What is the Difference Between Workflow and Task Automation?

Laura Parker
Jun 2024
Understanding the nuances between workflow and task automation is crucial for optimizing efficiency and productivity. While both play pivotal roles in streamlining operations, they serve distinct purposes and are implemented differently. Workflow automation involves the use of workflow software to manage and automate entire processes, ensuring that each step is executed in the correct sequence. This holistic approach enhances coordination and consistency across various tasks and departments, ultimately leading to improved outcomes.

Conversely, task automation focuses on automating individual tasks within a process. By utilizing specific tools designed for task automation, businesses can achieve faster completion times and reduce human error for repetitive activities. However, to fully leverage the benefits of automation, it is essential to comprehend how workflow automation integrates these automated tasks into a cohesive system. This article will demystify these concepts, helping you make informed decisions about which automation strategies best suit your organization’s needs.

What is the Difference Between Workflow and Task Automation?

What is the difference between a task and a workflow

Understanding the difference between a task and a workflow is fundamental to grasping the broader concepts of automation. 

Task: A single action or a set of actions that need to be completed as part of a larger project. Tasks are often simple, straightforward, and can usually be completed by one person or a small team. For example, sending an email, entering data into a spreadsheet, or scheduling a meeting are all individual tasks.

Workflow: A series of tasks that are systematically organized and executed to achieve a specific outcome. Workflows encompass multiple steps and often involve several people or teams. They are designed to ensure that tasks are completed in a specific order and that each step flows seamlessly into the next. Workflow processes and procedures are crucial for maintaining consistency and efficiency in operations. For instance, onboarding a new employee is a workflow that includes various tasks such as filling out forms, setting up IT access, and completing orientation training.

Workflows are integral to complex processes because they provide a structured approach to achieving goals. They help in visualizing the sequence of tasks, assigning responsibilities, and tracking progress. By distinguishing between individual tasks and the workflows they comprise, businesses can better understand how to optimize their operations and improve overall productivity.

What is the difference between workflow and task management

Workflow management and task management are both essential for efficient business operations, but they focus on different aspects of the work process. 

Task Management: Involves overseeing and controlling individual tasks to ensure they are completed on time and meet the required standards. It includes assigning tasks, setting deadlines, prioritizing work, and tracking progress. Task management tools often feature to-do lists, calendars, and reminders to help individuals and teams stay organized and focused on their immediate responsibilities.

Key aspects of task management:

  • Assigning tasks to team members
  • Setting deadlines and priorities
  • Tracking progress and completion status
  • Using to-do lists, calendars, and reminders
  • Managing workload distribution

Workflow Management: Encompasses a broader perspective. It involves designing, executing, and monitoring entire processes that consist of multiple interconnected tasks. Workflow management ensures that tasks are performed in a specific order and that the transition from one task to the next is seamless. This approach is crucial for maintaining the integrity and efficiency of complex operations, where the outcome of one task can significantly impact the subsequent steps.

Key aspects of workflow management:

  • Designing processes and workflows
  • Coordinating tasks across different teams or departments
  • Ensuring tasks are completed in a specific sequence
  • Monitoring overall process performance
  • Integrating workflow automation to streamline operations

Workflow processes and procedures provide a framework that supports collaboration and coordination among different departments. For example, in a product development cycle, workflow management would cover the entire process from concept to launch, including stages like research, design, testing, and marketing. Each of these stages involves various tasks that need to be managed and aligned with the overall project timeline.

By integrating workflow automation, businesses can automate repetitive steps within these processes, reducing the need for manual intervention and minimizing errors. This integration ensures that all tasks are completed in the right sequence and that any deviations are captured and addressed promptly. Ultimately, effective workflow management leads to more streamlined operations, better resource utilization, and improved project outcomes.

Is automation the same as workflow

Automation and workflows are closely related concepts, but they are not the same. 

Automation: refers to the use of technology to perform tasks without human intervention. This can range from simple tasks, such as sending automated email responses, to complex operations, like industrial automation seen in assembly lines. Automation aims to increase efficiency, reduce errors, and free up human resources for more strategic activities.

Workflow: Is a series of tasks that need to be completed in a specific order to achieve a particular goal. While workflows can be automated, not all workflows are automated. A workflow outlines the process steps, whereas automation focuses on executing these steps without manual input.

For example, UiPath is a tool used for Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which can automate repetitive tasks across various applications. In an industrial context, assembly line automation automates the production process, enhancing efficiency and consistency. Similarly, workflow automation uses software to automate the sequence of tasks in a workflow, ensuring that each step is performed correctly and on time.

