Apache Airflow vs IBM BPM comparison

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Executive Summary

We performed a comparison between Apache Airflow and IBM BPM based on real PeerSpot user reviews.

Find out in this report how the two Business Process Management (BPM) solutions compare in terms of features, pricing, service and support, easy of deployment, and ROI.
To learn more, read our detailed Apache Airflow vs. IBM BPM Report (Updated: November 2022).
655,465 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Featured Review
Quotes From Members
We asked business professionals to review the solutions they use.
Here are some excerpts of what they said:
Pros
"Apache Airflow's best feature is its flexibility.""I found the following features very useful: DAG - Workload management and orchestration of tasks using.""The initial setup was straightforward and it does not take long to complete.""We have been quite satisfied with the stability of the solution.""The product integrates well with other pipelines and solutions.""The best part of Airflow is its direct support for Python, especially because Python is so important for data science, engineering, and design. This makes the programmatic aspect of our work easy for us, and it means we can automate a lot.""The solution is flexible for all programming languages for all frameworks.""I like the UI rework, it's much easier."

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"The integration and design are valuable features.""Some of the features that I like the most are team management and process performance. They are both very useful and very powerful with regard to the workflow.""It provides a very robust environment to build an integration framework or workflow patterns that we have. A lot of changes or modifications have been made to this solution over the past few years. The features that they have added this time have helped developers like us to work on the developmental environment and leverage all the capabilities of the tool. This is what I like about this solution.""Its workflow and integration with SAP are the most valuable features. It is also a stable solution.""IBM BPM is a stable solution.""It has an elaborated way to explore the IBM BPM processes.""This solution has always been lacking in the user interface (UI), it needed to be improved a lot. However, from the acquisition of Spark UI, the UI is much better. Overall the solution is robust and has the ability to integrate with any product for complex workflows.""IBM BPM is both scalable and stable."

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Cons
"Apache Airflow could be improved by integrating some versioning principles.""The dashboard is connected into the BPM flow that could be improved.""I would like to see it more friendly for other use cases.""The scalability of the solution itself is not as we expected. Being on the cloud, it should be easy to scale, however, it's not.""UI can be improved with additional user-friendly features for non-programmers and for fewer coding practitioner requirements.""We're currently using version 1.10, but I understand that there's a lot of improvements in version 2. In the earlier version that we're using, we sometimes have problems with maintenance complexity. Actually using Airflow is okay, but maintaining it has been difficult.""Apache Airflow could be improved with the addition of more frameworks.""Technical support is an area that needs improvement."

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"We are a government organization, and we are the largest government power sector in India. We generate around 30% of power in India. Therefore, our processes are quite complex. Although IBM BPM is a low-code or no-code software, if you want to have extremely complex workflows, just the business process diagrams are not helpful in creating those workflows. While implementing complex workflows, only the process flow diagrams did not help us. We had to write a lot of Java scripts and Java queries to achieve what we wanted. Its integration capabilities with the SAP environment have to be improved. At present, we are only talking at the web services environment level. Its price also needs to be improved. It is currently expensive. Previously, Active Directory required a heterogeneous environment, but now they want a homogeneous environment. We had onboarded employees through Microsoft Active Directory, and now I have to implement Microsoft AD only from the cloud for my vendors.""The front end is not customised for a good user experience.""We have had to use Mule as an alternative integration tool because it is more flexible than IBM BPM.""From the testing perspective and minor enhancements perspective, customization is something that is a little tedious as compared to new tools. In addition, various open-source tools that are available are not working with IBM BPM.""It is not user-friendly.""I would like to see the solution be able to interact with other customer software solutions.""I believe that if the license were cheaper, it would have a greater impact.""IBM BPM can improve the dashboards and reports. It only has two dashboards, and reporting is very difficult to build."

