The emergence of Lean Business Process Management or Low Code solutions has opened the BPM space, which has traditionally been dominated by the major players, such as IBM and Oracle, and within the purchasing domain of enterprises. Lean BPM solutions which have as their core functionality, task management and automated workflow features, are challenging this dominance and have done so by drastically reducing the cost-barrier to entry, and also by simplifying the deployment and integration of the solution in practice.
But what are you buying when you deploy a Lean BPM solution and will it do the job you need?
The Major Features of a Low Code Business Process Management Solution are:
Enterprise Task Management & Project Management
These are not necessarily synonymous, but a task management systems is at the heart of any project management solution, so the two bear close similarity. Here you will find the functionality that fosters team collaboration, the creation of custom forms (task types) and fields, reporting when a task is coming overdue, or in fact late and the ability to import data from 3rd party applications via CSV files.
The better Lean BPM solutions provide visual workflows which are automated, as in you use a visual, drag-and-drop UI to design your workflows, but instead of then requiring developers to code the workflows into your system, they are automatically pushed to the task management system. This allows for fast modification and extremely fast deployment, allowing for you to practice in truth the Holy Grail of continuous improvement.
Specific features will include the ability to create and push simple through to highly complex workflows, the automation of approval procedures (and maintain workflows in a compliant fashion), resource reassignment depending on preset conditions you create, and automatic decision-making as to task routing.
This is an extremely useful feature of Lean BPM solutions, because you are able to see in real-time, what your resource utilization actually is. This speeds the identification of bottlenecks, and ensures you are able to assess what work you can take on in addition to existing loads.
You should be able to create customized work schedules, enjoy time-tracking and utilization reporting, integrate time tracking with billing and other systems, and have automatic reporting and summary notifications to decision makers by email.
Compliance Management and Audit Trails
With such a heavily regulated business environment, it is indispensable to have a compliance trail and audit log which provides an undisputed record of who did what, when and what the outcome of that action was.
Every field which is changed, every act within the Lean BOM system should be logged to provide a system-wide compliance and regulatory record. This will specifically require role-based permission, the ability to archive multiple data versions and digital asset management. Look for solutions which show they are compliant with the following: ISO, SOX, SAS 70 and NIST 800-53.
You ought to be able to quickly and easily access all of your information, and customize how reports look with the ability to get as granular as you require. The automation of recurring reporting is a major productivity booster, and saves a great deal of time for managers who must prepare them.
You need easy reporting, as this will quickly identify ROI, and how productive and effective you really are. In addition, you should be able to design, review, modify and quickly publish your reports with automatic routing to recipients via email as required. Look for reporting wizards, with export & API capability, an open database schema and scheduling ability.
Jane Wrythe is a business writer who focuses on technology, and she is currently working reviewing Lean BPM and enterprise task management systems, such as JobTraQ.