What is a workflow?
Workflows are the tasks and activities necessary to achieve an outcome or produce a specific result. Workflows are usually organized into a series of steps. Keeping workflows consistent and effective helps businesses meet their goals. To do that, most teams rely on a set of tools and techniques known as workflow management.
What is workflow management?
The definition of workflow management is a set of tools and techniques that help organize and optimize workflows. Workflow management is also a strategy for building, modifying, and automating workflows in order to improve work and create outcomes that help the team meet its targets.
Businesses are increasingly relying on workflow management software to simplify workflow management.
Why is workflow management software important?
Workflows are more complex than ever, and they depend on an ever-expanding stack of apps and systems. At the same time, workflow efficiency and business agility are essential for companies who want to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Workflow management software is important because it simplifies workflow monitoring and management.
Workflow management software makes it easy for business teams to build, modify, and automate their workflows using a visual interface. As a result, some types of changes can be made more quickly, without waiting for them to work their way through the IT backlog.
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Essential components of workflow management software
Businesses have a lot of choices when it comes to workflow management software, but the following components and features should be considered non-negotiable for most businesses:
Visual user interface
An intuitive, visual user interface is an essential component of workflow management software. A visual user interface makes it easy for teams to organize, view, and modify their workflows, without requiring new code each time a change is needed. A visual user interface is a core element of low-code workflow automation, and it can help ramp up adoption by flattening the learning curve.
Automation is a technology that completes manual tasks and activities with little or no human effort. Workflow management software that includes automation capabilities can increase productivity, avoid errors, and bring more consistency to workflows. Automation can also improve user experiences for both employees and customers.
The value of a forms feature in workflow software is that it simplifies capturing data and organizing information. Forms can be used to collaborate with internal or external stakeholders, as long as they have permission to access the form. Forms can be used to submit requests, create new work items, and collect feedback. Forms can be customized with rules to ensure data consistency and eliminate missing or incomplete information.
Templates are pre-built workflow sequences that can be used to get workflows in motion quickly. Templates provide an end-to-end workflow that can be used as-is or easily customized with a visual user interface. Look for software that offers a variety of templates for multiple processes that can be used by finance, HR, IT, sales, and customer support teams.
Workflows that see a high volume of incoming requests, leads, or forms will benefit from automated routing. When new items are received through forms or integrated apps such as Slack, the software sends the item to the appropriate person based on the rules and conditionals that have been set.
Work items can be automatically routed based on factors like tasks, request type, user authorization level, role, department, or capacity. Automatically routing items and setting up automatic notifications can keep workflows moving, prevent business bottlenecks, minimize delays, and quicken response times.
Reports provide insight into how well workflows are performing and how effective they are in helping a business meet its goals. Reports can be easily customized to highlight specific KPIs, metrics, statuses, or other characteristics of items in the flow. Reports can help managers stay decision-ready by making data accessible anytime. In addition to reports, data can also be organized into custom dashboards using a visual user interface.
Workflow software integrations are the framework that allow for connections and combinations of content, technology, and all supporting framework attributes.
Self-service portals empower individuals to solve problems and find information on their own, without always needing to request help from others. For example, users can access documents and forms, submit requests, and update records, as long as they have permission to do so.
Portals provide a completely digital experience that reduces workforce demands and confusion. Workflow management software improves user experiences by helping internal and external stakeholders help themselves.
The 10 best workflow management software
Pipefy is designed to help companies streamline everyday tasks and automate repetitive processes, and it’s the most cost-effective and easy-to-use solution. The software is feature-rich and designed within a low-code framework, so day-to-day users don’t need coding skills to manage or automate their workflows. Pipefy can be used to manage any type of workflow and all types of business processes. That includes sales, finance, HR, customer service, and IT.
Pipefy is designed to make connecting to existing platforms, systems, and ERPs fast and easy. Here are all features and benefits this top-performing software offers customers:
- Automates workflows and tasks without coding skills.
- Keeps teams decision-ready with reports and dashboards.
- Enhances collaboration and communication among all stakeholders.
- Integrates seamlessly with existing stack components including ERP, HRIS, CRM, and apps.
- Orchestrates multiple workflows and processes.
