to support a number of necessary administrative business processes that require just as much attention for optimization, because they also produce costs. These can be people processes such as entry, exit, leave request, or purchasing processes (procurement), processes for producing a quote across departments, sales processes, and many more. So that employees can focus on actually adding value, support processes should be as efficient as possible.
Event or task management, for example as a ticketing system, issue tracking, bug tracking or service desk system comes in various forms in almost every business. Instead of using functional systems that 1, have limited customizability, 2, have no planning component included, and 3, cannot map processes to a model, it is advantageous to model perfectly matching workflows that can generate the maximum benefit. Thus, a transparent process structured with minimum effort can be planned and executed with total reliability.
Banks, insurance companies and public institutions often use forms for the standardized collection and processing of information e.g. for claims. Instead of filling out awkward paper documentation, information can be captured by workflow forms easily online and then be further processed directly in subject-specific applications. Steps such as scanning, printing, document management, etc. can be omitted completely and processes are significantly faster and cheaper at the same time.
The development of software or other products, if it is professionally run, is a very complex and error-prone production process, which is ideally suited to support from workflows. Typical procedures are requirements capture, calculation, planning, change management, development, documentation, various QC steps, release management, delivery, error tracking, and more. Here, too, workflows can provide a substantial extra value to purely functional systems whose features may be integrated as required.
The preparation of offers is an involved process in many larger companies. Various departments have to be involved, documents need to be managed, deadlines monitored and approvals have to be obtained, ERP systems have to be integrated to metadata, such as account numbers and budgets, linked to price lists, procedures must be followed, and much more. Read for example the SIEMENS Flyer (pdf).
Master Data Management
The collection, management and distribution of data, such as employee accreditation or qualification data is often treated in processes, because different people are involved as applicants, approvers, executives. The typical process variations are creating, modifying and deletion.
Increasingly strict regulation requires adherence to defined standards and complete documentation for fulfillment. No other means besides workflow management can ensure this as efficiently and transparently. Examples of standards, their implementation and documentation of workflows can be maintained, for example:
However, governance issues such as quality assurance in the enterprise also have to be ascertained. Thus, standards can also be realized by workflow, documented and monitored by KPI's. In fact, almost all our customers' production workflows today have large QC/QA features. Individual requirements can be coordinated by workflow to QM systems such as the following: