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Boost Your Team’s Efficiency: Best Workflow Management Software of 2020

By 14/01/2020 4 Comments
 

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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.

The sheer variety of BPM tools is enough to overwhelm you! We examine the following tools:

Best workflow management software logo soup

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.

Ways - Workflow Management SoftwareFreelancers, 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 businesses 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

Featured - Workflow Management Software

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

  • 14 days free trial
  • From $17/2 users/month

1. monday.com

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:

  1. Automation: Pass
  2. KPI Reports: Pass
  3. Deadline Tracking: Pass
  4. Integrations: Pass
  • Free demo and trials available
  • From $30/user/month

2. Admation

Admation is a project management software made for marketing teams and agencies that want the benefit of multiple features rolled into one comprehensive tool. Combining project, resource and approval workflow management, Admation enables users to manage the full production cycle of their campaigns, from project set up to resourcing to managing the entire approval workflow.

With a user-friendly interface, Admation offers an exceptional range of project tracking software features and tools. A central dashboard enables you to have complete visibility over your projects and resources while offering an intuitive framework from which to manage all facets of your work.

Features include briefing templates, project resource templates, project timelines, scheduling and assigning tasks, document approval, capacity planning, department dashboard & calendar, resource allocation, timesheets and time tracking, a complete brand archive, permissions & access levels, tags & keywords, a secure digital storage system for your finalized ads, and more.   Integrations include email systems and Mediaocean, formally BCC, which is ad agency finance software.

Admation costs from $30 per user per month and offers a free demo and free trial upon request.

 

  • 14 days free trial
  • From $360/30 users/month

3. Kissflow

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:

  1. Automation: Pass
  2. KPI Reports: Pass
  3. Deadline Tracking: Pass
  4. Integration: Pass
  • 15 days free trial
  • From $8/user/month

4. Orchestly – A workflow management platform that helps enterprises automate, manage and optimize their routine business processes.

Orchestly is a workflow management software that helps automate, manage and optimize routine business workflows and standard operating procedures on a drag and drop platform. Built for medium and enterprise businesses in any industry, it helps automate workflows across departments like HR, Marketing, Finance, IT, and Legal.

Customizable forms make it easy to capture business information. Both simple and complex workflows can be mapped as flowcharts in a few minutes on a drag and drop workflow builder that doesn’t require in-depth technical knowledge.

You can ensure accountability by assigning the right people to the right stages of a process. Contextual data like comments and attachments can be requested from users during the process. Decision making can be automated by setting if-then conditions to route the flow. Manual labour can be eliminated by automating stages based on condition or time. Process exceptions can be handled through business rules.

Requestors can track everything in real time, and stay updated on requests. Employees know exactly what should be done, and when. Ready-made reports give you powerful insights on your process bottlenecks and redundancies, and you can create your own process-specific reports to analyze and improve your operational KPIs.

Orchestly has an Active Directory and role-based access control. You can integrate with your other tools and build your own third party app extensions as widgets. You can also connect to other tools via Zapier and Zoho Flow. There is a marketplace with several pre-built extensions like Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive and Zoho Sign as well.

Orchestly offers a 15-day free trial and has flexible user-based pricing that starts at $8/user per month. There is also an implementation team that can help you automate your organization’s workflows.

Summary of Orchestly:

  1. Automation: Pass
  2. KPI Reports: Pass
  3. Deadline Tracking: Pass
  4. Integrations: Pass
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $14/user/month

5. 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.

  • Free demo and workshops
  • $19/user/month

6. VOGSY – Sophisticated but simple professional services automation built on G Suite.

VOGSY is a workflow management tool that helps Professional Services Organizations (PSO) through unifying the essential workflows and data. This is done in one easy-to-use platform, automating operations from quote to cash, all on the google cloud.

You can manage your quote to cash workflow by VOGSY as well as opportunity management, generating & sending quotes to clients, creating projects, resource management, time-tracking and invoicing. Through all of this, VOGSY produces reports in real time on everything from project margins to employee billability and even the whole organization’s P&L. Along the way there are useful integrations into other G Suite apps such as Sheets and Drive.

