Chapter Four
A Complete Guide to Business Process Management

Getting Started with BPM Software

If you know it’s time for your business to improve, grow, and scale, and you need to build or improve your processes to do so, then it’s also time to invest in business process management or workflow management tools to help you get there.

But now we ask the million-dollar question: Which BPM software should you choose?

What to Look for in BPM Software

If you are won over by the thought of implementing BPM software, or if you are even the least bit curious to see what it can do for you, then this section is for you. There are a number of options to choose from today. Many can be implemented into any business in any industry, others are more tailored to specific types of organizations and their unique needs. Regardless of your needs or industry, here’s what to look for when selecting BPM software:

Simplicity - Remember, the whole point of automation is to make processes and workflows simple. Therefore the software itself should be easy to set up, learn, and use in a matter of days or weeks, not months or years. Furthermore, the best BPM software options do not require a team of developers or coders.

Integrations - Although we would all love a world where we can use ONE tool or application for everything, this is nearly impossible, especially for larger organizations with multiple departments or functional areas that all use their own individual systems.

The way to get around this is to identify the processes that overlap, the applications used in those processes, and then integrate those systems with BPM software. Therefore, you want to choose BPM software that has the ability to integrate with other third-party applications.

Reporting and Analytics - In our experience, this is an area where most businesses and teams skip or forget about—and it’s always a mistake. Sure, you might be excited and eager to see how BPM software helps your team and transforms your business, but don’t forget about the numbers.

After all, you can’t very well measure the success, ROI, or ROE on your processes and workflows, and see how much time, money, and effort your BPM software is saving you without the right reporting and analytics. So be sure to select a BPM tool that allows you to not only set up you and your team for performance success, but that also allows you to measure it.

Features and Functionalities - Similar to the ability to integrate with third-party apps and tools, you also want to select a BPM tool that has the right amount of features and functionalities that will A) streamline processes and workflows, and help your team, and B) allows your business to grow and scale.

Furthermore, some BPM software and tools are designed with an overwhelming number of features and functionalities. Refrain from falling victim to “shiny object syndrome” and focus on only the features you absolutely need. Selecting BPM software just because of all the cool things it can do doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the best fit for your team. In fact, sometimes this can over-complicate things.

Take some time to think about what is most important to your team and your business, and find BPM tools with the features and capabilities that enable those goals, and you’ll surely make the right choice.

Affordable Pricing - Of course, we can’t talk about adopting new technology without looking at costs. Selecting BPM software will likely be an investment. Therefore, take some time to calculate the financial value of a particular tool. You can do this by performing a cost-benefit analysis...

How to Perform a Cost-benefit Analysis

Don’t panic—you don’t have to be a data analyst or mathematician to figure this one out. We promise we will make it as easy as possible to understand and follow.

To start, there are a few different formulas and equations you can follow to help you determine the costs and value of selecting a BPM tool.

Cost Benefits Diagram
Figure 2: Cost-benefit Analysis

You can do this by calculating the following metrics:

ROI or ROE - Return on investment or return on experiment are both commonly-used metrics to calculate the financial value of any business investment. You can figure this out by using this formula:

(Benefits - Costs) / Costs x 100

Earned Value - This is another common metric used in project management to help you understand the value from the costs already spent on an initiative. For example, productivity vs. money spent. Earned value is often measured at each stage of a project. So, if your “project” is to adopt and onboard a BPM tool, you can calculate earned value at each stage of the rollout. The formula for earned value is as follows:

Planned Value / % of Work Completed

Planned vs. Actual Costs (Cost Variance) - This will help you to determine the planned costs versus actual costs spent, or essentially how many times you stayed within budget constraints and how many times you experienced cost overruns. The difference between planned and actual costs is known as a “variance”.

Planned Costs - Actual Costs = Variance

BPM Tool Recommendations

What are some of the best BPM tools out there? Here are a few noteworthy tools worth checking out:

  • Process Street
  • Pipefy
  • Tallyfy
  • Kissflow
  • Jira
  • Rindle

Of course, each of these tools has different advantages, disadvantages, and core features and functionality. Take the time to investigate each one, and perform a cost-benefit analysis to determine which one is the best fit for your business’ needs.

Chapter Summary and Conclusion

Phew! This eBook was jam-packed with a ton of information all related to processes, workflows, process management, business process management, and process automation—and you made it through it! Congratulations! You are now armed with the information you need to completely transform your organization.

As you go forward and think about which BPM tool is the best fit for your organization, team, and key stakeholders, be sure to keep these points in mind:

  • Simplicity - Is the tool relatively easy to understand and use? Will it require a lot of setup time, onboarding, and training?
  • Integrations - Can the tool be integrated with other third-party apps and systems?
  • Reporting and Analytics - Are there reporting capabilities and features available? If so, what do they look like? Are they easy to set up and use?
  • Features and Functionalities - Does the tool have the features and functionalities that you actually need? Or are there a lot of “bells and whistles” that don’t actually do what you need them to do?
  • Affordable Pricing - Is the tool affordable? Does the tool provide sufficient features and value for the cost?

All in all, be sure to perform a cost-benefit analysis following these formulas and equations:

ROI or ROE: (Benefits - Costs) / Costs x 100

Earned Value: Planned Value / % of Work Completed

Planned vs. Actual Costs (Cost Variance) - Planned Costs - Actual Costs = Variance