Process management: human-centric vs. technology-centric

Why over 50 % of process management software projects fail

A dramatically underestimated question in process management is: Who is the customer of your process descriptions? Is the addressee a computer or a human being? Many process management projects fail or lose momentum because this question was not clarified or the consequences were not considered; economically, a billion-dollar grave. In this article, we show that human-centric and technology-centric process management have fundamentally different objectives.


Why are you looking for a software solution? 

You are looking for software for your process management because ...

  • the process documentation in your company is not up to date.
  • your process descriptions therefore do not offer any added value in the daily work of your employees.
  • your process descriptions and reality increasingly diverge, and you must update them before every audit.
  • your employees do not act according to the process documentation they have laboriously worked out.
  • many employees do not even know about your process descriptions.
  • the responsibility for modeling or describing lies with a few specialists or even with you alone.


The crucial question: Human or machine? 

No matter what objective you are pursuing with your process management, you should answer one fundamental question before selecting a tool: Is the addressee a computer or a human?

Many companies want to democratize their processes and let their employees participate in the design of the process documentation to make the valuable knowledge of the employees available to everyone. If a technology-centric software is chosen to achieve this goal, failure is inevitable. With a technology-centric solution, those involved in the process, i.e., the employees, often have no opportunity to participate in the design, or the design is so cumbersome that no employee uses it. The result: the process model is not lived out within the company.

The rarer case is exactly the opposite: Human-centric process management software is introduced for the purpose of automating processes. Due to the different notation, this path results in processes that can only be transferred to a workflow engine with significant effort.


The most significant differences: technology-centric vs. human-centric process management 

To help you decide which software solution is right for your company, we have compiled the most significant differences of technology-centric and human-centric process descriptions and provide you with the characteristics of both variants.

  Technology-centric Process Management Human-centric Process Management
Objectives Digitalization of processes through workflows or automation Tool for collaborative communication of specifications and best practices within the company
Addressee A workflow engine (e.g., SAP)  All employees

Trained experts

All employees
Introduction Several hours of training are required to create a correct BPMN model. Participation is possible for everyone in less than five minutes. 
Level of Detail

100 %: Every process step must be mapped so that a machine can work with the data.
(For IT systems, self-evident things must be mapped) 

Demand-driven: People can draw conclusions on their own - The higher the expertise of the employees, the less details are needed
(Self-evident facts are not considered because people know them).
Contingency management  100 %: All contingencies are considered and reflected in the language. Demand-driven: Linear process structure, contingencies are not completely mapped. 
Values Functional diversity in favor of a perfect process model/data model

Focus on simplicity and participation for maximum benefit in day-to-day operations


Objective: Cooking recipes for humans or BPMN for machines?

We always start with the same question: What is your goal? Is it the automation of processes or the communication of specifications and best practices within the company? If specifications and best practices are the answer and you have been using a BPMN solution, this is exactly where the problem lies. Based on our experience, in most cases, only the IT and quality management representatives understand the BPMN modeling. The employees completing the tasks often do not understand the complicated process models. Although they are consistent and complete in themselves, tips and hints relevant to day-to-day operations, such as simple work instructions, but also screenshots or videos, are missing. This creates frustration in everyday operations and leads to the documentation not being used.

In addition, most of our customers want their employees to be active and to be able to help shape the process. This is often exactly what does not work with BPMN, because the employees are not always aware of the differences in the semantics. Therefore, changes to process documentation are only introduced by a few responsible persons.




With a human-centered solution like, we show you an alternative that allows you to represent workflows in a simple and understandable way, so that every employee can understand and execute them.'s interactive approach transforms your employees from stakeholders to participants, and the design of the processes is transferred to all knowledge holders within the process. This has several advantages: The previously responsible specialists are relieved as the involvement of the employees leads to a higher identification with their own processes and the process descriptions are continuously improved and match the actual work being conducted.

This approach works completely different from what you are used to with BPMN models: With needs-based process descriptions that are structured like cooking recipes, colleagues are provided with the exact information they need to avoid ambiguities and excess discussions, or knowledge that is often forgotten. In contrast to the BPMN modeling, a 100% representation is not beneficial here, since an overly detailed description of logical sequences leads to the documentation becoming overloaded. As a result, the process description loses relevance and is not used by employees. If, on the other hand, you document relevant information in bullet points, a workflow is presented in a way that is easy to understand, frustration in day-to-day work is avoided, and the process descriptions create added value for your employees and your company.


Which process management tool is right for your company?  

There is no software that ideally supports both human and tech-centered objectives and there never will be due to partly diametrical requirements. Therefore, you should not try to pursue both approaches with one tool. If you are still unsure which solution is the right one for you, you should again ask yourself the question from the beginning of the article:

Who is the addressee of the process descriptions - computer or human?​

  • If the answer for you is a computer, or the workflow engine, then our recommendation is a BPMN tool, where a few experts can model and automate your process data models.
  • If the answer for you is humans, then our recommendation is human-centric software, where you can create simple process documentation for all employees and democratize your processes.

If you want both - as crazy as it sounds - you need two tools.

Tip: How to recognize whether a software is human-centric or technology-centric

Whether a software solution is human-centric or tech-centric is not always clear to everyone. To answer this question quickly, a look at the pricing model is usually enough: Is there a difference between process modelers and standard users? Then it is most likely a technology-centric software. Do all users have write-access? Then the software is designed for collaboration, and it is a human-centric tool.

A second, important point: How does the vendor measure the success of its system? For example, is a key performance indicator the read and write accesses? If so, it is most likely a human-centric system because collaboration is the foundation of this solution and employee activity is an important metric.

Successful human-centric process management with

If you want to create documentation by and for your employees, then you will take your process management to a whole new level with our interactive software solution and enormously improve your employees' daily work. We have found in over 700 projects that employee involvement is the key to success. Use the knowledge of all, not just the knowledge of a few, think along process chains and you will automatically act in the best interest of your company!


  • turn your colleagues into participants.
  • keep the knowledge of all your employees in one place, accessible to everyone.
  • keep your process documentation in the company always up to date.
  • provide added value for your employees and encourage continuous improvement.
  • reduce stress before audits with documentation that corresponds to reality.
  • distribute responsibilities directly to the knowledge holders.

If you want your employees to help shape, take responsibility and continuously improve your processes, stop documenting for machines and focus on your company's most valuable resource: your colleagues.


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