50 shades of confusion: BPM vs. workflow software

Understanding the difference between workflow optimization and business process management is important in pinpointing the right software for your organization. The differences between these two types of software are often poorly understood, even by IT professionals.

The major difference is that BPM encompasses much more in terms of facilitating activities of an organization while workflow directs activities between individuals. BPM is an entire series of different functions that can be addressed apart from specific applications. BPM not only handles workflow processes, but is also capable of creating them through its capacity to model and optimize workflow.

BPM and workflow are similar in that both are responsible for maximizing operational efficiency by automating core processes. An important aspect of both BPM and workflow is eliminating bottlenecks from core processes that hinder progress in carrying out necessary activities.




Organizations use workflow to automate business processes, but workflow software does not test whether automated models maximize efficiency or even get tasks done adequately. Rather, this solution will send documents and assignments to a particular user. It keeps track of files and makes sure projects are completed on time. Overall, workflow maps out processes and facilitates their completion.


Business Project Management


BPM software goes much further in facilitating organizational processes than pure workflow software. In fact, workflow features are only one of about 10 different features offered in a BPM software package. While BPM software may handle the tasks addressed by workflow solutions, it enhances workflow processes by adding modeling and optimization features to the automation and management of business processes offered by simpler workflow software.

BPM software will integrate itself with diverse systems, various business rules, recipients, templates, and data at an organization, carrying out tasks such as modeling processes, creating an integrated business rules engine and forms designer, simulating processes, optimizing methodologies, and monitoring and reporting on organizational activities.

BPM software offers a more holistic approach to handling business processes. The solution takes into account all resources used, including people, data, machines, and systems. This contrasts with workflow management technologies, which generally only address the interactions between individuals and software. While BPM software handles workflow tasks, it does this in a fundamentally different way than workflow tools, seamlessly integrating workflow tasks with many other technologies, such as BAM, UI generation, and an environment that offers graphical authoring.


PerfectForms software offerings


PerfectForms offers both workflow and BPM software. While there is some overlap between the functions, these two different software programs offer different focuses and capabilities.


PerfectForms workflow software:

  • Streamlines workflow processes
  • Carries out tasks such as automation, web form design, and real-time reporting
  • Can be used to carry out business processes in many different types of organization departments, including human resources, marketing, sales, and more

PerfectForms BPM software:

  • Offers flexibility to accommodate organizations operating in a wide variety of industries
  • Improves business processes through modeling, automation, and optimization
  • Can be tailored to meet the unique needs of an organization thanks to the option to custom-create applications


Determining your software needs


Now that you understand the difference between workflow and BPM software, you can determine which solution is the best fit for your organization. Once you implement the software that’s right for you, your company will go from 50 shades of confused to humming with efficiency in no time.

3 warning signs that your company needs BPM software

Has your company recently experienced rapid growth and is now struggling to scale to meet the new demand? Are you used to a workflow management process that’s stayed the same for years and aren’t convinced it needs to change? While companies can greatly benefit from business process management software to help manage their workflow, many have yet to embrace any sort of workflow software. Three warning signs that your company may be in need of a new workflow solution include your legacy software no longer meeting your requirements, an old server wasting your resources, and little transparency into who is working on what project. If you find yourself relating to any of these indicators, it may be time for your company to invest in a reliable workflow management system.


Relegating Legacy Software to the Past


Nobody likes change, right? Older software typically does not provide the level of automation and simplicity that comes with newer BPM software. Instead of getting rid of your legacy software consider choosing a platform that works well with what you already have. PerfectForms offers both on-demand and on-premise deployment options for easier and faster integration.


Avoiding Local Server Maintenance


Does your company have to keep a local server lying around to maintain its current workflow software, while burying your IT department in support tickets? For many firms, IT resources are a precious commodity. Local servers can go down, copies of BPM software need to be installed and maintained on several different devices, and expenses can grow out of control if you need to update your server to accommodate additional users. Tying up your staff’s time and resources maintaining a local server when it’s not necessary can be costly and inefficient. All the heavy lifting can be done on our servers, reducing both your costs and the burden on your IT staff.


Addressing Poor Employee Transparency


As a manager, you know that two of the keys to any successful process are efficiency and accountability. Both you and your employees need to know who is assigned to which tasks and when these tasks are expected to be completed. Once you start to lose track of this, projects become delayed, inefficient, or even grind to a halt. Imagine a project that requires multiple teams of employees to coordinate several interconnected assignments. If one team makes a change to an assignment that impacts the work of another team, it is vital the second group be informed of the changes. If they aren’t, the work they are doing could be negatively affected.

Situations like this obviously present major visibility and efficiency issues if not handled correctly. Using BPM software, managers can oversee the progress of individual processes and update the workflow accordingly to prevent problems that arise from lack of visibility. BPM software can pay for itself by eliminating potential costly inefficiencies.


BPM Software Could Solve Your Problems


If your legacy software’s capabilities leave much to be desired, your local server is more trouble than it’s worth and your projects are suffering from a lack of transparency, consider upgrading to BPM software and save time, money and manpower.

Find the right workflow forms to run your business like a pro

Are you wondering how new workflow form software can give you the tools to run any business like a pro? Oftentimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference. Here are a few examples of customizable workflow forms that have allowed myriad business owners to run happier, more consistent and efficient workplace environments.




Keep completely consistent records of employee hours with new timesheet forms that can be maintained online instead of in written form. This will prove to be not only more convenient for many employees, but will benefit your own record-keeping as well. It’s also much safer to keep important data, such as information related to employee hours, in a digital format – either in a cloud server or locally based server -  as written time sheets can be easily altered, accidentally destroyed or lost in the shuffle of day-to-day business. Time sheet forms kept online can also save your business a lot of money in the long run when it comes to reducing paper waste.


Vacation Request Forms 


If your business does not currently have vacation request forms, investing in workflow form software to make your own may be well worth your time. Submitting templated requests will allow employees’ desired days off to be clear and organized for management. Switching to online vacation request forms will also speed up the application process and make it easier to keep correct historical records of requests submitted and approved.


Expense Reports


Every business has a unique way of crunching numbers and interpreting data, so it is integral to have access to flexible workflow form software that can adapt to your line of work. This solution allows businesses to automate the calculation of repair costs, inventory or other expenses and determine employee salaries and payroll scheduling, ensuring every individual gets paid in a consistent, timely manner.


Employee Applications


Many businesses have started to do away with paper applications altogether to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Duplicate existing job applications for candidates to fill out online or simply create your own. Many business owners today prefer electronic applications because they are much easier to organize and keep safely stored on a server for evaluation at another time. Going digital reduces clutter and paper waste as well.


Customer and Employee Surveys


It’s always important to stay in touch with how customers and employees are feeling about your business. Create surveys that ask the questions you want to know and gain fresh insights about areas to improve upon. For best results, consider posting both employee and customer survey forms online and allow answers to be submitted anonymously, as you will be much more likely to receive honest, useful feedback in this way. Also, online customer and employee surveys will save on paper costs, make data collection more efficient and ensure that all anonymous surveys are securely stored. Being receptive to the concerns of clients or co-workers in the workplace is a vital component to running a smoother business.


The right workflow form software should improve virtually every aspect of your business, not make it more complex. If you are disappointed with your current workflow forms, consider investing in PerfectForms, one of the most reputable workflow software solutions available today.


The surprising link between an energy company and a community college

You may not think there are any similarities in the day-to-day business of an energy company and a community college. However, Houston Community College and energy company Trilliant Incorporated have one surprising thing in common. Both organizations needed to increase efficiency and decided that the way to do it was by reducing their paper usage.


A Need for Change


For Houston Community College (HCC), making the transition from paper-based processes to an electronic approach was top priority. Most of the school’s applications were paper-based, and filing such a large volume of documents was becoming a time issue. Many of these forms were used for simple, common tasks like renting AV equipment and approving day-to-day requests.

