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 visualise 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 standardising 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 analysed, but also optimised 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 optimisation 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 visualisation. There are direct differences here: many business process management software offer an interface on which the processes themselves are modelled, 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 optimise 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 optimised, 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 modelling 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-organised 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 optimise 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 optimisation. 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 recognise 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.
You can find a detailed review of n8n here. If you host n8n yourself, it is free of charge. In the cloud, the BPM tool is available from 20€ per month and you can start with n8n here.
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 optimise them, Nintex and ProcessMaker tend to specialise 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 optimisations. 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 modelling 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 specialised 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.
Cloud Integration, iPaaS, SaaS, BPA… Ough, hard to keep track of all these terms. They are currently used frequently (and increasingly) in the context of automation, and it is sometimes difficult to make a clear distinction and distinction. We have already written blog posts on the terms iPaaS, SaaS and BPA, but we’ll take them up again here to make the difference.
But let’s start with cloud integration, because that’s the central umbrella term in which we embed all the other technologies in this blog post.
Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now
Arrange a free cloud integration consultation now
To illustrate these advantages, an example is suitable that we know well from our everyday work as an automation agency:
The central data to be used here is the data of a major customer. This can be the simplest information, such as the address. This address is required in numerous but completely different processes in the company: on the one hand, for correct invoicing in accounting. On the other hand, in the CRM system, where all the data of the large customer is also stored. But the address is also important in sales, for example, when employees go to the sales meeting on site.
Now the customer announces that the address of the company has changed after a move. This information will reach you by e-mail. There are now two options:
01. The e-mail is forwarded to all affected departments, accounting, sales, customer service, marketing… All persons open their corresponding program, CRM, accounting software, marketing tools (such as newsletter marketing) and change the data already stored there of the customer. This means that in multiple applications, different people do exactly the same thing: change one address.
02. But there is also an alternative: By connecting your applications, thus by integrizing them, the customer’s e-mail, or rather the information it contains about the address change, is automatically passed on to all affected applications: CRM, accounting, marketing, ERP. This does not require any clicks, because the cloud integration detects a trigger, i.e. address change, and thus automatically starts the process.
What sounds unimpressive in a single process becomes more effective when such a process occurs several times a day or weekly. Because there is a lot of data that is available in different applications and should always be correct. If these applications are cloud applications they are suitable for cloud integration.
But cloud integration doesn’t just happen. There are now a variety of applications that enable and implement this. Such tools usually allow us to link the relevant cloud applications on a central platform and define clear rules on when, how, where, how much data should be passed on and what happens to them.
To realize cloud integration, there are various applications and technologies that are sometimes used interchangeably.
We have made a first distinction between iPaaS and BPA here.
We explain the term SaaS in more detail here.
Cloud integration is rather an umbrella term that includes numerous technologies, such as SaaS, iPaaS and BPA, and this is also absolutely necessary. Cloud integration is a concept that is made possible by appropriate technologies.
However, all terms share the commonality that they are cloud-based and thus offer enormous potential for growth and scaling. In addition, they are often cheaper to implement and maintain because changed requirements are easy to implement.
As an independent automation agency, we implement cloud integration according to your requirements. We use a variety of SaaS tools and iPaas (strictly speaking BPA) software. Together we find individual solutions that are flexible and scalable.