Workflow management software channels the flow of a project’s work, directing its course from A to Z. A solid workflow tool serves as a guide for the current of project tasks that need to happen along the way, with the project outcomes being fully formed as they flow through different processes, check, and balances.
Workflow management software adds a layer of structure and visibility to your workflow, helping you turn ideas into products, and concepts into processes. These tools helps you ensure that the project is delivered properly and that the quality of the project is maintained. These tools support you as you schedule tasks, collaborate with others, manage workloads, create and share documentation, and evaluate progress. Today, workflow management software is a must-have for keeping teams unified, especially with the growing complexity and fast pace of our multi-taking, distributed workforce.
Taking advantage of the new capabilities offered by automation and the availability of useful data for decision-making, you can do so much better than a to-do list—you can support your team with an entire ecosystem of business process management tools (BPM tools) for creating efficient, optimized workflows.
The trick is in knowing how to choose best workflow management software for your team, your business goals, and your budget. Here’s a break-down of the best workflow management software along with key criteria to consider in choosing a workflow tool.
What Does A Workflow Management Software Do? (And How It Can Help You)
What Is Workflow Software?
At its core, a workflow management system (WMS) is a set of functions for setting up, doing, and monitoring business tasks.
What Does Workflow Software Do?
Workflow management software goes by many names—you might hear it referred to as including BPM software, or simply process management software. No matter what you call it, all workflow tools offer an interface for visually representing a your workflow and optimizing its many moving parts.
Freelancers, agencies, enterprises, and everyone in between can benefit from some kind of workflow tool, with the aim of increased productivity, reduced costs, better communication, and a fluid exchange of information within a project. You can use workflow management software for anything from monitoring deadlines at an individual level, to automating recurring tasks on a project level, to evaluating and optimizing projects’ performance on a business level.
Workflow software automates these processes. It contributes to a BPM framework or methodology.
What Is BPM Framework?
A BPM framework (business process management) framework is a process-centric framework that provides definition for and visibility into an organization’s sets of coordinated tasks.
What Is BPM Methodology?
BPM methodology aims to simplify business processes from end to end in order to increase productivity and efficiency. BPM methodology includes analyzing business processes, creating new frameworks, and monitoring processes for continuous optimization.
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The Best Workflow Management Software To Boost Your Team’s Efficiency
At the bottom of the post, we include a table summarizing basic info about the tools described in this article as well as an explanation of our selection criteria, so you can understand how we made this list of workflow management software.
The Best Workflow Management Software To Boost Your Team’s Efficiency
monday.com, an award winning platform, is one of the few workflow tools that prides itself in ‘not being a project management tool’! They’ve done away with a lot of the trimmings of typical workflow tools and focused instead on a structure and views that help clarify the sequence of work that needs to be done.
You put tasks on a board, and then you add in the steps you’ll need to take to get it done. It’s vaguely similar to a spreadsheet (a nicer-looking one)— if you’re currently using spreadsheets for project management, monday.com is a good choice because it can round out your workflow with alerts, notifications, integrations and automated processes. monday.com’s features include a customizable task board for managing task status, assignee, due date, hours spent, etc.
The tool offers multiple views of work—view by list, by geographical map, on a Kanban board, and others. It also offers a great project dashboard with a Gantt chart style overview for checking all projects that are underway. Apart from that, monday.com enable big picture view using dashboards that collect data from multiple boards, allowing better tracking abilities of progress. It doesn’t offer much in the way of financial reporting, though, so for budget-related reports you’d want to look at 3rd party integrations.
monday.com’s integrations include Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible via Zapier. For help setting up integrations, the company’s customer support is available 24/7 by phone or email.
monday.com pricing starts at $17/month for two users.
Summary of monday.com:
- Automation: Pass
- KPI Reports: Pass
- Deadline Tracking: Pass
- Integrations: Pass
This is the buffet of workflow management software. Combining projects, cases, and collaboration with its core functionality, workflows, Kissflow offers a unified digital workplace for all forms of work, both manual and automated. The visual interface lets users drag and drop elements to create any number of apps without any coding. Users can either build on top of apps spanning across multiple categories like HR, Finance, Procurement in their gallery or build one from scratch.
