What should you look for in a workflow software solution?

Software Solution

How do you choose the right software?

There is no definitive guide to choosing the correct process management software, unfortunately. However, we can advise you on what you should look for, what to avoid and what is a core component of a comprehensive solution.

Largely, your choice of provider will depend on the one that ticks the most boxes against your requirements. Of course you have to know which boxes are to be ticked, we hope to provide you with a better idea from this blog article.

 

How do they differ from each-other?

Generally speaking, all solutions will have similarities and differences, big and small. This may range from usability, configuration or simply features available.

In recent years, with the evolution of cloud computing - this is changing the landscape of software services provided in general. Therefore enabling organisations to remove at least some of the strain on their own IT resources. This should be one of the first considerations, whether the solution should be hosted by the service provider or an on premise installation.

Depending on your requirements for this, will influence your next considerations. For example, when using a web/cloud based service the software may enable 3rd party API integration, which can offer much more in terms of features and performance. Whereas local installs and integration can require coding and specialist tools (which add to costings) to provide additional services.

 

Next, you should consider how suitable a solution is against your requirements. Think of it like buying a car, for example; a person buying a car for their family of 4 which they need to fit in pushchairs, toys etc. A 2 seater sports car which is fast and flashy but has no boot and is 2 seats short of what is needed and another few $$$ over your budget ceiling.

 

This is similar to shopping for workflow software, a solution may cost a lot more than others but that may not translate into delivery, it may have a lot of unnecessary features that you are going to end up paying for and not using. Or, it may be a solution not scaled or scalable to your organization requirements. If you are a small/medium sized business, you do not want an extensive enterprise solution that is severely draining on your time, financial and IT resources. After all, you would not buy a suit that was 10 times too big for yourself, would you?

 

This brings us to the next difference, cost. Arguably the most influencing aspect of a purchasing decision after performance against requirements. You will notice a wide range of prices depending on the solution type you look at and the service provider. Additionally, you will notice a vast difference between the enterprise providers and the more tailored providers – both upfront and long term.

 

It is important to remember that a bigger brand does not necessarily translate into the most comprehensive product. From our research, it was noticed that a dedicated BPM/workflow provider had the most rounded package and service to a general list of requirements at an affordable price. This is not always the case but in some scenarios with larger organisations, you may find that the BPM/workflow branch is just an afterthought to expand the brand. Pick what delivers, not what may or may not have heard of!

 

What features should they have?

Features are only as useful to you as your requirements for them, this will be largely up to personal preference. If you are not sure then we will highlight some of our personally preferred features:

 

Custom forms

Find a solution that is flexible to you and your organization, do not force your data into unsuitable forms or compromise on your current processes. A good BPM solution should be adaptable to your requirements.

 

Portability

Business is dynamic, you move with demands – inside and out of the office. You want a solution that allows you to work (securely) away from the office if you are not there without a compromise on performance or accessibility. Whether you are on a laptop, phone or tablet – make sure you are still connected to your organization.

 

Scalability

There is no point in investing in a solution if it doesn’t enable and help the growth of your business. After all it is a key business driver.

With growth comes extra demand, pressures and volume – your chosen solution should be able to cope and operate at optimum levels without you noticing the difference. Whether this is volume of customers or expansion in terms of offices, countries or employees. Make sure your solution will grow with you.

 

API – Application Program Interface

API’s are becoming ever more prevalent in modern computing, especially online services. If you are not familiar with API’s they offer the integration of two or more services to add a greater level of performance/features/compatibility to the respective service.

An API for workflow may enable the use of a sophisticated reporting module or simply link you to an existing service within your organisation. This is done with the click of a button without the need for expensive consultancy and configurations. Open your service to a greater range of power with an API.

 

Solution Store

You want to get up and running sooner than later, you may not have time to replicate your processes. If you can instantly download and run a process this frees up resources in time and staff. It goes without saying that a solution should allow for easy creation of workflows, but who doesn’t like a head-start?

 

A Solution Store does not only provide processes, it provides ideas and concepts that can be applied to your organisation fairly easily. This is not an essential but undoubtedly a desirable feature!

 

Check out BizzMines features here

 

What is a reasonable cost for a comprehensive solution?

 

Costs as we know already can differ, depending on your chosen solution and provider. You should look at the cost secondly, after seeing which service meets your requirements most conclusively.

Some software can have large up-front costs, maintenance and consultancy fees and you should enquire to discuss potential costs for the lifecycle of your solution.

A cloud based solution may offer monthly fees/annual fees, these have benefits of being very transparent with costings and more flexible in terms of contract lengths, upgrades and so on.

 

See the pricing of BizzMine here

 

What are your steps for finding a software provider? Have you looked for a workflow solution before? What was your experience? Let us know @BizzMine