In a different industry, Trilliant was having the same problem. Customer service has always been a top priority for the energy company, so it was looking for a way to handle customer requests more efficiently. In order to decrease response time and streamline workflow, Trilliant decided to change the way it worked.


The Results


Form software gave HCC the opportunity to make many of its forms electronic. This simplified the whole process of granting requests, as it cut down on the time it took to both submit a form and grant approval. The result was so impressive that the community college decided to convert its hiring process for part-time workers from paper-based to electronic forms. As a result, applicant information could be pulled from other digitized forms and imported into the employment application.

Using form software was equally successful for Trilliant. By replacing older infrastructure with a more modern, electronic framework, the firm accomplished several things. It was able to map business processes, and in doing so identified weaknesses in its practices and found ways to address these shortcomings. Ultimately, both time and resources were saved. Trilliant was also better equipped to respond to customer requests and provide a high level of service to its clients.




HCC was able to increase the efficiency of its business operations, create forms with ease, and integrate all of its documents thanks to the simple transition. Similarly, Trilliant was able to improve its day-to-day performance and simplify its business processes. PerfectForms helped save money and time for both organizations.

Digitizing certain aspects of business can make major improvements in the daily operations of a company. PerfectForms provides business solutions for enterprises in a variety of industries.

Create your online employee application form in 10 minutes or less!

Few factors impact your performance as a company more than the quality of your employees. Hiring the right workers isn’t an easy task in the modern world—a generic resume can only tell you so much about the person writing it, and two individuals with identical qualifications may be very different employees. Figuring out which applicants will make the best members of the workforce requires companies to collect the right data during the hiring process, and in order to do this, firms must develop the right forms. Fortunately, putting together an application form that gathers the data you need in the format you need it takes very little time with the proper preparation and software.




Before you lay your hands on any form-builder or business management software, you need to have a firmly established idea of what you want from potential employees. What skills matter to you? What factors will make for uniquely qualified hires at your company? How you phrase your questions and what details you look for can greatly affect the information you collect.

Of course, the more opportunities you give applicants to fill in boxes on their own with nonstandard entries, the more difficult the application becomes to parse with management software and implement into general workflow solutions.

With that in mind, here are the questions you should ask as you make your form:

  • What do you need to know about the hire?
  • What do you want to know about the hire?
  • How quickly do you need to be able to go through applications?

Honestly, this is the hardest part. Creating your actual online application will be the easy bit!


Making Your Form


So, you’re sitting down to start your form. Begin with a strong piece of form creation software, ideally something that integrates with other business management software. Then, you’ll want to start with a template—all these programs will have this option available—and work from there.

The basics will already be in place, but it’s up to you to decide the details. With the questions above in mind, you can add and adjust questions as needed. Modern workflow software makes it easy to change and add blank spaces, checklists, multiple-choice questions, and any other data entry styling you need. Base the entry style on how you value the information.

Don’t get distracted by questions of font, fancy headers, and backgrounds. If someone has your online application open in front of them, he or she doesn’t care about the window dressing.


Needs vs. Wants


Needs: The easier it is to sort out unqualified applicants and find the ones with your basic mandatory skills, the better. That means implementing a few questions using formats that you can sort by—multiple choice, checklists, limited-length forms. These are answer types that a machine or a person in a hurry can quickly sort through.

Wants: Your wants offer more flexibility. After you sort by your needs, you can take the time to read a paragraph of free writing on what an applicant expects to offer the team culture, what unique skills he or she would bring to the table, his or her favorite Ninja Turtle, whatever. Make wants free-form and use them to get a read on the potential hires.

For example, say that you need an employee with four years of experience. With a dropdown box “Years of Experience,” you can easily remove people with too few years from the pile. In no time, you’ll have the perfect form in front of you, ready for applicants to submit–in fact, it probably took you longer to read this article than it will to create your online employee application form.

