Back in the early 1900s, Henry Ford changed things up at his factories.
By having each member of his team work on a single part of the car (rather than each member assembling an entire car on their own), he cut assembly time from 12 hours to 2 and a half.
From a project management perspective, that’s a hell of a boost to team productivity.
What does this have to do with software?
Ford’s process change was revolutionary, but communicating that change to his workers (and the reason for it) couldn’t have been easy.
If only he’d had BPM software (see what we did there?)
In this article, we’ll look at what BPM software is, how it can improve your workflow, and how to choose the right BPM platform. We’ll also share our top picks and give you a template you can put to use today to improve business operations.
What is BPM software and why do you need it?
Business process management (BPM) is a continuous cycle of planning, execution, and improvement. The goal is to consistently improve your business processes by identifying and planning what they are, monitoring how well they work, and then seeking out improvements.
BPM software is a tool that helps you do this.
To better understand the functions of BMP software, let’s look at the BPM process in a bit more depth…
What is the BPM process?
The BPM lifecycle can be broken down into five distinct steps:
- Design: The design phase involves identifying the processes you wish to automate or improve.
- Modeling: The modeling phase is used to map out processes defined in the first phase to identify areas of improvement.
- Execution: The execution phase is where you implement the process that you designed and modeled.
- Monitoring: Monitoring happens throughout the execution phase. It involves keeping a close eye on your processes as they are executed and measuring their effectiveness.
- Optimization: The optimization phase is where you make improvements to your workflow based on insights from the monitoring phase.
How does BPM software help?
Business process management software is a solution that helps you track and manage the BPm lifecycle. It gives you a way to document each step in one platform.
Some of the more sophisticated BPM software platforms allow you to create workflow diagrams to map out your entire business process. This process is called business process modeling or process mapping and it enables you to set a baseline for improvement.
A BPM suite also acts as a central repository for all your attempts at improvement. You can easily see what’s already been tried and failed so you don’t make the same mistakes twice.
You can also share successes across teams.
Imagine your sales team discovered a process improvement that cut their meeting times in half.
Other teams may be able to achieve similar results. But, if improvements aren’t tracked and shared throughout the business, no one else will ever know.
Given the benefits that process mapping provides, it’s no surprise that more organizations are increasingly investing in a business process management tool to improve their business operations.
The size of the BPM market is expected to reach $13.52 billion by 2021, nearly doubling since 2016 ($6.96 billion).
Those figures are only expected to grow as more companies realize the benefits of process improvement.
Now that you have a better understanding of what a BPM tool can do, let’s look at some of the top BPM software solutions on the market.
Leading BPM software solutions for different types of businesses
Here’s an overview of 3 of the leading business process automation systems on the market.
BPM software for everyone: monday.com
Getting bogged down by manual processes can increase operational costs and reduce overall productivity.
You need a BPM platform that’s easy to use for your business. One that provides a centralized location for tracking your existing processes and automating your business activity.
monday.com offers business process management software that checks all those boxes for businesses of all sizes.
Fully customizable boards allow you to keep track of your projects and workflows — all from one place so you won’t have to switch between different applications.
monday.com also offers a range of templates for different industries, allowing your team to get started with process improvement sooner rather than later.
Plus, the platform makes it easy to add slick automations to your workflow without having to manually code them.
Here’s an example of how workflow automation looks in monday.com:
Automating repetitive tasks can save you time and minimize the risk of human error.
Collaboration is another area where monday.com shines. Users can use the social tools that are built into the platform to communicate with each other and provide status updates about their process improvement attempts.
Here’s an example of how teams use monday.com to collaborate in real-time:
We may be biased here, but monday.com’s ease of use and robust process automation features are why we recommend this BPM solution for small and medium businesses, enterprises… and beyond.
monday.com starts at $10 per user a month for the Basic plan (3 users minimum) and goes up to $16 per user a month for the Pro plan. Note that you can save 18% with a yearly plan. Learn all about our plans here.
You can get started with a 14-day free trial to try out the platform for yourself. No credit card required.
BPM software for enterprises: Kissflow
Enterprises are large organizations that typically have hundreds or even thousands of work processes.
Keeping track of that many individual processes is no easy feat, so you need a business application that enables you to create and manage workflows at scale.
Kissflow is a powerful BPM platform that enterprises can use to create workflow diagrams and optimize their processes.
What’s more, Kissflow’s BPM software solution comes with over 45 pre-installed workflow management templates for purchase requests, vendor quotations, and much more.
Here’s an example of the business workflow templates that Kissflow offers:
Business users can select a template and use the drag-and-drop editor to customize it. Kissflow also offers an intuitive dashboard that makes it easy for users to monitor their workflows and identify potential bottlenecks.
The ability to create workflows and improve processes at scale is why we recommend Kissflow for enterprises.
Pricing starts at $450 a month for the Starter plan and goes all the way up to $1,000 a month for the Enterprise plan. Note that you can also save by switching to a yearly plan.
Kissflow offers a free trial, so you can test drive their business management software first before making a decision. No credit card required.
BPM software for nonprofits: Bitrix24
Even nonprofits can benefit when they use a BPM software solution.
Bitrix24 offers a BPM software that nonprofits can use to manage and improve their workflows.
The best part? Bitrix24’s BPM software is available for free for up to 12 users, which includes features like account management, task tracking, cloud storage, and more.
Here’s an example of a BPM template that Bitrix24 offers for managing contacts:
Nonprofits can even use the platform to create Gantt charts and visualize their workflows from one place.
These features combined with the fact that Bitrix24 is free for up to 12 users makes it one of the best BPM software solutions for nonprofits who don’t need features like automated workflows, @mentions, and dashboards.
You can get started with Bitrix24’s free BPM software for up to 12 users. But if you need additional functionality, you can also sign up for their Special or Business plans.
How to select the right BPM software
The list above includes an overview of the leading BPM software solutions. Each of them offers a different set of features for creating and managing processes, based on the size and needs of your business.
Keep in mind, one of the most important features of BPM is being able to see your processes in one place.
Ideally you want a BPM platform that supports multiple views so you can visualize processes from different standpoints.
Here’s an example of how teams use monday.com to visualize project timelines:
Another must-have feature is the ability to identify where bottlenecks are occurring, so you can take measures to address them.
Bottlenecks are valuable learning opportunities as they can uncover problems in your processes.
Here’s an example of a different view in monday.com; one where teams can quickly view project timelines and their status:
Business process management comes down to managing and improving processes within your organization. It can improve overall efficiency and even reduce operational costs.
Get started with monday.com’s business process management template to manage your work processes in one place. The template itself is highly flexible, so you can customize it to fit your project management needs.