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Businesses looking to streamline their operations often find themselves researching business process management (BPM). For the last 50 or so years, only enterprise management consultants, solution architects, business analysts, and other highly skilled, highly trained individuals have attempted BPM as a discipline. But today, the best business process management software makes this somewhat arcane discipline more accessible to every business, not just large enterprises with deep pockets.

BPM helps businesses quickly and easily map out their workflows in an electronic environment — they get the benefit of seeing the big picture of their processes in an environment where they can model changing business scenarios. Furthermore, many BPM software suites can enable the integration of business processes and applications from across the company, acting as the engine block to the component parts of CRM, ERP, accounting, and others.

This guide contains an overview of what you can expect when you’re shopping for BPM software. To get a list of BPM software vendors tailored to your business needs, use our Product Selection Tool. Click on the banner at the top of the page to get started. After answering a few questions, you’ll get a short, unbiased list of BPM software that will work for your business.

Best BPM software for 2022

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Each of the software tools listed in this chart feature an excellent visual workflow chart that lets you map out your processes and easily change them with a drag-and-drop editor. Additionally, each vendor offers cloud-based BPM options, so you won’t have to free up server space to have it on-premise.

Product
Industry Specific Options No-code Visual Workflow Map Cloud-based Mobile-friendly

Intellect

yes yes yes yes yes

WorkflowGen

no no yes yes yes

Flokzu

no yes yes yes yes

Intellio

no no yes yes yes

Comindware

no yes yes yes yes

AgilePoint NX

no yes yes yes yes

Appian

yes no yes yes yes

Nintex Workflow Automation

yes yes yes yes yes

IBM

no yes yes yes no

ProcessMaker

yes no yes yes yes

What is Business Process Management software?

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Business process management software helps businesses map workflows, automate key processes, and streamline operations. It is a term used for software systems that model, map, and/or automate most or all of a business function or process. BPM software identifies and eliminates areas where bottlenecks occur, makes your day-to-day operations run smoother, and ensures that all of the people involved in your processes are being effective.

BPM software overlaps with other software verticals including project management software, professional services automation tools, and salesforce automation systems. For example, a project-based business that uses a popular solution like Wrike, Mavenlink, or LiquidPlanner can use their project management software to map out their entire workflow, building visualizations for key processes and making progress and problems more visible to the entire team. While BPM professionals will draw a distinction between a project and a process, companies can use some types of project management software to design repeatable projects.

Major features of BPM software

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Each BPM software should at least have the below features included. Depending on your industry, you may care more about some additional features, but these are helpful no matter what industry you’re in.

Document management or sharing

While systems like Google Drive and Dropbox have made document sharing less of a requirement within BPM software, everyone on a team needs access to the same documents for processes to be successful. The BPM you choose should at least integrate with these systems, so you can sync files and keep everyone on the same page.

Email integration

Your team members use email to contact suppliers, clients, and partners, which makes email integration an important part of your BPM software. Keeping approvals and important requirements in the same place as the process keeps you organized and ensures your process meets all the specifications.

Visual workflow map

Having a visual representation of your processes is important to making sure everyone understands them. Most BPM software includes a drag-and-drop editor that makes it easy to create and change processes as needed.

Cloud-based software

While you may elect for an on-premise option, cloud-based software ensures regular backups of your processes and data. Your on-premise server space is limited, so if you don’t absolutely need an on-premise BPM, you’re probably better off choosing a cloud-based option.

Mobile accessibility

As more work is done remotely and on the go, everyone on your team needs to be able to log into your BPM through their mobile device. Choosing a BPM software that offers mobile access will keep your projects moving along quicker and reduce any delays or downtime due to important people being unable to access the data.

Benefits of BPM software

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Business process management software provides a centralized space to manage your business’s processes and ensure efficiency among your employees and technologies. Some benefits you can expect from BPM software include:

  • Reduced operating and training costs
  • A more cohesive business strategy
  • Scalable and manageable processes
  • Easy to change processes as laws and regulations change
  • Customizable process charts that fit your company’s needs
  • Better understanding among team members of their role in the process

Reduced operating and training costs

By using a BPM, you can streamline and optimize business processes, creating less waste and fewer redundancies. You’ll be able to finish projects quicker and reduce the amount of resources you use. These systems can also increase the amount of work you can get done without hiring more people, saving on labor and training costs.

