List of top open source BPM / workflow solution

workflowEvery 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 five open source BPM / Workflow solutions for you to evaluate before trying the proprietary ones.

1. Intalio

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.

2. ProcessMaker
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

Read my initial review of ProcessMaker.

3. BonitaSoft

Bonita Open Solution is an intuitive and powerful open source business process management solution which is applicable for simple to complex processes.

The Bonita Studio which meets the business process management notation standard (BPMN) is part of the Bonita Open Solution which includes the Bonita Execution Engine and Bonita User Experience.

One strong point about Bonita Open Solution is its great user experience which is quite similar to your standard email Inbox for you to easily and quickly organize your work, follow up on tasks / cases and collaborate with colleagues.

4. Activiti

Activiti is an open source BPM platform for Java based environment. It’s source code is distributed under the Apache license.

Within the Activiti BPM platform are the following components namely: Activiti Engine, Activiti Modeler, Activiti Designer, Activiti Probe, Activiti Explorer and Activiti Cycle.

Unlike other open source bpm tools, Activiti is supported and developed by several companies such as SpringSource, Atos Origin, Signavio, Camunda and more.

5. UEngine

uEngine BPM is an open source BPMS that has been registered in SourceForge.net since 2003.

The uEngine BPM suite is divided into the following three key components:

  • uEngine BPM Foundation – with modeling tool and process engine
  • uEngine Process Portal – with dashboard and single sign on capabilities
  • uEngine BP Analyzer – OLAP based process analyzer

Besides being just a BPM suite, its uEngine BPM foundation is built along side other notable open source applications such as the Liferay Enterprise Portal, Mondrian OLAP Server, JBoss Drools BRE and Apache Axis II.

6. Cuteflow

Cuteflow, unlike Intalio and ProcessMaker, 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

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So there you go, some open source BPM comparison for your organization to begin automating business processes. One thing about automating a business process is to ensure that a process is already mature. 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.

About the author

Bob Lee

Hi! My name is Bob Lee and I’m a web developer / technical writer who specializes in developing and reviewing web applications. As an entrepreneur, blogger, developer, and tech enthusiast, I have been in this field for more than 10 years, and have been loving every minute of it.

21 Comments

  • Hello!

    I’m working in a cleaning outsourcing company and my boss asked me to find a BPM easily to use, any recommendation besides of the ones above or maybe which it could fit better with the type of the company I work with. Thanks!

  • you want to be able to turn your BPMN processes into running applications, we just released BizAgi Xpress BPM Suite. So go on, visit our web site at http://www.bizagi.com, download it (no questions asked) and experience the power and simplicity of BizAgi Xpress; it provides enterprise class functionality at very low cost!

  • Hello
    THis seems to be very comprehensive mailing list for BPM related discussion. Congratulation for coming up with same.
    I have been tasked with converting already automated processes to BPEN/BPEL.
    By already automated I mean, we have a proprietary work flow tool with in our organization. There is rule engine and rules. However these rules are not standard BPEN rules. However some most complex business processes have been defined using this tool and they are buried in database tables.
    What should be starting point for the project
    Rgds
    Kapil

  • uEngine
    Very bad documentation, pour open-source support and not really good code structure inside,

  • Process Maker is a Pig to set up, and is very sluggish in its operations, the way it works is to create a virtual site copy for each process in the directory, and then deliver the pages this makes is quite sluggish,, and prone to cache synch problems.

  • Hi,

    Yaoqiang BPMN Editor (YBE) is a graphical editor for business process diagrams , compliant with OMG specifications( BPMN

    2.0 ).

    If you are interested in my project. you can visit it at: http://bpmn.sourceforge.net.

    Any advice or suggestion will be appreciated.

    Greetings,
    Blenta.

  • We used Feith Systems for our company’s workflow software
    needs, I suggest you also take a look at them.

  • WSO2 Business Process Server (BPS)
    ——————————————-
    WSO2 Business Process Server (BPS) is an easy-to-use Open Source Business Process Server that executes business processes written following WS-BPEL standard. WS-BPEL is emerging as the de-facto standard for composing multiple synchronous and asynchronous web services into collaborative and transactional process flows which increase the flexibility and agility of your Service Oriented Architecture. WSO2 BPS is powered by Apache ODE and available under Apache Software License v2.0. WSO2 BPS provides a complete Web based graphical console to deploy, manage and monitor business process and process instances.
    WSO2 BPS is developed on top of the revolutionary Carbon platform (Middleware a’ la carte), and is based on the OSGi framework to achieve the better modularity for you SOA. Carbon platform contains lots of new features and many other optional components that can be used to customize or enhance the functionalities provided by BPS to suits you SOA needs. In addition to installing optional components you can uninstall unwanted features without any trouble.

    Ref: http://wso2.org/project/bps/2.1.2/docs/

  • Great intro! I am curious to know if any of these products could manage project activities, anywhere from small scale moves and changes up to large scale systems replacements, for instance? I think workflow is the next big thing for the enterprise to tackle, but it needs to be so pervasive that the users and management view it as the work delivery mechanism. It provides the tasks in the right sequence, grades your performance, etc. 

    I am tired of working in a company where I have to constantly learn the “process”. I honestly dont want to know what the process is – only to get my tasks done! Unless of course, my task is to build and feed the workflow engine! 

  • Hi,
    I’m wondering if Intalio can be defined an Open Source solution. You have to pay if you want the source code.

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