The platform is highly intuitive and requires little to no effort to learn. The customizable workflows and dynamic routing lets users adapt when requirements change or as teams scale. Users can prioritize work and easily delegate work to the team members. Users get instant notifications when an item is complete or requires action. Further, users can identify bottlenecks, track task flows, and drastically improve efficiency. Kissflow is intrinsically connected with G-suite and users can make use of its open API to integrate with any other tool.
There’s nothing else quite like Kissflow on the market. This tool offers highly configurable, trigger-based workflows and advanced reporting features like KPI dashboards and ad-hoc reports configuration. Kissflow is a good tool for teams or projects whose makeup, processes, or framework can experience change at the drop of a hat. However, for users who are building workflows that require more system-integrations rather than human tasks, Kissflow may not have all the features required.
Kissflow starts at $360/month for up to 30 users and offers a 14-day free trial.
Summary of Kissflow:
- Automation: Pass
- KPI Reports: Pass
- Deadline Tracking: Pass
- Integration: Pass
Hive is a project management tool, collaboration platform and workflow management software that powers companies like Starbucks, Uber, WeWork and IBM. With AI-based analytics, thousands of integrations, flexible project views, and more, Hive streamlines your workflow in one centralized platform. Used by teams of varying sizes, from 10 people to 1,000, Hive is a great option for a diverse range of companies and work styles.
Hive’s time-tracking, analytics and flexible view capabilities allow for transparent understanding of other team-members work and upcoming projects. Hive also has one of the first full email integrations in any project management tool, which allows you to send and receive Gmail and Outlook messages from the app. Choose Hive if you’re in the market for a well-laid-out, comprehensive workflow management tool that can be scaled up or down based on team needs.
The tool costs $12 per user per month when billed annually.
Summary of Hive:
- Automation: Pass
- KPI Reports: Pass
- Deadline Tracking: Pass
- Integration: Pass
4. Wrike – Best For Scaling Organizations.
Wrike is an intuitive workflow management software suitable for teams of five or more, and offers an unlimited number of users. As a highly configurable software, users can customize workflows, dashboards, reports, and request forms.
Wrike’s simple interface enables users to switch between Kanban boards, interactive drag-and-drop Gantt charts, and traditional workload views for visualizing priorities. Wrike also features powerful automation, with custom request forms that auto-assign tasks, push notifications, and deadline tracking. Users can get advanced insights with KPI reports, resource management and allocation, and more. The tool also offers a variety of different solutions depending on the type of team or organization, including marketing teams and professional service teams.
Wrike offers more than 400 native integrations, including popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Wrike costs $9.80/user/month. There are four different price points, including a free version and plans with the option to invite free external collaborators to a paid account.
5. Quixy – Best no-code workflow management software
Quixy is a user-friendly no-code business application platform that empowers users with no coding skills to automate workflows and processes. Users can assess, design, model, implement, monitor, and modify any processes using simple and efficient drag and drop design.
Quixy provides dozens of pre-built workflow applications for a variety of use cases such as CRM, project management, HRMS, travel and expense management, helpdesk and incident management, and much more. Quixy also offers automation options, and users can build custom workflows and processes to fit the needs of their team or department. The tool also includes capabilities for tracking project and task milestones.
The platform is rated Leader – Asia Pacific for No-Code Application Development on G2. The platform is ISO 27001 and SOC 2 Type 2 certified. Quixy’s API allows integration with other third-party apps and tools.
Pricing starts at $10/user/month.
6. Smartsheet – Cloud-based platform that allows organizations of all sizes to plan, capture, manage, automate, and report on work being done.
Smartsheet is a spreadsheet-like project management tool. It has won a few awards for quickly becoming a favorite business app. It’s a nice workflow management software if you’re comfortable working in Excel but wants a break from complicated formulas—Smartsheet performs all the calculations for you across multiple sheets. You can also add customized brand logos and set color themes for individual projects.
Smartsheet has useful features such as workflow automation and visualization of tasks in Gantt, calendar and card views. Team members get notified of critical changes in real-time, and the tool provides shared views, detail history, activity logs, automated alerts, reminder, and status reports to keep everyone aligned and informed. The Critical Path feature highlights all the tasks which directly impact your project completion date to keep an eye on important milestones. Reporting is a strong feature of this workflow tool, with editable summary reports that you can easily export to Excel.
Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, servicenow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.
Smartsheet costs from $14/user/month and offers a 30-day trial.
7. TeamGantt – Best For Creating Drag And Drop Gantt Charts.
TeamGantt is a workflow management solution that works right in your browser, making it compatible with any OS. Users can plan and manage projects with this super-easy-to-use Gantt software and invite co-workers, teammates, and friends to view and edit their work.
Create your Gantt chart online by simply dragging and dropping your tasks to plan your workflow, making this software easily adaptable with a lean learning curve.
TeamGantt’s workflow tools let you keep all of your tasks, documents, conversations, and team availability stats in one place. You can also connect documents and conversations directly to the associated task or milestone.
TeamGantt integrates with Slack, Trello, Basecamp, Google Calendar, iCal, and Outlook. Or, build a custom integration using TeamGantt’s public RESTful API.
TeamGantt is free for up to 3 users and 1 project. Paid plans cost from $24.95/month.
8. Process Street – Best For Automating Scheduled Tasks.
Process Street is a process-driven tool that adapts well to simple workflow strategies. While Process Street doesn’t offer as much as other workflow management software tools in terms of analytics and reporting, it’s a good fit for teams with document-driven workflows. The free plan welcomes an unlimited number of users, which is a nice trade-off for being feature lite in some areas.
Process Street’s approach breaks up workflow management into three chunks: handling documentation (creating, exporting, and embedding procedure documents and templates), running trigger-based workflows (for random events initiated by a trigger, such as a client onboarding), and programming scheduled tasks that run on an automated schedule. Its drag-and-drop task manager makes it easy for anyone to use.
With many tools for process documentation and workflow automation, it’s a good choice for teams who want a streamlined process framework without a maze of features to get lost in.
Process Street integrations include 1000+ apps through Zapier. It also integrates with Formstack, opening up a world of additional templates.
Process Street costs from $12.50/user/month for the Business Plan, but also offers a freemium account.
9. Formstack – Best For Small Teams.
Formstack’s workflow management is centered around an easy-to-use form builder. They offer an impressive template library with over 200 pre-built business forms to customize. This document workflow software is good for small agencies, as it’s a bit of a “one-stop” admin shop. Overall, it’s a higher price-per-user than many of the other workflow tools, but if your processes are documentation-heavy, this tool pays for itself in those time-saving templates.
Formstack features include some workflow automation, such as automatically collecting payments or collecting data and routing it to people who need it. The dashboard provides a visual display of your data and KPIs, and even in basic versions, you can access custom visual reports of metrics like unique views, conversion rates, and abandonment rates to assess your campaigns.
Formstack integrations include business applications like Salesforce, PayPal, MailChimp, Slack, ZenDesk, and 40 others.
Formstack costs from $19/month for 1 user, which allows you to create online forms. Note: the caveat with using Formstack for workflow management specifically is that you can’t really access many of the workflow features until you upgrade to the Gold plan ($82.50/month for 5 users).
10. ProWorkflow – Best For Visual Deadline Tracking.
Created in 2002, ProWorkflow was designed as a workflow management solution with flexible communication strategies. The workflow dashboard can be seen by assigned staff, clients, and contractors and includes tasks, time, messages, files, quotes, invoices, and more. In addition to seeing upcoming projects and tasks, there is also a ‘Recent Work’ tab and the ability to see who is currently working on what.
This tool also supplies comprehensive messaging features that are integrated with your existing email. Recipients can reply to the message from their email client and replies are added to the project discussion.
The ProWorkflow mobile app works with a touchscreen smartphone or tablet and offers core features like time tracking and task management on-the-go. Additionally, you can use the app for document management and internal messaging related to your workflow protocols.
ProWorkflow integrates with tools like Xero, Quickbooks, KashFlow, FreshBooks, MYOB AccountRight, Box Storage, DropBox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and hundreds more through Zapier.
ProWorkflow costs from $10/user/month, which includes a maximum of 10 active projects.
Summary Of The Best Workflow Management Software
Here’s a table summarizing basic info about the tools described in this article. View pricing as well as availability of free trials to make a quick side-by-side comparison.
