Stephanie Cronje's picture

The number of business process modeling tools available in the market constantly grows. Each tool has pros and cons, no matter what the sales person says. To try and look at the different options available, I’ve created a checklist of what I find important when selecting software.

 1.       Business requirements: 

It’s always a good starting point to workshop and document what the business requirements are before acquiring software. Surprisingly it’s not always the case. Think medium to long-term instead of short term. Often, when a business doesn’t understand the value of process yet, there’s a tendency to use a “free” tool. These free tools typically don’t have a repository and each diagram is a separate file that’s not linked to anything else. If you are planning on only drawing simple process diagrams, any of these tools should do. If you are going to define the business process architecture, looking at repository based tools are a must. It then is important to be able to see how the architecture fits together. Other topics to consider are Enterprise Architecture, simulation, UML, GRC, etc.

2.       Market positioning:

I tend to look at the market analyst reports when it comes to market positioning. Gartner and Forrester are two reputable organisations that provide tool reviews related to specific topics. It’s also important to look at the tool’s other capabilities and integration with other components in the supplier’s portfolio. The same tool could for instance be listed on the Business Analysis tool analyst report as well as on the Enterprise Architecture tool analyst report. Not all tools are reported on, but it’s a good place to start.

3.       Key strengths:

Each tool has certain strengths that set it apart from the others. Based on the business requirements, see how the different tools stand up to that. Key strengths could include cost, comprehensiveness, accessibility, ease of use, integration with other tools, etc.

4.       Existing customer base:

The history and footprint of a tool gives a good indication of the stability and reach of the company. Yes, it puts new entrants on the back foot, but when you invest a large sum of money, you should prefer to deal with a company that will be there, developing and supporting the tool, for the long haul.

5.       Existing investment:

If you’ve already invested in a particular tool, it makes sense to keep the tool, especially if the other points mentioned in this article are still relevant. Migrating to a new tool is never as cheap and easy as promised.


This is Part 1 of 2, so keep a lookout for next week's post for more tips.


Disclaimer: ARIS is a registered trademark of Software AG. The author does not have any affiliation with the vendor.