5 Differences between SMB and Enterprise Workflow Software

The ultimate goal of workflow automation is to make people more productive by handing over repetitive and low-value tasks to computers.

However, while all workflow software is built to make businesses more productive, different workflow software may be more appropriate to the specific needs of different kinds of business.

Just as small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMB) and enterprises have different business structures, they also have different workflows and thus different automation needs.

Let’s explore this concept in more detail.

Below are five key differences between SMB and enterprise workflow software:

1.  Workflow Scale

SMB workflow software such as Zapier, If This Then That (IFTTT) and Microsoft Flow primarily handle the most essential and simple workflows, such as automating notifications and data entry.

For example, Zapier connects the web applications that you use every day and makes them more intuitive. It can automatically add contacts to your Mailchimp subscriber list or create a new Trello card when you enter data into a specific Google spreadsheet.

In contrast, enterprise workflow software manages tasks at the larger enterprise level than just automating alerts or auto-updating databases. It builds powerful workflows that can map out entire business processes for you, helping you understand what is and is not working in the process.

2.  The End User

The main reason SMB workflow software handles the more basic tasks compared to enterprise workflow software? It targets the individual as the end user, rather than the business as a whole.

Essentially, individuals use SMB workflow software to design the workflows that simplify the actions relating back to their own productivity. For example, it could auto-download a file as soon as it is uploaded into Dropbox by another user, so you don’t have to manually do it.

On the other hand, enterprise workflow software is more collaboration-focused and can work in a linear or vertical flow to improve the process for all users accessing the workflow. For example, during a review or audit process, various editors can access, edit, and be notified whenever anyone edits a Google doc.

3.  The Cost

Of course, because SMB workflow software handles tasks at a more basic level, it usually has a more affordable subscription than enterprise workflow software.

IFTTT is one such SMB workflow software that has a free subscription model, allowing individuals to take advantage of it without needing any approval from their IT or finance departments.

Though you end up being more productive at the individual level, you can’t really do much about your collaborative workflows without spending on an enterprise- level. This affects how your business’s productivity improves as a whole.

4.  Integration Abilities

While SMB workflow software is cheaper for its ability to automate basic workflows, it can’t work over the same range of services and products that enterprise workflow software can.

Although Zapier and IFTTT work across all the web applications you use, they can’t integrate into workflows involving on-premise data or software.

This also means that SMB workflow software is less customizable for large workflows that might need connectors into various common applications and software. Usually, SMB workflow software is great for automating processes common to daily personal use, but enterprise workflow software can take on the automation of multistep and interdepartmental enterprise-level workflows.

5.  IT Involvement

Finally, SMB workflow software is different from enterprise workflow software in that it requires little to no IT involvement.

SMBs have team members that often carry out tasks within multiple departments, or they outsource IT-related tasks to a third party because they can’t carry out all the work by themselves. SMB workflow software allows any individual to use the workflow software to become more productive at a basic level, without needing to understand how other processes might work.

In contrast, large enterprises have designated IT departments who recommend, support and govern technology used across an organization.

Enterprise businesses boast more customers, and thus handle data and automated processes. This also means they have more skilled employees who can focus on optimizing the value of enterprise workflow software.

 

Find out how enterprise workflow software can automate powerful workflows by requesting a free Nintex demo.

Sean Fiene

Nintex Technical Evangelist Sean Fiene is a web developer, Nintex Forms specialist and lover of foods. With over 9 years' experience in SharePoint and Nintex technologies, he's passionate about using workflow automation, forms and mobile solutions to drive greater productivity and success across industries and business scenarios.