Workflow and task management systems have matured and developed into Low Code or Lean Business Process Management solutions. Pioneering offerings, such as JobTraQ, Appian, AtTask, Wrike and others, have emerged to challenge the traditional BPM providers such as IBM and Oracle, but at the same time deliver much more than simple Excel-based solutions, or the rigidly outlined offerings from Basecamp.
Lean BPM is becoming big business, and with the major obstacles of cost and deployment issues now removed, enterprise class workflow, task management and pragmatic process management are all within the grasp of even small companies (typically those with 20 users or more).
The most common features you will find with a Workflow and Task Management software solution are as follows:
Available as SaaS or On Premises Versions
Pretty much every Lean or Low Code BPM solution is now available in either SaaS or On Premises flavors – it really depends on what your own data security requirements are, and business/operational issues, such as the need for mobile access and flexibility. There is little to differentiate in the price too, though On Premises versions tend to require slightly more resources and internal support, as they need a server stood up by your IT department.
Obviously we will see a task management solution in here, but in particular we’re going to see some specific functionality (and you should be aware of this when reviewing solutions). Specific features will include true team and cross-business collaboration, the creation of customized task types (forms) and field manipulation, alerts and notifications (when work is coming due or overdue), data importation from common file formats, such as CSV files.
In addition, there should be the ability to allow anyone to assign a task, not just administrators. Also, role-based permissions should be employed to make administration simpler and faster,while enhancing access security.
Workflow visualization is available to varying degrees with Lean BPM solutions, but this is not a standard. Better quality products will employ easy-to-use, drag-and-drop UIs for designing workflows processes. One in particular, JobTraq, pulls quite a neat trick: the visual editor for designing workflow automatically pushes the individual task/action components into the task manager, automatically following your preset compliance procedures. In short, if you can draw a workflow on a piece of paper, you can make your workflow operational yourself – and all without the need for any specialist coding knowledge or the need for a dev team.
Reporting modules allow for very specific, granular drill-down reporting, but at the same time allow you to customize just what you want to see and how. Even more productive, is the functionality which allows you to automatically generate reports using report wizards, and then provides automatic notification to report recipients by email. Look specifically for an open database schema, backed by export and API functionality – these features allow you to fully automate report creation and distribution, which dramatically saves management time, allowing senior management to focus on optimizing business operations and making increased profits and ROI.
Jane Wrythe is a business and technology writer focusing on IT systems and enhanced performance, and she is currently working with Swift Systems.