Key distinctions:


  • Focuses on individual tasks
  • Can be applied in various contexts, such as email automation, RPA, and industrial automation
  • Reduces human intervention and error


  • Involves a series of interconnected tasks
  • Provides a structured process framework
  • Can incorporate automation to streamline tasks

Understanding the distinction between these concepts is crucial for businesses aiming to optimize their operations. While automation can significantly enhance productivity, integrating it into well-defined workflows ensures that all tasks are aligned with the overall business objectives.

Workflow Automation for Businesses

Workflow automation for businesses involves using tools like beSlick and Zapier to streamline and enhance operations. BeSlick’s intuitive platform allows you to document and execute your processes seamlessly. It supports features like dynamic due dates, guest access, and task assignments, making it easy for teams to collaborate and stay on track.

Combining the power of beSlick with Zapier can take your automation efforts to the next level. Zapier’s integration capabilities enable you to connect over 2,000 apps, automating tasks across different systems effortlessly. This powerful combination ensures that your workflows are not only automated but also fully integrated, providing end-to-end automation solutions tailored to your unique business needs.

By leveraging these tools, businesses can achieve higher levels of efficiency and productivity. The integration of beSlick’s comprehensive workflow management with Zapier’s extensive app connectivity allows for a smooth, automated workflow that spans across various platforms and applications. This means that businesses can automate repetitive tasks, reduce manual errors, and ensure that all processes are completed in a timely and organized manner, leading to better resource utilization and improved business outcomes.

What is the difference between workflow and task automation

Workflow automation and task automation are often discussed interchangeably, but they have distinct applications and benefits in a business context. 

Task Automation: Focuses on automating individual tasks within a process. This could include actions like sending emails, generating reports, or entering data. The primary goal of task automation is to enhance efficiency and reduce the time spent on repetitive tasks.

Workflow Automation: Takes a broader approach by automating an entire sequence of tasks that form a process. This involves using tools to manage and automate the flow of work from one step to the next, ensuring that each task is completed in the correct order and that the overall process runs smoothly. Workflow automation provides a higher level of coordination and consistency across multiple tasks and departments.

For example, a RPA workflow diagram might show how robotic process automation can be used to streamline tasks within a workflow, such as data extraction, processing, and reporting. This level of automation ensures that the entire process is optimized, reducing the likelihood of errors and delays. In the context of factory automation vs. process automation, factory automation might involve automating individual machinery operations, while process automation would cover the entire production line, from raw material input to finished product output.

Key differences:

Task Automation:

  • Automates individual tasks
  • Enhances efficiency for specific activities
  • Examples: Email automation, data entry

Workflow Automation:

  • Automates a series of interconnected tasks
  • Ensures consistency and coordination across processes
  • Examples: RPA workflows, end-to-end production processes

Difference between RPA and workflow automation:

  • RPA (Robotic Process Automation): focuses on automating repetitive tasks typically performed by humans, such as data entry and processing. It uses software robots to mimic human actions.
  • Workflow Automation: involves designing and managing a series of tasks to ensure they are completed in a specific order, often integrating RPA for specific steps within the workflow.
What is the Difference Between Workflow and Task Automation?

Unlocking Business Potential with Seamless Workflow Automation

Understanding the differences between workflow and task automation is crucial for businesses looking to optimize their operations and enhance productivity. While task automation focuses on individual tasks, workflow automation ensures that entire processes run smoothly and efficiently. Tools like beSlick and Zapier offer powerful solutions to automate and integrate workflows across various platforms, making it easier for businesses to manage and streamline their operations.

By leveraging workflow automation, businesses can achieve numerous benefits, including reduced errors, improved consistency, and enhanced coordination among teams. The combination of beSlick’s intuitive platform for documenting and executing processes with Zapier’s extensive app integration capabilities provides a comprehensive solution for end-to-end automation. This not only boosts efficiency but also allows businesses to scale and adapt quickly to changing demands.

If you’re ready to take your business automation to the next level, explore how beSlick can help you document and automate your workflows seamlessly

Visit our workflow software and workflow automation pages to learn more and get started today!

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Need a better way to track team tasks & workflow?

, Author of The Dirty Word and CEO at beSlick

Alister Esam is a successful entrepreneur and investor, having bootstrapped his fintech software business eShare to international status operating in over 40 countries and servicing 20,000 board directors, before successfully exiting to a multibillion-dollar organisation in 2018. He now invests in a variety of startups and on a global mission to make work, work.