Do you notice hang-ups happening in your company’s productivity? Often the results of process snags, these hitches have the power to stop your team in their tracks—unless you power up your stack with tools made specifically for workflow orchestration.

5 Key Takeaways:

  1. Workflow orchestration requires defining each step within a workflow and predefining its rules or conditions.

  2. Workflow automation is the automation of each individual task, workflow orchestration is the management of those automated tasks, and process orchestration is a high-level of all your workflows across teams, departments, and applications.

  3. When your company needs to introduce a new step or system or adjust a task dependency, an orchestration solution gives you the flexibility to do so and scale up or down according to your unique business evolution.

  4. When businesses adopt real-world organizational productivity improvements with workflow orchestration, they see several benefits, including greater visibility, fewer errors, and more insightful reports.

  5. Workflow orchestration is the management of every person, system, and piece of data involved from end to end within a business process.

Table of Contents

Understanding Workflow Orchestration

Think of orchestrating workflows as integrating the many tasks you’ve automated within your business apps and services that accomplish a process from beginning to end. Every automated task should seamlessly communicate with every other task, triggering the sharing of data for that action in sync with subsequent triggers for following actions, streamlining and optimizing what are otherwise complex workflows. When workflows are orchestrated with precision and efficiency, organizations can respond to changes in the market, adapting and pivoting when necessary. It’s the catalyst for organizational transformation, and it happens with orchestration tools.

Some of the greatest advantages of these workflow solutions include:

Efficient Automation

Workflow orchestration requires defining each step within a workflow and predefining its rules or conditions. These rules and conditions then ensure each step within a workflow process is executed on time, every time. An orchestration tool then eliminates the need for human intervention and time-consuming task repetition.

Standardized Processes

Defining the processes and the steps required per process helps businesses enforce precise processes throughout the organization, its teams, and departments. Maintaining this level of consistency ensures quality company responses and helps the business meet compliance laws and regulations.

Improved Communication

The above two advantages build the much-needed collaborative element teams need to communicate effectively—with each other, with management, and with external stakeholders. Workflow orchestration offers task and progress visibility for improved communication. These workflow solutions also often incorporate alerts to keep teams informed of task updates and deadlines, as well as any issues that need attention.

Additional benefits of workflow orchestration tools include:

  • Greater adaptability
  • Improved compliance adherence

So, whether your company needs to introduce a new step or system or adjust a task dependency, an orchestration solution gives you the flexibility to do so and the ability to scale up or down reflecting your unique business evolution.

One way to imagine the orchestration of your workflows is to think of an actual orchestra—the maestro (workflow orchestration tool) conducts each musician (business application or service) and ensures each instrument hits the right note and precisely the right moment to produce a beautiful piece of music (the workflow).

Workflow Orchestration vs. Workflow Automation vs. Process Orchestration

In the vein of workflows, several terms are sometimes used interchangeably and, while related, do not define the same things, such as:

  • Workflow orchestration
  • Workflow automation
  • Process orchestration

Let’s examine the differences between these business terms.

Workflow Orchestration vs. Workflow Automation

Workflow automation refers to the actual automation of each individual task, whereas workflow orchestration is the management of the automated tasks, as in their sequence and how they interact with other automated tasks, to ensure the process completes cohesively. For example, think of automation as pressing the gas pedal in a vehicle. Orchestration is then about directing the flow of traffic. Workflow orchestration makes sure that each “car” moves in tandem with all other “cars”, preventing a congested “highway” and maximizing the efficiency of the “road” or “route.”

Workflow Orchestration vs. Process Orchestration

Workflow orchestration is an important aspect of seamless operations and it’s often referred to when speaking about process orchestration—which is not an incorrect application.

However, the difference between these two modern business terms lies within the vantage point of the overall orchestra. For instance, workflow orchestration is hyperfocused on the automation and coordination of a task series belonging to a certain process within one department or aspect of the business.

Process orchestration, however, looks at the entire organization from a bird’s eye view. Process orchestration is a high-level overview of an organization’s many workflows across teams, departments, applications, and other potential boundaries. 

It considers a business’s objectives and ensures all workflows are seamlessly synched for coordinated execution. Where workflow orchestration makes sure each individual workflow works as intended, process orchestration is the ultimate maestro of sorts, ensuring harmony between organization-, corporate-, and even enterprise-wide workflows.

The Impact of Workflow Orchestration on Productivity

Now, you may think, “All this sounds great, but now I have to break down processes and workflows, define rules and conditions…how is that going to make my team more productive?”

And it’s a valid question. Today’s business tools allege speed and efficiency, but that sounds like a lot of work, right? Because your tech and data stacks are already “stacked” sky-high with:

  • Inventory software
  • Accounting programs
  • Data management tools
  • Data integration solutions
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) programs

…and the list goes on.