Create a paper trail without the paper using capital expenditure forms

Developing a more consistent approach toward tracking and organizing financial information is an excellent way for any business to improve efficiency. Getting bogged down by paperwork involving capital expenditure forms or tax documents can take up precious time and resources. However, with the right workflow software, it’s easy to keep track of capital expenditure forms or tax data, allowing you to focus entirely on growing your business instead of staring at a mound of documents.

Easily Organize and Store All Capital Expenditures

CapEx workflow forms can improve the transparency and accuracy of all your tax information, ensuring there are no lost records or confusion. Accessing and reviewing capital expenditure information is made much simpler through customized automation processes and more intuitive organization of data. Also, since CapEx workflow forms can be stored on servers, you will never have to worry about misplacing a single invoice or receipt. No more scrambling to find one specific receipt or document when tax season comes around. By using the right workflow software to calculate and store your capital expenditures, you can rest assured there won’t be any accounting surprises. Today’s best capital expenditure workflow forms can do the organizing for you.

Reduce Overhead Costs

Save money by reducing paper waste with digital CapEx workflow forms. Considering how much is spent on printing documents and tax papers, businesses may enjoy reduced overhead costs by utilizing CapEx workflow forms in a digital format. The money otherwise spent on printing, materials, or organizing all the paperwork can be used to provide pay raises for employees, perform renovations to your business or purchase new equipment.

Automated Updates and Invoice Notices

The best CapEx workflow forms should allow you to receive automated emails within voice receipts or the payment statuses of purchases. This way there is little margin for error and any potential issues can be immediately brought to your attention before they become bigger headaches.

Online workflow forms for capital expenditures provide in-depth spending analytics versus revenue to help your business identify areas for improvement. Find out exactly where your money is going and easily track every single invoice or utility bill. Evaluate precisely what products or services are producing the most income and what inventory may no longer be needed.

If you would like to approach capital expenditures in a new, more intuitive way, PerfectForms may be the solution you’ve been looking for. Leave a paper trail without any annoying paper by utilizing workflow forms engineered to make your workplace operate much more proficiently.


Breeze your way through vacation request forms

As a proactive and solution-focused manager, you’re constantly bombarded with people vying for your time, attention, and approval on decisions, projects, and processes. While that’s to be expected in a leadership role, there are ways to streamline and improve some procedures that not only make your operation run more efficiently, but also save you time that can be better spent on activities that increase business and ensure exceptional customer service. One such time-intensive, and often stress-inducing, undertaking is wrangling your company’s employee vacation request process.

User-friendly and uncomplicated vacation request forms

There’s no 10-page, quadruple-copied form needed here. Simplifying a vacation request form expedites the whole process for both you and your staff. A streamlined form makes it easier for your employees to put their requests in writing and also makes it a breeze for you to see exactly which days they’re asking to take off, including the start date and the return date. An effective vacation form should include these essentials:

  • The employee’s name
  • The employee’s email address
  • The employee’s department
  • A section that clearly shows the day the holiday will start for the employee, the day he/she will return, the total number of requested days, and an area for comments by the employee and/or you.

Depending on how your particular company operates, there needs to be different sections on these simplified HR applications for each person who must review and approve, or deny, the requested vacation time. For example, if a team leader must first receive the form, there should be a section that shows whether he or she approved, rejected, or returned the request for amendments, and a comment area for further information. If the form then needs to go to the HR department, there should be another space that shows whether HR personnel acknowledged the request, returned it for amendment, and/or made any comments. If you are the only person who needs to see the vacation request form in order to approve or deny the dates, then you can easily customize the document with just a manager section on it.

Use vacation request forms that are online, automated, and eco-friendly.

As organized as you are, it’s not easy keeping track of countless papers, forms, receipts, memos, and everything else that seems to find its way onto your desk. Paperless, automated vacation request forms still get all the details in writing but can be easily and immediately accessed for confirmation 24/7, eliminating the nightmare of papers gone missing. Not only are you saving time and money with this approach, but you’re also saving trees. By managing your vacation request forms online, there’s no longer any need to order the paper to print them on – or, indeed, to use the printer.

