Workflow management software streamlines and automates your business processes, so you can focus on more important areas of running your company. This popular form of software helps automate routine tasks and organize information, making it easy to get things done.
In this guide, we review the aspects of Small Business Workflow Management Software, workflow management tools, free workflow software for small business, and Does Google have a free workflow tool?
Small Business Workflow Management Software
If you run a small business, it’s likely that you have a lot on your plate. Between managing employees, running payroll, and ensuring customers are happy with your product or service—it can be exhausting! Luckily for small businesses owners everywhere, there’s an easier way to manage tasks and client information: workflow management software.
CRM, or Customer Relationship Management software, is a tool that helps you manage your contact list and track interactions with customers. It can help you keep track of customer interactions, sales, and more.
You can use CRM software to:
- Manage your contact list (including emails and phone numbers)
- Track customer interactions (such as emails or phone calls)
- Track sales data
Accounting software is a great way to keep track of your expenses, manage your finances and pay bills. The best accounting software will help you with tax filings, employee payroll management and more.
Accounting software can be used for a wide range of different business types and industries. Some examples include:
- Small businesses
- Partnerships and LLCs (limited liability companies)
Project management software can help you to manage your workflow.
It can help you to plan, organize and execute projects. It can also track the progress of your project and communicate with team members so that everyone is on the same page.
Time tracking software can help you stay on top of your work. If you use time tracking software, it will automatically record how much time you spend on different tasks. This can help you get a better idea of how much time you are spending on different tasks, so that you know where to spend more or less time in the future. It also gives you an easy way to track how many hours have passed since starting a task and when it is finished so that when billing clients, for example, all their information is easily accessible from within the program itself instead of having to dig through emails or spreadsheets.
Time tracking software offers many benefits for small businesses:
Web Page Design and Management Tools:
Coming up with new ideas for a website is the fun part. But there’s no point spending all that time creating your perfect site if you can’t manage and update it. In this section, we’ll look at workflow management tools that help you design and build websites quickly while also making sure they’re always running smoothly behind the scenes.
- [Weebly](https://www.weebly.com) offers a drag-and-drop web page builder for creating an easy-to-manage website in minutes with no coding knowledge needed!
- [Squarespace](http://squarespace.com/) offers a similar service where you can choose from pre-designed templates or create your own custom layout using their drag-and-drop builder tooling (pictured). Pricing starts at $8/month for one domain or subdomain per month; additional domains cost just $4 each per month (use coupon code “startingout” to save 10% off any plan).
Workflow management software for small business is a great way to manage tasks and client information.
Workflow management software for small business is a great way to manage tasks and client information. It can improve productivity, help you to be more efficient, save time, and be more organized. This will let your business grow faster than it would without the workflow management software in place.
Workflow management software allows you to create processes that will help you with all of your projects or clients. You can automate processes that may take up too much time so they are completed quickly and easily. This will free up more time for things like creating content or doing other work on behalf of your company which might not be as fun but still needs done nonetheless!
Workflow management helps keep track of everything that goes on in any given day so there are no surprises when things come up later down the road.”
workflow management tools
Workflow tools are the business user’s answer to BPM (Business Process Management) software because they are a human-centric approach to managing and automating common business processes. These tools are generally designed to require less coding and programming, letting the people closest to business processes use them.
But not every workflow tool is built the same. Common features like cloud integration and the ability to co-exist with other automation applications are given a different level of priority across various workflow management tools.
Here are some of the best workflow management tools:
This is a cloud-based workflow platform that lets business users create, model, and deploy business process apps, all with very little to no coding knowledge. It follows a lightweight approach compared to other workflow tools, empowering non-coding team members to design workflows that they are familiar with.
Kissflow doesn’t use BPMN 2.0 notation like some of the other options, but rather relies on an intuitive visual workflow builder that you don’t need any training on.
This workflow management system offers a simple visual interface, with drag-and-drop features that let you create things like pre-populated fields and tables to design logic-based forms. You can also define workflows with sequential tasks, and get notifications and analysis by chosen metrics. Kissflow Workflow is integration-friendly, though most integrations will either have to be hand-crafted or done through Zapier.
