Business Process Management, or BPM, is a term that often conjures up images of tremendous complexity and exhaustive effort with months of planning, committees, and meetings.
In this guide, we aim to simplify BPM and offer practical advice on how to successfully implement it as part of your organisation's digital transformation.
There is no universally agreed definition of BPM. According to BPM.com, an online resource for the BPM industry, BPM is:
a discipline involving any combination of modelling, automation, execution, control, measurement and optimisation of business activity flows, in support of enterprise goals, spanning systems, employees, customers and partners within and beyond the enterprise boundaries.
Put simply, BPM is a methodology for maintaining and improving processes within a business to increase efficiency and profitability.
Passing a routine piece of paper to a co-worker is a business process. It’s when you establish rules and a method, either manual or technological, to govern how and when that piece of paper is distributed that you enter the realm of BPM. Mapping out the process steps, rules and users will involve a discussion of the following areas:
Once you have identified the processes, business process management software (BPMS) can be used to implement your methodology and deployed for users to perform their roles.
We talk with companies of all sizes and shapes and, even though their industries vary, their challenges are often quite similar.
Common BPM challenges and pain points include:
BPMS provides the BPM tools required to automate all your business processes and improve your results. Typically, a BPMS platform should include the following tools or components:
to design responsive digital forms to gather and display information
to graphically model complex business processes
to build re-usable business rules and embed them into forms and workflows
to provide visibility into how your business processes are running
to provide scheduled or off-line data analysis for form and process data
to route and monitor case-orientated operations that may include disparate forms and sub-processes
to support both users (internal and external) and groups of users as well as control who has access to documents, forms and folders via Access Control Lists (ACLs)
to offer data security and stability with HTTPS (SSL/TLS) connection, audits logs, user permissions and form data encryption
to connect to - and exchange information with - existing databases and legacy systems
to provide access from any browser, operating system or mobile device with all major platforms (including iOS and Android) supported
to rapidly create digital applications without programming
the ability to create re-usable bespoke code for advanced integration and functionality
Automation can help to eliminate redundant steps and accelerate approval cycles, leveraging parallel steps where possible, to improve productivity and staff morale
A BPMS will greatly reduce the amount of paperwork circulating in an organisation which can lead to cost savings in storage, printing and labour
Alter in-flight processes in real-time and receive notifications if a workflow is predicted to be late. Easily discover bottlenecks in a process and intervene to keep things running smoothly
BPM minimises errors and problems due to lost, inaccurate or mishandled requests; reducing the prospect of the form being rejected or being passed back to the originator for clarification
BPM accelerates the approval of internal projects. All members of a group or team can simultaneously perform process tasks with automatic eMail alerts to notify people when a task is assigned
BPM ensures process consistency. Whether you run a process once or a thousand times, you can be assured the correct and auditable process was followed
BPM can track and record every meaningful transaction in a way that can be retraced later by managers, auditors and regulators
BPM provides insight into your critical tasks, allowing management to review process metrics and statuses to intercede if necessary. This allows nimble organisations to make timely decisions to satisfy customer needs
BPM proactively identifies process bottlenecks, as metrics can be reviewed and analysed to identify opportunities for business process improvement
The following table compares six of the top BPM software vendors on the market, including BP Logix Process Director which ePC resell in Europe.
|Form design||Drag-and-drop. Appian offer a library of pre-built templates||WYSIWYG drag & drop form designer featuring Ribbon (similar to Microsoft Word)||Forms are created in the UI Designer - a graphical development environment for creating pages and forms
The UI Designer is used to create and update pages for business applications, forms to start process instances or execute human tasks
|Process Director includes three options for building forms: (1) Online form builder (2) Microsoft Word form builder (via plugin) and (3) Visual Studio form builder||K2 use reusable smart forms which are easy to build, share and modify||The Pega Case Designer is used to build user forms and define the visual presentation of a form. The tool helps you to visually model stages, steps, and processes for all case types in an application|
|Workflow||BPMN 1.0. BPMN 2.0 compliant processes can be imported into Appian via Crystal Systems BPMN 2.0 Importer||100% BPMN 2.0 standard notation.
Free BPMN process modeler (over 3 million downloads) plus free full Bizagi platform (for up to 20 non-prod users). When ready to develop for production, customers have the option of a named-user license for on-premises deployment or usage-based pricing in the cloud
The Bizagi USP is that you can build the solution with zero investment and only pay when (and crucially, if) you are ready for a live deployment
|BPMN 2.0 (since v. 7.1.5)
Bonita exists in several editions: Enterprise, Performance, Efficiency, Teamwork, and Community
Bonita Community Edition is free, open source and no license is needed
|BP Logix Process Director includes two web-based designers for building and executing workflows:
(1) Traditional flowchart model for linear workflows
(2) Patented Process Timeline. A BPMN alternative for unpredictable processes
|Visual no-code drag-and-drop designer in an elegant UI.
