If you’ve spent a lot of time with BPM tools like me, you know that they always reach a limit. A new, shiny offering may seem like the most innovative product on the market, but just like that shiny Christmas toy, it starts to lose its luster after a while. Even if you have an elusive “Wow” feeling, you soon slip into working against the BPM software rather than with it.
Or maybe you fall in love with a BPM system, but you can’t get mass adoption of the tool because it is slightly too technical or doesn’t have a top notch UX.
So what if you could build a super BPM system from the ground up? What would make your BPM system wishlist? Here’s mine:
- A Beautiful, Intuitive Process Designer
I want it sleek, smooth, and smart. I want it to look simple for simple workflows and open up with a boss-load of tools when it needs to – parallel branches, conditional situations, jumps, etc.
But because I’m going to put this thing in the hands of regular business users, I don’t want it to have the typical BPM notation we all love to hate. I want my business users to be able to create the workflow thinking about business steps in a very simple way. The process should be able to handle rejections and kickbacks on its own.
- A Form Designer With No Limits
This always kills me. You invest in a product that says it has a great drag-and-drop form designer and it looks pretty good. But as soon as you start making a form for someone, they come up with a situation that seems to be an exception. I want no exceptions – checkboxes, signature fields, data references, date and time fields – I want everything. I want to be able to pull up data from any other workflow I have going and filter it to maintain privacy.
And as soon as someone says, “Is it possible to do this?”, I want my answer to be “Yes,” every time.
- Easy Access Controls That Seal Up Data
When it comes to data security, I want to easily be able to hide and lock up fields that don’t need to be edited or seen by different people. Give me conditional viewing based on data in the form, or based on who is looking at the form. I want to control the data seen at every step and be able to do it with minimal clicks.
- Hipster-Quality Native Mobile Apps
Gone are the days when a web-based tool can be web only. When I set up a BPM project for someone, I want to show them a native mobile app (in both Android and iPhone for goodness sakes), that looks and runs as smooth as any other app they’ve seen. It shouldn’t look like it was designed 10 years ago and it should give all the functionality a user needs.
- Admin Features that Give Complete Control
When I start to demo a BPM project for a client, one of the main areas of question is about how much control an Admin can have. I hate saying “Well, no you can’t do that.” I want to give lots and lots of power to the person who is responsible for the workflow. She should be able to reassign tasks, jump in and save requests, see the data as it moves through the workflow, and tweak the process without breaking everything.
- Seamless SSO to Eliminate Password Fails
I am starting to bemoan that look IT teams give when I say a BPM tool doesn’t have Single Sign-On. For them, that means adding another application’s data onto their already crazy application management platform. When BPM software comes with SSO, it’s one less barrier to “yes” for me.
- Happy Integrations
Sometimes I get the feeling that BPM tools think they work best alone. But no company in the world would use a BPM tool that doesn’t integrate with other core software. So why does it seem like BPM system providers are always so reluctant and make it so difficult to pass on data to other systems. This should be standard and easy.
- Mesmerizing Reports and Analytics
The one things that usually clinches the deal when I’m looking for buy in is a solid report. But when I throw up a spreadsheet on a slide, no one gets excited. I’m talking about built-in charts and graphs that I don’t have to spend hours manipulating to show how well the process is running and how much time and money it is saving.
- No Lags…Ever
Performance is a huge issue when it comes to scaling a platform. So many of the new BPM tools look nice, but have never been tested in real time beyond a few hundred users. I want something that can take the weight of tens of thousands of users without even blinking. And I never want a customer to comment about how slow a system is working.
- Fool-Proof Process Metrics
One of the most powerful features you can offer to a business is the ability to control its own processes. When you allow a business user the power to adapt deadlines and analyze where bottlenecks are forming, they can immediately make the changes they need.
What’s on Your List?
If I could build a perfect model today, that’s what I would include. If I did it three years from now, I’d add in some AI and machine learning, but we can wait a bit for that. What would you add to this list?
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