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The Top Process Management Software That Will Make Your 2023 Great 

Recurring work is an absolute pain. With all your responsibility, the last thing you want to do is spend your valuable time doing work that doesn’t need to be done. 

The answer? Process management software. 

But that isn’t the real issue, is it? 

You understand that process management software can help you increase productivity while saving you time and money. 

The problem is that there are tons of software options on the market. You’re likely overwhelmed with the endless products presented to you in a single Google search.  

This list will give you all the information you need to understand your team’s needs and ensure you make the best purchase decision. 

What is process management software? 

Needed by every business, business process management software (BPM) helps teams focus on vital standard procedures that keep your organization running. 

This BMP tool is designed to manage your business’s fundamental processes, automate any repetitive tasks, optimize your business operations, and manage logistics around the inner workings of each task. 

With effective process management software, employees are empowered to focus on higher-value work and any exception cases that might pop up in daily operations. 

This is because the software makes sure all documented work is managed with tasks delivered to the right stakeholders at the assigned time. 

Signs you need process management software

  • Your team has recurring work patterns and several people need to coordinate to efficiently get consistent results every time.
  • Your team’s operational knowledge lives in people’s heads: Only a few veteran team members know the details of your processes and newer team members are in the dark.
  • You have some process documentation, but it’s difficult to update and maintain.
  • Your team is running multiple processes simultaneously and you find it difficult to keep track of the status of each process.
  • Your team’s processes seem to be running slower than they should and you’re seeing crossed wires, dropped balls, or a lack of accountability in owning process steps.
  • Your team uses several work applications to run your processes but those apps don’t talk to each other.

The difference between projects and processes

Let’s clarify the difference between projects and processes.

Both involve taking action on work to be done with an end result in mind. A key difference is whether the steps and tasks are known upfront.

A project is a one-time undertaking. With a project, you have a goal in mind but the tasks your team needs to complete that goal aren’t yet clear. You have to gather knowledge as you go, in order to determine what needs to be done. Once the project is done, it’s done.  It’s unlikely you’ll need to manage that same project again, in the same way, with the same desired result.

A process is a recurring work pattern. You already know the tasks your team needs to complete in order to get the outcome you want. With a process, it’s a matter of how fast, well-coordinated, and consistent your team can reach that outcome every time.

Understanding the difference between project and process will help you make sense of the multitude of applications that are intended to help teams work better together. (Including some software companies that claim they can be used for process management when they’re actually project management tools.) 

Is process management software right for you?

Do you have a process management culture in your team?

This is a question of culture fit.

If your team doesn’t understand the importance of process management, it’s unlikely that they will be enthusiastic about adopting process management software. 

They may not see the value of building and maintaining clear process documentation. Or updating and continuously improving the processes they use as part of their daily work.

Making an effort to educate your team as to the benefits of process management can go a long way to making sure that you’re getting the most value out of your process management software.

How do you expect your team to change in the short & long term?

You won’t always know where your team will be in the future, but you can prepare with the help of your long and short-term goals. This offers a projection of what you can expect in the future.  

Do you have clearly defined goals & expectations?

Making a list of specific requirements is often a good starting point. By making a checklist, you can prepare questions and address each requirement directly with your vendor.

4 questions to ask yourself before you buy

How do the expected ROI & time to ROI compare with your budget?

Obviously, your budget will be one of the first considerations. The longer the setup time, the longer the expected time to ROI. This cost will compound if you need to pay for extra consulting or setup costs.

The price should be the highest value for the cost of initial purchase, maintenance, and any additional needs.

Ideally, a good process management software will allow you to benefit immediately from some kind of ROI, whether that’s by:

  • Reducing human error as a result of simplifying complex processes via documentation & clear instructions
  • Saving money by hiring a non-expert to perform an expert-level task by following a crystal clear, well-documented process
  • Saving time automating recurring manual tasks

How complex will setup & implementation be? 

The best process management solutions require basically zero setup, and certainly nothing from your engineering team.

You should be able to sign up, jump in, and start building & documenting your processes in minutes.

Can you use & benefit from the platform immediately?

Once you’re all set up, consider how long it will take your team to learn how to use the platform before you start to see value.

If the platform is intuitive and easy to use, you should be able to benefit on some level immediately, without enlisting additional expert or consultation services.

