What Are BPM and BPA — and Why Do Developers Need to Pay Attention?

Your customers need help optimizing processes and finding easy-to-use solutions that help to compensate for limited resources.


Businesses and organizations have always looked for ways to increase productivity and cut costs so that they can improve the bottom line. With virtually all vertical markets now setting and working toward digital transformation goals, demand is growing for business process management (BPM) and business process automation (BPA) software to help them achieve those goals.

BPM and BPA solutions can increase a business’ competitiveness by optimizing processes, improving the quality of products and services and ultimately, improving customer experiences. BPM and BPA software can also give managers greater visibility into their teams’ activities and intervene with things get off track.


BPM and BPA are related, but they are different categories of business applications. TrustRadius describes BPM tools as the “juncture between IT and business departments at a company.” Examples of these tools are business process modeling and workflow management systems. BPM software also includes form generators, collaboration solutions, and analytics.

Mordor Intelligence research found that the value of the BPM market in 2019 was $3.38 billion, and it is expected to grow to $4.78 billion by 2025, a CAGR of 6.26 percent.

The Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) explains that effective BPM often includes:

  • Focusing on outcomes, not tasks
  • Establishing and standardizing processes across the organization
  • Assigning ownership of processes
  • Facilitating continuous improvement of processes
  • Optimizing processes before you automate them

That last point is the key to clarifying the difference between business process management and business process automation. Business process management solutions focus on managing processes, but not necessarily automating them.

BPA, on the other hand, is all about automation. The Help Systems Blog lists examples of BPA, including software that automates processes such as file transfers, user provisioning during onboarding, report generation, ordering, claims, data entry, and event log monitoring.

Like BPM, the BPA market is projected to grow. Statista forecasts an increase in market value from $9.7 billion in 2019 to $12.7 billion in 2021.

Furthermore, the Business Process as a Service (BPaaS) market is expected to grow to $20.22 billion by 2024 from $5.89 billion in 2018. MarketWatch explains that BPaaS has emerged as a cost-effective alternative for businesses that want to optimize business processes while maintaining the ability to focus on their core competencies. Additionally, BPaaS can add value by eliminating the need for multiple vendor relationships. MarketWatch points out that robotic process automation (RPA) and Internet of Things (IoT) are also factors in BPaaS growth.

What Your Clients Need

The first issue you should address with BPM and BPA solutions is the fact that people without formal education or experience may have to use them. In his blog on his study BPM Employment Opportunities in 2017, BPM expert Pedro Robledo stated that 66 percent of BPM positions could not be filled, and moving forward, the demand for BPM professionals is expected to grow by 14 percent through 2024. ISVs and software developers who can help people tasked with business process management, regardless of their education or level of expertise, will find an eager market.

Your clients also need your guidance. They may not be able to see past their comfort with longtime, manual processes so that they can consider moving to more efficient options. Your technical sales team or channel partners can help businesses create a roadmap that allows them to optimize processes and get the greatest value from your application.

They may even discover innovative BPM or BPA solutions that exceed their expectations for efficiency and productivity.

Mike Monocello

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.

The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of DevPro Journal.