Searching for BPM software (BPMS) can be a daunting (and expensive) process, one that requires long hours of research and deep pockets. The most popular BPM systems often provide more than what’s necessary for non-enterprise organizations, with advanced functionality relevant to only the most technically savvy users. Thankfully, there are a number of free and open source process management solutions out there. Some of these solutions are offered by vendors looking to eventually sell you on their enterprise product, and others are maintained and operated by a community of developers looking to democratize BPM.
In this article we will examine free and open source BPM software, first by providing a brief overview of what to expect and also with short blurbs about each of the currently available options in the space. This is the most complete and up-to-date directory on the web.
Free BPM software defined
Free BPM software refers to products that are offered commercially free by the solution provider. These offerings are usually trimmed-down versions of the expert or enterprise editions, offering basic functionality that enables users to generate reports or data visualizations. Commercially free BPMS tools typically offer less functionality on the whole than their open source counterparts, but are often a great way to gain more than a free trial if its a product you were already considering.
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What is open source BPMS?
Open source is software with a source code that anyone can inspect, modify or enhance. These tools are designed to be publicly accessible and are commonly managed and maintained by organizations with a specific mission in mind. The open source BPM solutions included in this list are surprisingly full-featured, offering an expansive list of capabilities for a variety of users.
It’s important to remember that some of the open source offers included in this list require some development skills, and that may make them less than ideal fits for your use case. We recommend that you read each tool’s FAQ to see just how much coding is required to take advantage of the software. The open source tools usually do a good job of explaining the requirements for use on the download pages.
The Top Free and Open Source BPM Solutions
Compatible with Adobe Cloud, Adobe LiveCycle Enterprise Suite 4 is a higher-end BPM software that integrates the concepts of form platform and enterprise documentation. The objectives of using this software include processing of information, delivery of personalized communications and effective protection of sensitive information. LiveCycle ES4 extends business processes to its users mobile workforce and clients, increasing productivity while broadening service access to users equipped with a desktop, smartphone or tablet. It was earlier known as Adobe LiveCycle and acts as a central workstation that connects existing work processes and streamlines media delivery to other teams. It also offers a community connection portal and a social engagement platform.
Alfresco Process Services (powered by Activiti) is an enterprise BPM solution targeted at business people and developers. It is lightweight and incorporates a super fast BPMN 2.0 process engine for Java. At its core is a high performance open-source business process engine based on Activiti with the flexibility and scalability to handle a wide variety of critical processes. Alfresco Process Services provides a powerful suite of end user tools and integrates with a range of enterprise systems, including Alfresco Content Services, Box and Google Drive. Activiti is greatly optimized for dealing with technical and non-technical aspects namely analysis, modeling, business process compatibility generation, and software creation and support respectively.
ARIS Express, by Software AG, is a free modeling software, ideal for occasional users and beginners in the BPM space. With an intuitive user interface, modelers can work from the latest improvements in modeling assistances that enable instant results. Free training is available in the ARIS Community, which includes models for organizational structures, processes, application systems, data, etc. ARIS Express is based on the proven ARIS method. This free version will appeal to universities and vocational schools, as well as BPM beginners and occasional users. ARIS Express is not a limited demo or trial version but a free modeling software, which is a reasonable replacement for other drawing tools.
Bizagi Modeler is a free (single user) BPM tool to create, optimize and publish your workflow diagrams to increase efficiency and process governance across your organization. Modeler provides a good cloud collaboration environment as well, offering powerful and speedy drag-and-drop design tools. Gapping the bridge between business and IT encourages everyone’s involvement in process discussion. Bizagi Modeler also provides user access to review the process models from anywhere on any device and provide real time feedback. With centrally documented process models, employees can easily learn those processes, improving compliance with your policies and procedures.
Bonita BPM provides you with free tools to build, run, monitor, and improve business apps that connect customized user interfaces with reliable back-office processes connected to your data and other business information systems to create engaging, satisfying end-to-end user experiences. With Bonita BPM, users get everything they need to build process-based apps, from BPMN2.0, workflow modeling and state-of-the-art drag and drop. Costly update cycles are a non-issue, as Bonia BPM can adapt easily in real-time as processes change. Bonitasoft is extremely lightweight and implements a modular architecture backed up by a stronghold of the open source community of more than 12,000 members for various query resolution requirements.
