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6 Workflow Tools for Increasing Productivity in 2023

What is workflow management, why do you need to automate your workflows, and what are the best tools to help you do so this year? Read on to find out.

Motion Blog
at Motion
Jul 3, 2023
Table of contents

Balancing your workload and managing your day without workflow management tools is daunting.

With so many projects to oversee, tasks to complete, people to manage, and clients to serve, business operations must flow smoothly.

Time is money, and you want to optimize your time and that of your team as best you can. Make every minute count. Operate at peak performance. Maximize output.

All while avoiding burnout.

And manual processes harm more than help.

This post will discuss how automated workflow software helps project managers and teams manage their project schedules and workloads. Then, we’ll review six top workflow software currently on the market.

What is workflow management?

Workflow management is the orchestration of the systematic business processes through which work assignments progress from start to finish. It’s creating daily workflows out of routine tasks and recurrent resources and steering that flow.

It involves breaking down projects and work assignments into action items (or tasks), then organizing, delegating, scheduling, overseeing, executing, evaluating, and improving those steps to complete the projects and assignments.

Workflow management identifies and orchestrates the steps, schedule, resources, people, and budget required for the business processes that enable multi-step workflow creation. In the process, it also Identifies dependencies and potential bottlenecks and roadblocks.

Workflow management software supports project managers by providing the centralized platform, powerful tools, and advanced automation features necessary to accomplish the project planning listed above.

‎Features you want to see in good workflow management software include the following:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Centralized dashboard to house and show project overview, workflow progress, tasks, and resources
  • Team views and individual member views
  • Scheduling features
  • Project plan templates
  • Communication and collaboration features
  • Advanced task management
  • Calendar/timeline views
  • Tracking, analytics, reporting
  • Alerts and notifications
  • Sharing features
  • Storage and management of digital assets
  • Custom workflows
  • Powerful automation features
  • Integrations
  • Data security
  • Availability on mobile

The benefits of using workflow management tools include:

  • Minimize human errors and inconsistencies through automation
  • Increase efficiency by streamlining business operations and optimizing workflows
  • Optimize communication and collaboration
  • Improve product quality
  • Increase productivity by helping with multitasking and reducing bottlenecks, delays, and process failures
  • Help to accurately identify and effectively apply resources to save time and money, improve project planning and strategy, and reduce redundant tasks
  • Improve work culture and job satisfaction by keeping employees engaged, clarifying roles, minimizing micromanagement, strengthening onboarding, improving compliance, and increasing trust and transparency
  • Produce deeper project insights through audit tracking

Automation is a significant factor in workflow management. 66% of small businesses consider automation essential to running their business.

88% believe that it enables them to compete with larger businesses by optimizing their time, increasing efficiency, and reducing human error, among other competitive advantages.

Top workflow tools

The following list provides an overview of six top workflow automation software currently on the market.


We’re kicking off this list with our own workflow automation tool.

‎Motion harnesses automation and AI to create and maintain your schedule, manage tasks, tackle disruptions, and send alerts. And it does it all without a second thought from you.

Key Features:

  • Intelligent calendar — adds new and routine tasks, prioritizes tasks, creates and manages daily schedules, optimizes time based on set working hours, schedules action items around meetings, alerts you to over-committing, and blocks off time for deep work
  • Easily-accessible schedule and task window from any site window in one click
  • Calendar sync
  • Calendar sharing — personal events are kept private from the team view, so teammates only see your work calendar
  • Board and list views
  • Notes, documents, digital assets, and comments are attached to each related project or task
  • Customizable workspaces, project plan templates, labels, and notifications
  • Meeting scheduler — customizable scheduling preferences, daily meeting limits, personalized booking pages, custom email copy with availability options
  • Enter meetings in one click
  • Team management — automatic daily task assignments, task prioritization, rescheduling, central dashboard, deadline reminders, team time report
  • Web app, mobile app, and Chrome extension


Google Calendar, Zoom, Zapier, Gmail, Microsoft Team, Google Meet, Microsoft Outlook 365


  • Gathers all calendars, meetings, and tasks from different apps into one comprehensive calendar view
  • Balances workloads and guards against burnout
  • Automatically builds customized, prioritized daily schedules for each teammate
  • Automatically adds and reschedules calendar items as needed
  • Can turn off auto-scheduling
  • Easy-to-understand features


  • Can’t import tasks from other apps


  • Individual plan — $19/month
  • Team plan — $12 per month per user
  • Free 7-day trial — cancel anytime
  • Visit our pricing page for more info and to see how Motion affects your ROI in both time and money.