But why does this present problems? Consider the following:

  • Your team executes—but in a vacuum.
  • You’ve got terabytes (or more) of data—and it’s siloed.
  • Disparate departments repetitively enter data, causing data entry issues and errors to populate in multiple systems.

But every single app, tool, software program, service, and other solution your organization uses is essential to operations, so you can’t just tear it all out, eliminate legacy systems, and start from scratch, just to have better visibility into your team’s tasks, workflows, and processes.

That’s a whole lot of activity, but it doesn’t sound like productivity.

The thing is, you likely have several workflows, such as:

  • Data pipelines
  • App deployment
  • IT process automation
  • Business process automation

So, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. In fact, just look at these real-world organizational productivity improvements you can enjoy after adopting workflow orchestration:

  • Greater visibility
  • Minimized errors
  • Insightful reporting
  • Enhanced efficiency
  • Continual improvement
  • Enhanced collaboration
  • Simplified workflow design
  • Improved employee morale
  • Improved overall monitoring

Identifying Bottlenecks in Your Workflow

There are a few ways you can detect inefficiencies and bottlenecks in your workflows. 

For example, review:

  • The actual average time it takes from task start to task completion
  • The tasks that cause slack or slow down your team
  • The tasks that take the least time to complete
  • The tasks that take the most time to complete
  • How long each task should take, in theory

Thankfully, there’s a multitude of tools today to ease bottleneck identification and analysis, such as solutions for:

  • Process discovery: Find and analyze task, system, and workflow bottlenecks.
  • Process mining: Capture your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system’s event logs to uncover business processes for analysis.
  • Task mining: These programs capture each task performed to look at how your teams use and interact with the apps and other programs in your stack.
  • Process intelligence: These tools offer a combination of functionalities for task and process mining, with task and process analysis built in.

Selecting the Right Tools for Workflow Orchestration

The best workflow orchestration tools accommodate various use cases and organizations of all sizes and industries. 

Some of the most common workflow orchestration use cases include:

  • Managing massive data pipelines
  • Simplifying integration of multiple enterprise systems
  • Coordinating Internet of Things (IoT) systems and devices
  • Streamlining development and deployment of software programs

Our top four workflow orchestration choices are:

1. Prefect

Prefect, a workflow orchestration tool for today’s data- and tech-heavy organizations, scores highly across industries and business sizes—no G2 users rate this tool below 4 stars. Prefect uses Python to allow businesses to “build, observe, and react to” data pipelines, and users cite the tool’s power and flexibility as major selling points.

2. Apache Airflow

Apache Airflow gives companies the ability to program the authoring, scheduling, and monitoring of workflows using command lines or GUI administration. While some users state there’s a learning curve, this workflow orchestration tool is great for enterprise-level businesses, and even SMBs with users saying it’s the best orchestration tool on the market for reasons like continuous updates, active developments, and a large community base.

3. Argo CD

Argo CD is for businesses using Kubernetes. This workflow orchestration tool is container-native and supports both directed acyclic graph (DAG) process modeling and workflows based on specific steps. DevOps engineers swear by Argo CD as a must in their stack.

4. Process Street

Process Street is a Process Management Platform entirely powered by AI. You could consider this platform a kind of pre-tool to set up in conjunction with a workflow orchestration tool. Process Street helps SMBs and enterprises document the processes used in their organization, and transform those processes into workflows with zero coding knowledge needed. Those workflows can then be used to inform the workflow orchestration tool of your choice. According to users, however, a drawback of the platform is its somewhat steep learning curve, with users stating it’s not always easy to find items such as reports.

5 Criteria to Consider When Choosing a Workflow Orchestration Tool

Knowing what workflow orchestration is and the solutions available is just one aspect—how do you know which tool will work best for your business and unique use cases?

The most important things to consider include:

  1. Time to adopt. It’s crucial for your organization to seamlessly transition from your existing system to your chosen workflow orchestration solution. Make note of the average adoption time, how long it typically takes organizations of your size and in your industry to adapt to the system, and any potential service delays or interruptions that could occur.

  2. Available integrations. Businesses today use a variety of applications in multiple environments, which necessitates seamless, viable integrations. A workflow orchestration solution should ideally be compatible with any legacy systems you use, but must be able to easily connect with your systems in the cloud and any hybrid programs or services you use.

  3. Costs to maintain. You can save your business undue costs down the line if you understand a solution’s maintenance costs upfront. Providers should supply this information clearly before you sign up for service.

