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Read answers to top Business Process Management questions. 426,653 professionals have gotten help from our community of experts.
When phasing in BPM software, which processes should a business start with to make the highest impact?
author avatarAmitChauhan
Real User

Your question leads me to another question: which business problem do you want to manage now? An organization is a collection of processes. You can not pick all or any process based on the preference. Business Processes are categorized as Management, Core, and Support Processes. An end to end cross-functional process involves the combination of these three types of processes. For every end to end process, we set the target. Each E2E process is assessed as Target Vs Actual.  In case the Actual is not meeting the target, it qualifies for "Response" i.e. improvement. 

author avatarAdrian Koepe

depends on the requirements and process itself. I agree previous answers, but a a small checklist of things to be checked is always good:
- is my process more like a flow-chart? all states are well defined within the process and they are also predicted.  The transition is static.
- is my process more like a state-machine? all states are defined as well as their transitions in form of rules - rule engine perhaps - and the process states are defined but rather not predictable.
Based on these 2 question you known what kind of BPMN we will need and how complex it will be to improve your process with a BPMN framework / software.
Now back to your question, the highest impact will be there where the process can be improved by reducing the user interaction, redundant / overhead in system integration / communication and/or orchestrating complex/different system API interaction.

author avatarArt Hebbeler, PMP

Whether or not BPM software is used, there are basically no processes that can't benefit from improvement. That said, begin by looking at processes where folks frequently say "But we have always done it that way." That has been a key sign of a process ripe from innovation. Also consider processes that require someone up the organizational change to review before the next step can take place. Many times, those reviews are not necessary when the process can be improved by adding validations and rules to the input earlier in the process.
Start small, but with a key process (leave/time off requests, for example). Build quickly, deploy quickly, then scale.

author avatarAndres Murillo
Real User

We started with customer-facing processes in order to reduce acquisition friction and improve customer experience.

author avatarLinda Mpanga
Real User

First of all, before you introduce a BPM software, it is very important to understand your current business processes and how activities are done. So look through your processes, you can choose to start small and simple. Pick out a process that is simple &small and introduce the BPM software before you roll out to the whole organization-it can be your pilot study.
Secondly, look out for processes that are relevant to your organization and bring value to your business and consider introducing BPM software to improve and make them more efficient. This will also enable you to identify those processes that are redundant and you need to get rid of. Remain with only those that are relevant to your organization's goals.
Thirdly, look at processes that involve a number of people, so collaboration and task assignment benefits from software support.
Finally, lookout also for processes that have repetitive activities and tasks, these are also a good choice for automation.
Some practical examples of processes I can think of include; HR process i.e. hiring and on-boarding of new staff process, finance process i.e. customer invoicing, management process i.e. approvals.

author avatarAnkit Jain

The processes which involve Routing/delegating work different users. Also where there are many sub processes/external ApI calls/assignments in an end to end process. BPM tools are build for change and reusabilty of smaller sub-processes. 

What is BPMN in Business Process Management? How is it used to improve business processes?
author avatarLinda Mpanga
Real User

With reference from the ABPMP-CBOK,BPMN Business Process Model and Notation 2.0 is a standard created by the Business Process Management Initiative, now merged with the Object Management Group(OMG), an information systems standards‐setting group. BPMN has growing acceptance as a standard from many perspectives, which has resulted in its inclusion in several of the most widely used modeling tools. It provides a robust symbol set for modeling different aspects of business processes. Like most modern notations, the symbols describe definite relationships such as workflow and order of precedence.

