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Low-Code BPM: What It Is and Why It Works

Dan O'Keefe, Appian
March 22, 2024

Organizations are increasingly turning to business process management (BPM) to boost efficiency and meet aggressive business goals. BPM is a discipline and set of practices that enable organizations to optimize processes for greater efficiency, effectiveness, and business agility.

Organizations buy commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) BPM to facilitate this process. Data and software integration can be time- and resource-intensive with COTS BPM software. Plus, businesses often spend resources customizing solutions (and maintaining them once deployed). 

There’s a better option: a low-code BPM platform. By using low-code development platforms to create custom BPM solutions, you can build faster than with traditional software. When you combine the power of BPM with low-code, you gain a number of benefits. Today, we’ll cover low-code BPM tools and why this approach is so effective.

[Find out how to improve your processes: Download 5 Best Practices for Workflow Orchestration.]

Low-code BPM explained.

Business process management (BPM) is a discipline focused on improving and managing business workflows. Broadly, this involves five steps:

  1. Discovering processes and noting areas for improvement. 
  2. Designing and modeling ideal processes. This becomes a blueprint for optimization efforts.
  3. Developing and deploying the new process.
  4. Measuring outcomes and noting areas for further refinement.
  5. Iterating to improve processes and adapt as needs change.

BPM software facilitates this process. But many BPM solutions hinder organizations due to a lack of easy software integration and flexible customizations.

Low-code technology enables developers to create software using visual interfaces by simply dragging and dropping. This speeds up development (up to 90% faster than traditional high-code practices). The best low-code platforms offer a complete set of tools to design, automate, and optimize complex business processes with minimal coding. This includes low-code process orchestration tools, automation technologies like AI and robotic process automation (RPA), and data fabric (which connects data and reduces data silos).

For instance, let’s say you wanted to increase customer satisfaction by reducing ticket resolution times. During discovery, you learn that teams cross-reference spreadsheets, manually enter data from email to other systems, and spend significant time routing issues to other departments. Using an AI process platform offering low-code development, you can use:

  • AI tools to classify incoming emails, route them to the right department, and extract critical information. 

  • Business rules to route tasks and information between employees and digital workers. 

  • Data fabric to easily pass data between multiple systems. 

[See how one insurance company boosted efficiency by consolidating 22 systems into a single interface.]

Low-code BPM: How it can transform businesses.

Low-code BPM helps businesses turbocharge results and meet strategic goals. Here are just a few benefits of low-code BPM:

Reduced costs.

For starters, BPM helps businesses streamline efficiency and reduce costs. By optimizing processes, organizations get more out of their existing workforce (and reduce the need for extensive hiring). Additionally, strong BPM enables teams to produce products or deliver services faster, reducing the cost of rework. 

But low-code adds another dimension to cost reduction. Many COTS BPM solutions don’t do enough out of the box. Businesses have to shell out money for high-code developers to customize and maintain these solutions. Low-code developers can produce solutions tailored to your business in a fraction of the time. Plus, many low-code platforms come with prebuilt integrations to popular software, further reducing development and maintenance costs. 

[Did you know data fabric is a cost-effective way of managing data? Learn more: The High Cost of Data Silos: 3 Telling Statistics.]


Industries change. New opportunities appear. Departments reshuffle. These things can trigger a change in operational processes. The businesses that can adapt gain a significant leg up. The faster they can do this, the better.

Low-code BPM fosters your ability to rapidly meet any shift. Low-code tools enable teams to quickly update even complex business processes. With low-code BPM, you can deal with everything from emerging market opportunities to internal organizational changes to new compliance regulations.

Continuous improvement.

The BPM process is never fully complete. There’s always more efficiency to gain. And the biggest barrier to this is transparency. Some low-code platforms offer process mining tools that enable you to gain visibility to spot issues and bottlenecks using real data. Process insight tools generate hard data from system logs. You can use this to supplement stakeholder interviews when diagnosing issues, designing changes, and measuring outcomes. Using these tools, you can track improvements over time and find ways to iterate and improve even further.

Easier software integration.

Most businesses use a patchwork of software systems to accomplish their goals. This can quickly grow out of control as organizations scale. For example, manufacturing and supply chain organizations often deploy multiple enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. They might stitch together two ERPs to get the right feature set. Then, they often have to support these systems to maintain data even when it’s long past time to sunset the ERP. Adding further complications, regions within the same enterprise may decide to use different systems than their parent company. In short, the IT ecosystem is challenging to maintain. 

The best low-code application platforms offer a data fabric architecture. Data fabric enables organizations to discover and unify data from multiple sources. In the previous example, the organization could work with data from across multiple ERPs in a single unified data model (that also syncs data across those ERPs). Plus, these low-code platforms often include easy connectors to popular software applications to make integration even easier than before.

Transform your organization with low-code BPM.

As competition grows steeper, the ability to swiftly transform operations is becoming more and more necessary to thrive. Low-code BPM offers organizations an agile, cost-effective, and flexible method for improving their business processes. Adopting low-code BPM allows organizations to adapt to changing market forces, capitalize on emerging opportunities, keep up with compliance changes, and boost efficiency in their enterprise. 

Want to learn more about systematically improving your business processes? Get the BPM Guide: The Key to Workflow Automation to learn how.