Visio Review

It eases the standardization of the Business Process Model within multi-disciplinary teams


What is most valuable?

I would highlight BPMN 2.0 validation, as it eases the standardization of the Business Process Model within multi-disciplinary teams. Visio integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Office suite as any other Microsoft product, which is also worth mentioning.

How has it helped my organization?

Compared to other products we used in the past, modelling with Visio is faster and the final result in terms of appearance is more professional. Making changes to a diagram is also easier as the items and lines get re-arranged properly with few tweaks required.

What needs improvement?

It would be nice to have the possibility of exporting and importing XPDL, also considering that the Surface series are the MS flagship, there is much room for improvement when it comes to inking or drawing diagrams using pen input (which behaves like a mouse pointer).

XPDL stands for XML Process Definition Language, it is used to interchange business process model definitions between different workflow modelling tools. (e.g. Oracle Fusion Middleware)

Currently, MS Visio does not support import or export of XPDL files. Although some tools like Oracle Fusion have built in support for Visio files, I personally think this capability would be nice to have as would help companies using workflow tools modelling with Visio. As an example, the project I am working for right now uses Vitria Businessware which supports XPDL import, however as Visio does not have XPDL export capability workflows have to be created manually increasing the time to market.

WRT inking and pen input support; Microsoft Surface series lovely integrate with the MS Office suit with a functionality that allows the user to write on top of documents as if it were a printed copy just by using the pen on the screen. This functionality supports ink to shapes which transforms handwritten squares or circles into perfectly drawn shapes. This is not the case in Visio where pen support is non-existent and using it on the screen just emulates the mouse. This is just disappointing as the functionality is there for programs like Word but it is completely missing on Visio.

For how long have I used the solution?

I’ve been using this tool for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The product is pretty stable. We stumbled upon some bugs during these years of intense usage, but nothing major that couldn’t be solved by restarting the application.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

This product is a desktop application, but coupled with SharePoint, it allows for concurrent editing of files without any issues.

How is customer service and technical support?

We’ve never had to use the technical support for this product.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We started using Dia (free open source drawing editor) but we required a more fast and collaborative tool with better MS Word integration and better appearance.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was as simple as installing any other MS office product.

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

Pricing and licensing depends on your needs and the time you expect to use the product. If you plan to use it for an extended period of time, Visio has two versions Standard and Professional where the Professional costs almost twice as the Standard edition with few more stencils and functionalities, but on the other hand Microsoft also offers the 365 option with one year commitment where you can use Visio Professional for almost three years before hitting the single license price.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We explored Lucidchart and Sparx Enterprise Architect as alternatives.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend anyone looking into purchasing this product to review thoroughly each version features as both are quite similar.

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