Technological advancements have led to the development of different types of business process management (BPM) solutions. While on-premise BPM solutions gained considerable adoption in the past, cloud BPM is attracting tremendous interest from business enterprises around the world. 

As businesses around the world are increasingly working towards improving the efficiency levels of their operations, the adoption of cloud BPM solutions is on the rise. The global BPM market is expected to reach a market value of around $14 billion by the end of 2021. The overall state of the BPM market offers a positive outlook as more and more businesses are realizing the importance of managing and documenting their processes. 

Before we dive deeper into understanding the key features of a cloud BPM, we will discuss the following points. 

  • What is a BPM solution?
  • What does a BPM solution do?
  • On-premise vs cloud BPM
  • Key Features to look out for while choosing a BPM 
  • Benefits

What is a BPM Solution?

BPM solutions are nothing but tools that allow you to develop, design, execute, and maintain business activities and employees working in different departments. On-premise and cloud-based BPM are predominantly developed to assist businesses to optimize and streamline their business processes to boost productivity. 

What does a BPM solution do?

  • Allows enterprises to develop business processes for employees from different departments and locations
  • Keeps a track of multiple business processes to boost efficiency
  • Makes changes to the existing processes as the organization expands

On-premise vs Cloud Business Process Management

Traditionally, business entities were largely inclined toward using an on-premise BPM solution that operated within the purview of the company’s hardware and operating system that was installed by the IT department. The on-premise alternative is tried and tested approach wherein the company hosting assets and servers are paid for by the company. 

In a cloud-based BPM, businesses do not have to worry about hosting servers as they are built on a cloud. The features of cloud BPM are notably different from the on-premise alternative. 

Some of the distinct advantages of cloud-based BPM include:

  • Offer a flexible on-demand solution
  • Services can be modified based on the evolving requirements of an organization
  • Have a larger bandwidth as they are deployed on the internet
  • Use resource pooling with systems on the cloud

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Must-have features in a BPM

cloud bpm tools | iTMunch

1. The visual process creation tool

One of the most critical points you should consider while choosing a cloud BPM solution is the process flow diagram. There are four main categories of process modeling in business management tools.

  • Data gathered via UI forms – Data related to a business process is gathered using forms
  • No modeling tool – Such tools use coding as a mean to make sure the process is implemented 
  • Visual interface depending on an activity – The alternative monitors the entire process such as addressing rejections at different stages
  • Visual interface depending on business steps – It is very similar to the above category. However, instead of bothering users with corner case representations, it enables them to focus on the primary path of a business process. 

2. Drag and drop form designer

A process without data is like a car without fuel. Business processes require definite means to transfer the data through to a process. In most cases, BPM solutions make use of a form to capture and edit data along a business process. This is why a cloud BPM system needs to have a data strategy. Business process management tools need to adapt to the different types of users spanning from beginners to advanced users. While users at the beginner level require everything to be simplified, advanced users demand an added level of customization. 

3. Access control based on roles

In case the information within the form is extremely sensitive, you should ideally look for a cloud BPM that can safeguard your vital data. The different types of access may include read-only, completely hidden, and editable. 

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4. Workflow management

Although workflow management and BPM more or less cater to the same business requirements, there is a difference. Workflow management allows you to streamline certain tasks that are repetitive and help you save time. Workflow management primarily focuses on instructions and people and also touches upon the role of every individual. Although workflow management may not require software, software solutions can play a key role in tracking work and automating parts of it. 

5. Robust administrator features

Some of the most well-developed cloud BPM solutions are vulnerable and likely to hang particularly due to an unusual user action. The in-house administrator should be able to perform various tasks including bulk reassign, reassigning individual tasks, edit forms whenever required, delete items, etc. If your system administrator is not equipped to perform these tasks, it is safe to assume that you will be largely dependent on the behavior of the users and the BPM software. 

6. Integrations

An ideal cloud BPM should be able to be integrated with existing software systems. Integrations are essential to eliminate the need to perform manual data transfers. A BPM solution without any meaningful integrations is more or less deemed as a failure. Some of the integrations that should be included are webhooks, REST APIs, API support, and more. 

7. Reports and analytics

A cloud BPM solution is nothing but a workflow tool if it does not include reports and analytics. Reporting form data should be easily customizable and include data such as:

  • Average time to finish different steps within a process
  • Overview of different items that are open
  • Frequency of an item getting rejected

Some of the most popular BPM tools include customizable chart creators which allow you to use a range of heatmaps and graphs. 

8. Performance metrics

All business processes come with a deadline and on several occasions, they are not met. In such situations, business heads need to identify the factors causing the delay and how they can be addressed. 

Process performance metrics allow businesses to identify the red flags within a process and take decisive steps to improve efficiency. In a cloud BPM, the process performance metrics are system data that is automatically captured. The data is assessed by the process administrator which has to then take a call whether the problem was caused by:

  • Poor process execution
  • Poor process modeling

9. Collaboration

More often than not, business processes require discussions, sharing information, meeting notes, and other types of communication that should ideally take place where the task is performed. The collaboration feature is essential as it allows your team to provide input on optimization and process improvements. 

Benefits of BPM

After touching upon the must-have features in a cloud BPM, it is also important to understand how you and your organization can benefit from it. One of the main objectives of a BPM is to ensure that the goals of the company are in line with the development of a business process. 

Here are some of the most notable benefits of a BPM:

1. Enhances business agility

Every company should be able to tackle changes. The nature of change can vary from technology to new regulations that could affect the operating structure of an organization. Regardless of the source, businesses need to deal with such changes swiftly to remain competitive. 

A cloud BPM can offer companies the desired ability and speed to cater to these demands. A well-integrated BPM enables enterprises to put brakes on their business processes as soon as they detect a problem and make the required changes without losing much time. 

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2. Efficiency

It is safe to assume that even the top companies around the world have trouble maintaining high-efficiency levels. Cloud BPM practices are specifically developed to detect these bottlenecks and get rid of them. BPM can also automate manual processes, cut down on the possibility of human error, and boost efficiency within the organization.

3. Visibility

Cloud BPM solutions make use of refined software to keep track of the entire cycle of a business process. Besides, a BPM enables users to keep a real-time account of the automation processes and evaluate the effectiveness of each step in real-time. The leadership can study the performance of each step within the process and adapt accordingly. 

4. Transfer of business knowledge

Transfer of business knowledge is vital when a company expands or makes workforce-related changes. Most companies largely depend on individual resources to understand a specific process. However, changes within the workforce make this model inefficient and possibly more expensive. 

As employees leave an organization, the knowledge gained goes with them creating a vast gap. BPM solutions address this problem as it tracks workflow and also records, archives, and shares company knowledge with different members of the team. 

While businesses around the world are aware of what they require to improve the efficiency of their processes, they do not have the technology to support it. Businesses turn to shadow IT-projects as they provide short terms solutions. However, in the long run, this alternative can harm an organization due to a lack of security, continuity issues, and steep costs. 

Hence, it is crucial to opt for a cloud BPM platform that is business-friendly, requires minimal coding, and helps its users to create and manage their processes without much help from the IT department. Investing in a cloud BPM system is a win-win situation for both the IT as well as the business.

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