The Difference Between BPM and Workflow Automation

A business needs to be innovative in every aspect, including in its day-to-day processes and activities. All efforts...

A business needs to be innovative in every aspect, including in its day-to-day processes and activities. All efforts must be made to maximize productivity and reduce inefficiencies. This is where the modern-day solutions like Business Process Management and Workflow Automation come to your rescue.

Let’s understand both of these tools individually and also see how they are different from each other.

Business Process Management (BPM)

BPM basically means adopting a structured approach to business operations using one or more software applications. It aims to streamline the activity flow in the most efficient manner and make best use of the resources of the organization – both human and material.

Benefits of BPM

With the help of Business Process Management, monitoring, evaluating, and maintaining business functions become easier and more efficient. Process owners are able to establish customized parameters for better management. Furthermore, seamless data access across all processes helps in improved planning and execution.

Workflow Automation

As the name suggests, workflow automation means automating a business process to save time and team efforts. Unlike BPM, it focuses on streamlining only one activity within the entire process flow. Having said that, a workflow can be integrated with other processes or IT tools, but the automation is designed specifically for that one activity.

Benefits of Workflow Automation

  • Lower operational costs – By automating its workflows, a business is able to substantially reduce costs by getting faster work through lesser resources.
  • Improved efficiency – Automation helps in excluding unnecessary steps within a workflow, thus improving the overall efficiency of the process.
  • Superior control – Workflow Automation enables standardization of working methodologies and provides auditing trails for better managerial control.
  • Better flexibility – Automated processes are comparatively easy to scale up or down as per business requirements. This is especially helpful for small ventures or businesses with irregular order inflows.

Difference between BPM and Workflow Automation

Workflow Automation can be termed as a subdomain of BPM. While BPM is an overall structuring of a business process, workflow automation is limited to a specific activity within those processes.

To understand things better, let us take an example of the accounting department of a business. Business process management will include managing its complete activity set like payables, team salaries, vendors etc. On the other hand, workflow automation for this department can be setting up an application to manage payables only.

It is important to understand that although BPM seems to include workflow within its scope, in application both are equally important. BPM is like the business head that gives overall direction and workflow automation the manager who implements a specific work in complete details. And a business needs both a CEO and a manager to survive.