Implement vacation request forms that are centralized

A benefit of using vacation request forms online is that they are centrally located in your computer system, making them easily accessible and organized. Instead of duplicate files that get tossed, lost, or placed in a manila folder, online forms streamline this process for human resources.

Vacation forms were once overly complicated, took the lives of too many trees, and were simply unnecessary. Making your operation more efficient, stress-free, and easy significantly improves the atmosphere throughout your company. Vacation request forms ought to be a breeze for both your employees to access and fill out, and for you to view and approve. With automated, customized vacation request forms, you can even approve a request while you’re lounging like a lizard on that tropical beach!

3 Space-Saving Tips for the Office

These days, office space is treated like valuable territory in some kind of new real estate crisis. With space at a premium, you could find your office transformed into a modern-day western with showdowns between stapler-bearing gunslingers. But not all is lost in trying to keep your employees focused on the job at hand despite their cramped quarters.

Simple office solutions do exist to help you find ways to save space. Many times, this could be as simple as rearranging the furniture. However, in some cases, moving things around won’t be enough to solve the problem, and you’ll have to find other alternatives.

Maximizing your office space does not take a rocket scientist; it just requires ideas that come together. One way to get this ball rolling is to utilize workflow software, which can allow for a collaborative meeting of the minds among the office staff.

The No. 1 issue at hand should be to determine what works for your employees and staff. Ask yourself what kind of office culture you want to develop. Once you get these issues aligned, there should not be a problem moving forward.


Utilizing freestanding cubicles opens up much-needed office space. If you choose this route, the question then becomes what kind of cubicle would be best for your company?

Many cubicle designs come with wall height options. If you are looking for an open and collaborative atmosphere, you should consider structures with lower walls. However, if you have operations that require employees to be completely uninterrupted and engaged in the tasks at hand, then the solution may be a cubicle structure that is almost entirely enclosed, with the walls extending above seven feet in height.

Cubicle designs are compact, space-saving and are designed to maximize workspace efficiency, ensuring there is no wasted worker movement when it comes to accessing office equipment and supplies.


This option has been gaining popularity not only among management, but workers as well. It is an indirect way of maximizing office space by simply not occupying it. The approach has the advantage of allowing you to develop your operations without necessarily having to expand the workspace available to you.

Telecommuting is cheap and gives employees the freedom to develop personal solutions that work for them, including working from home. Another popular option of which telecommuters are taking advantage is finding a good coffee joint with Wi-Fi access. Rent can be paid for the price of a cup of coffee.

Workflow Software 

There is another space-saving solution to add to the equation – the integration of workflow software into the workplace. The primary benefit of using this kind of software lies in reducing the amount of paperwork stashed in bank boxes and filing cabinets.

PerfectForms workflow software can be integrated with your other software systems, so there’s no need to deal with an expensive overhaul of the existing system via coding.

Of course, you can never eliminate the valuable nature of a filing cabinet, but let’s get real about this: Do you really need all that paperwork stuffed inside a space-robbing box? By integrating workflow software solutions for your office, you can certainly open up some space.

7 ways to be as productive as the person next to you

In the workplace, productivity is king. We have all experienced the stress of deadlines, document revisions, and frequent meetings, which can take a toll on you throughout the day. But if you are organized and stick to a solid foundation of fundamental work habits, you can minimize the frenetic pace. Organize your day with these seven key practices of being a more productive worker.

Organize Your Workspace

This is an important step in staying productive. Keep your workspace clear of clutter and excessive papers and organize your supplies in a way that makes sense, storing them where they are accessible. This organizing process should be done during the final 15 or 20 minutes of your workday so you are prepared to get right down to work the next day.

Keep Distractions to a Minimum

It is inevitable that you are going to interact with your colleagues, and that is not a bad thing. However, it is important that you keep this communication succinct and to the point. Don’t waste time engaging in office drama at the water cooler. If applicable, close your office door and schedule specific office hours during which co-workers can come in and ask you questions. Finding a quiet space to work is also helpful when cranking through projects.