The UI is modelled on Google’s material design, making it immediately familiar & intuitive to G Suite users. Setup is guided by both an in-product setup assistant, plus a dedicated customer success manager, with support provided by real developers, not call center employees reading from a script. This means onboarding is measured in days and weeks, not months and quarters, and won’t break the bank.

VOGSY is ideal for small to mid-sized Professional Services Organizations looking to lay solid foundations for future growth, or larger ones who have tech stacks that are out of control and want to bring their data and operations back into one, manageable place.

VOGSY’s integrations include all the leading CRMs such as SalesForce & HubSpot, and financial systems such as QuickBooks and Xero, allowing for a seamless flow all the way from lead generation to your bank account.

VOGSY costs $19/user/month. You’re charged monthly in arrears for the number of users you activate – no minimum commitment. They also offer a free demo and free workshops.

Summary of Vogsy:

  1. Automation: Pass
  2. KPI Reports: Pass
  3. Deadline Tracking: Pass
  4. Integrations: Pass
  • freemium version
  • 14 days free trial
  • From 9.80/user/month

7. Wrike

It’s hard to draw a comparison between lightweight tools like Asana with enterprise-grade tools like Wrike. If Asana were a bicycle, Wrike would be an SUV. They both get you from A to B, but the scenario and the user are clearly different. While Wrike offers several versions that are well-suited to small teams, this workflow management software comes equipped to quickly scale to an enterprise-grade solution.

Wrike simplifies managing your workflows with auto-assigned workflows that can be set to various folders, projects, and templates. In addition to task management, Wrike comes with a resource management suite of features, including Gantt charts, time-tracking, and budgeting. In fact, many of these are included in the Professional version ($9.80/user/month), offering a bit more than most other platforms for the typical price we often see hover around $10/user/month.

For reporting, Wrike has a leading edge. Among the reporting features, users can choose from report templates or use the report-building wizard to create custom reports and schedule notifications for any report updates. One major advantage of Wrike is its real-time reporting function, which can automatically share real-time reports with clients, stakeholders, etc.

In terms of integrations, Wrike also offers a distinct advantage, especially for teams using GitHub and Jira: as an add-on they offer a two-way sync with these platforms for better collaboration between technical teams. Wrike also integrates with dozens of other CMS, IT, automation, customer support, and file storage platforms.

Wrike costs from $9.80/user/month for the Professional plan (up to 15 users). There’s also a free plan for up to 5 users with simple task management functionality.

Summary of Wrike:

  1. Automation: Pass
  2. KPI Reports: Pass
  3. Deadline Tracking: Pass
  4. Integrations: Pass
  • 30 days free trial
  • From $29.95/user/month

8. Clarizen

Clarizen is not your high school prom date—this is marriage material, here.

This software has been in the game for a while (since 2006), and it shows: this is a well-developed, well-supported tool offering a wealth of business process management tools. These include dynamic reports and dashboards, automated repeatable processes and alerts, project and portfolio optimization features, resource management tools, and real-time visibility. In short: what’s not to like? This one’s a keeper. The only caveat to this robust, enterprise-grade solution is that, well, it’s priced like one. It isn’t designed or priced for smaller teams, offering only two versions: “Enterprise” and “Unlimited”.

This platform offers just about every tool or feature you could dream of: a well-rounded library of add-ons, as well as integrations, a flexible interface, and configurable workflows. On top of this, it’s reporting features are cutting edge, with a built-in report wizard for automatically generating presentations of your data. They even have a bot that integrates with Slack so you can keep up with events happening in Clarizen from inside your Slack account.

Clarizen integrations include essentials like Jira, Box, Salesforce, SAP, Slack, Google Drive, NetSuite, Oracle, and others.

Clarizen costs from $29.95/user/month.