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Pricing and Cost Advice
  • "The pricing for the product is reasonable."
  • "Although Airflow is open source software, there's also commercial support for it by Astronomer. We personally don't use the commercial support, but it's always an option if you don't mind the extra cost."
  • "We are using the open-source version of Apache Airflow."
  • "We use a community edition of Apache Airflow. It is open source and free."
  • "Apache Airflow is open-source and free of charge."
  • More Apache Airflow Pricing and Cost Advice →

  • "Its price is on the higher side, and it can be improved. Its licensing is on a yearly basis. There are no additional costs."
  • "IBM could improve the price. It is far too expensive."
  • "I wish it was less expensive. I don't know why their pricing model is so high for a piece of software that could benefit so many. It just seems to me that they could have a lower cost, maybe with fewer features or whatever, but it should be possible to do a lower cost workflow software that uses the same interface and underlying engine but does not cost so much that you have to be a Fortune 50 company to buy it. It is annoying to me. There are a lot of solutions that IBM has that are really powerful but nobody can afford them. They know their business, but I still feel that there are a lot of customers who would benefit from this sort of thing. I don't know what this elitism is all about. I am sure they have people doing the money numbers, but it seems like you can make a lot more money by selling it to way more people for a little bit less."
  • "When considering the features of the solution the price is expensive compared to competitors."
  • "It's expensive. All software is always extremely high. The manufacturing cost that we have compared to the selling cost, it's not like you're building a house or building a car. But putting that aside, considering that it's expensive, it's a lot of money. If you compare it with some of the other alternatives in the market, it's a similar price. For instance, if you compare it with Pegasystems, it's a similar price."
  • "The price of the solution is fair for an enterprise solution that has both cloud and on-premise deployments and when comparing to competitors. Recently IBM has introduced Cloud Pak which allows for more flexible licensing options for automation and other features."
  • "Licensing is managed by the client, but we know it is yearly. Camunda is relatively cheaper. There is not much difference in pricing of IBM and PEGA. For large licensing, there are discounts as well."
  • "I already compared some solutions related to business process management, and I saw that the cost of IBM BPM is more expensive compared with that of Camunda, for example."
  • More IBM BPM Pricing and Cost Advice →

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    Questions from the Community
    Top Answer:Camunda Platform allows for visual demonstration and presentation of business process flows. The flexible Java-based option was a big win for us and allows for the integration of microservices very… more »
    Top Answer:Apache Airflow is a great orchestration and automation tool. Its connectivity with other systems is a great plus point. The interactive UI, the options for scheduling and the very fact that its… more »
    Top Answer:We are using the open-source version of Apache Airflow.
    Top Answer:We researched both IBM solutions and in the end, we chose Business Automation Workflow. IBM BPM has a good user interface and the BPM coach is a helpful tool. The API is very useful in providing… more »
    Top Answer:In terms of licensing, we have to make it free for the developers so more people can install and use it. It is important to make at least licensing free to try in the cloud, not just for IBM BPM but… more »
    Top Answer:I rate this solution an eight out of ten. I would advise others to compare IBM BPM with other equivalent products in the market before deciding.
    Ranking
    Views
    16,295
    Comparisons
    11,113
    Reviews
    9
    Average Words per Review
    497
    Rating
    8.0
    Views
    14,757
    Comparisons
    11,759
    Reviews
    27
    Average Words per Review
    469
    Rating
    7.8
    Comparisons
    Also Known As
    Airflow
    WebSphere Lombardi Edition, IBM Business Process Manager, IBM WebSphere Process Server
    Learn More
    Overview

    Apache Airflow is an open-source workflow management system (WMS) that is primarily used to programmatically author, orchestrate, schedule, and monitor data pipelines as well as workflows. The solution makes it possible for you to manage your data pipelines by authoring workflows as directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) of tasks. By using Apache Airflow, you can orchestrate data pipelines over object stores and data warehouses, run workflows that are not data-related, and can also create and manage scripted data pipelines as code (Python). 

