What are the most important features to look for in a BPM solution?


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?

ITCS user
2929 Answers

author avatar
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 avatar
Top 5Real User

In fairly simple terms:

- what is the total cost of ownership including staff administration costs, licence costs and any hosting etc?
- how truly 'process orientated; the solution is - can you import and execute BPMN 2.0 models or do you have to throw the models away and write traditional code?
- can it import and export BPMN 2.0 XML in case you need to switch in the future?
- how easy is the solution to deploy and administer - do you need software developers or can business users work with it directly?
- how quickly can you deploy a solution?
- how scalable is the solution for the future and can you start our small and inexpensively?
- is there a range of features from simple task emailing up to more advanced automation and API integration?
- as a minimum, can it: assign tasks via email; assign decision-tasks with buttons for manual decisions; can it automate decisions based on business rules; present comprehensive forms with typical controls; capture process performance measurements; can it manage cases well and provide analytics?

author avatar
Top 20Real User

You may consider the following areas to compare with multiple solutions (we did this in our case):
1. Comprehensive and integrated BPMS solution offering process modeling, process repository, and process administration
- Process modeling
- Process repository
- Process administration
2. Intuitive process modeling tool requiring little or no training, i.e., suitable for business users
3. Supports next-generation, modern, BPM approach
4. Accessibility to the single-source of process-related truth
5. Transparency of business process improvement
6. Communicating automation requirements
7. Next-generation features, such as Process mining/intelligence
8. Fully Web-based and accessible through all major web browsers
9. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
10. User & Access Rights Management – supports Active Directory
11. Open data format (BPMN) and backward compatibility with ARIS

author avatar
ExpertTop 5Consultant

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 avatar
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 avatar
Top 20Consultant

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.


author avatar

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 avatar

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 avatar
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 avatar

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.

author avatar

Advice – work out what you really need versus what would just be nice to have. i.e. produce/obtain requirements and go through with MoSCoW and then look at the size of your organisation and budget – do you really need the top-tier solution or will something in the middle or lower end do? Narrow it down to 2-3 based on features versus requirements and then do some testing.
Not all products in this space cover the same use-cases. Appian is a good BPMS whereas what you might just need is something to do process modelling and simulation (to-be states and what-if modelling).

author avatar

Low code
integration with other systems
Must be on the cloud
Mobile app.
Reporting and analytics
It is a good taht your BPM can merge well with any kind of BI

author avatar

The right business process management software can enable our process improvement efforts, but only if we select the right tool and the right process management approach for our business. Thinking about our BPM requirements from the perspective of usability, governance, analysis, content management, technology, and the cost will help ensure that we select the right approach to meet our current and future business process management requirements, and will ultimately ensure maximum return on our process investment. There are some important criteria which I selected for our medium size production company and their reasons. we need process oriented rather than IT oriented.

1.Usability The point is who is going to use the software and their communication preferences. Will it be used by technical process specialists or frontline staff? The interface should provide users with the ability to engage with the tool easily. If it’s too hard, it won’t be used. Many of the workflow automation tools use a BA to design the workflows. Naturally, the more we can use a BA to do the work, the more we can automate quickly.

2.Cost Cost should never be the only selection criteria for our business process software decision. Regardless of the cost, we should question the return in investment if we don’t start to see small wins within a short period of time. We also want a vendor that treats our investment like their own and gives us a voice to table suggestions.

3.Administration Our process management software should provide version control that records who uses the system, and tracks changeable components for auditors. Governance is critical to the success of our process improvement efforts so we need to make sure the tool we select makes this easy.

4.Decision Analysis Our process management software should give business analysts information that can support their efforts to make processes lean, and help them utilize tools like Six Sigma and Kaizen. If this is an approach we plan to adopt, we’ll need to be able to identify opportunities to reduce waste, remove non-value add activities and spot cost reduction opportunities.

5.Customer service and support Do they understand the wants and needs of our organization? Are they quick to answer? Are they easy to access?

