What is most valuable?
Aris Connect opens collaboration opportunities between team members within the organization where they can actually submit change requests, navigate processes, and offer comments. It opens up the potential for BPM within the organization. I didn't see such an angle of a BPM portal with any other products. So I would say that's the best selling feature.
What needs improvement?
They need to revamp a whole module. This module has been in place for 16 years. It hasn't been updated since then. It's actually a separate license on its own. It's a disaster. It needs to be more functional. It doesn't work easily. It takes too much time to just create a simple flow, in terms of the process and governance structure.
If you have multiple tiers of approvals into an update of a policy, or the process design itself, it takes ages to prepare those internal flows within the system.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using this solution for around ten years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The design suite of ARIS is stable. In terms of other modules such as Risk and Compliance or APG, especially APG, I wouldn't describe it as 'not stable', I would describe it as labor-intensive; you need to do a bunch of steps to make sure that the cloud engine is running smoothly for those two modules.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It is fairly easy to scale but it is quite expensive to scale.
I also sell the platform as a reseller for this solution. We have hundreds of thousands of users. I don't use it largely myself within my organization. I work in PwC, PricewaterhouseCoopers. We don't tend to sell it but when we see clients interested, we give our recommendation and comparison between BPM engines, and they end up going to directly contract the vendor themselves.
We don't even recommend ARIS over another platform. We would recommend ARIS over another platform if the client doesn't have a budget. It's the most expensive option.
The users will vary. Some of the clients that adopted ARIS have 1,000 plus employees. Others have 200 employees. I even have a client that has 50,000 employees.
How are customer service and technical support?
Their technical support is weak. It's a regional problem because the Middle East region, in general, is still an underdeveloped market when it comes to certain technologies; particularly BPM.
They're still not into the structure scheme that you have in Europe or the U.S. At the end of the day, if a bank adopts a BPM engine, the scale of the licensing, the structure and even the usability of the platform is way higher. The number of transactions that a local bank does is less than a number of transactions that an international bank does.
The other point is largely speaking, BPM here is very fragmented. It's either some people do the design only and the other side only does the implementation or execution without paying attention to the business design of flows. It doesn't go coherently as it does in Europe or the U.S. It doesn't go in a full-fledged cycle where you actually start with the design and move forward and make your organization agile.
Aside from that, I think that the vendors are not interested in largely investing in the technical support in the region because they are not as busy as in other regions. The thing that maybe ARIS has the edge on in the region is that they have a couple of strong partners here in the region. The vendor themselves are not fully available but the partners are really strong. The firm I used to work with, prior to joining PwC, used to handle level one and level two technical issues of various regions. When it comes to ARIS, that's the only edge I would say that has over the other competitors.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is straightforward. I would say it's one of the easiest tools to navigate. It gives a big margin of freedom. You can lose track if you don't know what you're doing. I would say the ARIS team should have an easier standard filter where people can start at a novice level of the application rather than open the whole potential at once because people can get lost. That's an aspect that needs improvement.
It has a structured way to do the architecture and it forces you to start with the metamodel and move from there within a certain architectural design cycle. While ARIS is very simple and easy, the potential is huge and people tend to lose focus.
What other advice do I have?
Don't be fooled by the potential, take it slow and step by step. It's a long journey, to be honest, to adopt a BPM engine. Involve your IT team, don't look at it from only a business design because the tool itself is meaningless unless you combine it with web method.
Skew the design and make sure that the business elements that you're designing have actual merit in your back-end legacy; or that you can actually create a certain form to fill whatever gap you need to be filled. Otherwise, it's just a fancy way to design what you can change that into.
If you are buying ARIS only to map your processes, you're better off with Visio. I know it's more labor-intensive, but don't make that investment. Every vendor comes with a unique feature. For example, Pega is very powerful when it comes to execution. It helps you come up with the structure of your architecture easier than ARIS does. They have a unique approach to their platform. One platform covers the design and execution.
Discard the brand name because the only feature that ARIS has that other tools don't is the process architecture itself, the design elements. However, in terms of the execution, you cannot do anything with ARIS. It doesn't add value.
I would rate it a nine out of ten.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.