Other Workflow Management Software Worth Considering
I haven’t had a chance to review these properly, but if the tools included in the review aren’t working for you, consider checking out these additional BPM tools:
Want Help Narrowing Down the Options?
This tool is pretty useful. We’ve partnered with Crozdesk to give you access to their “Software Finder”.
If you input some of the details about your project and the features you’re looking for in a project management tool, it will generate a list of tools that match your preferences. You provide your email, and they send over a nice PDF guide with a summary of your best matches.
Workflow Management Software Selection Criteria
Some workflow automation software is more comprehensive than others—some are focused on managing the workflow itself (assigning tasks, creating dependencies, tracking deadlines). This type of application might also go by the name of workflow diagram software or workflow diagrams software. Others offer a more robust workflow management system as part of a broader resource management software or project management software. As such, they offer a suite of additional business features for creating process forms, handling invoices and payments, modeling data, managing a project portfolio, and more.
In our selection of workflow management software, we narrowed down our criteria to a few key points. These are the essential functions of a useful workflow tool:
This is the whole point of using workflow software. We examine the tools’ time-saving automation functionalities, such as automatically assigning tasks, sending push notifications, routing documentation, sending status updates, and generating reports.
2. KPI reports
This is usually some type of dashboard with graphic displays of your workflow stats. KPI reporting not only gives team members insight into their task or project status, but also gives management insight into where inefficiencies are occurring so you can optimize your business processes.
3. Deadline tracking
Even with a dashboard, when you’re running dozens of workflows, it’s easy to lose sight of deadlines. To be useful, a workflow tool has to offer a clear system for SLA indicators. Tools use notifications, color-coding, and dashboard views that display tasks by due date in order to help you manage deadlines.
Nowadays, all projects require multiple tools. Your workflow management software absolutely must integrate with other apps that you use for your business. This includes calendars, CMS, development tools, databases, email and communication tools, payment processing apps, etc
The value that you get from a workflow tool has to align with the price you’re paying. The best workflow software for you won’t require you to pay for features you don’t need or users you don’t have. We evaluate tool’s pricing based on its simplicity, transparency, and value offered at the price.
How To Choose The Best Workflow Management Software?
The best workflow software out there is one that aligns closely with the requirements of your business processes. When choosing, ask yourself:
What Do You Need It For?
When asking this, you’re really trying to identify: are my processes human- or system-centric? A human-centric workflow focuses more on bringing people and their tasks, documents, and progress into one place. A system-centric workflow focuses on bringing different business processes or systems together, integrating their functions to create a unified workflow in one space.
Who Is Going To Use It?
How many people are on your team? Who is going to use the tool, and do you require role-based access control? You’ll also need to ask yourself what types of people will be using the tool in order to decide if you require something code-based or with low/no code.
When thinking of your team, it’s easy to assume that a large team necessarily needs more complex workflow functions. However, keep in mind that even large projects can work best with simple workflows where all that’s really necessary is the ability to assign tasks, share documentation, and track deadlines. On the flip-side, even very small teams can have complex workflows that benefit from advanced reporting, resource management, and optimization features.
How Would That Fit Into Your Process?
Does this tool fit in with your existing toolkit and integrate with the right tools? If this is one of the first tools you’re adding, will it scale and expand in order to meet your needs as you grow? Ask yourself whether your team will use it online, or if they need something that works offline as well.
How Long To Get It Running Smoothly?
Is it easy to implement? Along with this, look at the ease of onboarding: is it a tool that your team can easily learn to use? Many tools offer different levels of support based on your pricing tier—does it offer technical support, or will you be left hanging? Finally, is the solution hosted, or will you maintain the infrastructure behind it?
How Much Does It Cost?
Prices fall into a wide range from $0-$40 per user per month. Most workflow tools are priced per user, which highlights the importance of considering how many team members will use it—as well as how many team members are going to be using it in the future. Make sure you look at how the cost will increase as you scale—not only will your costs increase with each team member, but you may also need to bump up your plan to a more expensive tier as your business needs expand.
What Do You Think?
What did you consider when choosing a workflow management software? What’s your experience with choosing and using workflow software? Share with our community what you think is the most important considerations in selecting a workflow tool.