Top BPM Tools Comparison and Features

Manish Nepal

April 7th, 2018 BPM  

Why BPM Tool?

BPM tool used to be the future. Now it is the recent past.

BPM has bloomed into an accepted management discipline and its significance in the automation-centric corporate economy of today is undeniable. Without an able BPM software to apply to your business, processes become chaotic and can lead to disastrous consequences.

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As the discipline has matured, a number of BPM tools have emerged to allow organizations to take advantage of the benefits of BPM (cost savings, reduced errors, faster processing time). At their core, BPM tools let an organization digitize forms and workflows, control access, monitor activity, and keep track on items as they move through the process. BPM cannot be run on an organizational level without the use of some BPM system to support it.

The problem with BPM tools is that it can be difficult to find something that is suited for your use. Online BPM tools are a dime a dozen, and it’s no easy feat to find something that fit your use case. They’ll need to be easy-to-use, integrate with third-party add-ons, and can work with the BPM systems that you’re currently using. In addition, there can be user-specific requirements that you may have after you do your own analysis.

What Should You Look for in BPM (Business Process Management) Tools?

The shopping list for BPM tools can be long and varied, depending on the needs of a business. When BPM tools first emerged, the requirements were largely on how robust the platform was and if it could handle the complexities of a workflow engine.

However, needs have changed. Now, most BPM systems can handle the complexity you need, and the new key features for business process management tools involve being user-friendly, built on the cloud, and well-integrated with other applications.

You’ll want to make sure your BPM tools has these 10 fundamental features, but there are other questions you need to ask too.

What problems do you want to solve?

Are you looking to speed up processes? Digitize forms? Reduce errors? What are the problems you currently have and how specifically do you want a BPM tool to solve it?

Is your process human-centric or system-centric?

Certain business process management tools work primarily when most of the tasks in a process are done by humans. Others are best when most of the tasks are done by machines, software, or systems. Do you need a BPM system that is easy for users, or easy for programmers?

Who will be responsible for the processes?

If you plan to keep control with process analysts and consultants, you’ll want to look at BPM tools that use a language like BPMN 2.0. However, if your department heads and others are responsible for the process, you’ll need something that is more intuitive and user-friendly.

What is your expected ROI from BPM?

While you are evaluating a BPM system for the process, some have a lot of advanced features that come at a high cost. If you are trying to be realistic in the cost of BPM, you will need to stay away from very expensive BPM tools.

Do you have any unique, proprietary needs?

Many cloud-based, off-the-shelf BPM tools are so dynamic and flexible that they fit 99% of business requirements. However, if your business has complicated compliance or special proprietary requirements, you should look for bespoke business process management tools.

Where Can You Find the Best Business Process Management Tools?

With so many BPM software vendors vying for the buyers’ attention identifying the best BPM tool can be confusing.

From blogs to review sites to infographics, most information on process management tools is sponsored by some BPM vendor. So, do your best to avoid obvious propaganda disguised as objective reviews.

G2 Crowd, an independent peer review platform does a great job at segmenting BPM software tools depending on the kind of organization:

G2 Crowd BPM Comparision

The target market for BPM vendors can be broadly categorized into general businesses and niche industries. Small and medium business (SMB) and mid-market industries fall into the mainstream business segment while large enterprise and business firms with specific needs have niche demands.

According to G2Crowd, these are the top BPM tools on the market. Here’s a comparison chart to see how each fares against the other:

Brand Name Popular With Process Design Operational Ease Pricing Support
KiSSFLOW SMBs, mid-market Human-centric drag and drop interface Cloud-based $9/user/month (or) 7-day free trial Video documentation, email, webinars, instant chat
Nintex SMBs, enterprise Browser-based intuitive design On-prem By quote None (open-sourced)
Process Maker Corporations, governments, and organizations looking for an enterprise scale BPMN 2.0 Different editions of on-prem and cloud Starts at $1000/month (unlimited users) Video documentation, email, webinars, instant chat
Bizagi SMBs, medium businesses, enterprises Bizagi BPMN Modeler Cloud hosted/on-prem Perpetual user license for $800/year+$134 maintenance fee (or)
1 year user license for $311/year
Basic for free (with no SLAs) or premium support at an extra cost
Zoho Creator Freelancers, small- and mid-size businesses, and enterprise Script builder to drag and drop snippets of code Web-based, on prem, or can be self-hosted $5-$15/user/month (depending on license plans) Email, phone, training, ticket escalation

