BIC Cloud BPM Review

Software client for modelling and web portal are both directly accessible through one interface


What is our primary use case?

The main use case is for the quality management of our clients' systems. Clients need to be able to model their processes and also to do auditing using different standards like the ISO 9001. Most of the time these are the main use cases for our clients.  

Usually, you have the choice to have the installation on-premise or the cloud, but for our installation, it is on the public cloud and we are moving to a hybrid cloud to better serve our purpose. What we have now is what I call a pilot version. My goal is to use this while becoming familiar with the product differences before deployment to the hybrid cloud later on.  

How has it helped my organization?

As a former user and administrator of BIC Platform, there are some major improvements to share about BIC Cloud BPM:

UI and UX have drastically improved

Modelling notation portfolio did also expand with new possibilities (BPMN, DMN) and offline modelling capability

Master data management as well as the user access and authorization management new concept reduce efforts for the application administration   

What is most valuable?

From my experience here to this point, I think the new workflow design is quite helpful and it is straightforward and intuitive. There have been some major changes in comparison to the old BIC platform. In the older standard, you had to manage the master data manually as an administrator. Within BIC Cloud they have a new conceptual model. Now when you are creating a new object, at the very beginning of the process you can send it through an approval process. So you only use approved objects from the start. Then you get to take care of the inconsistencies with the object later, manually, which is quite handy from my point of view.  

The new cloud release has some new features which are nicer than the previous version did not have. But even some of the core features or tools which were built-into the previous version were incorporated and kind of polished a bit to make them even better.  

Another aspect that I would say is a major improvement is that now you only need access through a web browser. You do not need to have a software client for modeling and a web portal. You have both directly accessible through one interface: the web browser. You may even model offline because it uses the browser cache to store temporary information about current models you are working on. This is very handy in case you lose your connection or you have a situation where you cannot get directly through to the internet.  

What needs improvement?

There are just some things in the new product that are not really functional issues but improvements that BIC will have to make. For example, there are some small features that I feel are missing as of now. From an administrative perspective, you might not have the ability to trigger specific actions on a set of workflows.  

For example, let's say the interface is showing you a list of currently active workflows. Sometime you may find yourself in a situation where you need to select many workflows at a time. An easy example would be that — for whatever reason — you have 1000 or 2000 active workflows and you need somehow to delete them or just to stop them. It is preferable to be able to do this in one click to apply the change to all of them. So I think this is something that is missing which could probably be easily implemented. Right now it just seems omitted. I don't know if the omission was possibly due to a performance issue or if it was chosen by design. But from an end-user perspective — especially as an administrator — this capability to make bulk changes might be a handy solution when dealing with a large volume of workflows that you have to apply a simple command to in a similar way.  

From my point of view at the moment, all the most important features I am in need of are available. All the tools necessary for daily business for process modeling are there. There certainly is room for improvement. Many other features might be important depending on the specific use case. For instance, there are many notification features that already exist within the tools. These could notify people with different roles based on the specific workflow that is being triggered, which is pretty nice and efficient. I think the tool is quite stable right now, which is positive, and I don't believe it does require further additional things — especially if these are small things and to get them in would be rushing the development. If that may somehow affect the stability and usability, I would rather wait.  

Something that would also be improved in the workflow is just a cosmetic change. But it could also be a functional change. As an end-user, I do expect to be able to make selections of a set of workflows and apply some specific action to the group. If you have a list, then you should be able to select all the list items or part of the list and apply changes to that selection. This might be just something very easy I believe, to fix from their side.  

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using BIC for quite a long time, but we have been using this particular product, BIC Cloud BPM, just since the beginning of the year as it was only officially released in November 2019.  

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

From my experience at this point, it is a stable product.  

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

From my perspective, and because we do not use this tool as a mission-critical application, we don't have a great need for scalability and building on it. But I believe that even with such a scenario this tool is well-designed for potential scaling. If you have a huge workload, the cloud version is a good approach for managing the peak demands that would happen, even unexpectedly.  

Estimating from the current number of processes, we currently have more than 2000 users. For maintenance, we really require very few people, especially because this is a scenario where you have the cloud-based application. With the cloud, you do not care about maintaining the infrastructure. The applications and database servers — all of the servers that are using the architecture — are taken care of by the cloud service provider.  

How are customer service and technical support?

As far as technical support is concerned, I think the team is reactive when it comes to routine issues. But there are not often issues — especially not issues related to infrastructure. There are very few problems in the cloud because the infrastructure is monitored and taken care of in a proactive way. Contacting technical support is more something we do for a consultation about specific use cases. For example, we might have a question about what the best way is to handle a particular need when doing the modeling or some fairly specific thing. For both of these situations, we have the option of getting additional training that is available from the provider. We can book some training based on the role people on our team play in our own quality management. In all, working with support is very straightforward. It is easier than it used to be.  

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup really is done by the provider. If you have an on-premises solution, I think you might most likely be more concerned about where the database resides. If you would like to set up a single sign-on module, you can couple this with your agent services to make login easier for your end-users. That would also be also possible in the configurations.  

What about the implementation team?

Good level of expertise (some integration challenges)

What was our ROI?

Company wide BPMS tool sustaining a long term quality management best practices to achieve the expected process maturity level but also cutting operation and maintenance costs related to the former tool in use

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We have a kind of a custom license package. For most users, there is a demo version or trial version which you can acquire that has a specific amount of licenses available. I think you can just get those on the company website and you can switch them to another language version. But for each enterprise, there is something of a custom approach to pricing because the cost depends on the need. If you need further integration — maybe with some other systems like SAP or another internal system of your own which you would like to interconnect with BIC — all of these things may be taken into account. You might also pay a kind of a basic package for support and maintenance because it is done completely by the service. I can tell you that in terms of licensing, the company has a very specific policy. But because they base your costs on your needs and the company's size and use that to set up the licensing scheme, pricing is different per enterprise.  

What other advice do I have?

I would say my advice to others considering this solution would depend on how big their workload is and the quality management policies they need to maintain. If you already are mostly running on active directory service and have some exposure with SAP and maybe even CRM systems, it will make it easier from the very beginning to purchase the cloud-based solution.  

On a scale from one to ten where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate this product at an eight.  

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Hybrid Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

Other
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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