It used to be said that business was done on paper. Today they work with data, and that data is typically juggled, collected, curated, and organized by business process management (BPM) software.
BPM tools support companies in the creation, execution, optimization and monitoring of business processes. There are dozens of tools that fall into this category, including homegrown systems built by the local IT staff. Since those early internal iterations, BPM systems have evolved into excellent full-fledged platforms for tracking and fine-tuning all operations within an organization, complete with a variety of interfaces for working with other standard business systems such as accounting software or assembly line management systems. Because of this, BPM tools can be thought of as a shortcut that pulls in data from a range of business applications and tracks everything that happens in a specific business process – what some refer to as “creating a digital twin”.
Good BPM packages also make it easy for every level in the organization to keep track of the work flowing through their desks. Dashboards help users plan their tasks and avoid falling behind. They also make it easier for managers to organize large teams.
Many of the systems offer low-code or no-code options, allowing anyone in the organization to play around with the business logic. These are typically drag-and-drop interfaces that make it easy to link pre-built routines. Some systems also use a mechanism called “process discovery” to monitor the use of existing digital software and simplify it by adding automated routines.
Some of these low-code or no-code improvements allow people without formal programming training to use BPM tools successfully. Others still require users to think like programmers, even using a drag-and-drop interface to make routine creation easier. In any case, many organizations need a programmer to remove some of the small hurdles and obstacles that come with connecting the BPM to every part of the current stack.
There are a variety of pricing plans for the BPM systems. Some offer multiple tiers, including some free options. Others charge by user or node. Many use a sales team to create a custom price.
Open source options are also available to companies supported by the developers. They’re rarely as mature or as well-documented as the commercial products listed here, but they can be effective for smaller organizations craving independence.
Below are 16 of the best BPM tools available today, in alphabetical order. The market is big and there are more ways than ever to capture and track all the activities that fall under the metaphorical umbrella of the company.
Many common tasks for running a business are out of the box with Agiloft’s platform. Legal may use contract tracking software. The helpdesk can track trouble tickets. Many of the standard workflows can be run either on-premises or hosted in Agiloft’s cloud. Some areas are already using artificial intelligence to speed up workflows through automated classification and clause extraction.
Appian’s low-code platform is designed to help companies create workflows that capture the decision-making process for their business. At the beginning, sophisticated process mining tools can analyze and accelerate current data flows. Over time, occasional developers can use the low-code functionality to update the process and integrate new data feeds. Some may want to use artificial intelligence options like optical character recognition, since Appian provides functionality similar to robotic process automation.
Arrayworks’ low-code platform is designed to simplify and often automate the creation of a digital twin of an existing business process. Its system, called the Transformation Acceleration Platform, is designed to capture all types of workflows, but Arrayworks has a particular focus on insurance automation. The Connected Insurance system offers tailor-made workflows to speed up all aspects of insurance.
The goal of AuraQuantic‘s Business Processing Modeler aims to offer a no-code solution that allows users of all skill levels to draw workflows that automatically transport documents and data. The company formerly known as AuraPortal has been developing the toolset for more than 20 years. The latest version offers a combination of comprehensive security with flexible contextual encryption, a sophisticated rules engine to build the business model and an analysis engine to track business development.
Key trades, like those who run the supply chain, are some of the first to use Bizagi to automate many of the workflows that track how parts and goods get to manufacturing. However, tools like the no-code process modeler called Studio can track all forms of business events and offer more than 60 widgets that can be strung together to model any business process. The company also highlights how its tool actively supports data protection compliance.
Bonitasoft’s open source software starts with process mining and AI to transform legacy software into modern workflows. New business processes can be created with Bonitasoft’s low-code tool and then deployed directly to the Bonita Cloud, where they run efficiently with the microservice architecture. The company emphasizes the various ways its platform can be extended with open-source connectors, widget services, and filters to simplify the adoption process.
Many highly regulated industries such as healthcare or financial services turn to BP Logix’s low-code development platform called Process Director to build web applications that track workflow. Its platform is already optimized for tasks like case tracking, and compliance management is part of the model. Some basic AI routines can simplify decision-making by modeling how all available information impacts process completion.
IBM Business Process Manager
Business Process Manager from IBM comes in two flavors: Express, which is simpler and less expensive, and the full version. Both use the low-code Process Designer and the Operational Decision Manager to design a path for information through the Process Portal. The code can run locally or on the IBM Cloud, and there are extensive ways to integrate the software with other IBM applications such as IBM Blueworks, a process mapping solution.
NewgenONE platform for digital transformation
The low-code digital transformation platform from newcomer addresses content-driven business needs such as tracking invoices, facilitating account creation, and other paperwork. The visual coding solution also supports various AI algorithms to automate some decisions. The platform also includes an omnichannel loyalty system for tracking the performance of marketing programs.
Nintex tools automate business processes in two ways. First, the drag-and-drop prompt app allows teams to collaborate when modeling workflows. Second, an extensive collection of automation options can reduce the need for manual intervention by a trained classification routine and other AI algorithms. Remote process automation bots can work with humans to keep work queues flowing. Nintex comes in two tiers, Standard and Enterprise, which include many of the RPA goodies.
At its core, OpenText is a content management company that offers business process management tools in the same stack. The low-code tool called AppWorks can add advanced workflows with content management to track decisions across the organization. OpenText Advanced Media Orchestration adds digital asset management tools for both internal documentation and external marketing. The Magelllan AI Suite provides the ability to add analysis and conversion routines to the pipeline to automate classification and decision making.
Oracle Business Process Management Suite
The Business Process Management Suite from oracle offers a wide range of tools for tracking cases, events and tasks in a large organization. Many preconfigured default configurations are provided to get you started before using the drag-and-drop Business Process Composer. Oracle’s products include full integration with both predictive analytics using Oracle R and a visual presentation layer that creates useful dashboards.
Pega’s low-code business process management tools are part of a larger constellation of tools that include customer interaction portals, workplace intelligence, reporting, and compliance management. Everyone works together to track workflow and case management across the organization. Integration with customer retention and customer management expands the system’s reach to outsiders and employees. Everyone becomes a stakeholder in managing the process.
Many companies rely on SAP to manage their supply chain and warehouse. The Business Process Management options work well with tasks related to these environments, but they can be applied to almost any job. A great feature is a sophisticated reporting system to create process intelligence so bottlenecks and backups can be quickly diagnosed. The latest versions include more automation to simplify robotic process automation and eliminate the extra work for human managers.
Software AG ARIS Enterprise
The ARIS Enterprise tool is also part of a larger product line SoftwareAG for delivering business intelligence and software while managing IoT devices. The work begins when the software learns existing mechanisms through process mining. Then, the low-code and no-code options allow users to evolve the business model over time while tracking workflow and business success. ARIS is available in two levels, Basic and Enterprise.
TIBCO’s larger product line handles many different IT tasks such as cloud integration, messaging and supply chain management. The process automation portion of the stack tracks business events and supports workflow with automated management and reporting where possible. The Cloud Nimbus tool is the main path to creating diagrams that capture and communicate the steps in a business process.