A more cohesive business strategy

Using a BPM system allows you to create clear business processes that work together towards your overarching business goals. When your IT and sales teams’ processes are leading towards the same goals, it’s easier to achieve them faster and with greater success. With clear processes in place, your team will have a better idea of what they’re working towards and can be more engaged in the process.

Scalable and manageable processes

BPM systems clearly lay out your processes and show you every aspect of your projects to ensure everything is running smoothly. When something isn’t working, it’s easier to spot where the holdup is, so you can get things running normally faster. Plus, as your business grows, you’ll be able to scale your processes and increase scope with little delay.

Easy to change processes as laws and regulations change

In heavily-regulated industries, rules and regulations are always changing, and your processes need to be able to change with them. BPM systems with a drag-and-drop editor for their visual workflow maps make it easy to change processes as necessary and ensure that all laws and regulations are being followed.

Customizable process charts that fit your company’s needs

Many BPM software options offer customizable process maps to help you completely outline your business’s procedures. Pre-made charts can often cause more issues because they don’t fit the way your company works, even if they seem like the easier option upfront.

Better understanding among team members of their role in the process

BPM software makes processes easy to see and understand for every member of your team. Because of this, things are less likely to fall through the cracks because each of your employees will know their roles and responsibilities in the process.

BPM software purchasing considerations for enterprises

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In order for enterprise companies to remain profitable, they need to streamline processes wherever possible. With the rapid growth that many enterprise companies experience, they need to consider a BPM system that covers as many pieces of their business as possible because they won’t have as much time to focus on upgrades later.

Customization

Choosing a BPM software that offers customizable workflows will help these companies create the processes that meet their exact needs, rather than having to force a pre-made process to fit. To get all of the functionality your business needs, you might consider choosing a BPM system that caters to your specific industry, rather than a more generic one.

Customer support

Customer support is also going to be a key factor in success with the BPM software. Generally, large companies don’t have a lot of downtime before they start losing money, so choosing a BPM software with quality customer service is key to reducing any delays during implementation. Interact with a vendor’s customer support team before purchasing your BPM software.

Reliability

You’ll want to get a feel for how established the business is. If it’s a startup, make sure you talk with the people in charge and get to know the current state of the company before you decide to buy from them. References from other customers of the company can help with this.

BPM software for enterprises

BPM software purchasing considerations for SMBs

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While small and medium companies may be running fewer processes than enterprise companies, getting those processes right is just as important. Choosing a BPM software with good customer service and customization options can help these companies define and streamline processes to become more efficient.

Scalability

Small and medium businesses should also ensure that the selected system is user-friendly for as many departments as possible, even though they may not necessarily need it to cover the whole business at purchase time. Choosing a BPM that your company can grow into can keep you from having to learn a whole new system as your company scales.

Budget

Budget is going to be more of a consideration for small and medium businesses, so choosing a more generic BPM software (i.e. one that isn’t industry specific) is going to be easier on the bank. While you may not get every piece of functionality you want, you’ll be able to do enough to optimize your workflow and increase your ROI. Alternatively, a lower cost might make you more willing to take a chance on a startup that offers more features than a more established business.

Cloud-based options

Because small and medium sized businesses likely have limited server space, they’ll want to choose a cloud-based BPM software. Not only will the upfront costs be cheaper than choosing an on-premise option, but they’ll also have regular data backups and better accessibility for their whole team.

BPM software for SMBs

Choosing a BPM software system

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Choosing the right BPM software for your business can be tricky with so many options available. Luckily, you don’t have to handle the search alone. When you use TechnologyAdvice’s Product Selection Tool, you’ll answer a few questions and then get a short, unbiased list of vendors that will meet your company’s needs

    • Which BPM software is right for your business?
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