How do I Choose the Best Business Process Software?

Gerald Bramlett

Business process software enables the enterprise to engage users more easily in the management of critical business processes and enables business process optimization. In choosing a business process software package, it is important to select a product that can improve business process redesign while streamlining existing processes. To make the choice properly, you first will need to consider the processes that are important to the enterprise. Next, consider products that employ the most user-friendly design, keeping in mind the team atmosphere found on most modern corporations. Finally, it is critical to have the involvement of the information technology (IT) department to select a product that functions seamlessly with the existing architecture but is scalable.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

The first step in choosing business process software should be the easiest, but the opposite often is true. Enterprises normally create decision-making teams using employees from all departments of the company, and these employees should understand the processes important to the enterprise. The reality is that individuals from different departments often hold conflicting views of what is and is not an important process, so it often is wise to include an outside consultant who is familiar with business process software to help streamline this part of the decision making process. Although an outside consultant adds cost, he or she also will offer an unbiased view of the company and may suggest items that the team may overlook. This can save money in the long term by preventing the need for upgrades to the system, which can be more expensive after purchase of the business process software package.

After the team has its list of processes, it should form a list of tools to fit the requirements of the users and the IT department in a business process software package. This should include social components for team collaboration, including instant messaging, wikis and blogs. Business process management teams will need customized spaces in which to collaborate and should be able to add new team participants with little or no need to consult the IT department. In addition, business processes should be easy to document, through the use of image, document and records administration, as well as web tracking and business process monitoring.

When the team has completed its list of processes and tools, the IT department will form its list of requirements for the business process software. The IT department should be able to rapidly add and execute new modules when needed, as well as monitor and change existing business processes. As new business processes are developed, the IT department should be able to implement them rapidly with little to no downtime. The business process server needs to integrate well with the existing network and applications platforms. Finally, the IT department should look for reliability and scalability, with reduced network use.

If the decision is made correctly, the business process software you choose will be a composite of all mission-critical elements and as many “wants” as possible. To ensure this blend, it is important to involve all departments, especially the IT department, and respect the needs of all departments. An outside consultant can make this easier, keeping everyone honest. The product chosen should be an easy-to-use product that will make the enterprise more efficient and thereby more profitable.

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