Camunda provides powerful execution engines for BPMN workflows and DMN Decision Engine decisions paired with essential applications for process automation projects. This platform is lightweight, providing extensive scalability and is best suited for JAVA EE and spring and provides for powerful REST APIs and scripting language support solutions. It can also be used as a container service in Tomcat, JBoss, etc for multiple applications without the requirement for shutting down the processing engines.
jBPM is a free open source BPM software and workflow engine that bridges the gap between business analysts and developers. jBPM has a dual focus: offering process management features in a way that both business users and developers like. Written in Java, it helps facilitate the process executions using the BPMN 2.0 specifications. It can run on any java environment and can be embedded easily for deployment into various applications. Lastly, jBPM provides various capabilities that simplify and externalize business logic into reusable assets such as cases, processes, decision tables and more.jBPM can be used as standalone service or embedded in custom service. It does not mandate any of the frameworks to be used.
Joget is an open source, web-based workflow and low-code application development and business process management applications. Joget comes with full-fledged agile development capabilities to support processes such as CRUD, forms, lists, and UI. It can be implemented using Java Spring Framework and deployed on Apache Tomcat server. WIth a plug-in architecture, developers are also to easily extend the platform and integrate Joget with other systems whenever needed. In addition to process management, Joget allows the creation for full-fledged apps with support for data management.
jSonic BPM is an open source BPM system that allows process owners to manage the complete development of business processes from design to testing. Users can design and map processes using a Process Modeler – a highly interactive, user friendly, web based tool that eliminates the need for technical coding. A comprehensive solution, jSonic effectively aligns business operations with market conditions, statutory compliance and customer requirements.
Modelio is an open source modeling environment which supports UML, HTML, Script language support and BPMN support with UML integration, among other things. Providing complete support of the enterprise architecture to management enterprise and information system complexity, Modelio is still extremely flexible. You can configure your own modules and the software will adapt to your needs. Modelio already has a wide range of pre-existing modules such as Java Designer, WSDL Designer, Togaf Architect, and UML Testing profile. Model extensions and additions can be performed effortlessly on the platform. Lastly, it supports horizontal and vertical consistency management such as automated documentation.
ProcessMaker is a cost effective and easy to use open source BPM and workflow management platform. It’s suitable for organizations of all sizes and features a toolbox that can be accessed on the web and used for creating digital forms to map out workflows. Its innovative BPMN 2.0 feature provides a drag-and-drop style modeling tool, which makes it easy to resize or move and relabel process elements. The responsive DynaForm Designer helps you create forms without the need to write any code. It is also available on iOS and Android, making it even more lightweight and efficient. ProcessMaker is web-based and accessible via any web browser, making it simple to manage and coordinate workflows throughout the entire business.
Red Hat JBoss BPM
Red Hat JBoss is a BPM suite integrates the functionalities of business process management, resource planning, and event processing and rules management on a single platform. It can also be effectively used to capture the various business policies and procedures and facilitate automation of the various business operations and activities. Deployed across different environment like physical, virtual, cloud, etc, this software serves best for different business organizations and IT service companies.
RunaWFE is a free open source BPM system with a web interface, and can integrate easily with regional databases. It provides support for portlets and integration with enterprise applications and LDAP / MS Active Directory. It can also integrate with Alfresco. It is available in multiple languages and on multiple platforms such as Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris operating systems. RunaWFE free uses its own solutions and also some ideas of the JBoss jBPM project. It has a set of additional components, providing convenience to the end-user.
Looking for more? Download our Business Process Management Buyer’s Guide for free to compare the top-24 products available on the market with full-page vendor profiles. The guide includes key capabilities to look for, a BPMS market overview, our bottom line analysis, plus questions to ask before purchasing. It’s truly the perfect resource for anyone looking to find the right BPM for their business/organization, or those looking to replace an existing one.