Visio Review

Easy to set up, simple to navigate, and offers good stability

What is our primary use case?

My use case could be anything. What I like to use Visio for is business process design work. Even when we're doing a systems implementation project, I'll use it. One of the things that I tell my clients is that "Before you implement a system, you really need to check your business processes that the system is automating, to make sure that you're not automating a bad process." Therefore, we have a whole methodology on how to do business process design sessions, facilitated sessions. The outcome of those sessions is documented largely in Vizio. 

Sometimes, for example, if I've got a good person working on my team, I'll be with the client, facilitating the session and we'll have sticky notes on the wall that represent the process steps, and the outcomes, and the inputs, and all that stuff. We'll be moving those around. And then somebody on my team will be sitting there with Visio, recreating it as we go. If they aren't able to do that, we just take pictures of it and then recreate it in Visio. We clean it up and make it nice looking. However, we use Visio primarily for business and/or project process flows. 

How has it helped my organization?

It's a very good visualization tool that helps package everything professionally. It helps clients see where we're going. We're able to capture what we need to capture and we're able to manipulate it the way we want and make it look the way we want, and present it to our clients the way we want. 

What is most valuable?

One of the features I like is the automation involved in creating a process. It's really improved over the years. At this point, when you have step one - let's say it's a rectangle with step one in it - and then you're ready for step two, you can just hover the cursor over one side, and then it will automatically add an arrow going to the next box and automatically add a new box. It saves a bit of time there. It's one less aggravation to deal with when you're creating things.

The solution hasn't changed much in 20 years. It's a very meat and potatoes type of product and isn't overly designed. It's very easy to find your way through the solution, as it's not too complicated.

What needs improvement?

Occasionally, the automation feature that helps you easily add the "next step" goes crazy and it will move a bunch of stuff on me. Usually, that's very easily recoverable, however, that's just a little aggravation we have to deal with. It's like an ongoing glitch of sorts. You need to be careful when you are moving the whole image.

If there was a way to make the finished product more interactive somehow, that could be interesting.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for decades. It's been a very long time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution is quite stable. To my recollection, I haven't really had to deal with any crashes or big bugs. It's reliable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I'm just a small consulting firm. Basically, it's just me and a group of trusted subcontractors that I network with across the country. The biggest project and the biggest team of people I've ever had on a project is 25.

We don't have enterprises that we deploy to. We just put it all on our computers or on our laptops and that's it.

How are customer service and technical support?

I don't ever recall using technical support, and if I did, it was likely well over ten years ago at this point. Therefore, I can't really speak to their knowledgeability or responsiveness.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very straightforward. All you do is implement or install it on your laptop. It has a few defaults that I don't like, however, that I can change. For example, the process boxes might be colored purple or something, and I just want them clear, so that's not a big deal. There are some pre-settings you can adjust so that it defaults to how you need it to look every time.

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

I have a subscription to Microsoft 365 that automatically updates all of the versions to whatever is the most recent. I have to have a special subscription to get Visio though. Therefore, I've got one subscription to Microsoft that has all of the basic Office products, and then another one for Visio and Microsoft Project.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I did run across at one of my clients several years ago, another process building software. I don't remember the name of it. I'd have to look it up, however, I recall it was really slick and nice and cool. In my mind, it was a little too over-engineered and overly complicated for what I like to do. I'd have to be careful that we're not losing sight. We're not missing the forest for the trees when we get into the business process design. Therefore, I didn't really feel I was missing out by not adopting it.

What other advice do I have?

I'm a consultant.

I tend to use the latest version of the solution. I try to keep everything up to date. That said, I'm unsure as to which version I'm on right now.

We're a small consulting shop. Right now, there's three of us and the roles are generally around facilitating business process design sessions. That's what we usually do is. Typically, I will stand up and facilitate with the client. We'll have a room full of clients - maybe 10, and sometimes it has the vendor - and our team. I will facilitate, we'll capture all of the discussions. We'll put everything on sticky notes, on a wall, with our methodology. And then my folks will capture all of that on Visio and on Microsoft Word. Then we go back to clean it all up and make it presentable. 

Overall, it's very easy to use. It's very intuitive and if you're documenting business processes, it does the trick. It's not like there's no other software out there that will do something similar or something as well. However, I've used Visio for so long. It's just a habit and I don't see any reason to try anything else.

I'd rate it ten out of ten. There's a reason I've been using it for so long. It does everything I need it to do without having too many confusing bells and whistles

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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