Summary of Clarizen:

  1. Automation: Pass
  2. KPI Reports: Pass
  3. Deadline Tracking: Pass
  4. Integrations: Pass
  • 30 days free trial
  • $1,500/month

9. ProcessMaker

ProcessMaker is a business process management software designed for enterprise corporations and government organizations. This tool’s framework is more aligned with the structured hierarchies of larger organizations in healthcare, education, manufacturing (etc) with a variety of management features for structuring roles, groups, departments, and chains of command. A major benefit of ProcessMaker is its open-source model—you’re not locked in to a single vendor or system, and you can easily connect ProcessMaker to other databases and systems (Oracle, MySQL, SQL, DMS, BI, CMS, ERP). The free open source version is available for download and includes basic workflow functionality, which is a decent workflow tool for developers who work in a non-mission-critical environment.

ProcessMaker integrations are accessed through RESTful APIs that integrate ProcessMaker with other standalone or web applications. The Enterprise version also include a useful Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Sheets integration for integrating emails and events with tasks.

Summary of ProcessMaker:

  1. Automation: Pass
  2. KPI Reports: Pass
  3. Deadline Tracking: Pass
  4. Integrations: Pass
  • freemium version
  • 14 days free trial
  • From 9.99/user/month

10. Asana

For teams who are used to Trello, Asana will appear familiar. Like Trello, Asana’s workflow is visually simple and intuitive, based off of kanban-style cards. In fact, if you’re already using Trello but looking to add some important functions to your workflow, you can sync your Trello boards with Asana so your teams can work in the app of their choice. Really, the use case for both of these workflow apps is the same: they’re both great for small-to-mid-sized teams who work closely together and who need all of their project deadlines, reports, communication, and tasks all in one organized place. For small, growing teams who don’t require a ton of features at the start, Asana’s free version might do the trick—at least for the first couple of months—with unlimited projects and basic dashboards for up to 15 team members.

Flexible and lightweight, Asana is a simpler tool with fewer features than the other workflow management software tools in this list (which could be ideal, especially if you know you’re not going to want loads of ultra-configurable workflows). While it doesn’t include a ton of advanced features, it does offer a straightforward, functional task management tool that is easy to learn how to use. There are some reporting features, including a customizable dashboard and visual progress chart. You’ll also find some basic automation, such as turning processes into templates, creating task dependencies, and setting up automatic status updates.

Asana integrations include 100+ applications that you can use to round out the tool with further time-tracking, reporting, and communication functionality.

Asana costs from $9.99/user/month. There’s also a free version for up to 15 team members.

Summary of Asana:

  1. Automation: Pass
  2. KPI Reports: Pass
  3. Deadline Tracking: Pass
  4. Integrations: Pass

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.

Software Overview Free Option Price Site
monday.com monday.com logo Read monday.com features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $17/2 users/month Check out monday.com
Admation Admation logo Read Admation features & functionality

Free demo and trials available

From $30/user/month Check out Admation
Kissflow Kissflow logo Read Kissflow features & functionality

14 days free trial

From $360/30 users/month Check out Kissflow
Orchestly Orchestly logo Read Orchestly features & functionality

15 days free trial

From $8/user/month Check out Orchestly
Smartsheet Smartsheet logo Read Smartsheet features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $14/user/month Check out Smartsheet
VOGSY VOGSY logo Read VOGSY features & functionality

Free demo and workshops

$19/user/month Check out VOGSY
Wrike Wrike logo Read Wrike features & functionality Freemium version

14 days free trial

From 9.80/user/month Check out Wrike
Clarizen Clarizen logo Read Clarizen features & functionality

30 days free trial

From $29.95/user/month Check out Clarizen
ProcessMaker ProcessMaker logo Read ProcessMaker features & functionality

30 days free trial

$1,500/month Check out ProcessMaker
Asana Asana logo Read Asana features & functionality Freemium version

14 days free trial

From 9.99/user/month Check out Asana

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:

1. Automation

This is the whole point of using a 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.

4. Integrations

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

5. Price

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.

 

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Ben Aston

About Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of thedigitalprojectmanager.com. I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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