Wrike is an all-in-one automated workforce management solution. It helps manage teams, daily workflows, resources, billable hours, schedules, analytics, and reporting.

‎Wrike’s Work Intelligence AI solution builds daily to-do lists with prioritized tasks, identifies risk factors based on historical patterns, accepts mobile voice commands, turns mobile snapshots of printed documents into digital attachments, and translates notes into tasks and subtasks.

Key Features:

  • Real-time progress and workload tracking
  • Task management tools, such as assignments and reassignments
  • Automated, customizable workflows
  • Team calendars, dashboards, Kanban boards, and Gantt charts
  • Drag-and-drop task builder
  • Time tracking tools
  • Multi-level cross-tagging
  • Online proofing with real-time collaboration and smart approvals
  • Insights and analytics
  • Reports and pre-built infographics
  • Web, desktop, and mobile apps
  • Wrike’s Work Intelligence AI solution


  • Over 400 apps, including Slack, Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, and Adobe
  • Custom integrations via Wrike API


  • Unlimited projects, tasks, subtasks, custom fields, and request forms
  • Unlimited users with the Free plan as well as with the Enterprise and Pinnacle plans
  • Flexible, customizable workflows and work views
  • Track and balance workloads
  • Scalable


  • Monthly limits on automations
  • Resource management only available with the higher plans
  • Better suited to larger businesses


  • Free plan available
  • Team plan — $9.80 per user per month
  • Business plan — $24.80 per user per month
  • Call for pricing of Enterprise and Pinnacle plans
  • Add-on features for an additional fee — Two-way sync, Integrate, Lock, and Marketing Insights
  • Free two-week trial — no credit card required


Nintex is a powerful, sophisticated workflow automation and project planning software. It helps build highly advanced automated end-to-end processes that cover every system and communication channel in your business.

‎Nintex’s Process Discovery tracks user activity to identify and map task processes automatically. You can then add these processes to the workflow designer, create workflow documentation of standard operating procedures, or upload them to the Process Manager.

Compare recommended processes to the baseline, receive automation recommendations, and control what data gets recorded.

Key Features:

  • Automated digital form builder with drag-and-drop controls
  • Advanced automated workflow builder with drag-and-drop design tools
  • Robotic process automation (RPA) — a virtual workforce that fuels attended automation support for employees at work, deploys to perform unattended automation 24/7/365 in response to automated triggers while humans are absent
  • Advanced privacy and security features
  • Process Discovery
  • Connectors and Xtensions to integrate third-party tools into automated workflows
  • Insights and Analytics
  • Process mapping and real-time progress visibility
  • DocGen & eSign for documents and e-signatures
  • Mobile app
  • Automation Cloud and low-code Automation On-prem


  • Google, Microsoft, Salesforce, Box, ServiceNow, SharePoint, and over 70 other apps and tools through built-in Nintex Connectors
  • Custom connectors with Nintex Xtensions


  • Powerful automation features, making even the most complex workflows effortless
  • Process discovery, project planning, mapping, automation, management, and optimization
  • No per-user cost
  • Integrates with nearly any third-party tool you use between Connectors and Xtensions, including legacy software


  • Expensive
  • No collaboration and communication features
  • Learning curve for less tech-savvy users
  • Better suited to larger companies, but might be a lot for small businesses
  • Can be challenging to source errors and debug


  • Pro plan — starting at $25,000/year
  • Premium plan — starting at $50,000/year
  • Call for pricing on a personalized Custom plan, available on-premise
  • 30-day free trial — no credit card required


ProcessMaker promotes itself as “The #1 Enterprise Digital Process Automation Platform.” This workflow software incorporates manual and system-performed action items into streamlined, automated workflows.

‎Enterprise companies with more complex workflows discover ProcessMaker while seeking flexibility and scalability.