Consultation services can be a valuable supplement. Speaking to process design experts about how to improve process efficiency and make the most of the software’s features can be very valuable.

But you shouldn’t have to pay extra overhead to simply start using the platform to manage your processes.

Will the platform scale as you grow your team?

When you invest in process management software, you’re investing in the long-term development of your team’s operational efficiency.

Choosing a platform that is capable of supporting your growth is crucial to getting the most value out of process management software.

If you need to train every new hire on how to use a complex, unintuitive software platform, that will inevitably form a bottleneck. 

If the platform is intuitive and easy to use (with well-documented help resources and responsive customer success), you should have everything you need to scale your team

What should you look for in a vendor?

A thriving & diverse customer base

A process management software vendor should serve a diverse customer base. This means catering to companies of many sizes, industries, departments, and use cases. You can be assured that the solution they are offering is truly robust and representative of the cutting edge of process management software

Pro-Tip: Research customer reviews on software you’re interested in using third-party SaaS review sites like GetApp or Capterra to get a better understanding of the vendor and if they’d be a good fit for your company.

A strong base of supporting staff

Process management software should be supported vendor-side by dedicated departments like:

  • Customer Success: To get the most value out of your platform
  • Customer Education: To learn about new features and best practices
  • EPD (Engineering, Product, Design): To continuously develop and improve the software

Understanding that entire teams exist to support various aspects of your chosen process management software means you can be safe in the knowledge that you will reap the benefits for years to come.

Process consulting services 

Consulting should not be necessary, but it can be a very powerful platform to take your process management software to the next level.

Consultation services provided by process design experts can help you build and document your processes to save you even more time and money.

Often basic training and guidance will be provided alongside the initial purchase in the form of support by the customer success team. This will help you get the most out of your process management software.

Security accreditation by recognized authorities

Your data is precious. That’s why you owe it to your team and your customers to ensure that your process management platform has security accreditation by a recognized authority (e.g. SOC 2 Type II accreditation). 

These kinds of accreditations are industry-standard audits performed to make sure your vendor is securely managing your data. That’s because they are typically granted by a 3rd party firm that has reviewed and examined your vendor’s objectives and activities to make sure that everything is operating with your best interests in mind.

Long-established pioneer in the space with top-tier investors

Consider when the company entered the space. Perhaps they are new or relatively inexperienced. This could mean:

  • Their product is underdeveloped with fewer features and functionalities
  • The platform has not been stress-tested so may be more unstable (bugs, issues, etc.)
  • They may not have the experience necessary to support your specific use case
  • They may not have a large enough team to offer you the attention you deserve to fully take advantage of their platform.

Older, more established companies with top investor backing will typically have:

  • Lots of experience with a variety of use cases and verticals
  • Well-developed internal knowledge
  • Tried and tested methods for working with new clients to ensure you get the most out of their offering
  • Will typically be backed by a wealth of customer testimonials and case studies.
  • Have a clear, transparent roadmap to future updates & new features
  • Be well-funded by leading investors who are recognized for their success in identifying promising companies

The best process management software

Here are the top 5 best process management tools to help you narrow your search: 

#1 Process Street 

Process Street offers users pre-made templates as well as an easy drag-and-drop interface to build custom workflows from scratch without any hassle. The software is designed to help businesses create a centralized system for all their process management. 

Internal documentation features, called Pages, can be used to store all process information. These documents in Pages then lives alongside its correlating workflows to ensure maximum transparency and efficiency to all team members.  

Pros

  • Integration with thousands of other work applications
  • Library of pre-made templates that can be customized to fit your specific needs 

Cons: 

  • Template library can be confusing to navigate 

Key features: 

  • No-code functionality with an easy drop-and-drag interface to create custom workflows from scratch
  • Effective support and dedicated consulting team to help you get the most out of your workflows

#2 Zoho Creator

Zoho Creator offers a low-code platform and is a great option for users of other Zoho products. Users can easily customize their business operations by creating applications designed to fit their organization’s exact needs. 

Pros: 

  • Straightforward to build basic forms
  • Has a 15-day free trial

Cons: 

  • Reporting is limited 
  • Integrations with non-Zoho products are difficult 

Key features: 

  • Support and tutorials are available 
  • Offers 50 industry-specific templates 

#3 Pipefy 

Pipefy provides users with software to effectively manage requests and approvals. The tool is well-liked by Volvo and Warner Brothers for its strong form builder. However, many users struggle to make do with the limited features while more advanced elements are quite costly. 

