What is our primary use case?
We are using it in a mixture, actually. We have got our business-as-usual business analysis activities and we are getting our business analyst to model the processes that they would normally draw up in their day-to-day activity. Instead of doing it in Visio, we are asking them to do it in Signavio to get the depth of the information that we actually need for the process plans.
Things like attributes, the full details of the task descriptions, the full roles and all that is recorded and then filed centrally. What we are also doing is we are trying to expand our scope. This has been a project for us and what we are trying to do is develop it into a product so that we have got backing. We can then go out to different business areas and ask them about some of their processes. We will help them with the challenging parts of the processes. Like we will draw out the plans for them, show them what it looks like and what we can do for them. During that, we would identify pain points and again it is all kept centrally. Then we can feed that back to them. So those are our two main use cases.
How has it helped my organization?
For me, one of the main improvements in our organization has been the removal of duplication. We have business analysts across the organization and the business areas that are the ones that are generating the activity. So it is either in a product environment or it is an enterprise technology environment. What we have been able to do through the tool is to identify where business analysts are working on two different things and potentially they can link up efforts. So deduplication for us is one of the main areas things have improved.
What is most valuable?
For me, the features I find most valuable are definitely in the Collaboration Hub. That is something that we are developing. We are getting more users on there and becoming more familiar with it. The new version is definitely much better that way. The modeling is obviously very important. As a business analyst, when you go from muddling about just using Vizio without using a particular standard and then you go to Signavio you end up modeling to a standard. In a way that can sometimes feel a little bit restrictive. But once you get to understand what the tool is doing for you in terms of giving you the hints and tips and helping you draw plans effectively, it makes a better model in the end.
I see that as a benefit. If you need to do process modeling, I think the tool itself is really good because you can just type in what you want in Quick Model and then that can draw a simple process for you. If you are going from being a business analyst with lots of modeling experience but you had never modeled to a standard and then go to the tool that can be a little bit restrictive initially. Well, then it turns into a benefit because you start using the tool that you are supposed to in the way you are supposed to use it.
What needs improvement?
One thing I'd like to see changed and improved — bearing in mind we do not use the full functionality — is custom reporting. One thing that I found is in order to get us mobilized, get the processes modeled and get the right information out, we have had to use the API to create some custom reports. I would say making the creation of custom reports easier for the end-user could make it a more versatile solution.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We have not had any stability issues other than recently when they updated to Velocity. You could expect things like that to happen when a new product comes out. Apart from that, it has been 99% stable.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
I think the usage can be scaled quite easily. It is very easy to onboard someone. It is also very easy to show them, and there doesn't seem to be any restrictions in terms of the number of users. Right now we are quite small in terms of numbers compared to some organizations. When we need to scale I'm sure we can.
How are customer service and technical support?
Dealing with tech support has been pretty simple. You raise an issue online, then usually get an automated response back. Anything that is a major issue has been dealt with and gets a higher priority. Anything that is more of a request for something that would be nice if we could do takes a lower priority. We've raised some of those issues as well.
In terms of the relationship with the company, we've got a number of key people that we do speak to. It is a mix of the sales side to the financial side to the technology side. It is nice, but you've got to accept that in a bigger organization and to improve the processes or to give better customer service that you are not always going to be able to speak to one particular person.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Personally, I've spent a lot of time working in Visio. I've only been at the BBC for five years and then my previous employer worked in Visio. Going back a bit further, I did a piece of work with an SAP installation quite a while back, so I understood the importance of process. Lots of people don't. Over the years, besides working at the BBC, I always found processes for what I do. That is just my approach to things.
When we started going to conferences and were listening to certain people talking about their process, the central repository and such, we tried to understand how that would work in practice. We were using Visio at the time while other people were using things like Lucidchart — you know, free versions, or open-source Business Process Management.
Our priority became to get a central repository. So even without understanding what the tool could do in terms of the modeling, it gave us the central repository and I think the rest of the experience with the tool has been a bonus. It was through going to conferences and having a desire already to use processes more effectively that we made progress. We wanted to translate that to something the end-users and the senior managers would like.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was pretty straightforward.
What about the implementation team?
When we went to deploy we went with a consultant BPM-D (Business Process Management -Discipline). We wanted them to help us with our selection because we are a public service organization. We have to go through a particular process to procure anything to make sure that we are following and conforming to standards. So we went through a procurement process, scoped the products accordingly and awarded the contract to Signavio.
What was our ROI?
Our return on investment is intangible at the moment. Again, it's because of our operating model. We have been trying to find savings, but again, it's difficult to achieve unless you are actually looking to relate it to headcount. It's a challenge and we are not really set up like that in our organization. More recently, we started looking at cost avoidance and so we're looking at that as an angle in terms of return on investment. We are looking at how long it would take us to do it the traditional way.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
I can't remember exactly which solutions we were evaluating before we chose Signavio. There were five on the shortlist. We purposely went with a consultant to use their consultancy experience to help us select the right tool because we didn't have that kind of experience. So we used their experience and their guidance to tell us what the top BPM solutions were on the market. Then we pulled together the requirements of what we actually wanted to get out of the tool we selected and got the consultants to do demonstrations to compare and contrast.
They all had the same criteria to follow and they demonstrated the options to a group of people. It wasn't just myself and my manager, it was a group of people who would be using the tool. We scored the options based on the criteria and basically Signovio came out top in terms of about five or six different areas that we were evaluating like costs, ease of use, performance — all those sorts of things were taken into account. We just crossed products off the list initially. One was ARIS and another was Bizagi.
What other advice do I have?
One of the important things for us when we were looking at solutions, was the ease of use. A lot of other solutions out there were just like Visio. The interface for Signavio is good. It is easy to use. It is self-explanatory. I can't really say much more about it in that way. The ease of use affected the adoption in our organization massively. If it had not been easy to use and people were struggling with it, then they just would not have used it. So I'd say it's quite a high factor in making a choice.
Because we are still not using it to its full capacity, it is difficult to really assess the solution's integration, process modeling, mining, and automation thoroughly. A lot of that is because of our own business decisions and being able to get the data that we need to do these simulations in mining. But we can see that people who work with it benefit from these things and we know there is more potential. It is just that we have got to sell that idea on to the rest of our management.
The solution does enable us to carry out the process improvement life cycle. We do not have a completed example yet. We've been working on an HR onboarding process where we've been able to put that into the hub. But again, because of our business model and the way we set up, we have had to hand that project over in terms of work packages for delivery to the business department and we've not got sight of that since it has been handed over.
The solution's functionality doesn't quite give everyone in the organization what they need. But again, that is only because we are still in the early days of working with people to get them up to speed. The majority of people are used to process and understand process planning. So we are trying to get more of the end-user community involved in using the collaboration hub. So I'd say we're still on that journey.
I would say for business analysts the solution has actually improved that group's workday by reducing the time it takes for them to model a process. We have not been able to do that yet on the same terms with our senior management team. We are still building the process-centric mindset in the organization.
The advice I would give to people looking for a BPM solution would be to look closely at your requirements. Don't be pushed into anything by consultants. Listen to what they've got to say. You will have a gut feel of what you want to do and when you actually look at the tools that are out there it is easier to make your decision.
On a scale of one to ten where one is terrible and ten is great, I would rate the product as an eight only because I think there's always some room for improvement.
Which deployment model are you using for this solution?
If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Dec 03 2019