Some more helpful information below;
Key features
 Version 2 (BPMN 2.0) represents significant maturing and solidification of the notation
 Over 100 total icons, organized into descriptive and analytic sets to meet different user needs
 Very precise notation indicating: beginning, intermediate, and end events; activities, and message flows; intra‐business communications and inter‐ business collaboration; and activity and data flows.
When to use
 To present a model of a process to multiple sets of audiences
 To simulate a business process with a process engine
 To execute a process.
 Widespread use and understanding; considered by many to be the de fac to standard in the U.S.
 Significant use in the U.S. Department of Defense and other government entities
 One of the most powerful and versatile notations for identifying process constraints.
 Requires training and experience to use full set of symbols correctly
 Difficult to see relationships among multiple levels of a process
 Different modeling tools may support different sub‐sets of the notation
 Information Technology origins inhibit use with some organizations’ members of the business community.

author avatarJose Camacho
Real User

BPMN (Business Process Management Notation) is a language for describing and managing business processes as well as technical processes. I mean, normally we should start designing business processes, using a simple BPMN and accessible to people in the business (e.g., events, functions and decision rules are sufficient). Then, in the implementation phase, IT technical people must receive these process diagrams and can complement them with the necessary technical artifacts (e.g., IT components, services, ...) so that the processes can be interpreted and run on a server as workflows. In this way, a perfect alignment between business needs and the implemented technical solutions can be guaranteed.

author avatarElham-Gharegozloo
Real User

BPMN stands for Business Process Modeling Notation. It is the standard for modeling business processes and web service processes, as put forth by the Business Process Management Initiative. BPMN is a core enabler of a new initiative in the Enterprise Architecture world called Business Process Management (BPM). Business Process Management is concerned with managing change to improve business processes. BPMN consists of one diagram – called the Business Process Diagram (BPD). The BPMN Business Process Diagram has been designed to be easy to use and understand, but also provides the ability to model complex business processes. It has also been designed specifically with web services in mind. BPMN is only one of three specifications that the BPMI has developed – the other two are a Business Process Modeling Language (BPML) and a Business Process Query Language (BPQL). All have been developed using a solid mathematical foundation, which enables a BPMN Business Process Diagram to map directly to BPML, in the same way that a physical data model maps directly to Data Definition Language (DDL).

Nurit Sherman
I'm seeing a spike of people researching Appian, IBM BPM, Bizagi, and other BPM solutions. What are the most important features to look at when evaluating such tools? What advice would you give to your peers who are researching Business Process Management software?
author avatarArt Hebbeler, PMP

Look at what the toolset has to offer. Some have great flexibility to talk to external systems, some are quick to learn, others have very cost-effective deployment models. Be wary of anyone trying to push "no-code" solutions, because these tools are certainly not NO CODE. Evaluate the professional services support that is available. Some, like Appian and Pega, have a larger footprint in the US, where Bizagi is very strong in EMEA/LATAM, for example.

author avatarGowtham Thotapalli
Real User

Apart from generic features such as scalability, security and cloud enablement I would like answers to below questions in the process of evaluating a BPM tool:

* Can we build a Rich UI by leveraging out of box features?
* How flexible is the product with respect to UX and UI features? Can I use my own css or the other UI components within the tool?
* Does the product support building native/hybrid mobile apps?
* How easy is to integrate with my core systems? What connectors or integrations are available out of box?
* How can I manage my business rules within the product?
* Does the product allow me to build loosely coupled systems with the flexibility to integrate to other systems with ease?
* How flexible is the product for configuration changes and extensibility?
* How big and active is the developer community?
* How large is the talent pool in the market and how easy is it for us to train and onboard resources?
* What is the product roadmap for the future and does it align to our business roadmap and goals?
* What are the industry specific compliance and security certifications does the product have?
* What are the various licensing models available with the product and is there an option to have some customized model if required?

author avatarRobert Thacker (iGrafx)

If you are looking for a BPM tool really you need to understand your actual intended goal. Most BPM providers do not actually focus on the Process, which is interesting since it is quite literally at the heart of what BPM is. Unfortunately, analyst groups like Gartner & Forrester have muddied the waters by shifting to classifying only big data automation engines as BPM. A true BPM will help you identify, capture, analyze, and improve your process, not just automate them.

