Business Process Management (BPM) Tools
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What are BPM Tools?
Business process management (BPM) tools have an end goal of improving corporate performance. They provide a systematic approach to managing and optimizing a company's business processes. BPM tools usually facilitate designing, modeling, implementing, and measuring workflows and business rules, thus helping companies to refine and optimize processes that involve human interaction or multiple business applications. The goal of BPM might be to reduce inefficiencies, human error, or miscommunications.
BPM is often a juncture between IT and business departments at a company.
BPM Tools Features & Capabilities
Business process management software frequently focuses on allowing non-IT specialists to build business workflows, with an emphasis on connecting disparate systems. BPM tools usually make their capabilities accessible through a visual process modelling and design tool that allows relatively non-technical users to design and test processes and workflows. BPM tools include a range of capabilities to serve this core workflow function:
Workflow management: Users can design, test, and execute complex workflows to manage the interactions between employees, systems, and data. Many of these workflows are automated by the BPM platform.
Business rules engine: Users can create complex sets of business rules and conditions as part of process design and execution.
Form generator: Users can build web-forms without programming or coding skills.
Collaboration: The software often supports things like discussion threads, decision management, and idea management.
Analytics: Users can define metrics and KPIs, and run standard and custom reports.
BPM Software Uses
BPM software supports the activity of BPM by allowing users to design, model, execute, automate, and analyze process workflows. A process is usually defined as a set of activities or tasks that are linked together based on conditions. Processes might involve person-to-person interactions or system-to-system.
Examples of processes that might be designed and improved using BPM software include:
Time off requests
Customer requests and service orders
Project management or development
Benefits of BPM
BPM suites are usually designed to help improve business processes. Below are some examples of the potential benefits of using BPM software:
Ensuring regulatory compliance
Improving engagement with customers or customer satisfaction
Driving competitive advantages
Improving business agility
BPM vs. Low-Code Development
Although many BPM platforms now have low-code development capabilities, BPM and low-code platforms are fundamentally different. This is largely because they have different aims. Business Process Management suites are targeted towards achieving operational excellence in enterprises. The underlying goal is to connect all processes and functions within the organization in the name of operational efficiency.
Low-code platforms, on the other hand, are designed to expedite the software development and delivery process. Low-code is about enabling "citizen developers" to build business applications by assembling building blocks, with a reduced need for coding by highly-skilled developers.
Most modern BPM products are cloud offerings, but there are still several fully on-premises offerings that appeal to buyers for a specific set of reasons. Additionally, several products offer both a cloud and an on-premises version. Potential reasons for purchasing an on-premise product include:
Preference for keeping critical systems in-house
Requirements for extensive integration with local data
Serve very large user communities
Regulatory constraints on handling and storing sensitive data, such as HIPAA.
High focus on data security and visibility
Operations in multiple countries, some of which may have low internet bandwidth or content censorship
Business Process Management Tools Comparison
There are two key factors to consider when on the market for a BPM tool:
1. On-premise vs Cloud: Decide whether you want to host your BPM software on-site or off-site by using a SaaS version of the tool. Some BPM software is available in both editions, whereas others aren't.
2. BPM framework: There are three different BPM frameworks from which to choose: full-service, horizontal, and vertical. Full-service frameworks include a comprehensive suite of BPM tools so you do not have to use more than one tool to meet your BPM needs. Horizontal frameworks deal only with the design and development phases of business processes across industries. Vertical frameworks focus on carrying out processes specific to your industry and are not one-size-fits-all.
BPM software is complex enterprise software and prices can vary quite widely depending on several factors such as requirements, customizations, backend coding, on-premise vs cloud software, etc. In general, BPM software is likely to be between $30 and $100 per user per month.
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