There seems to be a disparity in many businesses today. When businesses find themselves doing the same thing over and over again, they always want to make this repeated action more uniform. Business often times turn to project management software in order to structure these frequently-occurring tasks. There is a better way to go about this, however.
While the word “project” defines something unique and has never been done before, “process” defines something different. Processes are things that we do repeatedly, involving the same series of steps in each instance. The difference may seem small, but this repetition means lets us manage processes in an entirely different, more efficient way.
Business process management, or BPM, is the managing of the processes your business regularly performs. The big name project management tools have better goodwill than their process management cousins. This means that businesses often employ project management solutions for their processes.
What is Zoho?
Zoho is one of the largest business tool developers in the world. They offer a comprehensive suite of business, productivity, and collaboration applications designed to work together.
Zoho’s business suite is extremely comprehensive. It includes 50 applications dealing with sales, finance, collaboration, IT, and HR. While you can access applications individually, Zoho also offers a package called “Zoho One.” Zoho One is a collection of Zoho apps bundled under one price plan. This makes it easy to get all of your business software through one supplier and for one transparent price.
What is Zoho Orchestly?
While Zoho’s project management solution, “Zoho Projects”, has been on the market since 2006, they only recently dipped their toes into process management. In April of this year, Zoho announced “Zoho Orchestly,” their own process management solution.
Orchestly doesn’t necessarily offer much more than any other BPM tool offers. It does, however, have the appeal of being developed by a group that millions of business people already trust for their software needs. Zoho may add the application to Zoho One down the road.
This article will dive into what Zoho Orchestly is, what it can do for your business, how you can use it, and some viable alternatives to Orchestly. Let’s jump in.
When creating a process with Orchestly, layouts are going to be your most basic piece. A layout is the first of two components (the other being blueprints) that come together to create a business process.
A layout is basically a form that, by the end of the process, will populate with important data. This form is like any other form you may find on the internet, i.e. made of field types we are familiar with. Forms can take data in the form of text strings, dropdown boxes, dates, email addresses, file attachments, links, etc.
For example, if we wanted to create a layout that helps gather the information needed to write a software-review article, we would need a few things. Writing a software review requires:
- Assignees for the article.
- A good title.
- An image file of the software’s logo.
- A link to the software’s website.
- A rough draft.
- A peer-edited second draft.
- A due date for the article.
All of these components are gathered in an Orchestly layout form. Let’s take a look at how we would actually create this layout in Orchestly.
The second key component of Zoho Orchestly is the blueprint. While layouts gather data throughout a process, blueprints outline the actual flow of the same process. A blueprint is an automated workflow diagram that will make changes to our layout as we move along through the process.
Blueprints are made from two components:
Stages, as their name suggests, are stages in the process. Stages can either be open or closed. Open stages will have another stage to transition to. When a closed stage is reached, the process is complete.
Transitions are actions that occur between stages. During transitions, users will often submit data that updates a field in the blueprint’s associated layout. Transitions layout the requirements for moving from one stage to the next. For example, in order to move from the “Article began” stage to the “Software website found,” our user has to submit a website link to our associated layout.
Blueprints and layouts go hand in hand. As you progress between stages in your blueprint, changes will occur within the associated layout. Let’s take a look at how we can recreate the above blueprint and connect it with the layout we made previously.
If layouts and blueprints are the building blocks of processes, jobs are instances of processes themselves. As mentioned, processes are things that your business will be doing over and over. Each time that process is undertaken, a new Orchestly job can be created to track the process.
Jobs follow the workflow outlined in a blueprint and also populate the fields of the associated layout. The end result is a structure that ensures your processes are done the same way every time.
Let’s take a look at how we can use jobs to employ the process structure we’ve created with our layout and blueprint.
The last key component of Zoho Orchestly is reporting. Every good business tool has some sort of reporting so managers can quantify productivity and identify problems in workflows. Orchestly is no different.
Reporting in Orchestly lets you take a step back and add some context to your blueprints. While you can create custom reports in Orchestly, there are five default reports included from the jump.
- Blueprint usage report.
- Job distribution chart.
- Stage duration chart.
- Stage utilization chart.
- Blueprint duration analysis.
Blueprint Usage Report
The blueprint usage report is used to identify bottlenecks in your process. It shows the number of jobs currently in each stage of a process as well as the number of times each transition in a process has been used. By looking at the stages with the highest number of jobs, we can get a clearer picture of where processes are slowing down or getting stuck.