Pros: 

  • Kanban view is available to users
  • Offers pre-built plugin templates 

Cons: 

  • Learning curve is steep
  • More advanced features are expensive

Key features: 

  • Focuses on request management and approval flows to help keep deadlines on track
  • Strong form builder is designed to help users easily create custom processes 

#4 Kintone 

Another no-code process management software, Kintone is designed to help users build applications but is also used to store process documentation. The software provides API integration and basic database functionality.

Pros: 

  • Contact information is well-managed inside the platform
  • It’s designed with a no-code interface

Cons: 

  • Challenging for new users to quickly start using the system
  • Comes with a high price tag (but discounts are available to non-profit organizations)

Key features: 

  • A great option for fundraising and medical use cases 
  • API integration is supported 

#5  beSlick

beSlick offers a process workflow builder to help managers have a more visually appealing overview of their organization procedures. Users can also utilize the flowchart feature to better understand how their processes are running.  

Pros: 

  • Using the platform is straightforward, even for new users
  • Designed with a form builder and integrated task management    

Cons: 

  • Users need to build their own processes (they can’t use pre-made templates) 
  • Analytics can be difficult to understand

Key features: 

  • Many configuration options are available to users 

Must-have features in process management software

No-code functionality

You want a no-code editor to ensure your UX is intuitive and easy to use. 

Documentation features 

You want to be able to capture, organize, and share your team knowledge

Interactive workflow construction 

You want process management software that will empower you to create automated, fully-featured workflows with ease. 

Real-time workflow run updates 

You want process management software that enables true continuous improvement in your team. This way, you can make updates to new and existing workflows to ensure consistency. 

Detailed analytics and reporting 

You want to have a transparent overview of all your processes. Everything you need to know is only a few clicks away. You then know who is doing what work, what processes are currently active, and when work was completed. 

Approval functionality 

You want process management software with approval features where work can be sent automatically to responsible stakeholders. You can easily have work approved, which ensures no bottlenecks occur. 

Scheduled workflows 

You want to better your automation capabilities by scheduling your workflows. This can save you time as a new workflow can be created when certain parameters are set. 

Integrations 

You want to pick process management software that offers integration capabilities with other work applications. Data entry can be reduced and your workspace can become more centralized and “speak to one another.”

Flexibility 

You want the ability to easily streamline complex workflows. Effective “if this then that” technology can be used to break down your complex processes into simple ones that respond in real time to different conditions.  

BONUS: 5 tips to succeed with process management software

This bonus section will outline best practices and approaches from process design experts to help you succeed with your process management software of choice.

People before processes

Ultimately, your processes are useless without the people behind them. Listen to feedback from your team and prioritize creating a healthy workplace culture that places people before processes.

The people on your team are the process owners. They are the ones who will maintain, update, and improve your internal processes. If you are trying to roll out process management software in your team, take the time to explain the benefits. Also stress that this platform should make your team’s life easier, not the opposite.

Sometimes, people worry that process automation will displace their job security or make them obsolete. Make it clear that process management software allows teams to eliminate tedious manual tasks and focus on the work that really matters.

Adopt an agile approach

Don’t worry about building the perfect process. A rough yet complete and actionable process built in an evening is always far more valuable than a half-finished (but near-perfect) process that you or your team have been chipping away at for weeks.

You’ll never truly have a ‘perfect’ process because things are forever changing and evolving. That’s why you want to encourage incremental improvements to an existing process. 

Get the basics down. Start using it. Figure out what could be improved, and make those changes on the fly.

This allows you to see results immediately from a structured process in place. It also means you get to test how the process performs in a work environment, and figure out what needs to be changed. 

Make your core team knowledge more transparent

Don’t restrict internal knowledge to a single team or department. With process management software that allows seamless collaboration and document sharing, you can achieve horizontal knowledge distribution and improve interdepartmental collaboration.

Strive for process maturity & operational excellence

Operational excellence is what you achieve when you have well-documented processes that are also actionable. 

The operational knowledge that then supports your processes allows for enhanced transparency across your entire organization. You can begin to operate excellently when everyone understands the work they need to do (and how to do it). 

Execute work correctly, quickly, and confidently — with consistency. That’s where transforming your static documentation into actionable workflows adds so much more value to the business.

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Process Street