We are admittedly partial, but KiSSFLOW gives a clean slate for its users to drag and drop forms, add formulas and conditions, create parallel branches, and do much more for automating approval requests. Trust Radius, another good review site, lists KiSSFLOW as the highest-rated BPM tool.

Benefits of Deploying BPM Tools

We’ve told you what all BPM tools can do for you. We’ve shown you examples of what they can do. But what we haven’t mentioned are the real world, tangible benefits that BPM tools have.

Improved Agility

BPM tools let business users add, modify, and delete processes as and when required, dynamically. That’s not possible through traditional emails and office memos. This lets you become adaptable to unpredictable situations.

Reduced Cost

Operating costs are reduced. While this isn’t obvious from the get-go, it will be noticeable later on, when you’re calculating your costs. You won’t have to hire as many staff while scaling as well. So, that’s less salary that you have to pay

Higher Efficiency

We all agree on one thing. No one likes emails. They’re annoying, cumbersome, and even looking at the inbox can be traumatic for some people. But instead of having to sift through hundreds and thousands of emails, BPM tools let you operate on tasks that matter, and ignore the noise of your inbox. That lets your employees be more efficient, letting them focus on only the tasks that matter.

Better Visibility

BPM tools don’t just streamline processes. They’re also helpful in tracking performance of a specific process or employee. They let you see how these processes are functioning in real time. This lets you get an understanding of which processes are working well, and which need improvement or abandonment.

Sustainability

Hiring more employees isn’t always the solution. Most of the time, it’s expensive, employees take time to be productive, and it can be confusing when you grow to a huge size. BPM tools let you mitigate some of that through automation. Letting your existing employees be more productive lets them focus on the tasks that matter, and automate the tasks that don’t need active intervention.

Will the Perfect BPM Tool Solve All Problems?

Choosing the right BPM software isn’t a magic bullet. You still need to put in the work of analyzing your processes and getting everyone on board. However, once you have a firm grasp on exactly what your company needs, finding the right fit for a BPM system is crucial. Take a look around, but make sure to check out KiSSFLOW for your BPM needs.

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  • Lenna Reichmanngho

    Hey, Manish. Thank you for this article about BPM tools and tackling some of its importance and advantages.

    Having set processes to help you when it comes to overseeing your business is important and effective in terms of providing you safety parameters and metrics by which to measure your company’s success.

    And of course, when we talk about BPM you would also need the right tools to help you manage your several processes. Some of your readers might find this article helpful when it comes to conducting initial research about what BPM tool to use.

    I’d also recommend Process Street as another worthy BPM tool. Our team is a huge fan and so far, we haven’t encountered any problems. It also makes for an easier way of tracking the progress of all the individuals involved with each task.

  • Advanced BPM software such as VCA is designed to offer a robust finance and accounting solution to SMEs as well as Large Enterprises across the UAE. Visit: http://www.valuecreationautomation.org/2017/12/vca-finance-solution-help-businesses-in-becoming-vat-compliant-in-uae/

  • Lanie Ezelle

    Hey, Manish, great article, and tips you got here!

    I totally agree about finding the right BPM tool that would really suit your business’s needs in order to become highly efficient in its respective corner of the business world, and for most, this can be a trial and error thing until you finally pick out that one BPM tool that trumps all the rest.

    For our company, this came in the face of an API called Process Street. It had been a miss or hit for us before getting ahold of this particular BPM tool and finally settling in. If some of your readers also interested in knowing what is Process Street, they can read more from this article here: https://www.process.st/process-documentation-software/.