- Builds workflows and processes that scale.
- Offers a wide variety of customizable workflow templates.
Pipefy is ideal for SMBs and enterprise companies with multiple workflows and processes. The range of tools and features included in the software allows for customization, scalability, and automation of various departments looking to improve efficiency, reduce errors, and save time and money.
Pipefy offers a free starter account for individuals or small businesses. The business version costs $24 per user per month. The pricing for the enterprise version of the software, as well as the custom version, are available upon request.
Pros and cons
Pipefy allows teams to work together and businesses to connect with platforms, apps, and systems seamlessly. There are plenty of features and customization options to streamline workflows and processes, and to orchestrate them across teams and departments.
Pipefy is ideal for closing process gaps and solving workflows that occur between systems or departments. Pipefy can be used to automate workflows that occur in any department such as finance, HR, sales, IT, or customer support. Smaller teams or businesses with only a few workflows may not benefit from every feature Pipefy offers.
Kissflow is a low-code/no-code software that allows the user to create apps and processes with ease. Kissflow offers a visual user interface and task management tools. Kissflow provides users with a gallery of templates to help teams get started.
Kissflow offers a range of solutions for business workflows, including app development, process management, and analytics. Kissflow provides a multi-purpose software product that is able to handle extensive requests and workflows for all sizes of companies. Features and benefits include:
- Built-in templates
- Create apps and platforms
- Development and testing
This software is a good fit for small businesses, although some of their features may also benefit enterprise clients.
The price for small business needs is $10 per user per month, with a 50 user minimum. The corporate package is $20 per user per month, with a 100 user minimum. The enterprise package pricing is available upon request.
While the price per user is competitive, the minimum users set at each price tier may be cost prohibitive for some businesses. For example, if you have a $10 per month subscription with a 50 user minimum, this adds up to $500 per month for a subscription; and the price tag for the corporate package, which requires at least 200 users at $24 per month, would total $24,000 annually.
Pros and cons
Kissflow is a good option for companies looking for a comprehensive solution to help them streamline workflows and build apps for multi-member teams through multiple departments. It’s ideal for product creation and testing, as well as tracking goals and progress. However, this product may be cost-prohibitive depending on the company size, budget, and needs. It’s not economical for smaller businesses with less than 100 users in total. Some users may also find that there is a learning curve to overcome before they become adept at all features.
Monday is work management software that allows companies to add more visibility and collaboration to their processes. Monday is also used to manage remote work. Monday is useful for all sizes of business needs and can support a wide range of workflows and processes.
The features of Monday are designed to make business tasks simpler and to integrate systems easily. Users can locate information and connect with other team members through a customizable dashboard that allows for easy access to information and progress details. Main features and benefits include:
- Easy integration
- Customizable dashboards
- Workflow tools
- Gantt charts
- Kanban boards
Monday is a good choice for teams who need a robust work management solution or who want Gantt chart capabilities. Monday offers a range of plans that vary in terms of costs and included features, so the overall fit will depend on the specific needs of the organization.
Monday has a free forever version for up to two people. There is a basic option (for 3 users) that is $8 per month per person, totalling $24 per month and billed annually. The standard package is $10 per month for three people billed annually. The pro package offers options for complex workflows for $16 per month (for 3 users) at $48 monthly billed annually. For enterprise package information, contact the company for a quote. Additional pricing information is available on their website.
Pros and cons
Monday has plenty of templates and charts and a user-friendly dashboard. It also offers Kanban, Gantt, and calendar views. However, the basic plans may not offer all the features teams need to manage their work.
Clickup is a workflow software product that provides plenty of features and options, such as communicating between teams, automation of tasks, and more. It’s ideal for planning projects and tracking progress along the way.
The features of the Clickup focus on customizing tasks and setting goals. There are also plenty of conveniences built in to make communicating with other teams or individuals easier. Clickup also offers integrations and templates. Main features and benefits include:
- Task management
- Chat & collaboration tools
- Real-time reporting
Clickup is ideal for businesses and organizations of all sizes. They offer easy-to-use tools for scalability and collaboration while also offering the benefits and features large and enterprise-level companies need to stay connected and on task.