Kissflow users get access to KPIs, user management, dashboards, ad-hoc reports, ease of use, and easily affordable pricing plans.
What Customers Share About Kissflow Workflow Reviews: Our previous system was so difficult to use that we lost a lot of potential candidates. They didn’t want to go through the process because it was so cumbersome. – Griselda Juve, Olympus
Join 10,000+ Digital Leaders Who Automate Their Work Using Kissflow
One of the best-known workflow tools designed for intelligent process automation, Nintex can automate the processes of collaboration and content management platforms. Content is available in multiple formats and from various sources; Nintex is adept at routing it to right recipients.
This workflow management tool can optimize processes, integrating content and making way for seamless collaborations for team members. The people-driven design helps users easily streamline processes. Nintex also offers flexible pricing schemes for small, medium, and large businesses.
Its Office365 version lacks a significant number of features that come in the on-premise version. There are also some niggling issues during integration with tools like InfoPath, as batch background operations cause lag. Nintex also has issues with how long it stores data for users and non-developers will have a hard time using it.
A solution designed for approval-based workflows, ProcessMaker enhances and streamlines the flow of data through systems and tasks. It uses BPMN 2.0 notations to depict processes. This is one of many open source workflow tools, and makes for an affordable option to model approval-based business processes.
ProcessMaker is known for its low overhead, and its light and efficient approach. Features include user management, dashboards and KPIs, responsive form designer, and output document builder.
Like Kissflow, ProcessMaker also features a drag-and-drop interface that enables business analysts to model (approval-based) workflows. However, when the workflow gets even a little more complicated, ProcessMaker’s simple approach isn’t the right fit. Reports need plugins, which come at an additional cost, and the BPMN 2.0 notation is hard to adapt to if you aren’t used to it.
With a highly interactive user interface, this is a suite of workflow tools. bpm’online takes care of sales, leads, and accounting operations. This tool’s emphasis on ease of use means that it comes with WYSIWYG process designing tool, and collaboration-specific features like file sharing and communication between team members. The entire system is designed for customization. You can deploy it either as a cloud-based service or on premises.
You can choose to buy one or more of products in bpm’online’s 3-product suite. However, you can’t buy the specific modules you need, which dampens some users’ enthusiasm. It’s also primarily a CRM tool rather than a workflow tool, so a few use cases might be disappointing.
Streamline Your Workflow Process With Kissflow
Flokzu is another key player in the low-code workflow tools space. It uses the older BPMN system, and lets users model processes using a drag-and-drop interface. Note, though, that this can be a bit of a steep learning curve if you aren’t familiar with BPMN. In that case, you’re better off with an intuitive visual-based tool like Kissflow.
With Flokzu, users can manage time, tasks, deadlines, rule-based processes, and notifications without having to do any coding. Processes can be deployed quickly after they are modeled.
free workflow software for small business
Between managing product launches, website updates, content publishing, and general admin, business owners and startup founders have a lot to juggle.
How are you meant to establish and manage so many different processes at once? We’re not going to lie––it can be tough.
Luckily though, workflow management software is here to streamline the process and make life easier. Check out our top options below.
What makes a great workflow management software?
Integrations: Workflows don’t operate separately from your other business processes. Documents, emails, contact info, and reports should all connect seamlessly from your inbox, CMS, calendars, and other tools.
Customizable: Each business has their own set of processes and models. Top tier workflow management software needs to be fully customizable to your processes, but easy enough to customize without the need for complex coding.
Reporting: Detailed reporting can help you analyze your overall productivity. Sometimes that task you think will take the team 5 hours to complete actually ends up taking an entire 3 days. These insights can help you better plan out and manage future tasks and projects.
Notifications: Workflow management shouldn’t feel manual or time-consuming. The idea is that you don’t need to follow up. Instead the platform sends team members automatic notifications about deadlines and approval processes.
Automation: Repetitive processes are a time drain for your team. Once a task is completed, you need your software to automatically alert the person who’s responsible for the next part of the task instead of having to spend time emailing them. Good workflow management software will have this automation and others.