The below link provides a list of BPM requirements in a spreadsheet that you can score based on your goals and then grade vendors ability to meet those objectives." target="_blank">

author avatarUser

Before seeking a BPM solution, evaluate your processes. If they're broken, fix them. If they no longer align with how you conduct business, change them. If they can be more customer-focussed or streamlined, improve them. After you've completed these tasks, look for a BPM solution that best fits your environment.

author avatarLew Jacobs

I think the Low Code variants really make sense, as old-skool BPM is painfully slow and costly to develop and maintain. It can let you push some more 'street level' logic down to the user's management, and accelerate updates to keep competitive and current for your completed workflows.

The number of (truly) skilled resources (BAs and developers and integrators) is also something that can set you back, so check your local talent pool too.

The biggest (IMHO) hurdles (and often greatest enablers for value) are integrations and custom UI/dashboards/decision support in your workflows, so what's in your ecosystem and expected requirements, and find out how easy it is to make those things really dance with your BPM platform.

What's included? Some BPM include almost everything (RPA, RDA [aka attended RPA], chat, forums, NLP & ML & sentiment/affective & intents, OCR, BI, etc.), and some include nothing. Some have costly and potentially forking add-ons. When you have nothing, that means additional integrations and costs and complexity per workflow, HOWEVER, some vendors that have everything have managed to build in their own onerous complexity, so it's all about finding a sweet spot.

Depending on your industry, you may have a ton of add-ons and technical understanding for one or two vendors, and depending on how regulated you are, that can drastically expedite each implementation.

The number of ongoing internal admin, development and reporting tools can be big, and some vendors include all that stuff, which again, saves connecting headaches, but might be a big shift if your teams all use something else.

It's a very exciting time for this space.

author avatarKeartiyos Meepiarn
Real User

Some points worth consideration for the selected BPM tool are:
- Performance on huge transaction volumes, see its real use cases in the past
- Degree of customization/configuration, highly configurable might be preferred to be best tailored for your organization to match e.g. approval matrix within the process and configurable level to match security access needs like AD mapping, RBAC, User Access Matrix
- Deployment procedure. Some tools have complexity when it comes to deployment e.g. multiple manual settings so if the tool is more friendly to automated deployment, it is preferable. Also, if the underlying components are loose coupled, it would be better in terms of deployment steps, downtime and regression testing.

author avatarDirector (Delivery) at a tech services company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User

Typically BPM is used for:

* Automating / optimizing business process
* Reducing manual steps in the process
* Providing Reports (different criteria)
* Integration with the legacy system
* Routing
* Version control, Access control, security
* Rule Delegation (So that business can change values on the fly , reduce IT involvement)
* Reusability of components,
* UI, Mobile compatibility, Native mobile app
* Localization
* Decision logic
* Predictive and adaptive models for data outcomes

author avatarDaniel Waters

I've scanned the comments posted earlier and they all look pretty good.

What I would like to add is that before you begin looking for a BPM System, form a group in your company named 'Business Process Coordinating Team' (BP CT). This team should consist of every Process Owner in your company (and every business process needs an owner), someone from the IT Dept., and a Senior Business Manager who will lead this team. The BP CT will have the responsibility for selecting the right BPM System for your company.

Christoffer Råsten
I am a member of the core team at an insurance company that handles architectural concerns. We are currently evaluating workflow automation platforms that have microservices. From your experience which is the best platform?  Thanks! I appreciate the help. 
author avatarStantonAttree
Real User

Well, I only have experience of 3 products: IBM Blueworks Live, IBM Business Process Manager and Signavio Workflow Accelerator.

The workflow functionality in Blueworks (when I last used it) was so limited as to be pointless.

IBM BPM is a full BPMS and costs a significant amount of money and takes a lot of developments and administration.