    Apache Airflow Features

    Apache Airflow has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Smart sensor: In Apache Airflow, tasks are executed sequentially. The smart sensors are executed in bundles, and therefore consume fewer resources.
    • Dockerfile: By using Apache Airflow’s dockerfile feature, you can run your business’s Airflow code without having to document and automate the process of running Airflow on a server. 
    • Scalability: Because Apache Airflow has a modular architecture and uses a message queue to orchestrate an arbitrary number of workers, you can easily scale it. 
    • Plug-and-play operators: With Apache Airflow, you can choose from several plug-and-play operators that are ready to execute your tasks on many third-party services.

    Apache Airflow Benefits

    There are many benefits to implementing Apache Airflow. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • User friendly: Using Apache Airflow requires minimal python knowledge to get started.
    • Intuitive user interface: The Apache Airflow user interface enables you to visualize pipelines running in production, monitor progress, and also troubleshoot issues when needed.
    • Easy integration: Apache Airflow can easily be integrated with cloud platforms (Google, AWS, Azure, etc).
    • Visual DAGs: Apache Airflow’s visual DAGs provide data lineage, which facilitates debugging of data flows and also aids in auditing and data governance. 
    • Flexibility: Apache Airflow provides you with several ways to make DAG objects more flexible. At runtime, a context variable is passed to each workflow execution, which is quickly incorporated into an SQL statement that includes the run ID, execution date, and last and next run times.
    • Multiple deployment options: With Apache Airflow, you have several options for deployment, including self-service, open source, or a managed service.
    • Several data source connections: Apache Airflow can connect to a variety of data sources, including APIs, databases, data warehouses, and more.  

    Reviews from Real Users

    Below are some reviews and helpful feedback written by PeerSpot users currently using the Apache Airflow solution.

    A Senior Solutions Architect/Software Architect says, “The product integrates well with other pipelines and solutions. The ease of building different processes is very valuable to us. The difference between Kafka and Airflow, is that it's better for dealing with the specific flows that we want to do some transformation. It's very easy to create flows.”

    An Assistant Manager at a comms service provider mentions, “The best part of Airflow is its direct support for Python, especially because Python is so important for data science, engineering, and design. This makes the programmatic aspect of our work easy for us, and it means we can automate a lot.”

    A Senior Software Engineer at a pharma/biotech company comments that he likes Apache Airflow because it is “Feature rich, open-source, and good for building data pipelines.”

    IBM BPM is a business process management tool that provides a robust set of tools to author, test, and deploy business processes, as well as full visibility and insight to managing those business processes. The solution provides tooling and run time for process design, execution, monitoring, and optimization, along with basic system integration support. To support various levels of complexity and involvement with business process management, there are two different editions of the product: IBM BPM and IBM BPM Express.

    IBM BPM Features

    IBM BPM has many valuable key features. Some of the most useful ones include:

    • Process designer authoring tool
    • Collaborative editing and immediate playback of processes
    • Interactive user interfaces
    • Process rules based on IBM Operational Decision Manager
    • IBM Integration Designer (BPEL and SOA)
    • Designing and building case management systems
    • Process portal
    • Real-time monitoring and reporting
    • Performance analytics and optimizer
    • Performance data warehouse
    • IBM Process Center with a shared asset repository
    • IBM Process Federation Server
    • Built-in enterprise service bus (ESB)
    • Transaction support
    • Integration adapters
    • Network deployment support
    • High availability: clustering and unlimited cores

    IBM BPM Benefits

    There are many benefits to implementing IBM BPM. Some of the biggest advantages the solution offers include:

    • Increased efficiency and cost savings: IBM BPM can help you optimize existing processes and incorporate more structure into the development of new processes by removing process redundancies and bottlenecks.
    • More scalable processes: The solution enables better process execution and workflow automation, which transfers well when scaling processes.
    • Greater transparency: Because IBM BPM’s process automation clearly defines owners for tasks along the process, it provides more transparency and accountability throughout a given process. In turn, this fosters more communication among teams.
    • Less dependency on development teams: IBM BPM offers low-code features which remove potential dependencies on development. Business users can be onboarded onto these tools quickly and easily, thereby increasing process automation across the company.

