Enterprise expertise distributors rev up the workflow buzzword machine


Workflow is turning into the buzzword of 2021 for a broad vary of software program and cloud giants as collaboration, hybrid work, automation and process administration all collide.

Primarily based on transcripts from earnings calls and analyst occasions it is clear that workflow is effervescent up as a technological time period.

  • ServiceNow, which constructed a juggernaut on delivering workflow automation and popularized it, talked about “workflow” 32 instances on its most up-to-date earnings name. ServiceNow CEO Invoice McDermott famous that clients are shopping for workflow infrastructure for IT, clients, workers and creators. And for what it is price, ServiceNow primarily began the slow-moving workflow bandwagon. Throughout its 2013 analyst assembly, ServiceNow executives talked about workflow 35 instances as they laid out the case that the corporate might broaden past IT service administration.
  • Salesforce on its second-quarter earnings name lined the time period workflow twice in depth. Bret Taylor, president and chief working officer at Salesforce, stated: “IBM is certainly one of my favourite examples of a Slack-First Buyer 360 firm. IBM has constructed their whole Buyer 360 on Salesforce. Over 530,000 clients, 380,000 workers and 50,000 companions utilizing our platform. And all of those workers are working in Slack. They’ve related their workflows throughout Gross sales Cloud, throughout Service Cloud and allows them to attach and take motion from wherever.”
  • Zoom executives throughout their Zoomtopia analyst day lined workflow instruments and methods 4 instances.
  • Microsoft additionally talked about its position in enabling workflows twice on its most up-to-date earnings name.
  • Atlassian additionally talked about automated workflows in relation to Jira. “One of the best factor we are able to do is be deeply built-in in all of these locations. We consider that is greatest for the shoppers. It’s then our job to automate workflows, to coordinate information and to do this the most effective we are able to throughout all of these totally different functions,” stated Atlassian co-CEO Michael Cannon-Brookes.

If this workflow-meets-messaging and collaboration apps vibe sounds acquainted that is as a result of it’s the subsequent enterprise software program battleground. As work goes hybrid and automates, workflow engines that function inside collaborative apps (primarily the digital workplace today) shall be crucial. That imaginative and prescient is why Salesforce purchased Slack and is now integrating forward of its Dreamforce convention. It is also why ServiceNow’s newest Now Platform launch has a heavy dose of automated workflows and integrations with Microsoft Groups. And it is why Zoom at Zoomtopia spent loads of time speaking about workflows and the way it can combine with video conferences and collaboration.  

How will this workflow warfare play out? Here is a crib sheet of the panorama immediately and the way it’ll evolve.

ServiceNow-Microsoft vs. Salesforce-Slack.

If this had been knowledgeable wrestling match, ServiceNow-Microsoft vs. Salesforce-Slack could be the lead tag staff battle. I am going to spare you the Photoshop placing ServiceNow Invoice McDermott and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff in wrestling gear largely as a result of I did it a number of years in the past.

However I digress. In the end, the ServiceNow-Microsoft vs. Salesforce-Slack is about automating work inside the collaboration. Take into consideration bringing providers into collaboration instruments. What stays to be seen is whether or not ServiceNow and Salesforce collide instantly. ServiceNow is targeted on extra backend processes comparable to resolving points, answering questions, fixing damaged issues and streamlining approvals. Salesforce is extra of a front-end workflow play with Buyer 360, CRM, customer support and gross sales and bringing insights into instruments like Slack.

Collaboration strikes into workflows.

Zoom could also be forward of the workflow meets collaboration sport, however at Zoomtopia the corporate’s video-centric method to workflow is telling. Zoom is constructing industry-specific templates and bringing in apps to its platforms to fulfill workers the place they’re.

Oded Gal, chief product officer at Zoom, stated at Zoomtopia:

Rather less than 2 months in the past, we introduced Zoom Apps. Zoom Apps consists of over 50 launch companions with apps that you should utilize within the Zoom Assembly immediately. They’re already a number of the hottest of the 1,500-plus third-party integrations within the Zoom App Market and embody integrations with HubSpot, DocuSign, Google Suite, Microsoft Workplace and extra.

Gal cited DocuSign integration as a robust workflow instance.

You may see right here the workflow actually integrates the flexibility to signal a doc when you’re in a video assembly.

And Graeme Geddes, head of Zoom Telephone, stated at Zoomtopia:

We have seen an amazing stage of curiosity and adoption from Zoom Rooms from our clients as it has been central to their very own return-to-office methods. Over the previous 12 months, we have leveraged the facility of Zoom Rooms to assist our clients construct new areas and workflows to assist a brand new, hybrid manner of working. We launched a variety of capabilities, for instance, if we go to the following slide, kiosk mode to assist digital receptionists; individuals counting and voice instructions to assist company security requirements and social distancing practices; and Sensible Gallery.

With Zoom speaking about workflows and integrations with enterprise app gamers, relaxation assured that different video collaboration distributors are going to comply with swimsuit. For what it is price, Cisco’s most up-to-date earnings convention name did not floor workflows in reference to WebEx.

The remainder of the sector and workflow washing.

As soon as this workflow theme positive aspects extra traction you possibly can relaxation assured different expertise distributors will pile on. We have seen the buzzword bingo earlier than so prepare for “cloud-enabled blockchain quantum AI and machine studying powered workflow automation” headlines any day now.


The Monday Morning Opener is our opening salvo for the week in tech. Since we run a world website, this editorial publishes on Monday at 8:00am AEST in Sydney, Australia, which is 6:00pm Japanese Time on Sunday within the US. A member writes it of ZDNet’s world editorial board, which is comprised of our lead editors throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. 


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