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Business Process Management VS Workflow Management Tool: which one to choose?

Published the first time on LinkedIn

Large and small companies share the need to optimize processes, observing those that are part of everyday life with a careful eye, and catching the opportunities to improve them. The competitive landskape is increasingly aggressive, and the advantages from an optimization of its processes can have a positive impact on the value transferred to the customers. This goal is achieved by adopting continuous improvement, that in Lean processes represents the guiding star of every activity.

To achieve it, the improvement needs to happen  on two parallel and interconnected levels:  shared process and  technical infrastructure (present and future) .  

Designing the best process is not enough, one needs to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the  existing technologies, gain the ability to  integrate them coherently. Choosing the right technical plaform, be it a workflow management tool (WFM) or a business process management tool (BPM), can be a turning pooint in the ability to reach the present and future goals.  

  • A WFM tool handles workflows and procedures by organizing the daily work  of individuals  in order to optimize their time.  It can be used within a certain function and will simplify tasks of limited complexity. 
  • A BPM tool coordiantes the organization, increasing the efficiency of business processes, using automation and continuous improvement empowered as well by artificial intelligence. It goes beyond the functional level and acts orizzontally managing in an integrated way tasks across functions. To achieve it, it handles not only traditional processes – as a WFM tool – but as well management control enablers to understand where to participate to and intervine to obtain the biggest improvement. and monitoring the process performance. 

For the organization with a low level of complexity or that doesn’t foresee an evolution at organizational or operational level, a WFM tool could be the right system to support the needs of the company and the business.  

If, on the other hand, the company is looking for a tool that will connect different functions over time (such as CRM, billing, expense reports) and to integrate new and old platforms, the recommended solution is a BPM tool that will empower the company to futureproof processes and infrastructure to remain competitive on the market.