Forrester are one of the leading business analysts in the field of Business Process Management (BPM), and they have been observing the rise of Lean BPM, also known as Low Code BPM as alternatives to traditional providers, such as IBM, Oracle and PegaSystems. New entrants are emerging within the space, but presently the Lean BPM/Low Code BPM space is led by the likes of JobTraQ, Appian, Wrike and K2 Blackpearl.
Traditional BPM solutions are notoriously expensive and fraught with deployment risks. Implementing a traditional BPM solution requires extensive planning, business disruption and lengthy deployment timelines. In addition, traditional solutions are not flexible to adjust to allow for Agile development, and indeed this is a huge disadvantage of such solutions, especially where these two disparate methodologies are converging.
Lean BPM solutions seek to remove the barriers to entry, not only the cost barrier, but also the deployment barrier to entry to. Low code solutions strip out the extraneous functionality of traditional solutions, and instead focus on what is actually being used by existing traditional solution customers. In many instances, almost all in some cases, advanced traditional BPM functionality is not being utilized.
Instead, Lean BPM solutions focus on delivering core functionality with automated code, which means you get the fast time to ROI businesses are looking for, but you do not need the heavy IT involvement, or the big budget and major time horizons to deploy and integrate the solution.
It is common with the leading Lean BPM/Low Code solutions that all IT needs to do is to stand up a server if you are selecting the On Premises version, though it is also common for IT specialists to be involved for a sanity check – just making sure the Lean BPM solution will do what it says it can.
Core functionality of a Low Code BPM solution will include the following:
Role-based permissions –
Designed to ease administration and enhance security of data and process access. This is a must-have feature when you are reviewing any BPM solution.
Task management –
Good task management is the basis for good workflow, which in turn are essential for establishing and optimizing business processes at the macro-level.
Automated workflows –
Ideally you will be looking for a drag-and-drop UI which will allow you to create visual workflows, and even better, the Lean BPM solution should then push the component tasks of the designed workflows automatically into the task management system.
This allows you to quickly create workflows, which are then allowed to go live automatically, but at the same time, you have the ability to change and modify workflows as part of your continuous improvement and business process optimization efforts.
Calendar synchs –
A calendar will typically come with the task management feature, however you must ensure the solution you select has the ability to integrate or sync with the calendar client you already use, e.g. Microsoft Outlook or Google. Without the synch functionality, it is practically impossible to maintain the two separate calendars manually, and this introduces complexity and error.
Open code –
You are looking for open code solutions which will allow you to integrate with any other system you are operating, or are likely to run in future. There must be a robust series of APIs which will facilitate this, or for full customization, the ability of the solution provider to deliver full integration into whatever system you need.
Jane Wrythe is a technology and business writer currently working with Swift Systems.