ARIS BPM Review

Holistic views of process modeling show interrelated effects between new and old processes


What is our primary use case?

The process modeling capabilities are what we use this for primarily.  

What is most valuable?

ARIS is probably the most mature product I know of in terms of modeling an enterprise architecture so that it has context. When you need to make changes to processes, there is a view where you can actually see what other processes within different use cases or different functional areas use the same process and what those changes can affect. Workflows can be used across different business areas and that gives a really good, holistic view of what modifications end up affecting.  

What needs improvement?

Some of the interactions with different versions of browsers caused a little bit of angst because there are certain corporate SOEs (Standard Operating Environments), which do not lend themselves well to representation in the latest version of ARIS. The product is sort of one version behind with current trends, typically.  

I have definitely seen better UIs, but the crux of why we use the ARIS process modeler is because we have everything all one suite. When you talk about enterprise architecture, application architecture, process architecture, or whatever else you want to model and monitor, these processes are all in the same place. You can make cross-references or create links between processes, you can link part of a model to an application, you can link to a capability view, et cetera. As an enterprise architecture tool, there is probably very little they can improve on at least compared to other modelers.  

Because you keep on working with different versions of a model, the only way to maintain a record is to take a snapshot. Certain things are still in design or still in the conceptualization stage. Other things have already gone into production. At a glance, it is quite hard to work out which processes are at a particular stage. The overview is very flat. Having some form of a hierarchy in terms of approvals or a sort of ranking would be good. This could show whether a process has been deployed or not, or if it is still just a conceptual model. Some sort of formal approval process that defines a released version of your models could be incorporated into the workflow approval process to help visualize what stage a process is in.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have probably been using ARIS (Architecture of Integrated Information Systems) BPM (Business Process Management)for about four years now. I used ARIS BPM before coming to this company, but quite a while ago. That was about a year ago, and that was version 10 or 11 or something in that range.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is very much dependent on the network. If the network is not so good, then you might experience some stability issues. It would be good if you had an offline version or some means of caching development. I am not sure whether that is in the ARIS roadmap. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

All BAs (Business Analyst) use ARIS, especially for process modeling. We have a team of probably 50 people who use ARIS modeler to see the process flows, but there are different roles. I am an architect so I can see everything. BAs can only view or read, they can not contribute to the capability models. The roles help scale out so the right people get the appropriate access without causing development issues.  

How are customer service and technical support?

We have our own administrators here who maintain the product.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup and installation are very straightforward. The administration is a bit clunky because of the way it is set up as a Software-as-a-Service. There was not really a Single Sign-On capability for the tool. You have to maintain your login separately and that is a little archaic.  

Because it was already running, there was not really a deployment to get me going with the product. It was just a matter of adding me as a user.  

What other advice do I have?

I definitely recommend the product to users seeking this kind of solution, especially for the architecture practice. If you want to have a knowledge base or a repository for architects it is very good for an overview of the enterprise architecture. Normally in a new business venture — that being a business case, a new software offering, or a new capability — the new process needs to be introduced to an existing architecture. Companies will already have a mature backend with legacy applications and integrations. It is good to keep a repository of the development to make sure that the history of that evolution stays within the company's knowledge base for later reference.  

On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate the ARIS BPM solution overall as a product as probably an eight-out-of-ten. It is not rated higher because the user interface is not as modern as other modeling tools like Bizagi, which looks nice. With ARIS you are quite limited when it comes to the look and feel.  

That issue with look-and-feel becomes more important when you try to present something to executives. When it looks like your ten-year-old has done something to present in grammar school, it is not the right thing to be showing at a high-level meeting. The content is all there, but it just looks like it is just scraped together rather than properly designed.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
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