Visual: Whether your workflow is ultra complex with multiple moving parts or a simple linear process, a visually pleasing color coordinated workflow is easier to understand.
10 best workflow management software options
Now you know which features to look out for, let’s have a look at the 10 best workflow management software options available.
1. Asana [Best for team collaboration]
Asana is a great workflow management software for teams looking for an easy to use, ultra-customizable, and visual software.
Its team communication and collaboration features make it great for both small and large teams. You can use Asana as a central source of file sharing. It’s easy to upload files in PDF, JPG, and Google Docs formats.
Using the calendars, team members can consider each other’s schedules and monitor any changes. Easily assign tasks to team members, create to-do lists, and set priorities.
The handy workflow feature makes it easy to see how busy team members are so that no one is over or underworked.
One of the best parts of Asana is that it’s ultra-versatile. Whether you need a marketing content calendar, need to better collaborate with global team members, or need to organize a workflow that spans IT, HR, product, sales, and marketing divisions, it’s easy to build an efficient workflow management system.
Asana also has a list of 100+ integrations, including popular apps like Google Drive, Slack, Zoom, and Zapier.
Pricing: The Basic plan is free forever and has all the necessary features for solopreneurs. The Premium plan is $13.49/month and has a few additional features like timelines for small and large teams. For larger teams and businesses, the Business plan is $30.49/month.
2. monday.com [Best for visualization]
Ultra-visual and customizable, monday.com is a great workflow management software choice for those looking to upgrade their Google Sheets or Airtable spreadsheets to something more visual.
Using monday.com you can view tasks from a high level using the dashboard overview feature, or zoom in on the detail.
Basically formed off a grid, you decide what elements of your workflow you want to include. Each row can include anything you want to track, maybe active projects or items pending approval. Columns are for details relating to each element, like the deadline, who’s assigned to it, and anything else that’s relevant.
monday.com is particularly strong on automation. If you’re tired of your team wasting hours on manual tasks, let monday.com take some of that workload. You can automate simple things like the changing of status to trigger an action like a notification. Or you can use an automation recipe to move elements from one board to another.
Another strong point is the 200+ templates built for multiple use cases that range from those for freelancers to software developers and startup founders.
Pricing: The Individual plan is free forever and includes unlimited boards. The Basic plan is $8/seat/month, Standard plan is $10/month, and Pro plan is $16/seat/month.
3. Kissflow [Best for large teams]
Kissflow is a workflow management software designed to help people visualize their workflow, allocate responsibility, and boost overall productivity.
Advanced access control is helpful for teams that have external contributors working on projects. For example, you may only want some team members and contributors to have access to certain sections like client contact details or financial data.
The intuitive interface enables users to make changes by simply dragging and dropping workflow items from one area to another.
Detailed reports and analytics give you insights into what’s working and what elements of your pipeline need improvement.
Compatible with third-party apps, you can integrate team favorite tools like Zapier, DocuSign, and Salesforce.
Pricing: The Basic plan is $12/user/month and includes all the basics for a small team starting out. The Advanced plan is $18/user/month and includes more integrations. The Fully Loaded plan is $25/user/month and provides more security features.
4. ClickUp [Best for automation]
ClickUp is a fairly new workflow management software that helps you simplify your workflows while better managing your team and project resources.
Choose box view for dashboards, list view for to-dos, Gantt view for project schedules, and board view for workflows. There are also mind maps, calendar, workflow, and table views.
Where ClickUp really shines is its automation abilities. Automation templates enable you to automate parts of your workflow. You can automate things like assigning tasks, changing a task status once it’s complete, or adding tags to tasks when a priority changes.
Pricing: There’s a Free Forever plan which enables unlimited tasks and members. The Unlimited plan is $9/ team member/month and comes with more integrations and dashboards.
5. Airtable [Best for spreadsheet lovers]
If you’re the kind of person who loves planning out their tasks and workflow on Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, Airtable could be the best workflow management software for you.
