Processes can be the key to efficiency and productivity, but they can also have the exact opposite effect. Unclear responsibilities, duplication of work or bottlenecks lead to inefficiencies, but in some cases may not even be known. Workflows can take much longer than necessary without ever being noticed.
The discipline of Business Process Management aims to remedy this and has long since ceased to be an insider tip. Taught at universities and preached by management consultancies, BPM has now gained a lot of technical support.
Countless business process management software wants to help visualize processes, point out weak points and partly eliminate them directly by restructuring and partly automating the process.
However, the landscape of this business process management software is sometimes very opaque. There are rankings by Capterra or G2 that compare over a hundred tools. The target groups alone are completely different. From free versions to 18$ per month to 1500$ per month, the pricing alone shows that there are huge differences.
But before we compare different business process management software, let's take a short detour.
The benefits of business process management software are clear:
Taking a closer look at one's own processes and standardizing them will, in the best case, also increase the quality - not only of the processes, but also of the results. Moreover, it is not necessary to use more resources or invest more working time to increase quality. If, in addition, the error rate is reduced, the quality increases even more.
Processes and team size are often a limiting factor in the growth of the company. If workflows are not only analyzed, but also optimized and partially automated, then they can also be scaled more easily. Because no matter whether 10 or 100 data records per day, an automated workflow using business process management software runs stably.
When the entire team is running at 120% and has hardly any capacity left, every little optimization of the processes comes in very handy. A suitable business process management software can help to reduce the workload, so that your team can breathe again and focus on the relevant tasks.
Faster process flows with clear accountability and regular reporting mean that your team is better aligned and your customers can use your product or service more quickly. Integrating communication into processes also ensures that all stakeholders are always involved.
Of course, processes should be managed. An important point here is visualization. There are direct differences here: many business process management software offer an interface on which the processes themselves are modeled, similar to BPMN, for example.
On the other hand, there are applications that extract the relevant data from a small amount of information, for example a CSV file, and independently depict a process and identify weak points. The keyword here is process mining.
Various functions are available for this purpose;
Once the most relevant processes have been identified, the next step is to optimize them. A detailed illustration of the ACTUAL state provides the first clues. This is often where a BPMN diagram comes into play. However, suitable business process management software should also cover this point in a user-friendly environment.
After the most important processes have been presented, opportunities for improvement may already be apparent. Perhaps it is necessary to change technical points and responsibilities. What a good business process management software should provide, however, is the possibility to make the process more efficient through automation. However, this feature is not always included.
Once optimized, it doesn't mean your process will run smoothly forever. That's why many business process management software offer the possibility to continuously monitor your processes. Reporting can also help to check your processes and collect key figures.
But enough with the introduction. Business Process Management Software in Comparison: These Tools are the Key
Kissflow is the first business process management software in this comparison and is highly rated: In the G2 comparison of the best business process management tools, it is ranked 4th (out of 230) and the application also receives good ratings from Capterra.
Kissflow starts the BPM suite with a form for which process steps, a workflow and conditions are subsequently defined. In the application itself, the draft can be discussed and adapted in the team before it is published and continuously reviewed.
Kissflow does not require any code and is easy to scale even with higher data volumes.
Pipefy is also highly rated: First place in the G2 ranking out of a total of 230 tools - not bad. The business process management software not only allows you to model workflows, but also to automate them. A simple example of this: You can set a small filter in the process, such as "If the project is longer than 10 hours, then notify team member XY". This then looks like this:
The modeling is extremely fast: The trigger is a request, for example via a Pipefy portal, a form or an email. Pipefy then creates your process from numerous templates. The relevant stakeholders are then integrated by assigning them tasks and notifying them. Dependencies and deadlines are also defined. In the Pipefy dashboard and reports, you can always see where your processes stand.
In the case of a sales process, for example, the following picture emerges:
A Kanban overview shows which tasks are in which phase, including all relevant information. You can automatically add a new lead via a form and the dashboard gives you an overview of your pipeline and possible closures.
For sales, a well-organized CRM will probably do at this point. However, Pipefy offers a wide range of applications for marketing, IT, business operations, HR, finance and many more.
If you want to integrate Pipefy with other applications, the tool offers you 4 options: Either via a custom integration that you request, via a native integration (only possible with Slack, GitHub, BitBucket and Google Hangouts) via the API of Pipefy or via Zapier.
And the latter also brings us to the next tool.
Zapier is not the classic business process management software in this list. Zapier's primary goal is to automate your workflows, not to model them. Nevertheless, Zapier also offers the possibility to optimize processes and identify weak points via its extremely clear interface.
At the beginning, a trigger of the process is always selected. This can be an incoming email, for example, but the possibilities are unlimited, depending on the application you use. Afterwards, actions can be executed automatically, which, thanks to filters and conditions, only run when you want them to.
Zapier focuses particularly on the aspect of process optimization. Because through automation, you can save hours every week, depending on the process. For this, however, it is first necessary to take a closer look at the workflow and model it. But once this is done, Zapier has enormous potential.
If you want to learn more about Zapier, we've written a blog post about it here. Here you can get started with Zapier free of charge and let off steam with the business process management software.
Another business process management software that focuses on automating your workflows, similar to Zapier, is n8n. However, there is one crucial difference to Zapier: the interface is not mapped as a linear process, but is based on a flowchart. This allows you to directly recognize your process, dependencies and possible bottlenecks:
Also, n8n is open source and can be hosted anywhere you want. However, the idea is the same as with Zapier: a trigger starts the process, other applications are integrated and can further model the workflow through conditions.
In all the comparisons by G2 or other highly trafficked websites, both Nintex and ProcessMaker are mentioned and praised again and again. In this list, however, they can only be compared to a limited extent, simply because they have completely different orientations.
While the four previous business process management software packages focus on the fact that virtually everyone in the team can model processes themselves and thus also optimize them, Nintex and ProcessMaker tend to specialize in the relevant departments in large companies.
This is evident in the pricing alone, which is hardly comparable with the previous tools. Nintex offers process management software from $950 per month.
ProcessMaker starts at $1495 per month
We have to admit: A software that is only there to model processes and give you an overview is not very useful in our eyes. This does not mean that processes should not be managed, but rather that a BPM software should be able to do more: Enable direct automations or at least allow smaller optimizations. This is where Pipefy comes in, but the possibilities for automation are very limited and more and more tools now allow a Kanban view. Nintex and ProcessMaker make use of RPA, a technology for automating processes that is very expensive and only relevant for a few large companies.
n8n and Zapier focus on the automation of your processes, but you have to take care of their modeling yourself in advance. We think this is the better approach, because what's the point of having a beautifully designed process, identifying weak points and then not having a starting point? So these two tools, which are actually not specialized business process management software, are perfectly suited to give your workflows and processes more speed. We are happy to support you in uncovering potentials, illuminating possibilities and implementing automation.
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