Last week we began our new blog series about getting started with your BPM initiative and we dove into the first of 5 critical questions to address with your BPM vendor candidates. We start off this week with Question #2: “Does the BPM Product/Platform have the critical capabilities that I need?”

Every company will have its own unique business processes, and the individual processes being digitalized via a given BPM Program will vary in scope and complexity. As such, specific purchase criteria will differ from one organization to another. However, there are some key, standard features that most buyers would expect from any BPM product in today’s market:

  • Role-Base Access to Processes and Data – Your BPM solution will need to cater to different audiences. For a particular business process, that might entail multiple user groups –customers, management, operations, finance, or even external providers. As such, your BPM solution must provide role-based access to the precise data and work-stream activities unique to each audience, whether that’s a group of people, or even an individual. So, the product you select should be able to authenticate each user logging in against a system of record (AD, LDAP, external database, etc.) in order to grant permissions accordingly.
  • Low-Code Configuration – As noted above, the best BPM products emphasize low-code configuration over custom development. This expands the pool of potential people who can build on the platform, speeds up implementation, simplifies maintenance, and facilitates easier product upgrades in the future.
  • Integration Capabilities – A key function of an effective BPM solution is to integrate external systems and data sources related to a given process into a centralized interface where process workers and end-users can collaborate on work activities. Some level of integration capability would be expected for any BPM product. But the best ones make integration easy to configure and offer a variety of integration methods, along with a wide range of pre-built integration kits available for common COTS business applications.
  • Reporting and Analytics Capabilities – Visibility into consolidated data is an important element of any BPM solution to support informed decision-making by process workers. Reporting dashboards and console-style views of relevant data within a web portal interface are common approaches for presenting real-time business process data and activity statuses to applicable users. Your specific needs around reporting and analytics will vary depending on the nature of your business and relative process maturity, but it’s fair to assume that some level of this will be required.
  • Modern User Interface – Users have come to expect consumer web site quality design and usability in nearly any application or system they interact with these days. BPM solutions are no different. They must provide a positive overall user experience in order to drive adoption.
  • Responsive Design for Mobility – In order to support a variety of work styles in today’s business world, BPM solutions must be accessible to users on mobile devices. Ideally, the solution should incorporate the concept of responsive design, where a single interface would size dynamically as needed to accommodate a range of devices without sacrificing functionality. That way, you can design the solution once, and allow your users to interact with their work processes as needed via desktop, laptop, smart phone or tablet.

Noodle on that for a few days and we’ll be back with more soon: Question #3: “Will the solution provide a suitable user experience for my target audience?”