It can be challenging for users to make changes to workflows while the platform does not offer comprehensive process intelligence such as predictive behaviour
|The Pega process modeler includes many aspects and semantics of BPML, BPEL and BPMN though it is not strictly adhered to in favour of more business-friendly modelling notation and features
Case Designer, Process Modeler, and Flow form
The BPM modeller is mainly focussed on creating linear workflows
|Business rules||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes - reuseable||Yes||Yes - Java-based|
|Business activity monitoring||Real-time management tools monitor in-flight processes, re-assign tasks, and view performance||
Bizagi offers a comprehensive set of performance indicators for historical and real time analysis to help you understand the process and identify opportunities for improvement. BAM tools include:
Process BAM, to analyse the current state of all ongoing processes
Task BAM, to analyse the current state of ongoing tasks
Resources Monitor, to analyse the current workload and performance of end users and work teams
Dashboard/console is not as user friendly as other vendors in this comparison
|Reports on the status of process cases are configured and displayed in the Reporting Dashboard in the Administration View of Bonita User Experience||Rich set of BAM tools for process owners, business users and business managers
Administrative panels for process instances provide visibility into past, current and future behaviours, based on Process Timeline's built-in predictive analytics
|K2 offers reports to view workflow statistics on both active (running) and completed workflows. Easy to access metrics and data about: processes / usage / users / outcomes / problems||The Pega platform provides powerful reporting features for developers, business analysts, and managers so that you can create simple or complex reports to satisfy your business needs.
Their capabilities focus more on monitoring and insights into performance.
Limited predictive capabilities
|Low-code/no-code||Yes – easy for IT and citizen developers to create process-centric and case-centric applications||Yes – considered easy to use for non-technical users||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes – very easy to drag/drop to create workflows/apps|
|Case management||Yes||Yes (since v.11.1)||Yes||Yes (since v.3.8)||Yes||Yes|
|Integration||You can extend Appian beyond standard features through custom plugins which can be downloaded from the AppMarket. Other integrations include: web services (REST/SOAP) and web APIs||Integration framework offers easy to build connectors. The user identifies the app they need to connect to via the Xchange market. Alternatively, users create their own using third party APIs||Java and REST API||REST/Web services, SharePoint, social media, POP or IMAP eMail||K2’s patented business integration technology (called SmartObjects) makes connecting to virtually any line-of-business system quick and reusable. K2 offers strong integration with Microsoft products such as SharePoint, Office 365, Dynamics and Dynamics 365||Pega REST services|
|Technology||Java||Microsoft .Net or Java Platform Enterprise Edition (JEE)||Java||Microsoft .Net||Microsoft||Java|
|Training||Online training is free. Additional fees may apply for in-person training||Self-paced eLearning courses is free. Paid for options include: instructor-led workshops, on-premise classroom and certification||Paid for training and certification are available. Courses are aimed at business users, developers and system admin/IT. The courses can be delivered online or in-person and you get a certification upon successful completion||Paid for instructor-led workshops||Training is available for K2 Core and K2 for SharePoint. Training is available in-person or on-demand/virtual classroom. On-demand/virtual classroom training is paid for with K2 Service Credits. These credits can be purchased at $200/credit. Pricing for in-person training is available on request||Training and certification are available. Training is paid for by purchasing Pega Academy Credits ($15 / per credit). The Pega Academy™ offer certifications depending on your role e.g. business user or system analyst|
|Support||Free standard support is available to all customers and includes phone support. Paid for Premier support offers expedited response times with SLA||Bizagi offer standard maintenance e.g. product updates and basic product support. This is mandatory for the first year and does not include an SLA. It allows you to open tickets in the Bizagi portal for simple consultations. You can also report bugs, make suggestions etc. Paid for Premium support is available with an SLA. Support is also via forums, portal, documentation, and instructional video||Bonitasoft offers two levels of support - Gold Elite and Platinum. Gold Elite support is via a customer portal. Platinum support offers telephone support and quicker response times||Paid for support via telephone and eMail with an SLA. Free access to videos and online documentation||Standard support offers 24/7 access to online training, product documentation and K2’s technical user community. It also offers direct access to a technical support engineer over the phone or online during standard business hours. Premium support offers 24/7 support for emergencies or high priority issues||Technical support via Global Customer Support team, ranging from 24x7 enterprise requirements to smaller scale support|
|Trial version||Yes - free for up to 30 days||Yes - free||Yes||No - contact us for a demo||Yes||Yes - free|
|Pricing||Standard licence is £90 per user/month (for 100 users). Discounts available for more users. Application licencing available on request||Their licencing model includes a user-based ‘Perpetual License’ which is paid for once and the software can be used for an unlimited period of time. They also offer a ‘Usage Based License’, which is a pay-for-what-you-use model||Subscription based.
For the subscription editions (Enterprise, Performance, Efficiency, and Teamwork), you need to install a license during the installation procedure. This license depends on the edition, the deployment environment, the number of cases purchased or the number of cores.
For the Bonita Community edition, no license is needed
|Quote based||The K2 Cloud starter package costs $12 per user/per month for up to 5 workflows and 25 forms. They also offer the following packages for K2 cloud and K2 five:
Builder: $18 per user/per month for up to 25 workflows and 125 forms
Premier: $24 per user/per month for up to 125 workflows and 600 forms
Request a quote for up to 1,000 workflows and up to 5,000 forms
|Deployment||The 'Appian Guarantee' promises to launch projects in 8 weeks for new customers deploying via the Appian Cloud. Public Cloud (Amazon, Azure, Google) and on-premise available.||> 2 months (available on-premise / Cloud / SaaS / mobile)||> 9 months. On-premise / Cloud (hosting only available via partners)||Between 3 - 6 months for on-premise and cloud||Between 2-3 months||> 3 months (for on-premise / Cloud / Mobile)|
One of the first steps towards business efficiency is recognition. That recognition might be as simple as “Something has to change!” or just the awareness that you can do things better.
In this eBook, we review ten indicators that may suggest your business processes would benefit from automation. How many will you recognise in your organisation?
Automate your critical tasks with a BPMS solution from ePC. Talk to us today to discuss your requirements.