6.Having a tutorial course on their website Is it easy to learn how to work with software? Is there any course, catalog or videos available on their website?

7.Devices supported What are the requirements for installing or viewing software?

8.low-code development platform There are a handful of vendors that offer less technical ways to rapidly prototype, test and deploy process orientated applications. The reason for taking a Low-code approach is that by reducing the complexity and learning curve that's normally associated with a full-spec BPMS; we can involve a wider variety of employees in building applications. Yes, we need to wrap some governance and guide-rails around this kind of approach - but if we get this right, we can really unlock the creativity of people that understand how things need to work, rather than being overly reliant of IT specialists - which results in IT queues and stagnation rather than the agility that BPM should promise

author avatar
Top 5MSP

1. The ability to integrate easily to vast number of common solution (or a pre build API's).
2. The "Time to Market " of each new process (implying that Low Code BPM is an important advantage)
3. Performance.
4. Monitoring, Alerts and reporting capabilities.
5. Location agnostics (On-Pem, different cloud providers).

author avatar

I can give only give you some pointers, go to with as a start.

- Look for the way to lower the complexity. Simplify as much as possible.

- And also the issues between systems and people – the handovers. The lesser the better.

- Look for patterns to automate.

- Exclude non-structured information, make the structure valid.

- Look for patterns of exceptions – all must be covered.

- When people are involved, let them why – not just what and how, then they can correct what needs corrected.

author avatar

I’m using ARIS and the software designed by our firm on our BPM consulting projects.

As a non-IT background consultant, I valued the customized query function of the BPM software as the most important feature.

And, how to use the software to minimize the gap between business users and IT users is the other one should be considered.

author avatar

Here is a short summary and my take for BPM:

Strong product roadmap with advanced industry experience and ability to
automate processes and integrate them into any cloud, any environment, and
into any medium (containers, VMs, etc) - IBM leads the industry in this
Ability to easily integrate cognitive computing, AI, IoT, blockchain, and
advanced technologies into BPM processes - This includes options for
Robotics Process Automation.
A platform for process modernization and advanced automation that
leverages APIs, microservices, and multi-cloud deployment (IBM leads).
An easy and lightweight tool for end-to-end workflow automation - from
simple modeling, to assembling, design, monitoring, and rules management.
A platform that is secure to the core and designed for easy automation - a
simple and yet powerful tool for the citizen integrator and line of
business person utilizing a no-code approach to process automation, all
the way to enhanced and unified UI and extensive tools for IT developers
and IT integrators.

You may want to get additional views from the BPM team as well headed by
Michael Lim/Burlingame/IBM (Dir. for BPM)

author avatar

If I don't evaluate my organization's business processes before automating them, I'm likely to automate a broken process. In my experience this happens more often than not. General business and tech news stories are full of examples where companies have proceeded in this direction and failed.

BPM suites are enablers of the business, not the driver.

author avatar

The answer to that question (“What would a checklist of must-haves include for an ideal BPM Solution?”) depends to a great extent on the organization’s industry, culture, leadership style and the risk-taking nature of the business leaders involved/leader(s) asking the question.

In essence, that’s actually a benchmarking question, so here are some of our firm’s benchmarking characteristics:

* Phenix is a crude oil pipeline building and management company. As such, we are highly security-minded, redundancy-focused, and our IT systems are cutting-, if not bleeding-edge.

* Our IT shop is Citrix- and Microsoft-driven, pretty much top to bottom.

* Our COO also serves as our CIO, and is our Executive Champion for the BPM and BI business processes. Ultimately, we will hire a full-time CIO, but that fact serves as a testament to our company’s commitment to technology, BPM and BI across the board.

* Everything we do technology-wise has to be on-premise (no SaaS solutions allowed).

* We are end user experience- and process-driven.

We will be using a company called iDatix for our BPM solution:


The differentiating factors we’ve discovered about iDatix as compared to their competitors include:

1. iDatix is the most end user friendly BPM system that we have found (it doesn’t take expert IT and BPM professionals to develop and build dashboards, presentations and reports).