Its familiar spreadsheet appearance makes it easy to navigate and build your workflow from the ground up. You can choose to keep it simple with a straightforward grid or build out a more sophisticated solution to match your workflow’s exact requirements.
If you’d prefer to start with a base, there are templates created with product launches, content calendars, and event planners in mind.
You can also integrate your workflow with hundreds of apps including Slack, Stripe, and Zendesk. A Zapier integration gives you access to even more platforms. The Apps Marketplace allows you to access 150 open source apps on GitHub and further customize your workflow.
If other team members aren’t a fan of the spreadsheet-like appearance, there are calendar, Kanban, and gallery views to show the workflow in any way that they want.
Pricing: Their Free plan is great for individuals and teams just starting out. The Plus plan is $12/seat/month and includes more records per base, a longer history, and more storage space. The Pro plan is $24/seat/month and is best for larger teams with more complex workflows.
6. Process Street [Best for beginners]
Process Street is a simple workflow management software great for people who are just starting to manage their workflow.
Keyboard shortcuts and drag and drop make it easy for users to navigate the platform, while its simple layout is easy to learn.
A highlight of Process Street is its unique conditional logic feature which helps build dynamic workflows that shift if/when your team changes priorities.
Eliminate bottlenecks and simplify approval processes by building single instance, multi-stage or sequential approvals.
Schedule daily, weekly, or monthly workflows that help you automate your manual tasks and save you time.
Pricing: The Free plan allows up to 5 workflows. The Pro plan is $30/user/month and provides unlimited workflows and additional automation features.
7. Wrike [Best for hybrid/remote work]
Wrike has top-tier team collaboration features making it a great workflow management software choice for teams balancing remote, in-house, and hybrid members.
Share files, tasks, and reports with other members and get full visibility across multiple departments instantly. Zoom in and out on your overall workflow with customizable dashboards.
It’s easy to shorten the often time-consuming and inefficient feedback process with automated approval systems and visual proofing. For instance, instead of having to send countless emails with file attachments, you can create auto-sign offs so that relevant people are automatically notified when work is ready.
Does Google have a free workflow tool?
G Suite is up to more than 3 million paying users now, and growing all the time. With its suite of communication and collaboration tools, Google Apps makes connecting your work on the cloud easier than ever.
But although email, documents, storage, and chat are all simplified, it’s still extremely hard to create a Google workflow. Making a Google Apps workflow with native tools usually involves either a lot of frustration or deep technical guidance. Since Google doesn’t provide an easy solution, you’ll have to explore a different method.
What is Google Workflow?
Google workflow is a robust combination of Google cloud services and APIs that provide a fully-managed orchestration platform to build reliable applications and enable process automation.
Google workflow executes workflows that stitch a series of services together and are easy to use by monitoring request formatting, and retries, and implementing real-time processing with low latency.
What is Google App Engine?
Google App Engine is a platform-as-a-service offered by Google Cloud that enables businesses to build, manage, and run web applications using Google’s sophisticated features. All the web apps developed and hosted on Google Apps Engine are sandboxed and accommodate the scaling of resources depending on the demand.
Who uses Google App Engine?
Google Apps Engine is predominantly used by Information Technology and construction industry with the most common users from small businesses (1-50 employees).
Advantages of Google Apps Engine
Key Features of Top Google App Engine
Google App Engine enables users to build applications in some of the most familiar and popular languages such as Node.js, Java, Ruby, C#, Python, and PHP.
Flexible and convenient
The platform provides users with the flexibility to transfer any framework and library through docker containers and allows them to build and test an application locally by setting their preferred custom runtimes.
The App Engine gives developers the space to focus on web app coding while it completely manages the infrastructure. The platform safeguards web apps developed by users by enabling the firewall and eliminates security issues such as malware.
Deep Diagnostics and Monitoring
The platform runs frequent scans to determine issues, provides app diagnostics to debug, and effectively monitors the performance of apps. The cloud logging feature reports issues immediately, allowing users to fix bugs before it’s too late.
Google App Engine provides a pay-as-you-go model, allowing users to pay for only what they use. Even when the resources are scaled up based on the demand, the App Engine picks it up and calculates the amount accordingly.
