What is most valuable?
The whole ARIS BPM solution is a bit special, because from the very beginning it was targeted more to Business users and the Management. Its core focus was to, at the end provide a neat tool for the Management to use as get a grasp about their Business Processes, more easily determine their strategy and also sometimes do analysis and parametrization of the processes. This is all possible, as ARIS, unlike Visio for example utilizes a database system, where it's possible to model all kinds of relations with different metadata and information. If used with clear strategy, it can provide a really powerful tool to analyze the whole Enterprise, from IT, Processes and Organization.
How has it helped my organization?
It has improved the organization where I work currently, in a way that the processes are more transparent, then before when they were present only in documents.
Advanced modeling, structuring and visualization capabilities of ARIS made this possible.
What needs improvement?
The main "drawback" of ARIS is that it is not targeted towards the real implementation and running of certain business processes.
It does not have a real workflow engine beneath that can make things actually run. This is also due to it's different focus from the beginning. And also, this comment might be a bit subjective, as I'm more interested in this technical aspect of a BPM system.
Some improvements have been done, after Software AG acquired ARIS, but I don't believe it's still integrated with the other tool WebMethods in a perfect way.
Also, ARIS can be very hard and costly to integrate with other tools, as there is no programming API or web services exposed, except from the integrated report API which is targeted to be used for creating reports from the ARIS database. It's not targeted towards integration.
For how long have I used the solution?
I've used the solution for more than 6-7 years, in different scenarios. Starting as a consultant implementing the solution and modeling the processes, but also as a Business & IT analyst barely using it as a common user to facilitate my work.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
No. The standard system is usually very straight forward to deploy.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
ARIS Business Server and the modeling tools are pretty stable in general. Some issues and challenges can occur when using it in an extremely large environment when the Business Publisher needs to serve more than 5,000 users. Then the load balancing comes in to play, and it needs some improvement in the Publisher tool.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It's probably one of the most scalable solutions in the market currently.
The effort in changing the whole architecture in versions 9 and 10 to enable this is tremendous.
How is customer service and technical support?
The technical support is very good, and has extremely improved over the years.
How was the initial setup?
ARIS is a very simple tool to set up if you are using just the basic platform: Business Server and the Designer tools. In case you are going for a more advanced approach, with additional modules, the solution can be quite expensive to set up. As the vendor consultants are not very cheap, :)
What other advice do I have?
Basically, the main point is to be very clear about your expectations and why do you want to use the tool. If your focus is primarily on the business users, and making company wide business process mapping and improvement initiatives, that's pretty much where ARIS is really good. But, if your focus is the implementation of the business processes, integration with other systems, you should probably evaluate other tools, like Webmethods, IBM BPM, Bonita, Bizagi, Pega,etc.