Clickup offers a free account for personal use. Business plans range from $5 per month per user to $19 per month per user, depending on the features and complexity needed.
Pros and cons
While Clickup features plenty of plans and customization options, some users may find that the platform offers more complexity that they need. Some users on G2 noted that the mobile app did not perform as well as the desktop version.
Hive is a project management tool designed to help teams visualize complex timelines and manage project resources. You can map out projects and timelines and set the pace for team workloads. Hive offers templates, document proofing, and options for approval workflows.
The primary features of Hive are geared towards project management. The software is designed specifically to make collaborations and streamline workflows for teams more effective. Main features and benefits include:
- Team collaboration
- Document and video proofing
- Time tracking
- Marketing tools
Hive is a good choice for marketing teams, project managers, and educational institutions. It helps simplify workflows and organize complex projects. There’s plenty of integrations and collaboration features to help teams work more closely.
Hive has a free option and a team subscription that is $12 per month per user. There are also extra add-ons available for the paid version.
Pros and cons
Hive is user-friendly and makes collaboration easy. It may be most useful to teams looking for a comprehensive project management solution rather than a workflow automation tool. Some users reported that the time tracking features were unnecessarily complex.
6. Process Bliss
Process Bliss offers task and workflow management capabilities with a focus on visibility and accountability. Users can automate notifications, designate task ownership, and use a drag-and-drop flowchart builder.
See also: Flowchart Symbols & Meanings
Process Bliss features plenty of useful tools and information that can guide teams to create and complete projects easily. Gain access to pertinent information and audit details when necessary. Get complete visibility for the workflow process and have tutorials on how to create documents, templates, content, and more. Main features and benefits include:
- Task checklists
- Repeatable templates
- Audit trails
- Flowchart builder
Every size of business organization can benefit from Process Bliss. It’s ideal for keeping organized and tracking progress and workflows throughout every department. Use it to collaborate with teams and automate tasks to save time and money.
Process Bliss is useful for small to enterprise-level business needs. They offer a single plan that is $10 per month per user. You also get unlimited access to everything they have to offer, along with a 40% discount for education and charity organizations.
Pros and cons
Process Bliss offers some appealing pricing options and discounts, but these packages may not include some of the features common to other software options. The learning curve may be a little steeper than some users would like.
Zapier offers workflow integration for thousands of apps and is ideal for individuals up to enterprise-level companies. This comprehensive software helps handle everything from IT to marketing.
- IT automation
- Contract generation
- Manage funnels
- Customer interaction
- Data transformation and formatting
Zapier is for all levels of business, including entrepreneurs and freelance professionals. It has the ability to conform to each individual’s or company’s workflow requirements without being expensive or requiring a minimum number of users to sign up for a plan. This is a good option for those who work for themselves selling products online or for those who rely on social media workflows.
Zapier helps connect workflows to platforms such as social media and retail platforms like Shopify. They have a free package that remains free with a limit of 100 tasks per month. This package provides the basics. The starter package is limited to 750 tasks per month and is $19.99 per month with no minimum number of users. The professional version is limited to 2,000 tasks per month and is billed annually, or you can pay monthly for $73.50.
Pros and cons
Zapier offers plenty of options, features, and custom plans to meet the needs of most business workflows. However, there is a learning curve and it can be very difficult to navigate without assistance or tutorials. It can also become quite expensive with additional costs and add-ons.
Nintex is a software product that focuses on creating customizable process maps. The goal of Nintex is to create easy-to-use documents with simple-to-understand mapping to make workflow processes flow faster and easier.
The primary features of Nintex are designed to provide workforce mapping automation for internal teams. The software’s main features and benefits include:
- Automation for all internal departments
- Manages its requests more effectively
- Improves system service
- Creates simple invoicing and budgeting
- Automaton streamlines marketing campaigns
- Automate legal processes and the approval process
Nintex is a good fit for medium to enterprise-level companies who want to streamline workflows for internal teams. The software product is designed specifically for the demands of larger companies to provide them with the integrations, templates, and automation necessary to run daily processes with fewer workforce needs.
The pricing for the standard workflow version starts at $910 per month. The enterprise-level version starts at $1,400 per month. There is also a customizable standard version available upon request.
