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The Best Open Source Workflow Engines and Free BPM Software Tools

Harry Lees
May 20, 2021

The Best Open Source Workflow Engines and Free BPM Software Tools

Business Process Management (BPM) tools are essential when mapping out your company’s business processes through the systematic design, modeling, implementation, optimization, and measuring of the workflow. Open source workflow engines aid in the development of these process-driven applications. Having access to this kind of workflow perspective works to reduce inefficiencies, human error, or miscommunications between individuals. 

BPM has developed into an essential, high-powered business development tool. It can provide a visual process design tool that allows even non-tech savvy users to design and test processes and workflows. It provides transparency into the organizational overview of the company (which is beneficial for employees and stakeholders). 

Trying to find the best BPM and open-source workflow engine for your company can be a daunting task. Maybe you are a developer looking to dive into the BPM world for the first time, unsure of where to begin? Maybe you are a conditioned IT professional looking to explore alternative, free BPM options? Whichever you are, utilizing a free solution can help give insight into what exactly your business needs from its BPM software.  

Top 3 Open Source Workflow Engines and Free BPM Software Tools

 Open-SourceOSBiggest ProsBiggest Cons
Bonita BPMYesWindows, MacOS, LinuxUser-Friendly, Great UIPoor Document Management
Bizagi ModelerYesWindows OnlyIntuitive for Open-Source Software, CollaborativeNeeds Better Database Connection
ProcessMakerYesWindows, Linux (limited)Drag-and-Drop, BPMN ComplianceSome Functionality Requires Code Skill to Implement.

#1 Bonita BPM — Bonisoft BPM Community

Bonitasoft BPM Community is a free, open-source BPM-based application and workflow platform that is designed to help users build highly engaging, personalized business applications that can be continuously updated in real-time.

Bonita BPM hosts several key capabilities, such as an eclipse based, modeling and development environment, a web-based, drag and drop designer, a powerful and scalable Java-based process orchestration engine, social collaboration tools, and a unique, web-based portal for users and administrators to perform their day to day task. Bonita offers free video tutorials and webinars for BPM newcomers or those wishing to hear more about the software.  

The majority (37%) of Bonita BPM users TrustRadius are from mid-size companies (51-1,000 employees). Users value the easy UI development and designer, the large number of built-in connectors allowing for easy integration, and the ability to easily modify the BPM to adjust to your workflow. 

Bonita is praised by business users for its fantastic user interface. Though it does not have a mobile app, access on the go is supported. This supports both iOS and Android functionality. These are limited to single-column actions, and more flexibility may be needed by some users. 

More complex document management is more difficult in Bonita. Business people have said that these quality of life issues hurt its functionality.

“We have had successful Bonita BPM installations in verticals such as telecommunications, manufacturing, and the public sector. With Bonita BPM we have solved problems in project management and customer service…If you need a complete BPM Suite, easy to use and with rich UI development tools, Bonita BPM is the only way to go.” 

Verified User | Manager in Information Technology | Computer Software Company

#2 Bizagi Modeler

Bizagi Modeler is a free, intuitive and powerful business process mapping software. Modeler is part of the broader Bizagi Digital Business Platform, which also includes Bizagi Studio and Bizagi Engine. Bizagi Modeler and Studio products are free to download and use. Users only pay when deploying their automation solutions to production using Bizagi Engine. 

Users can create and optimize workflow diagrams, leverage extensive free online tutorials, and publish processes to Word, PDF, Excel, Wiki and more. These are well suited to be customizable to the workflow management needed for your specific market conditions.

The system operates through a cloud portal, which increases efficiency, processes governance across your organization, and centralizes the processes. It allows users to collaborate and simulate processes, as well as view revision history, activity stream, and chain diagrams. This also saves desktop processing resources.

Users can utilize this free version, or upgrade to Studio (which allows users to develop process apps) or Engine (which is designed to execute and control the business processes automated by Bizagi Studio). 

42% of Bizagi users on TrustRadius are from enterprise-level businesses (1,001+ employees). Users value the active collaboration tool, the clear, quick and easy way to design a process model, and global document publication. 

“Bizagi Modeler is a perfect tool to graphically design what the workflow looks like. For us [it] is works best to design process and responsible users per activity. it helps to exchange processes with customers and collaborate to accept the final version of the processes.” 

Jakub W. | President and Co-Founder | Computer Software Company

#3 ProcessMaker — Open-Source Edition

ProcessMaker is a workflow and open-source BPM software suite that is designed to automate workflow and reduce inefficiencies. It uses a drag-and-drop interface to build workflows to drive automation. It also operates under a low-code BPM platform that is highly scalable, resilient, and BPMN 2.0 compliant.

 This software can be upgraded with features and functionality for true enterprise-grade utilization. It also hosts a suite of connectors that can be embedded to produce an integration-as-a-service platform. Users can upgrade to one of their three paid plans if desired, starting at $1,495 annually. 

50% of ProcessMaker users on TrustRadius are from Enterprise level businesses (1,001+ employees). Users value the simple user interface, the flexible dashboards, and the real-time process tracking. 

“You will not get an easier interface. You can develop workflow processes in a simple way, one which allows anyone to understand what you are trying to accomplish… It is clean and easy to understand. You won’t get overwhelmed the second you log in… [and] with a drag and drop interface, you can easily visualize and implement what you want on the screen. Out of all the programs we tested, this one had the easiest process maker and designer.” 

Patrick S. | Director of Communications | Education Management Company

Whether you’re a newly minted IT specialist exploring the world of BPM or a seasoned IT professional looking to explore free, alternative open-source, BPM solutions, selecting the best BPM software for your company can feel like a daunting task. Knowing where to begin in the selection process is crucial to understanding what BPM and open-source tools will best benefit your organization’s needs.

Starting with a free solution can help you better understand what exactly you and your business needs from its BPM software. It’s a budget-friendly, simple, preliminary option that can help ensure that you are making an informed decision on what BPM solution can help ensure your organization’s success.

About the Author

Harry Lees
I am a proud University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, with a Comprehensive Honors degree in Political Science and Journalism. Go Badgers! A dual-citizen with the U.S and U.K, in my free time I support Liverpool Football Club, obsessively follow politics and do extremely nerdy things with my friends.

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