24 May Workflow management vs. Business Process Management (BPM)
Workflow management is used to complete all the items in a given process by creating and optimizing the paths for data. Workflow management includes automating the process, finding the redundant tasks, mapping out the ideal state, and identifying bottlenecks and/or areas which can be improved
The Workflow tasks may be done by a system or by a human.
A workflow management system is a software application used to help streamline routine business processes to improve efficiency. Workflow management systems use a dynamic form to hold the data and automate a sequential path for the execution of all associated tasks. This data must follow this path until it is fully processed.
Workflow analysis is the process of examining the business workflows to identify all the trends and improve the efficiency of the workflow. This process improves customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and employee engagement.
Business Process Management
Business Process Management refers to the process in which a company executes its day-to-day operational tasks.
A business process can be a single activity or set of multiple activities that are designed to achieve an organizational goal. BPM is not a one-time task, it is an ongoing activity that involves continuous process remodelling. Business process management is the process in which a company creates, edits, and analyses the predictable processes for its business.
Business Process Management (BPM) is used to improvise and standardize the mission-critical processes within the business enterprise. BPM is used to eliminate the process gaps and human error and improve efficiency.
The optimization of processes is a critical objective for most business enterprises. Many organizations assume that process optimization is only applicable to large companies or massive processes. The reality is that Business Process Management is a critical competitive imperative for any business, regardless of size.
Business Process Management Differentiators
A workflow management system focuses on giving an organization the means to organize its workflows. Workflow management systems have the ability to create conditional steps, link with other software that the organization is currently using, or make parallel paths for the items to follow.
BPM systems provide a much broader view of all the processes in the organization. A BPM system includes a workflow engine that provides the organization with advance reporting, datasets notifications, analytics, custom dashboards, and self-monitoring of all connected processes.
The basic differences between workflow management and BPM include:
- Workflows are used to process a single task at a single time whereas BPM focuses on multiple business processes.
- A workflow process contains multiple tasks that are owned by multiple people and only tracks individual goals. BPM provides a much broader set of capabilities including data collection, data syntheses, report generation, data set notifications, automatic alerts, and analytics.
- Workflow management systems can contain both human and application-driven tasks, thereby coordinating the interactions between people and systems. Business Process Management systems coordinate and optimize the interactions between all resources in an organization.
- In Workflow management the main goal is to get a single item completely processed in the shortest amount of time. The objective of a BPM application is to fully optimize the efficiency of the entire ecosystem.
- Workflow Management systems are typically limited to automation of selected steps within a particular process whereas BPM systems are used to implement continuous improvement across all mission-critical processes within the enterprise.
- Workflow management can be called a category of business process management
There are also some technical differences between the Workflow system & BPM system. These are:
- A workflow system can be set up in very little time whereas the BPM system can take up to 6 months to design and implement.
- The main features of the workflow system are process modelling + other basic process management features whereas BPM is an enterprise-wide process management system.
- The cost of a workflow management system is significantly less than a comprehensive BPM system.
- The workflow system does not have any code, so it does not require any special onboarding whereas the BPM system needs special training and IT help for configuration.
- In a workflow system, integration is a fairly simple process whereas BPM integration can require several parallel installations and integrations.
Which Approach is Best?
The answer to this question depends on the operational requirements of the organization.
If an organization wants to automate a single process, then a workflow system will be the most cost-effective approach. As stated above, a workflow system is easier to implement, allowing an organization to start realizing single process optimization fairly quickly.
If an organization wants to streamline and optimize processes across an entire department or across an entire company, then a BPM application would be the best choice. BPM allows organizations to handle various reports, forms, processes, alerts, and a host of other functions. However, as stated above, a BPM application will have a higher cost and will take more time for training and implementation.