  4. Dashboard visualizations. Sometimes, you just need to be able to see where that broken API is. Something many teams neglect to consider when choosing solutions is how that app, tool, platform, or program will work in their organization—not if it will work, but how. A tool might promise lightning-speed, real-time updates, and that’s great when you need up-to-the-minute data. But if you don’t have clear visibility from a main dashboard that offers end-to-end visibility into every aspect you need to see at a glance, that “solution” ends up being just another unnecessary tool in a Jenga tower tech stack.

  5. Access controls. PWC says cloud attacks are the top security concern for 2024. Emil Sayegh, CEO of Ntirety, a cloud security firm in Austin, Texas, recently gave his cybersecurity predictions for the year, citing ransomware attacks, attacks powered by artificial intelligence, the sheer velocity with which data changes hands, and the breachable nature of hybrid infrastructures as some of this year’s top concerns. Security is the most important criterion in any business tool today. Identity and access management (IAM) controls are absolutely essential in workflow orchestration. So, when or if there’s ever an issue, you can easily see the employees that have access to workflows and which activities or tasks were created, executed, or deleted with their credentials.

Step-by-Step Guide to Implementing Workflow Orchestration

It’s only natural to feel a bit apprehensive. After all, business processes are engrained in your day-to-day. Changing your approach may seem like a huge undertaking. But the reality is that with the right strategy, you can smoothly transition and orchestrating your workflows can be very rewarding.

So, what are the most practical steps and best practices for workflow management and orchestration? Keeping in mind your unique business needs and complex processes:

Start small

When asked, “How do you build a house?”, someone wise once said, “One brick at a time.” It’s the same with introducing your team to workflow orchestration. Start out with an easily identifiable process that would increase productivity (or offer other benefits) if orchestrated, that you can easily manage.

But you’re not starting from scratch. Your business is already built, so let’s look at the house analogy from another perspective.

When renovating a home, you do so one room at a time so the house isn’t fully gutted with no usable rooms for an indefinite period of time. Taking this one-brick-at-a-time approach lets you try out the orchestration concept without affecting all critical business processes at once, refine adoption methods, and hone your approach as you scale up to more business-dependent processes.

Educate teams and stakeholders

Change can be met with opposition, and your approach to managing company changes is an important part of successfully implementing an orchestration tool. 

Educating your teams and stakeholders, and getting them excited about what the changes mean and how various departments will be affected helps you gain support for the initiative and can improve adoption for users who’ll be accessing these systems and updated processes every day. Keeping your team abreast of changes and asking for input helps foster a culture of appreciation and ongoing improvement.

Plan for challenges and resolutions

Changing how you do business is never easy, and adopting workflow orchestration can have its challenges. You may need to adjust here or tweak there from time to time, making updates as connected tasks or activities are updated. Some of the most common hurdles you might face include change resistance, complex connectors, and failure to meet resource requirements. But all of these challenges are overcome by communicating benefits clearly and in a timely manner, helping teams address integration strategies, and ensuring training and support resources are sufficient.

Real-World Success Stories

It didn’t take Oculus virtual reality (VR) headset users long to discover that “attending” events in Meta’s public venues wasn’t as exciting as the hype, and could actually be a jarring experience. But other, less public “hangout” apps, like Rec Room, where users can create rooms and control who’s allowed to come inside, proved much less intimidating and led to this game-within-a-game’s massive popularity.

The explosion of Rec Room’s user growth led to multiple in-game rooms, or communities, for movies, music, and gaming (just to name a few) in addition to the app’s pre-built rooms.

What started as a small, free-to-use, native Oculus VR app has evolved to support gaming consoles, mobile devices, and even PCs, amounting to more than 85 million people purchasing lifetime access. This growth presented a challenging demand on the company’s available resources and its data team—they needed to reclaim time being spent on finding and fixing broken pipelines and updating unreliable data. They needed to gain stakeholder trust while ensuring a stable product and experience for users.

Prefect’s workflow orchestration solution helped Rec Room evolve from an unreliable data stack and a small team without the necessary infrastructure expertise to wrangle the app’s massive growth into a stable infrastructure with reliable data and orchestrated workflows that both Rec Room’s users and stakeholders can trust.

Workflow Orchestration Plus Streamlined and Productive

Intrigued by Rec Room’s workflow orchestration success? Your company can accomplish the same when you combine the right workflow orchestration tool, your business, and’s integration services and vast library of connectors. A well-planned digital transformation journey helps improve productivity, enhance resource allocation, and improve decision-making, leading to happier teams and improved customer experiences, which leads to happier customers, clients, and stakeholders.

Whether you’re running a brand new startup, a small Ecommerce platform, or a large organization,  see for yourself how’s unmatched no- to low-code platform can streamline every area of your business, from initial data entry to analysis and reporting. Start today with a free, 14-day trial or schedule a demo for dedicated, hands-on guidance from the integration experts at