Every now and then you would hear the term “BPM software” (a.k.a “business process management software”). It is used in many organizations with general aim is to analyze and manage all processes within a business. The thing is: BPM tools cover such a huge range of features and benefits that new users can easily be overwhelmed. In some cases, people may also be mistaken BPM tools with project management app or workflow software. So what is BPM software exactly? How can they help a business? And when will you need one? Let’s find out!
1. What is BPM software (business process management software)
What is business process management (BPM)
Before we jump in BPM software itself, it is a good idea to understand the idea of business process management (BPM) first.
In short, BPM is a methodology for companies to analyze and optimize their business via all processes. These processes are varied, from project management, data analysis, team communication, etc… BPM is also not an one-time plan, it constantly changes depending on the company’s current progression and operations.
Looking from process perspective, BPM can provide insight in various fields. For example: manufacturers can visualize production parameters like the amount of items manufactured per hour. Plus with real-time data analysis, companies can provide more precise data for clients to ensure timely actions.
What is the role of BPM software
Essentially, BPM software visualizes all processes of business process management plan. It provides transparent data for easy analysis, allowing companies to look at their business as a whole and optimize processes as best as possible. A good BPM software often aims to provide four aspects:
- Modeling: its purpose is to plan, design all processes (generally in form of diagrams) and estimate cost and time required to complete each process. In certain cases, it can also provide process testing.
- Automation: Instead of recording all data manually, it automates this process by automatically collecting precise data (e.g. via web forms) and let you store those data in database, including those from 3rd party. (this explains why you often see BPM tools offer integration feature with other service like G Suite, Typeform, etc…)
- Management: it aims to visualize all processes and related business data. Companies can clearly see the effectiveness of their processes, including the progression of every involved participant.
- Optimization: with all the real-time insights provided, companies can analyze the rising issues that hinder their processes, thus implementing necessary changes. Plus, they can also make improvements for each process, increasing productivity while also ensuring better cost efficiency.
2. Benefit of BPM software
Frankly speaking, the benefits of BPM software provided to companies can be rather difficult to demonstrate, especially when it is your first time considering it. Its true value is often demonstrated at best when the companies apply it in their business. However, there are still several values that we can see on the surface.
First of all, it provides active control over the company’s own business. In many cases, companies may find it extremely difficult to keep track all of their processes. Relying on manual process can involve various risks, like recording false data, or being unable to aware drastic changes to the business. In some other cases, involved parties can be stuck in confusion state since they do not fully aware who are responsible for each task. BPM software helps preventing this by giving the business control back to the company, its people. All data is computerized in real-time, therefore it significantly reduces the risk of false data. Plus, companies can quickly analyze those data to find out problems in their process, including responsible parties.
Another visible benefit of BPM software is providing collaborative management throughout the organization. Usually if there is only one person responsible for managing processes, there is no one else to provide feedback to the processes. Worse, that person may gradually lose incentive to update data, and ultimately fall into bottleneck state. That person slows everyone else down since he loses track of the progress, thus he has to constantly bother everyone else to ask for explaination. BPM software also prevents this situation by making process management transparent to all parties. This lets everyone openly offers feedback and applies updates, plus it promotes the transparency culture within the company.
3. Should I use workflow software or BPM software?
Differences between workflow software and BPM software
Some people do mistake BPM software for workflow software. This is understandable since they both have similarities, for example: They both help streamlining tasks, and they both improve work efficiency, save more time, and reduce confusion. However, there is a major difference between the two: Workflow software (or workflow management in general) aims to automate and manage a single process; whereas BPM software aims to manage the entire business including multiple processes and interconnected departments. In other words, you can say workflow software is actually a function in BPM software (particularly single process automation). This explains why most BPM tools costs much higher than workflow software, because they provide a huge range of features to manage the entire business.
Workflow software or BPM software?
In order to choose between workflow software and BPM tools, you will need to consider your company’s plans and goals. As mentioned, BPM software’s purpose is to manage the company’s entire business. It is meant as long-term investment and its cost is rather high. So if you really consider BPM software, it is highly recommended to consider these questions:
- What are the company’s goals?
- What’s the company’s budget?
- What’s the size of the team?
- What are the top problems you want to solve with workflow software?
- Which features do you need most?
- Are there defined processes, or are they still starting from scratch?
- Does the company have a plan for 12 months ahead?
As the result, it is highly recommended to consult with your team or company, learning about the business goals and plans. It will help you make better decision whether choosing between workflow software and BPM tools.