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BPM vs Workflow

BPM vs Workflow: What’s the Difference?

Team Kissflow

Updated on 16 Apr 2024 2 min read

Enterprises of all sizes have processes, but not all of those processes may be streamlined or connected. For CIOs who want to drive successful digital transformation initiatives, leveraging BPM tools and transforming complex business processes into streamlined workflows can improve process efficiency and help stakeholders make better data-driven decisions. 

But what is the difference between business process management (BPM) and workflows? To understand the distinction, let’s look at airplanes.

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.

Check out why these 7 Process Automation Tools are at the top of the competition!

Business Process Management (BPM) vs. Workflow Management

Below are the top 5 differences between BPM and Workflow:

Workflow Business Process Management (BPM)
  • Sequence of tasks to get an item from start to finish
  • Manages multiple workflows
  • Consists of many tasks owned by different people
  • Also consists of reports, data collection, forms, notifications, data sets
  • Can be human or system tasks
  • Takes a higher-level view of what’s going on
  • The goal is to get a single item completely processed in the shortest amount of time
  • Focus on the optimum organization of tasks
  • 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.

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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.

Check out why these 6 BPM Software are at the top of the competition!

You Can’t Go Wrong With BPM

If you are having trouble with the BPM vs. workflow debate, you don’t need to choose one or the other. By adopting a low-code platform like Kissflow that offers BPM capabilities and allows you to transform complex processes into streamlined workflows, you can get the best of both worlds. 

Its drag-and-drop editor lets business users build workflows from scratch or improve existing workflows with minimal to no coding experience. With seamless business process management, you can digitize and connect workflows across the organization, improving collaboration and significantly reducing siloes.