Which employee does what, when, how and with which tools? That’s a critical question for many companies, which usually rely on business process management (BPM) solutions to visualize, streamline, and implement predefined workflows. Just last month, enterprise SaaS behemoth Salesforce.com rolled out a new BPM tool, Visual Process Manager – only to be now challenged by a small startup called Questetra, which thinks its eponymous solution can stack up.
The way Questetra’s BPM suite (and similar products) work is that users chart business workflows to identify redundancies, “bottle necks” or conflicts in future company processes. Once the design is ready, the designer can authorize other users to revise the system themselves, meaning these designs are then put to actual use in a work environment.
The applicant in the reimbursement process visualized below, for instance, submits a request through the Flash application, which then notifies his supervisor who can then approve and send the request to the accounting division for a final check (there’s actually a whole bunch of different task execution functions built into the application). All actions can be managed via a user-specific dashboard, and just like with Salesforce.com’s solution, for example, Questetra users don’t need to deal with any code.
Apart from relatively low pricing and ease of use, Questetra says the “killer feature” of their suite is that it’s 100% web-based, meaning separate software isn’t required to design a process or perform a task. Another key selling point is the seamless integration with Google Apps (in the SaaS version, users can log in with their existing Google accounts and easily export data to Google Docs).
Questetra, which says their suite is especially interesting for companies with 20 to 200 employees, offers a self-hosted (downloadable) edition and an SaaS solution for $10 per user per month (there’s also a trial version and a number of free sample workflows). It’s also one of the first applications distributed through the Google Apps Marketplace that launched just last week.
Questetra, which is based in Kyoto/Japan, is currently working on mobile-friendly features and an API to be rolled out in the near future. Apart from Salesforce.com’s Visual Process Manager, the Questetra BPM suite competes with SAP’s Visual Composer, Appian, and Intalio, amongst others.