Every organization has their very own distinct business processes which differentiates them from their competitors.
Some companies have predefined processes while some have processes which are defined by the employees themselves. Imagine what would happen if each customer support representative have their own way of managing a customer. Without a proper process in place, calls from customers can go unanswered and can be transferred endlessly.
Lately, with the help of advance web based solutions, business processes and workflows can be managed through business process management (BPM) solutions. These solutions can be used to easily create applications automate processes such as:
- Change management
- Quality control
- Customer service
- Claims management
- Complaint management
There are many BPM / Workflow solutions out there. The following are three open source BPM / Workflow solutions for you to evaluate before trying the proprietary ones.
Intalio is an open source business process platform built around the standards-based Eclipse STP BPMN modeler and Apache ODE BPEL engine, both originally contributed by Intalio.
Intalio Enterprise provides all the components required for the design, deployment, and management of the most complex business processes which includes
Intalio is available in several editions but what we’re most interested in is Intalio’s free community edition. This edition is made of two components, Intalio Designer and Intalio Server.
Intalio Designer allows one to model the business level processes for the model to be eventually deployed to Intalio Server. Intalio Designer is the only tool currently available on the market that allows any BPMN model to be turned into fully executable BPEL processes without having to write any code.
Intalio Server is a high-performance process engine that can support the most complex business processes, deployed within mission-critical environments.
If your organization is planning to automate business processes, Intalio should be in your list of consideration.
ProcessMaker is an open source business process management (BPM) and workflow software designed for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).
ProcessMaker is a user friendly solution to manage workflow effectively and efficiently .
Business users and process experts with no programming experience can design and run workflows, increase transparency, and radically reduce paperwork, automate processes across systems, including human resources, finance, and operations.
With ProcessMaker you can easily create workflow maps, design custom forms, extract data from external data sources and many more key features to optimize workflow management and business operations.
One key advantage of ProcessMaker is the online library which provides many process templates for you to download and begin editing. Learning curve can also be reduced since you’re starting from one which is already readily built and tested. Some sample process templates include:
- Credit card application
- Expense report process
- City district zoning request
Updated 12 April 2009: Read my initial review of ProcessMaker
Unlike Intalio and ProcessMaker, CuteFlow is a web based open source document circulation and workflow system.
Users are able to define “documents” which are send step by step to every station/user in a list. Imagine the scenario where a particular document is being sent to various parties for review and approval before it’s classified as a final document for submission purposes.
Cuteflow helps to automate the document circulation process within your office internal environment.
All operations like starting a workflow, tracking, workflow-definition or status observation can be done within a comfortable and easy to use webinterface.
Some key features of Cuteflow includes:
- Free and Open Source!
- Webbased User Interface
- Integration of workflow documents in e-mail message
- Unlimited amount of sender, fields, slots, receiver…)
- Workflows can attach data and files
- Flexible user management with substitutes
So there you go, some open source BPM / workflow solutions for your organization to begin automating business processes. One thing about automating a business process is to ensure that a process is already mature. To find out why, try reading Process maturity level as a principle factor for process automation (First Pillar). I do agree with many of the points stated. Just think about it. If a process is rather new and not fully tested, it’s bound to have some loopholes or problems in it. If there are real problems in an immature process, going ahead to automate it can speed up the problems. So do beware, while technology helps to speed things up, speeding up problems and loopholes can be disastrous.