How Do I Choose the Best Open Source Workflow Software?

D. Nelson

Open source software is any kind of computer program based on source code that users can access and change, often for no cost. Professionals who use workflow software are usually interested in analyzing and optimizing business processes. Workflow software allows users to create diagrams illustrating the stages through which information or business products pass, as well as to organize documents. To choose the best open source workflow software, it can be helpful to consider the needs of your business, which can help you determine which features to look for. It can also be a good idea to consider the functionality and security of the software.

Before downloading open source workflow software, choose a program that has received good open source reviews.
Before downloading open source workflow software, choose a program that has received good open source reviews.

Professionals who seek open source workflow software that allows them only greater levels of transparency of business processes might find it easiest to deal with basic software. These programs are generally easy to use and may not include any programming knowledge. Some common functions of this kind of workflow software are the ability to create maps that illustrate business processes and generate libraries that include template documents that can be used for financial, legal, and contractual purposes.

Larger businesses and organizations that have complicated processes may choose more complex open source workflow software. These programs often allow users to create maps and models of ideal business processes. Users can then transfer these models into systems that automate processes based on models. This allows for an automatic workflow in which information may pass from stage to stage with little manual control. While some kinds of software are relatively user friendly, many programs still do require users to have programming knowledge.

Some opponents of open source software believe that many of the programs have design flaws and tend to malfunction. While this point is debatable, a number of professionals feel safer using closed software that must be purchased. These professionals may still use open source workflow software to become familiar with common workflow functions. By testing open source software, they can gain insight into which functions they need in a closed software model.

As with any kind of product, users have different experiences with workflow programs. Before downloading open source workflow software and entering sensitive information, it can be a good idea to choose a program that has received good open source reviews. Consumer websites and trade publications often contain unbiased ratings.

Many experts believe that security is a greater issue in open source software than in closed source products. When you are reading reviews of different workflow programs, make sure to find information regarding security measures that can applied to programs. Workflow information can often be valuable, especially when sensitive client data is included.

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