Workflow Diagram

The workflow diagram is an exclusive feature to optimize your business and offer business breakdown structures to succeed. 

What is a workflow diagram?

A workflow diagram is a visual overview of a business process. The diagram maps out the steps of how a process is completed from start to finish.  through a flowchart. It’s a way to show business analysis on how work is done and accomplished. It helps outline who is responsible for what at each step, as well as define, standardize, and identify critical or weak areas of the process. The design of the diagram is created using standardized shapes and symbols to show the flow from one step to another. 

The workflow diagram helps allocate tasks to responsible departments and personnel. This is useful in helping employees comprehend their roles in each workflow and to streamline processes across departments. However, to create a proper workflow, the parties involved need to examine, plan, and conduct tests on the various steps. During this process, weaknesses can be exposed and better solutions provided. This helps improve teamwork and offers a platform where employees can weigh in on the benefits or shortcomings of a particular workflow. Creatio offers workflow design solutions that allow users to design process diagrams of any complexity for any industry using simple visual tools. For instance, a visual interface with drag-and-drop capabilities that allow users to build workflows from scratch. Users have the option to choose out-of-the-box, industry best-practice templates, or build a custom workflow by dragging and dropping components to meet the unique criteria of the organization. Creatio’s no-code offering is an excellent way to streamline work and improve operational efficiency.

Types of workflow diagrams

Although there are endless versions and variations of workflow types,organizations tend to opt for the following to document processes:

  • Business process modeling notation (BPMN)

    BPMN is a standard for business process modeling, meaning for creating a visual representation of a business practice or a process flow that establishes the relationships between processes and departments. This design is used to give senior stakeholders the clarity and oversight needed to make informed decisions as it is generally simpler to comprehend than narrative text. Creatio, for example, leverages BPMN 2.0 standard, which enables both business and IT to easily understand and work with process models.

  • ANSI Flowchart

    The ANSI flowchart derived from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in the 1970s. This type of flowchart is used to document the details of a business process and its aim is to showcase the work being accomplished. Most organizations today use it to demonstrate how an employee’s payroll is processed and approved for disbursement.

  • UML activity (unified modeling language)

    UML was built as a common visual modeling language that could be used in software development yet understood by business users. UML functions like a flowchart, showing different steps and sequential tasks. It is commonly referred to as the flow of control. 

  • SIPOC (supplier input process output customer)

    The SIPOC diagram is a tool used to identify necessary process improvements before any changes are made to a process. The diagram is in table form, and it summarizes the inputs and outputs of the process in question.

  • Swimlane Diagram

    The swimlane diagram is ideally used to show multiple flows of data side by side. For instance, when a process interacts with different departments of an organization or requires the collaboration of multiple teams.  A swimlane workflow is similar to that of a traditional workflow, but the swimlane workflow allows for the building of collective branches or swimlanes where an interaction of data takes place. Some complicated processes include upwards of five swimlanes to capture the interactions between multiple departments or multiple roles in a cross-functional teams. 

Benefits of a workflow diagram  

Workflow diagrams use visual tools to help businesses streamline their operations and define best practices leading to several benefits as outlined below:

1 Helps identify bottleneck

Using or creating a workflow diagram assists organizations in learning about daily activities and, employee duties while squeezing out inefficiencies. All tasks happen out in the open, allowing for the identification, elimination or improvement of processes where needed.

2 Improve revenues

Once process weaknesses are identified and appropriate adjustments are made, operational efficiency improves. Well-planned workflows provide employees with specific goals, therefore no time or unnecessary resources are wasted on unplanned work.

3 Process automation

The automation of processes introduces efficiency and system overhead, reduced paperwork and improved employee effectiveness. When workflows are standardized and automated, errors are less likely to occur. Standardized workflows also generate more consistent outputs which result in identical, successful outcomes every time. An efficient way of creating a workflow is by investing in a user-friendly, yet powerful workflow management solution like Creatio. The workflow solution will provide the right tools to visually represent the workflow including conditional tasks and decision branches. The software then runs the workflow automatically, following the outlined, sequential steps.

4 Increases efficiency

In a workflow diagram, the responsibilities of each job role are well defined. Employees are aware of their tasks, they can track the progress of the workflow and address any bottlenecks should they arise.

5 Improves teamwork and communication

The workflow diagram enhances team collaboration by helping keep work organized and trackable. As a result, employees are more collaborative and goal-driven.

6 Better customer services

Organizations that use workflow diagrams tend to automate more activities. As a result, teams save the time that was spent on manual tasks such as sending emails, and can focus more on attending to the needs of customers. 

Ready to get started?

Workflow diagram examples

Initially, workflow diagrams were designed for manufacturing industries. However, workflow diagrams are compatible with all types of industries, departments, and processes, for example:


Military forces can utilize workflow diagram tools to onboard new recruits. Onboarding of new recruits entails legal paperwork, access to admin resources, orientation, and relevant training.


