BPM vs Workflow: What’s the Difference?

Arunkumar Balakrishnan

February 15th, 2018 BPM  

Talking about workflows is easy. Everyone understands the idea that work has to flow from one person to another to be processed.

But mention the term business process management (BPM) and you’ll get a lot of sideways head turns. BPM sounds like a highly technical term reserved for the experts.

But really, BPM vs. workflow is a very important distinction. To explain, let’s look at airplanes.

How Airplanes Clear Up the BPM vs. Workflow Distinction

When a plane lands, it has to follow a certain workflow that bounces between the pilot, co-pilot, tower, flight attendants, and ground crew. Everything has to happen in a certain sequence to ensure a successful landing. This is a great example of a structured workflow.

However, at an airport, this workflow happens hundreds of times every day, and there are multiple other workflows going on, like takeoff, refueling, and maintenance. In addition, the tower needs to collect data on all landings, how long they take, how they compare with previous days, ideas for improvement, and many other things.

If a workflow is how a single plane lands, BPM is managing the entire operations of an airport.

Business Process Management (BPM) vs. Workflow

Workflow

  • Sequence of tasks to get an item from start to finish
  • Consists of many tasks owned by different people
  • Can be human or system tasks
  • The goal is to get a single item completely processed in the shortest amount of time
  • Focus on the optimum organization of tasks

BPM

  • Manages multiple workflows
  • Also consists of reports, data collection, forms, notifications, data sets
  • Takes a higher-level view of what’s going on
  • Goal is to effectively manage all processes together
  • Focus on overall improvement of process as a whole

BPM Software vs. Workflow Management Software

Workflow management software focuses on giving you options to organize your workflows. It can include the ability to create conditional steps, link with other software, or make parallel paths for an item to follow.

BPM software will give a much broader picture of all the processes in your organization. Great BPM software includes robust workflow features, but also helps you organize common datasets, give advanced reporting, and monitor the health of all of your processes from a common dashboard.

How Can You Choose Between BPM vs. Workflow?

If you are looking to automate or organize a single process in your department, then workflow software are the right solution. For example, if you’re only concerned about how a new customer gets onboarded to your product, then a good workflow platform can help you create the best path.

However, if you’re leading a department that has multiple, interconnected processes, then you’ll want to look for BPM software. This will let you manage multiple workflows, forms, notifications, reports, and much more.

You may think that you need to get a better handle on a process like submitting purchase requests. However, much like the airport example, you’ll start seeing all the other processes that need managed like expense reports, purchase orders, vendor onboarding, and many more.

You Can’t Go Wrong With BPM

If you are having trouble with the BPM vs. Workflow debate, it’s always a safe bet to go with a BPM platform like KiSSFLOW. You’ll have all the functionality of a workflow system, but with the added features that help you manage all the processes in your organization.

So take to the skies and try KiSSFLOW to manage all your important processes!