effectifI recently had a chance to play around with Effektif, a new cloud based Business Process Management (BPM) solution for automating tasks and business processes. I’m a big advocate for BPM systems. I’ve demoed and even used many of today’s enterprise BPM systems like Pegasystems, Appian and IBM’s BPM solution. These are designed for large enterprises as they usually come with a minimum $100k price tag just to get started.

BPM has the ability to be a game changer for small and large enterprises by automating their processes. It can make companies faster, more agile and more cost effective overall with a relatively low investment. So many companies are bogged down by manual processes that cost them millions of dollars every year.

Many of the large finance and insurance companies I have consulted with in the past few years, all have a forms department. A team that builds HTML and PDF forms that can be filled out orr printed to execute some business process. The challenge that each of these organization have is that the forms usually collect a bunch of data and then send the data to the receiving department via email or even worse, they need to print it off, fill it out in pen and fax it. Yes, this still happens today and a lot more than you would think.

All of these organizations have simply automated the data collection, not the process and they inevitably experience the same things. Manual errors, lost paperwork, long convoluted misunderstood processes and no visibility. All of these errors and inefficiency costs money and lots of it.

If this sounds familiar and you are a large enterprise, check out my last post on Rethining Forms.

I really like what Effektif is doing. They’re brining BPM to the small business, removing the $100K+ barrier and enabling the little guy to do what the big enterprise can.

effectif3

Like the big BPM players, Effectif uses Business Process Management notation (BPMN) to graphically represent a process in the familiar swim lane format. It’s easy to create a shared task list and then automate the repetitive portions of the task including interactions with other systems like email, document stores (ECM), sales solutions (CRM) or really any other system with or without an API.

effectif12

In the last couple of years, there’s been a massive shift to the cloud and the explosion of APIs and software as a service. Effektif was inspired partly by companies like Ifttt.com and zapier.com. These are 2 good examples of companies that are simplifying integration between web services. They provide drag and drop interfaces for easily connecting web services to perform many coordinated tasks to form a complete end to end process.

All the systems you’re using today have a variety of events that happen within them. For example, a document got added, an email arrived, a lead object was created in the CRM, someone tweeted you, etc. Effektif can use these events as triggers to start a new process or anywhere within the process.

I think that Effectif is heading in the right direction. Their leadership has a solid track record in BPM and they have the skills to make this happen. Tom Baeyens created jBPM (acquired by JBoss, now RedHat) and Activiti at Alfresco. These are open source alternatives to the proprietary enterprise BPM systems mentioned above.

Effektif offers collaboration for free and only charges for the process capabilities once you use it in teams larger than 4 users.

Give it a try and see how BPM can help you can automate and standardize your processes.