Business Process Management (BPM) is a methodology of constant process evaluation, improvement, and automation.
So buzzwords aside, what does that mean in real-world terms?
It means that you always strive to make your workflows (just about the same thing as a process) as efficient as possible.
Constantly tracking and improving your processes isn’t an easy task, though. That’s why most process managers use BPM solutions to get the job done.
How to Use This Guide
- Want to learn more about BPM solutions? Read on!
- Don’t know what separates the good process management solution from the great? It’s usually these key features.
- Already know everything about BPM software, but need help picking the solution? Read our analysis of the top 5 software on the market and their distinct features.
What’s a BPM Solution?
BPM Solutions are tools that help you run processes digitally. Meaning, rather than having to throw emails back and forth on who’s supposed to do what, the software does it for you.
Once task #1 is completed, the system automatically assigns task #2 to the relevant employee.
As a given, you can also set deadlines, assign specific processes to certain employees, and so on.
If you’ve managed business processes before, you probably know how useful this can be. You replace the everyday workspace chaos with just one software solution.
Other than the automation capabilities we’ve mentioned, there are several other uses for BPM software. It also helps with process improvement.
Without software, making changes to company processes can really be a hassle. You need to get a lot of different people on board, explain the “why” and “how” of the changes, and hope they stick with the new direction.
With BPM, all you have to do is make changes to the process through software and you’re done!
All this can have a significant impact on your organization’s bottom line, leading to…
- Higher Productivity – Your employees will spend less time on administrative tasks, allowing them to focus on what’s important.
- Business & Process Agility – As history has shown time and time again, the companies that succeed are the ones who can change their direction when needed. BPM helps make changes happen faster.
And that’s just a start! Check out the following article to learn more about the benefits of using BPM software.
BPM Software Key Features
In terms of their offerings, most BPM tools are very similar. Here’s what the run-of-the-mill software offers…
- Process Automation – Managing the transfer of tasks between employees.
- Business Rules – In layman’s terms, this means “if this, then that.” If event A happens, proceed with the process as usual. If event B happens, end the process.
- Process Monitoring – Top-down view of how all the processes are performing. i.e. if there are any bottlenecks, missed deadlines, etc.
- Drag & Drop Form Builder – Sometimes, processes involve the transfer of data. The process, for example, could be “gather client data, input it into CRM, send a follow-up email, and give them a call.” Most BPM solutions come with form creation capabilities. The data filled in is then transferred to other process steps.
There are a handful of key features that can distinguish different BPM solutions, however…
BPM software is famous for how complicated it can be. Most of the older solutions are very hard to implement.
It starts with the negotiation phase. You contact the company and ask for a quote. You’ll get a different offer depending on your company size.
More often than not, the software will come with a hefty price tag. Depending on the solution provider, the installation and support fees can go up to 6-figures.
Then, you’ll need to coordinate with the company every step of the way so that they can create the processes, integrate the software to the rest of your systems, and so on. This usually takes 3 to 6 months.
If this makes you want to give up on the idea of BPM, close this article, and go back do business as usual, don’t!
Most of the new BPM solutions are significantly easier to set up. The key here is that they’re cloud-based as opposed to on-site. This allows for several benefits…
- Instant Registration – You can start using the software straight away after registration, bypassing the installation phase.
- Lower Fees – Since the solution provider doesn’t have to spend months installing your product, you can end up saving a lot of money. The price range here is usually from $15-40 per user per month (or free for up to 5 users, in the case of Tallyfy).
Ease of Use
Once you’ve started working with a platform, you need to create your processes & get your staff on board the software.
How hard this will depend on the software provider you pick.
Some solutions require a lot of technical know-how for both setting up the processes and using them. Meaning, you’ll have to get the solution provider to create the processes for you, as well as give out training to your employees on how to use the software.
The training is either done on-site (more expensive option) or through online courses.
If you use a No-Code BPM solution, though, you can avoid all that hassle.
No-Code means that the software is used mainly through a simple user interface without needing any technical know-how.
Anyone in your company can create processes without the help of the technical staff. This can really speed up the process, reducing the time needed to set up a process from 5-6 days to one hour.
More often than not, such software is also easier to use, all you have to do is get your employees to sign up on the website.
To get the most out of the automation capabilities of BPM, you need to integrate the software with the rest of your systems.
In most cases, this is for data transfer. Let’s say you’re using BPM for B2B sales. You also use PipeDrive as your Customer Management. The process would be…
|Step 1||Capture user data through a sign-up form|
|Step 2||Transfer the data to PipeDrive|
|Step 3||Send a follow-up email|
|Step 4||Schedule a call|
|Step 5||Schedule a meeting|
|Step 6||Present the product|
|Step 7||And so on…|
You’d want the data from step #1 to transfer automatically to PipeDrive, without having to actually do it manually every single time. For that, you’d need integration between the two systems.
Most BPM solutions, however, are very limited in this aspect. They offer API-based on In-Built integrations.
API-based means that you have access to the software source code so that you can build your own integration. This, as you can guess, can be extremely time-consuming and expensive.
In-Built, on the other hand, comes with integration with some software solutions. While this can be enough for some companies, for others, it might be very limiting.
If you’re looking for more variety in terms of integrations, the best option is to go for software that works with Zapier.
Zapier is an Integrations-as-a-Service (IaaS) software that can connect just about any two apps together. The software can connect with more than 1,000 different online apps, making it incredibly useful for task automation.
To learn more about Zapier, you can read a very comprehensive guide on their website.
How to Choose from the Top 5 BPM Solutions
Now that you know what sets apart different BPM tools, here’s a comparison between some of the best ones on the market…
|Tallyfy||Appian||Nintex||IBM BlueWorks Live||Bizagi|
|Popular With||SMBs, Mid-Large Companies||Enterprises||SMBs, Enterprise||Enterprise||SMBs, Enterprise|
|Process Design||Web-Based Drag & Drop||BPMN2||Web-Based Drag & Drop||BPMN2||Bizagi BPMN Modeler|
|Usability||Intuitive, No Training Required||On-Site Training Teams||Remote & On-Site Training Providers||Online Courses||Remote & On-Site Training. Online Courses|
|Installation||Cloud-Based. Instant Registration||Cloud-Based + On-Site. Registration Request||Cloud-Based + On-Site. Registration Request||Cloud-Based + On-Site||Cloud-Based + On-Site|
|Integrations||Open REST API & 3rd Party Integration Through Zapier||Manual (Through Appian Engineers)||With Specific Software Solutions||Open REST API||With Specific Software Solutions|
|Monthly Pricing||15 – 30 USD / User||90 – 180 USD / User||Quote-Based||Quote-Based||Quote-Based. 800+ USD / User|
Getting Started With Your BPM Solution
As with most other types of software, you can never really be sure about the solution until you’ve actually tried it.
So, while you can arm yourself with the best know-how on what makes the software good, you can never really be sure until you’ve tried it.
Most cloud-based BPM software providers, however, offer a free trial! So, start playing around with different tools, and decide which ones work for you.
We might be a bit biased here, but Tallyfy is as good of a start as any. Our solution is free for up to 5 users. Get your team on board and see if the software works for you!