(For best results, use sparingly.)
Because part of the unofficial role of the CTAM Top 10 Tech Trends is to stockpile you with glib, impressive, “breezy not cheesy” musings
about technological topics, allow us to lob this lingo into the mix: “Workflow.” Seriously overused. Avoid the temptation to blurt it out -- which is harder than it sounds!
In one of the (print) NAB Show Dailies (which were as thick or thicker than CES Dailies), “workflow” jumped out of so many consecutive pages, we did an unofficial analysis, with a sharpie, circling each occurrence. Result: “Workflow” appeared on >95% of the pages.
Here’s the thing: “Workflow,” like “cable,” is tricky, because it’s a handy, one-word, catchall phrase for something that otherwise takes several words to say. (Hence its popularity.) So, we conducted an unofficial (Facebook) survey, trolling for contributed definitions.
“I write something, it goes to a manager for approval, then to an editor for pruning, then to the website, where it is published. That’s a workflow.”
“The camera sees; the TV displays; what happens in between is workflow.”
“Workflow can be likened to cooking. You make content using a recipe for all consumption, all destinations: Maybe cable operators like meat, consumer electronics devices like vegan; electronic sell-through stores like gluten-free. You could stay in the kitchen, customizing for each recipient, but if you’re in a high production banquet hall, prepping thousands of meals, you tend to pay attention to the “time and motion” of each ingredient, how long the cooking takes, and how you can bundle up processes to make them common (a gallon of sauce, in lieu of a pan reduction). Typical content providers make up to 100 variations of a single video asset. All have to be delivered, on time, to multiple consumption points. That sort of sausage making requires a tight workflow. In essence, workflows pay attention to the processes of “business as usual,” with an eye toward squeezing out cost and time. If done improperly, “the workflow” becomes a formless descriptor. Done properly, it becomes a religion.”
Which brings us back to the original point: “Workflow” is a handy, one-word way to say all of that. When in doubt, however, use the extra words.