    Reviews from Real Users

    IBM BPM is a solution that stands out when compared to many of its competitors. Some of its major advantages are that it’s good for developing complex apps, is robust, and has helpful team management and process performance features.

    Zoran C., Owner/CEO at IT SPHERE, says, “It is perfect if you have to develop complex apps without much coding (only java script). It is also good if you don't have much IT resources in your company and would like to involve business analysts in the process of developing apps. My opinion is that it can do about 50% of all developers' work.”

    Suhas V., BPM Architect at GBM, mentions, “Overall the solution is robust and has the ability to integrate with any product for complex workflows."

    A BPM Consultant at a financial services firm comments, "Some of the features that I like the most are team management and process performance. They are both very useful and very powerful with regard to the workflow."

    A Digital Banking & Innovation Director at a financial services firm expresses, “The processing functionality makes it easy to change processes and workflows easily.”

    Offer
    Learn more about Apache Airflow
    Learn more about IBM BPM
    Sample Customers
    Agari, WePay, Astronomer
    Barclays, EmeriCon, Banca Popolare di Milano, CST Consulting, KeyBank, KPMG, Prolifics, Sandhata Technologies Ltd., State of Alaska, Humana S.A., Saperion, esciris, Banco Espirito Santo
    Top Industries
    REVIEWERS
    Media Company29%
    Comms Service Provider29%
    Pharma/Biotech Company14%
    Non Profit14%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Financial Services Firm18%
    Computer Software Company17%
    Comms Service Provider11%
    Healthcare Company6%
    REVIEWERS
    Financial Services Firm55%
    Insurance Company13%
    Computer Software Company13%
    Real Estate/Law Firm4%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Financial Services Firm24%
    Computer Software Company20%
    Comms Service Provider9%
    Insurance Company6%
    Company Size
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business50%
    Midsize Enterprise8%
    Large Enterprise42%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business15%
    Midsize Enterprise13%
    Large Enterprise72%
    REVIEWERS
    Small Business23%
    Midsize Enterprise11%
    Large Enterprise66%
    VISITORS READING REVIEWS
    Small Business15%
    Midsize Enterprise12%
    Large Enterprise73%
    Buyer's Guide
    Apache Airflow vs. IBM BPM
    November 2022
    Find out what your peers are saying about Apache Airflow vs. IBM BPM and other solutions. Updated: November 2022.
    655,465 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    Apache Airflow is ranked 8th in Business Process Management (BPM) with 9 reviews while IBM BPM is ranked 5th in Business Process Management (BPM) with 27 reviews. Apache Airflow is rated 8.0, while IBM BPM is rated 7.8. The top reviewer of Apache Airflow writes "Integrates well with other pipelines and builds different processes well but the scalability needs improvement". On the other hand, the top reviewer of IBM BPM writes "A very stable and powerful tool for handling lots of concurrent users, but it is expensive, and the Eclipse-based tool has performance issues when you have a lot of developers". Apache Airflow is most compared with Camunda Platform, Amazon Step Functions, IBM Business Automation Workflow, Informatica Cloud Api and App Integration and Informatica Business Process Manager, whereas IBM BPM is most compared with Camunda Platform, IBM Business Automation Workflow, Pega BPM, Appian and K2. See our Apache Airflow vs. IBM BPM report.

    See our list of best Business Process Management (BPM) vendors.

    We monitor all Business Process Management (BPM) reviews to prevent fraudulent reviews and keep review quality high. We do not post reviews by company employees or direct competitors. We validate each review for authenticity via cross-reference with LinkedIn, and personal follow-up with the reviewer when necessary.