2. Their solution fully supports our Lean and Six Sigma efforts.

3. The IT-technical side of their system is well built and well supported.

4. Their system has the added features of built-in process automation (think M2M) and integrated paperless processing, so that process innovations are expedited by automation (less human touches are better), and as little paper processing as possible flowing throughout our business processes.

5. iDatix has a sequel back end, which makes it easier to connect it with our other associated core business process systems (SCADA, ERP, BI, etc.).

6. iDatix’s leaders will be true business partners with us … they are committed to improving our processes, as well as their own processes, software and services collaboratively with us.

7. They are a local firm with established, strong, long-term ties to the community (Tampa Bay/Clearwater, Florida).

8. The people and culture at iDatix are excellent!

Hope this helps!

John Becker

Phenix Energy Group, Incorporated

author avatar
Real User

One of the main objective of BPM is to achieve Return of Investment (ROI) . Many BPMN implementation tools do provide features to measure ,optimize and monitor Business processes and in this process lot of data get generated .Do the tools have the capability to easily render and organize this data in a structured form to be easily accesible via their portals.Do these tools have the capacity to simulate various scenarios that a business process could possibly run it (what-if ,historical vs simulated scenarios).And another most important feature i look in these implementations , can it bridge the gap between business and technical teams in an enterprise which means the collaboration aspect of it .

author avatar
Real User

Features to look for in a BPM solution:

· Pool and Lane creation

· A Pool should be able to hold multiple lanes

· Should be able to create start task and other tasks and connect them using connector.

· Should have decision maker boxes.

· Should be able to connect tasks across lanes and pools

· Should be able to add content for each task.

· Should be able to add different colour to different lanes.

author avatar
Top 5Real User

Low Code.
Simple abstraction logic.
Can be implemented by business analysts. Does not require programming or IT support.
Cloud based.
Great documentation and tutorials.

author avatar
Real User

- Time to Market
- Low Code
- User Friendly
- Support
- Improves (Released one time a year minimum)

author avatar
Real User

The following are features you should consider before making the buying decisions:
* Performance for Large User Bases
* Reporting and Analytics
* Integration with Other Systems
* Powerful Administrator Features, Privileges
* Support for all the devices
* Easy to Use UI - For example, Drag and Drop Form Designer, Visual Process Diagramming Tool

author avatar

Most importantly, is the tool handle enterprise level business workflow,
which means would be complicated and usually across different business
groups. If just need simple chains of approvals, any tools can do that.
But for Enterprise level workflow, you need a tool is a leader in
Enterprise level BPMS space. Suggest checking out the latest Gartner Magic
Quadrant report.

Secondly, besides workflow, what is the speed of delivery. Would the same
vendor also provide a low-code app development capabilities?

Last, very important, how is the customer satisfaction? You want to pick a
vendor who achieve high in customer satisfaction scoring.

author avatar
Real User

I would like to suggest you the bpm solution check list here - https://goo.gl/ShrHxH

author avatar

Good points, Andy

Seems the best we all might hope to accomplish in responding to the original post here is to tell our organization's stories, leadership support for, which BPM system was selected, and our collective reasons for selecting the BPM solutions we have chosen.

If we have any team tips/lessons learned for that person seeking the best BPM solution for their organization, I would add that it would be great to share some of those, as well!

author avatar

I'm not sure I agree with reviewer115254. A lot of what (s)he recommends is what one buys a BPM system to do. Companies frequently don't know how to fix broken processes and need help both with BPM system selection as well as implementation. Part of that, of course, is some very serious navel gazing (and subsequent action) described by reviewer115254.

author avatar

It is as political as it is technical...  It is a negotiated settlement of competing interests (business req. vs user req.) and aims...

Find out what your peers are saying about Camunda, Signavio, Pega and others in Business Process Management (BPM). Updated: September 2021.
535,919 professionals have used our research since 2012.