Key Features:

  • Low-code Business Process Automation (BPA) — automates repetitive tasks, reduces bottlenecks, and streamlines business operations
  • RPA bots
  • Sharable dashboards, charts, and reports based on filtered search
  • Drag-and-drop process modeler
  • Digital form builder — create data capture forms and approval screens for managers
  • Approve or reject action items by email or from Slack or WhatsApp, even while offline
  • Real-time business activity monitoring and alerts
  • Master data management — address validation, digital form validation, product and account code reconciliation, Record Collections data storage, system integration
  • Document scanning and storage
  • AI-powered intelligent document processing


  • Office 365, G-Suite, Google Apps, LinkedIn, Salesforce, SharePoint, OneDrive, Alfresco, Dropbox, Box, SAP, Slack, JotForm
  • Custom integrations via API


  • End-to-end process design and automation
  • Powerful workflow management tools


  • No free trial
  • No mobile app
  • Huge price tag, especially with per-user pricing
  • May be too comprehensive for small businesses


  • Standard plan — $1,495 per user per month
  • Enterprise plan — $2,479 per user per month


Smartsheet is a flexible and versatile work management platform. It can accommodate businesses of all sizes, small or large-scale projects, and simple or complex workflows.

Its spreadsheet-style design makes it accessible to those familiar with Excel and Google Sheets and looking for an alternative, more robust solution.

Key Features:

  • Various project views and activity logs
  • Unlimited dashboards and reports
  • Team collaboration tools
  • Customizable forms, sheets, workspaces, and email accounts
  • Task and workflow automation
  • Real-time progress visibility with metrics, project progress summaries, and Gantt charts
  • Content creation and management
  • Digital asset management
  • Web, desktop, and mobile apps
  • Resource management tools
  • Process management tools
  • Data security
  • Insights and analytics
  • No-code app builder
  • Automated, customizable reminders, notifications, and update requests


Nearly 100 integrations, including Office 365, Google Workspace, Slack, Salesforce, Box, Dropbox, and Jira


  • Scalable
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Cross-sheet data sharing
  • High-quality customer support team


  • Monthly automation limit
  • Can be confusing to navigate multiple projects
  • Expensive plans


  • Free plan available
  • Pro plan — $7 per user per month
  • Business — $25 per user per month
  • Call for pricing on the Enterprise plan
  • Add-on features for an additional fee on some plans
  • 30-day free trial — no credit card required


Trello is a simple, straightforward, flexible workflow management tool. It aggregates your team, projects, daily workflows, and meetings under one centralized platform.

Trello is great for small to medium businesses but can also scale up to accommodate large enterprise companies.

Key Features:

  • Project boards, lists, and cards
  • Automated workflows
  • Custom fields
  • Multiple project views (advanced plans only) — Board, Timeline, Table, Calendar, Dashboard, Map, and Workspace
  • Pre-built, customizable templates for onboarding, project management, team meetings, and remote teams
  • Task management tools
  • Brainstorming tools
  • Resource hub
  • Searchable content catalog
  • Web, mobile, and desktop apps
  • Enterprise-grade data security


Over 200 integrations and power-ups, including Google Workspace, Zapier, Jira, and Slack


  • No-code platform with automation tools built into every board
  • Automation suggestions based on routine tasks
  • Unlimited cards and activity logs for all plans, unlimited boards for paid plans
  • Unlimited storage for all plans, including the free plan
  • Intuitive interface with easy-to-understand features


  • Expensive for larger teams
  • No time tracking or resource management
  • Can’t share confidential project files


  • Free plan available
  • Standard plan — $5 per month per user
  • Premium plan — $10 per month per user
  • Enterprise plan — Starting at $17.50 per month per user
  • Add-on Atlassian Access security subscription for an extra $4 per user per month
  • Free 14-day trial of the Premium plan

Optimize your business processes and time management with workflow tools

The best workflow software for your team will help balance the daily workflow, streamline business operations, and optimize valuable work hours.

Best of all, you’ll restore work-life balance to yourself and your team, regaining extra time outside of work to spend on what matters most to you.

Are you ready for better time management, project management, team management, and life management?

If so, ditch the manual processes and take each workflow software listed above for a test drive. See which one perfectly matches your business.

Start with Motion today with a 7-day free trial, and reclaim your schedule!

Motion Blog
Written by Motion Blog