Job Distribution Chart
The job distribution chart helps us see which users are receiving the most workload in our organization. This chart tracks the number of jobs performed by each user over a period of time. This data can be presented as vertical bar, horizontal bar, area, line, donut, or pie charts.
Stage Duration Chart
The stage duration chart is another tool for finding bottlenecks in our processes. This chart helps us see the time taken to complete each stage in a process, under different users. This chart can also help us find who may be having a harder time completing stages or who may be slacking off under certain stages.
Stage Utilization Chart
While the stage duration chart identifies how long users spend on each stage in a blueprint, the stage utilization chart identifies how many total jobs pass through each stage by each user. This can help you identify the different routes through which a process is taken when done by different users in your organization.
Blueprint Duration Analysis
The blueprint duration analysis helps us understand which processes take the longest to complete. The chart is divided by blueprint and quantifies in terms of time in days and hours. Each element in the chart averages the time your organization has taken to complete each blueprint over a period of time.
Zoho Orchestly Mobile App
If you have an Orchestly account, you have access to the Orchestly mobile app. Orchestly has apps on both Android’s Google Play Store and iOS’s App Store.
It’s hard to say what the community thinks of these apps, likely because they have only been available for a few months. The iOS app doesn’t have enough ratings to render an App Store rating. However, the Android app does have a 5/5 star rating based on 3 ratings. Three ratings isn’t a whole lot to go off, so let’s take a look at the iOS app to see what all it has to offer.
- Obscure user interface.
- Some limitations:
- Cannot create new layouts.
- Cannot create new blueprints.
- Can create new jobs from an existing layout.
- Very few bugs if any.
Zoho Orchestly Pricing
Contrary to most SaaS platforms available, Orchestly has only one price plan. The plan includes all Orchestly features and costs $7/user per month when billed annually. This price decreases as you pass certain user thresholds. For example, the 501st user will cost $5/month while the first 500 will still cost $7/month each. Orchestly has a handy calculator that can help you figure out how much their plan will cost you.
One notable downside of Orchestly’s plan is that they do not offer a free plan. This is striking as many BPM solutions do offer some sort of free option. I imagine that Zoho is expecting existing Zoho users to adopt Orchestly BPM without knowing there are other solutions out there.
Tallyfy, A Zoho Orchestly Alternative
At Tallyfy, we believe in empowering everyone to improve their business processes. Tallyfy isn’t just a team of software developers. We are a team of people with “Workflow DNA,” i.e. real-world process improvement experience. We know what it’s like to manage business processes and that’s why we provide the tools to improve your processes to be the best they can be.
Take a look at this high-level Tallyfy demo, or take a deeper dive into Tallyfy here.
Here are some of Tallyfy’s biggest pros:
One of the downsides of Zoho Orchestly is the lack of many third-party integrations. This can limit what you can do with your process data. Tallyfy uses integration platforms, like Zapier, to integrate with a slew of third-party applications. Using an API to integrate can be inconsistent as vendors change their APIs all the time. Putting a “wrapper” around your integration code will save you months, if not years, rewritting code to integrate with other software.
Tallyfy also has an API you can use to write custom code, if you do decide to go this route.
Tallyfy also integrates with great analytics applications, like Tableau, which can give you many more features than an in-app reporting feature. Orchestly, like all BPM tools, cannot compete with the experience a proper analytics platform can give to you. That’s why finding a BPM tool that integrates with third-party reporting software is extremely important. Tallyfy’s integrations with these apps ensures that more context and meaning will be given to the data you collect from your processes.
During my time using Orchestly, I saw no way to provide access to users outside of your organization. Often times, especially when dealing with customers, you may need somebody outside of your organization to contribute to your workflow. With Tallyfy, you can add unlimited guest users, all for no additional charge. These users are assigned tasks by email, and have very restricted access to your organization. These users do not need a Tallyfy log-in, and can complete either one-off tasks, or tasks within one of your organization’s processes.
As mentioned previously, Tallyfy is a team of people with real business process experience. This means we can go beyond simple technical support to actually understand what your business is trying to do. Visit our support page, ask us a question, or click on the green bubble in the bottom-right of this page to chat with somebody instantly. We generally respond to email inquiries with genuine, non-automated responses within a few hours.
So, what is Zoho Orchestly? Orchestly is one of the newest BPM solutions released by one of the most comprehensive business tool developers in the world. It aims to automate your workflows and simply make your business run more smoothly. If you have any questions about process management tools, feel free to reach out or sign-up for Tallyfy today!