Recently a friend asked, what’s a good open source BPM / Workflow solution.
Every organization has its own distinct business processes that differentiate them from their competitors.
Some companies have predefined processes while some have processes that are defined by the employees themselves. Imagine what would happen if each customer support representative has 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
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.
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
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 considerations.
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 managing 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.
Bonita Open Solution is an intuitive and powerful open source business process management solution that 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.
Activiti is an open source BPM platform for Java-based environment. Its 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.
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 alongside other notable open source applications such as the Liferay Enterprise Portal, Mondrian OLAP Server, JBoss Drools BRE and Apache Axis II.
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 web interface.
Some key features of Cuteflow includes:
- Free and Open Source!
- Web based 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.