In financial institutions such as banking, workflows are used for client onboarding and loan processing. Once an application is submitted, a series of sequential tasks commences including client identity verification, disclosure of statements, credit approvals and contract signing. All transaction records are documented and stored for audit purposes.

Medical institutions

Patient admission, triage, and discharge are streamlined in a workflow that includes registration, insurance, diagnosis management, discharge approval and billing. During patient transfers, medical records can be routed to the appropriate doctor, and patient records are tracked and kept up to date for future appointments.

Education centers

Education centers can manage several daily operations by using workflow diagrams. Educators can better monitor student progress throughout the academic period by, relevant assignments and/or exams. Additionally, onboarding of new students which includes the management of personal files, access to admin resources and orientation can also be mapped out using workflow diagrams.


A prevalent e-commerce workflow includes an order submission. A customer places an order, fills in their payment information, the transaction is then processed, and a payment is received. Once the order is received, the item(s) are then selected from a warehouse, packaged into a parcel, and shipped to the customer. 

How to create a diagram?

Prior to diving in and creating a workflow diagram, users should research and assess which type of workflow diagram suits their business needs best. Once the diagram is selected, outline a diagram with rough ideas from the team. Next, conduct research and workflow analysis. Once you gain the data now, you can easily compile a workflow diagram. Note you should understand the components, symbols, and shapes before insulting any on the diagram. Users can implement advanced visual tools from Creatio that ease the creation process.

Common Symbols and Components







Oval shapes represent the start and end of the business process.



The rectangular shape is the workhorse of the workflow diagram; it represents any step in the process 




Diamonds indicate that a decision is required to move forward. Decision options can include this-or-that, binary or multiple-choice options.



Arrows connect the shapes and symbols to guide the user to the next step.  

Irrespective of the type of workflow diagram, there are three basic components that remain unchanged: input, transformation, output. Every step within a workflow falls into one of these components:  

        Input: The resource (for example, employee or material) that completes or initiates a step in the workflow.  

        Transformation: The direction or rule of how input is received, and what transpires when it is received.  

        Output: The result of the transformation, be it a deliverable or product. The output can also function as the input for the following step in a workflow.  

At a high level, all processes can be reduced to these three components. In reality, most processes are an intricate combination of several inputs, transformations, and outputs.   


Steps to creating a workflow diagram

STEP 1: Selecting appropriate graph/diagram

Before formulating a workflow diagram, the appropriate workflow diagram type should be selected. Note, the type of workflow diagram a business selects, affects the business process.

STEP 2: Gather enough data

The gathering of data involves the identification of resources: what is currently in place, how is it being managed, who is involved in the management, etc. Ensure to involve your team and ask questions pertaining to processing times, solutions options and actions, and resources involvement.  

STEP 3: Create a workflow

After gathering and analyzing data,
a workflow diagram can be designed with all the details concluded. This will help in providing a visual representation of the process you’re creating. 

STEP 4: Improving the diagrams

It’s easy to make improvements after creating the diagram. Users can amend the inefficiencies and adjust as needed. The involve of the workflow development team is crucial to test the workflow and ensure it functions optimally.

  • Сreatio named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation (2021).

  • Creatio named a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for B2B Marketing Automation Platforms (2021)

  • Creatio has been included in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center (2020)

  • Creatio has been included in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Low-Code Application Platforms (2021)

  • Creatio has been included in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Intelligent Business Process Management Suites (2019)

  • Creatio named a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Digital Process Automation for Wide Deployments, Q1 (2019)

  • Creatio named a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Customer Service Solutions, Q2 (2019)

  • Creatio named a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: CRM Suites, Q4 (2018)

  • Creatio named a Strong Performer in
    The Forrester Wave™: B2B Marketing Automation Platforms, Q4 (2018)

  • Creatio named a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Cloud-Based Dynamic Case Management, Q1 (2018)

  • Creatio named a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Sales Force Automation Solutions, Q2 (2017)

  • Creatio has been recognized in the LCAP Technology Value Matrix 2020 by Nucleus Research.

  • Creatio has been recognized as a Leader in the CRM Technology Value Matrix 2020 by Nucleus Research.

  • Creatio named a Leader in the Grid® Reports for Business Process Management and CRM | Winter 2021 by G2.

  • Creatio named a winner of the CRM Watchlist 2020 award led by Paul Greenberg, one of the most influential thought leaders in the CRM industry.

  • Creatio named a 5-Star Partner Program Award Winner among Cloud Vendors by CRN Magazine for the third consecutive year (2020).

  • Creatio named a winner of a People’s Choice Stevie® Award for Favorite New Products in The 18th Annual American Business Awards® (2020).

  • Creatio named a Leader in three categories of the 2019 CRM Market Leader Awards - Enterprise CRM, CRM for Midsize Companies and SFA.

  • Creatio named a winner of a Gold Stevie Award in the Digital Process Automation Solution category in The 17th Annual American Business Awards. (2019).

  • Creatio named Market Leader in the Summer 2020 Low-Code Development Platforms Customer Success Report.

  • Creatio named a Top 1 business process management solution by FinancesOnline for the second year in a row (2019).