List of top open source BPM / workflow solution

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
  • Procurement

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

  • BRE
  • BAM
  • Portal
  • ESB
  • ECM

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.

Source: WarePrise

ProcessMaker and KnowledgeTree deliver open source mashup to radically simplify document-based processes for small businesses

Combination of Colosa’s ProcessMaker open source BPM – workflow with KnowledgeTree’s document management software delivers powerful integrated tool to small businesses

Cambridge, MA and Cape Town, South Africa – March 24, 2008 – Open source application developers Colosa and KnowledgeTree have announced a ‘mashup’ of their web-based applications (ProcessMaker and KnowledgeTree document management software) to help small to mid-sized businesses handle, manage and retrieve vital company documents such as contracts, approval letters, or applications.

The combination of the ProcessMaker business process management (BPM) software, which simplifies workflow through the automation of paper-based processes, with KnowledgeTree’s powerful open source document management software has delivered a tool that will allow businesses to bring together workflow and document management capabilities to design and manage business processes, and to seamlessly file, store and retrieve mission-critical documents.

The mashup, completed with ProcessMaker Open Source v1.0 and KnowledgeTree Version: 3.5.2 (Community Edition), is installable for both Linux and Windows through a plug-in that comes bundled with ProcessMaker Open Source. The 100kb file is executed in the Setup menu’s Plug-in option. The plug-in will automatically be installed, and the user will fill in the setup with credentials and URL paths for the KnowledgeTree server. It is available at

Both applications are web-based, AJAX-enabled applications based on PHP, which made the integration seamless. Colosa’s ProcessMaker is an open source, robust BPM tool built with SMEs in mind, to automate document-intensive, approval-based processes across systems including finance, HR and operations. Functionalities include creating and sharing workflows, customizing forms, managing processes and enhancing reporting. With document management capabilities added in through the mashup with KnowledgeTree, users can now not only design and manage business processes, but they can then file, store and retrieve their mission critical documents.

KnowledgeTree is an open source document management provider that provides feature-rich, easy to use enterprise document management software for use by corporations, government institutions and small to medium-sized businesses. KnowledgeTree’s open source architecture lowers the total cost of ownership through providing the flexibility to integrate the software with existing infrastructure. KnowledgeTree has built a large dedicated community around its product, with over 450,000 downloads to date, 30,000 registered community members and 67 community-run projects.

Brian Reale, CEO of Colosa said, “This mashup shows the vitality and flexibility of web-based applications and how integration can deliver new and innovative services that are demanded by the market.”

He continued, “It made sense to integrate KnowledgeTree’s document management application with ProcessMaker for several reasons. First, the two applications share a similar architecture, which makes it simple to integrate and manage. Second, KnowledgeTree serves the same target market: small to medium businesses that are looking for a way to simplify and yet speed up core business processes. Finally, users that need document management functionality within the ProcessMaker application can now meet their infrastructure needs and users who need to manage their business processes in KnowledgeTree can do so as well.”

Daniel Chalef, COO of KnowledgeTree added, “Colosa’s ProcessMaker is perfectly-designed for SME customers that want a better way to handle business processes and workflow. The features with the application represent an opportunity to add additional value to our customers. ProcessMaker has unique functionality in the open source BPM space, in that it is entirely web-based, and includes two modules to design and manage business processes.

He concluded, “ProcessMaker’s open source heritage fits in with our philosophy of empowering enterprises with low costs and high functionality and enables us to deliver a feature-rich and compelling integration.”

About Colosa
Colosa is a developer of software solutions that enable companies to simplify workflow through the capture and automation of business processes.

The company’s flagship product, ProcessMaker ( is available in two versions, a free open source application called ProcessMaker OSS and an Enterprise version called ProcessMaker Enterprise. Both enable SMEs to automate document intensive, approval-based processes across systems including finance, HR and operations. ProcessMaker is an AJAX enabled, SOA, web-based application that allows users across single and multiple sites to create and share workflows, customize forms, manage processes, and enhance reporting. ProcessMaker OSS is available for download at and both versions are available at

Colosa was founded in 2000 and has customers in local and central government, retail and finance. Colosa is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts with offices in Coral Gables, FL; La Paz, Bolivia; and Lima, Peru. For more information visit

About KnowledgeTree
KnowledgeTree’s vision is to make document management simple. With no vendor lock-in and with source code readily available, KnowledgeTree provides a more flexible, easy to use, and cost-effective alternative to proprietary document management applications.

The application’s focus on ease of use and strong Microsoft Windows and Office integration toolset has made it a compelling, high-value document management solution for all organizations. The web-based and AJAX-enabled application is built on the popular open source LAMP (Apache/MySQL/PHP) stack and a community edition is released under the GPLv3. Commercial editions are available as single-click installers for Microsoft Windows and Linux, a software appliance and a novel Software-as-a-Service application running on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud.

Commercial customers include the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, DHL Global Mail, Société Générale Group, the State of Georgia Department of Audits, the European Space Agency, Cable & Wireless, Mazda Motor Europe and Decathlon Stores.

To download a trial of KnowledgeTree Premium, visit

To learn more about KnowledgeTree Community Edition, and to participate in community activities, visit