Pros and cons
This workflow automation software supports streamlining departments and system services. There are plenty of customization options and features that help automate departments. However, there form customization options may be limited and troubleshooting may be a challenge without error notations.
9. Process Street
Process Street is a workflow collaboration software product designed to help teams document, create, and streamline daily workflows. This product can also be customized to meet specific department needs and help teams manage their daily workflows.
The main features of Process Street are intended to assist internal teams with creating workflows and managing them over time. They also feature adapting logic to keep workflows operating smoothly as business changes. Process Street lets users
- Build collaborative workflows
- Document procedures
- Document team knowledge
- Build workflows using conditional logic
- Capture data with forms
- Track user activity
Process Street software is a good fit for companies whose primary goal is creating and documenting workflows. The software lets users create workflows and supporting documents while enabling collaboration with communication and activity tracking features.
Process Street offers a free 14-day trial for a single workflow and a single member. Unlimited workflows are available at $25 per month per member. There’s also a customization option for companies who need special features or a customized plan to suit their needs.
Pros and cons
The software makes it easy to assign checklists to team members and relies on a simplified user interface. Process Street is good for helping employees keep track of customers and interactions with them. One G2 reviewer reported a lack of visualization for their workflows. Others noted that the learning curve for this product may be steeper than other apps.
10. Process Maker
Process maker is a leading software provider with the goal of helping large companies meet their automation and workflow process needs.
Process maker has a wealth of features geared to make using this software easy and customizable. From drag-and-drop to low-code integration and implementation, they make streamlining business simple. Main features and benefits include:
- Scalable for enterprise companies
- Drag-and-drop features
- Easily connects with popular platforms, systems, and apps
- Pre-configured or connects via API
Process Maker is designed primarily for enterprise-level businesses that want to streamline and customize their workflows. They provide comprehensive solutions for complex business workflow needs.
Pricing is available by signing up on their website. According to information available on G2, their standard pricing is $1,495/month and their enterprise option is $2,479/month.
Pros and cons
ProcessMaker can be adapted to automate most types of processes. Some reviewers commented that some processes may get overly complicated and that implementation took longer than expected.
The best workflow software in 2023
If you want to harness robust features, intuitive processes and integration, you need Pipefy. This software provides the most cost-effective and feature-rich options for workflow management software.
|Pipefy||Low-Code framework, visual user interfaceCustomizable formsPre-built workflow templatesEasy-to-use task, workflow, and process automationSeamless integration with existing stack components such as ERP, CRM, HRIS, and appsDashboards and reports||Free starter account for individuals or small teams |
$24 per user per month for businesses
Enterprise and custom plans available upon request
|Kissflow||AnalyticsApp creation and testing400+ templates||$10 per user per month for small business plans (50 user minimum) $24 per user per month for corporate plans (100 user minimum) Enterprise plans available upon request|
|Monday||AutomationEasy integrationWorkflow tools||Free version for individuals (includes two seats) |
$8 per seat per month basic plan $10 per seat per month for standard plan
$16 per seat per month for pro plan Enterprise plans available upon request
|ClickUp||Real-time reportsIntegrationsTasksChat||Free forever plan for individuals|
$5 per member per month unlimited plan
$12 per member per month business plan
$19 per member per month business plus plan
Enterprise plans available upon request
|Hive||Team collaborationMarketing toolsIntegrationTask tracking||Free plan |
$12 per month per user team subscription
Extra add-ons available for the paid version
|Process Bliss||Automation and integrationAudit dataCommunications||$10 per user per month40% discount for education/charity organizations|
|Zapier||IT automationManage funnelsData transformation||Free account$19.99 per month for 750 tasks $73.50 per month for 2,000 tasks|
|Nintex||Department automationInvoicing and budgetsStreamline system service||$910 per month for standard workflow version$1,400 per month for enterprise versionCustomized plans available upon request|
|Process Street||Adapting logicCreate documentsTeam collaboration||14-day free trial $25 per member per month Customized plans available upon request|
|ProcessMaker||CustomizableScalableEasy setupAWS cloud||30-day free trial version$1,495 per month for standard plan $2,479 per month for enterprise plan|