5 Options to Make a Workflow for Google Apps
5 Options to Make a Workflow for Google Apps
An automated workflow is a set of tasks that are organized to happen in certain conditions. A Google workflow tool should be able to take an event in one app, get approval from a manager, add data to a Google sheet, and continue to manage the flow of work on its own. In the ideal Google Apps workflow, you the only time a human needs to be involved is when an approval is required.
Common Google workflows people try to make are Travel Requests, Expense Reimbursements, Paid Time Off Requests, Purchase Requisition, Purchase Orders and Marketing Content Creation.
You can make a very simple Google Apps workflow with existing tools, but you’ll quickly grow out of this as the number of requests grows and as you want to have more control over the process.
Here are the 5 options to make your own workflow for Google Apps
Workflow for Gmail + Sheets
Gmail is ubiquitous for communication and collaboration. However, most of us unknowingly also use Gmail to trigger workflows in Google Apps. For example, a travel expense approval email is sent to a manager with a templatized spreadsheet attached. The manager approves it and forwards it to the finance team for processing.
Using Gmail and Sheets is the fastest way to set up a Google workflow, especially in small teams. However, these workflow lack a lot in data validation, tracking, reports, speed, and error prevention. You’ll quickly want to look for a new option.
Workflow for Google Forms + Sheets
In the first Google Apps workflow option, data goes from one person to another but doesn’t require any special validation. Google Forms let you validate and control the information coming in with special fields. It also makes sure the information is neatly categorized in a Google Sheet for easier record keeping.
A sales enquiry is a good example. Using a hosted Google Form, a company can collect specific details on a potential customer before contacting them. Enquiries automatically show up on the Sheet so that the team knows which ones they’ve handled already.
While this solves some of the chaos in Google Apps workflows, it can also reveal more. The data is static; it sits on the form until someone acts on it. If you have multiple people involved in the process, your editable sheet might get altered and changed unknowingly. You also can’t show selective data to certain people in a workflow, not to mention audit trails and escalations.
Google Apps Script
Up to this point, every step in the workflow has been manually done by someone (aside from taking data from the form and putting it on a spreadsheet). Google Apps Scripts allow you to insert a small bit of code to create an automated one-step Google workflow.
For example, a company might add a Script to automatically send a thank-you email after the Form is submitted. Or they could send commercial and residential requests to different departments.
Apps Scripts are often your first step towards an automated Google Apps workflow, but they have their limitations. First, you need to have a basic level of coding knowledge. Second, Apps Scripts are easy to set up when you are dealing with one step at a time, but get very complicated if you are dealing with a multiple-step workflow. Third, all of your communication and clarifications happen outside of the workflow, likely in Gmail.
#1 Workflow For Google. Try it Now.
Off-the-shelf Workflow Software
When you are ready to build a multi-step workflow, start with a solid workflow software built for Google Apps and G Suite for Business. Platforms like Kissflow Workflow not only let you create as many Google workflows as you need, but they also come with additional features like enhanced forms, the ability to create parallel and other advanced workflows, permissions and visibility conditions, and reports to analyze the workflow.
For example, the details from the online form can be sent first to the data mining team who gather additional information on the customer and then forward it to a sales rep who has a three-step follow-up plan.
Workflow software can reduce the chaos in a process to the level that you hardly ever need to follow up on something. Good software will let you edit your Google workflow and form without needing to contact a software engineer.
Google Apps Custom Workflow Software
Some workflows are so specialized to the way an organization functions that an open platform like Kissflow just isn’t enough.
For example, let’s say a landscape design firm wants to automatically include high-resolution satellite images of the property based on the address entered on the customer enquiry form. This level of specialization requires something more than most off-the-shelf workflow management software can offer. In this case, the company either needs to find or commission industry-specific software to help meet their needs.
Which Google Apps Workflow Option Is Best for You?
Think through all the workflows in your organization. Where do you see the chaos? Does your workflow need to move to a higher level of sophistication? Consider your options and discover what the next step is for your organization.