Are the differences between BPM Suites and Low-code platforms technological, ideological, or both?

Business Process Management Suites (BPM Suites) have been around for years. They promised to help bridge the IT / business divide, and thereby help enterprises continuously improve their operational process and systems.

Now, though, all the buzz is about Low-Code development platforms, which appear to provide much of the same functionality as BPM Suites, and promise many of the same benefits.

Is this more than a marketing makeover?

Some people might put it more forcefully:


Is Low-Code, just lipstick on the pig previously known as BPMS?


That may sound harsh, but BPM Suites carry a lot of baggage:

  • Expensive upfront investments in technology and consulting
  • Lengthy ramp-up and training timescales before in house developers become productive
  • Failure to scale from isolated initiatives to enterprise wide adoption
  • Failure to achieve anything near the kind of agility that was promised.

With that kind of backstory it’s no wonder that BPM Suite vendors are happy to jump on the Low-code bandwagon.

Why low-code matters today

Low-code needs to be more than a BPM Suite makeover. Because businesses are now focused on digital transformation and customer experience improvement as their main levers for competitive advantage. Which means, speed is a business imperative like never before.

The need for speed

Put simply – if your company is hemorrhaging customers due to deficient and disjointed systems, that create a lousy customer experience, your survival may depend on fixing those issues within days or weeks not months or years.

The digital skills drought

Such urgency creates a real challenge for IT departments, many of whom are struggling to hire and retain application development staff that are in short supply.

How Low-code helps

Low-code application development platforms promise to help businesses overcome these challenges in four important ways:

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Faster, lower-cost ramp-up

Delivered as-a-platform - instant secure provisioning. As-a-Service - low up-front investment. Ease of use - less developer training. All of these factors deliver high productivity far sooner than traditional IT practices.

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Faster development

Visual composition of applications using pre-built components can be up-to ten times faster than hand-coding. So Low-code can help your existing application development staff get more done.

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Empower less technical developers

Configuration of applications using pre-built components allows application development tasks to be undertaken by a broader cross section of people. For example business analysts, business super-users can quickly learn how to use Low-code platforms.

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Greater agility

Low-code platforms support rapid and interactive development by hybrid teams of business users and IT developers. Shorter development cycles thanks to on-the-fly requirements discovery, lean startup experiments, faster user acceptance testing and faster enhancements.

Ideology changes powered by Low-code

To fully exploit Low-code capabilities, IT and business practices need to change. Failure to embrace such ideological changes stifle innovation and perpetuate lengthening IT queues. For example:

  • Substitute exhaustive business case justification with lean startup experiments.
  • Try on-the-fly requirements capture instead of weeks of business analysis.
  • Instead of lengthy procurement processes, try low-cost proof of concepts.
  • Instead of keeping business users at arm’s length, build hybrid development teams.

To learn more details on the real differences between BPM Suites and Low-Code Platforms, and especially the ideological aspects that set them apart, download our eBook.

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Learn the five big advantages that distinguish low-code from BPM suites:

  • On-the-fly requirements discovery
  • Live trial business ideas at low or no cost
  • The ability to deploy and scale apps in minutes
  • The ability to generate mobile apps from older apps
  • The ability to expand development resources cost effectively

(eBooks and some other documents are in English.)