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Workflow vs Business Process Management Systems- How Do They Compare?

workflow vs business process management systems how do they compare

BPMS vs WFMS- What're the Differences?

Two management systems that are commonly utilized include business process management systems and workflow management systems. Both management systems are used to simplify and streamline business processes and workflows.

A common misconception held by many business professionals is that these two management system types are identical and interchangeable concepts. Although both business process management systems and workflow management systems are useful management solution options, there are significant differences between the two approaches to be mindful of.

Companies should focus on gaining a clearer understanding of the definition, implications, and appropriateness of both business process management systems and workflow management systems for their specific needs and objectives. To begin with, it is useful to understand the differences between workflows and business processes themselves.

Workflows are generally on a more micro level, defined as sets of repeatable activities performed in order to accomplish a specific task. Processes are on a more macro level, defined as sets of repeatable activities performed in order to achieve a specific objective. However, there are circumstances when a workflow and a process are identical.

Business process management, commonly abbreviated as BPM, is defined as the approach focused on business process improvement. The primary objective of BPM is to make an organization more efficient overall.

Workflow management systems, commonly abbreviated as WFMS, is defined as a tool that allows business professionals to create and monitor task sequences. Many experts consider WFMS as a lighter version of BPMS. In fact, BPMS commonly includes WFMS as one of its components.

Although both WFMS and BPMS concentrate on the same business needs, they do so in different ways. Notable differences between BPMS and WFMS that businesses should take account of include-

1. Focus

Business process management systems and workflow management systems have different primary focuses. Workflow management focuses on instructions and personnel, supplying comprehensive role descriptions and organization of everyday work processes.

Business process management focuses on increasing the efficiency of business processes within the entire organization. BPM is not solely based on business process automation but instead is more comprehensively focused on the improvement of each business process consistently.

2. Coordination

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The coordination capabilities of business process management systems are much more complex than workflow management systems. While workflow management systems are used most commonly to define key steps, business process management systems define larger business operations.

Business process management systems coordinate interactions between all organizational resources comprehensively, including any interactions occurring between external resources as well as interdepartmentally. Alternatively, workflow management systems are best for coordinating activities of one to two departments within the same business.

As each task generally has multiple employees involved, proper workflow management should not only outline the role of each individual but also the position that their role is within the task. Workflow management systems are also useful for coordinate interactions between software programs and employees.

Industry success stories for workflow management range from manufacturers to sales team members. For example, during manufacturing where the implementation of workflow automation and process automation can increase the efficiency of the entire production line.

Or, in customer service where requests are delegated to specific representatives based on specific issues. Or even in sales, where sales team employees advance multiple clients through different stages of the same sales cycle process.

3. Software

Workflow management software is great for personnel and documentation organization. Workflow software assists with not only the job performance of individual employees but the overall productivity levels of all employees on staff.

There are many success stories where workflow software was used for companies with only a couple of departments that needed to be organized. In these instances, workflow management software designated clear instructions for employee tasks as well as time management expectations.

For larger businesses searching for methods to implement company strategy, interdepartmental coordination, and consistent business process improvements, BPM software is a solid option. BPM software tools help companies to best model, analyze, and optimize business processes while forwarding digital transformation initiatives.

BPM systems can even integrate with other applications such as Customer Success Management. If a business's budget permits, the integration capabilities and scalability of BPM software make it very much worth the initial investment and maintenance costs incurred.

Notably, workflow systems are much easier to configure than business process management systems. From initial investment costs to upgrade charges, workflow software is a much more affordable option for many organizations, generally appropriate for the budget of small to medium sized businesses.

Similarities between workflow management and business process management software may include real time notifications and universal communication platforms. If unsure which software system works best in accordance with specific needs, a business should request demo software to try out both.

Key Takeaways

key takeaways 1607979531 2741

  • Business process management systems and workflow management systems are both useful management solutions for companies to consider.
  • From robotic process automation to process modeling there are many tools that BPM software and workflow management software provide.
  • Significant differences between BPMS and WFMS range from primary focuses to software capabilities.