For my use cases, Signavio Workflow Accelerator is so easy to use and has a great deal of useful functionality. If it doesn't have specific things out of the box, it is easy to Google JavaScript and to create your own script tasks for automation - including automated decision-making based on your business rules. It is a full managed SaaS - browser-based on cloud-hosted - no installation. It is so easy to deploy and administer - you could run a small organisation using it. You can also use JavaScript to work with APIs if you want to integrate IT enablers with your processes - but I haven't attempted that yet.

author avatarVictor Baldi

We have experience using JBoss BPM Suite (owned by Red Hat today) in multiple projects. Monolith, Reactive Microservices. We created a Master Data Management (MDM) system for the federal agency. The system allowed: every object to be configured (attributes, dictionaries and linked entities). Every action was described as a business process.

jBPM provides multiple abstractions for business process definition such as user tasks, service tasks, gates, etc. We used almost everything from jBPM to provide a wide variety of configuration options for system administrators.

We preferred using JBoss because it allowed flexibility and good integration with existing Java code. Also, we believe that platforms with predefined functionality may be easier to use but will have certain limitation in the future development/integration.

author avatarBruno Ricci
Real User

I use a platform called SoftExpert." target="_blank">

It has BPM, Workflow and ECM integrated. I like it a lot!

author avatarDuskoTemkov

According to my experience, I would recommend M-Files as an Enterprise Content Management platform with built-in process management functionalities.

A high-end solution is IBM Business Process Management.

author avatarJan Goudappel

Since you are working for an insurance company you probably also look beyond microservices and have an interest in an Intelligent BPM solution that is capable of handling cases, documents and orchestration. And this all in a low-code environment. We are using Appian for the last 9 years for this and deployed this especially in the Financial- Insurance market. (for example Munich RE).

author avatarNikola Dlaka

From what I know and have read, maybe looking at Camunda BPM would really make sense.

I have not worked with microservices in Camunda but just used it for a quick project three years ago. In the meantime, they have developed the platform quite nicely, and claim they support microservice orchestration. They have a lot of references in the Insurance industry.

They also have an opensource version which is really good for a PoC and to start off even in production.

author avatarMilju Mathew

We can use work automation using Puppet/Ansible, Terraform with Dockers & Kubernetes. We have expertise in this domain.

author avatarJose Velez

Backbase is #1, Then Betty Blocks, then Appian, then Mulesoft and after that Logic Apps which is the poor's man orchestration tool.

See more Business Process Management questions »

What is Business Process Management?

Business process management (BPM) is an area where IT and business (theoretically) work together to make an organization’s workflows more effective and efficient. BPM has become more prominent in recent years as organizations have expanded and grown more complex – creating a need for managers to build coherent process workflows that touch multiple systems. BPM software brings it all together, enabling business analysts to collaborate with IT and orchestrate business process steps that invoke different underlying systems.

BPM is one of those concepts that sounds great, and has truly strong potential but is notoriously hard to implement well. As a result, members of IT Central Station emphasize usability as a key selection factor when deciding which BPM solution to buy. Users want fast results and easy deployment from BPM tools. On the end user front, powerful wizards, for example, can streamline workflow design and automation processes. The best BPM tools provide mechanisms for capturing business processes. This minimizes the repetitive, error-prone process of transposing business analysts’ observations into BPM requirements.

On the back end, admins and architects want the ability to integrate with other systems like SAP, Oracle and so forth. BPM platforms have to be flexible, modeling business processes transversely to all areas of a company. The toolset should ideally accept multiple data types and offer rules-based decision workflow capabilities. There should be logical modeling and embedded programming within BPM libraries. Task components ought to be reusable for the sake of efficiency.

Some users express a desire for BPM software packages to support Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN), a standard for the graphical representation for describing business processes. Specifically, IT Central Station members expect a BPM suite to support BPMN 2.0, the latest version, from modeling through execution. In the best case scenario, the tool won’t create extra work for developers. Users like real java-like hooks into development of the business process model to help developers easily build integrations. Members prefer BPM that doesn't use any type of  proprietary scripting language.

Find out what your peers are saying about Signavio, camunda, Pega and others in Business Process Management. Updated: June 2020.
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