Prioritize Tasks

When you arrive at work, start organizing your projects. Create a to-do list and prioritize your tasks, identifying the most important ones and allotting time in your schedule to completing them. Breaking your work into smaller chunks can make it more manageable.

Manage Your Workflow One tool you can use to help organize and prioritize your tasks is workflow management software. Workflow software can be integrated into most office systems, and you can use the automation, data capture, and real-time reporting tools to your advantage.

Don’t Multi-Task

We are frequently told that we live in a fast-paced world where multi-tasking skills are needed. However, multi-tasking can be one of the most inefficient things you can do in the workplace. Trying to balance two or more different things at once is taxing on your thought processes and invariably has a negative effect on the quality of your work. Focus on one individual task at hand and complete it before moving on to the next project.

Keep a Healthy Distance from Email and Voicemail

Constantly checking your email and answering calls repeatedly throughout the workday will eventually lead to you not completing what needs to be done. Establish a set period in the first and second half of your workday to check and reply to email. This rule also applies to your voicemail and text messages. Be sure to schedule a time to go back and answer emails that require more attention.

Stand Up and Stretch

Pay attention to those employees around you who are very productive. You will see that they take their breaks on time and many take the opportunity to get away from their desks and walk to get a drink or make a quick lap around the office. Taking breaks helps keep you from becoming fatigued during the day and therefore less productive. If stepping away isn’t possible, there are many workouts you can do at your desk, such as five lunges every hour, which adds up to 40 a day! Staying healthy keeps you alert and on-task during the workday.

These seven key habits are just some of the ways efficient workers stay productive. Adopting these behaviors is not hard to do and will go a long way in terms of helping you become more productive than the person next to you.


Have you audited your payroll process lately?

If you’ve been processing your payroll the same way for years, chances are you could benefit from an audit or the incorporation of new workflow software. Even if you’ve recently developed new payroll procedures, you might be able to take advantage of new processes that will improve efficiency and compliance while reducing costs and errors.

Automatic Payroll Deposit Forms

One of the best ways to improve the way that your organization runs its payroll is to introduce automatic payroll deposit forms. Instead of relying on a payroll specialist to manually enter each employee’s banking information into a spreadsheet or another software program in order to create a tangible weekly check, an automatic payroll deposit form will put the money right into employees’ checking accounts.

This reduces costs by eliminating significant amounts of expenditures related to paper and ink, and cuts down on the potential for error. Sometimes, paper checks have misprints, misspellings and transposed numbers that can cause a delay in an employee’s payment. Aside from saving your company money, automatic payroll deposit forms will also save your employees time, as they’ll no longer have to take the trip to the bank to cash their checks. This means that they’ll receive their money sooner and won’t waste time and gasoline.

Payroll Compliance Audits

Consider reviewing your employer records to ensure that your organization is in compliance with federal and state laws, internal policies and collective bargaining agreements. A payroll compliance audit ensures that all the proper contributions are made to respective funds in accordance with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). It will also verify that participant data is accurate and complete. When contributions are late or underpaid, this is considered a prohibited advance of credit to the contributing employer. By conducting an audit, you’ll know that your organization is accurately reporting covered employees. A comprehensive payroll compliance audit will also include hours/wage testing, subcontractor reveals, probationary testing and jurisdiction. As a result, you’ll be able to identify potential problems, inaccuracies and contribution variances and correct them in a timely manner before it’s too late.

Automated Solutions

Most workflow software can be tailored to meet the needs of finance operations in any organization. Don’t rely on your inefficient manual data entry practices to complete your company’s payroll as these are inefficient and increase the chances of costly errors.

When you automate your payroll, you’ll be able to streamline processes to prevent pesky delays that alienate employees and stress out your payroll department. This way, you’ll receive automated notifications, track your progress, reduce costs, optimize workflow process and improve visibility. You can automate your payroll and other financial tasks with PerfectForms’ easy to use workflow solution, which empowers you to design your own unique forms with a simple drag-and-drop function.