The Visio software package is often used to create business process diagrams. It is not a CASE tool at its core. Visio is quite convenient for the simplest modeling despite this. It allows you to create visual diagrams of processes.
Initially, this software product was developed and produced by Visio Corporation. It was purchased by Microsoft and included in the Microsoft Visio office suite later.
Vector graphics are used in order to build diagrams in Visio, which allows you to scale the image without loss of quality. Microsoft Visio has extensive capabilities for graphic design of diagrams and process diagrams. These properties make Visio a good tool for "drawing" business processes. Of course, it is impossible to consider it as a full-fledged modeling tool. The new version of Visio allows you to create process diagrams based on the BPMN 2.0 modeling standard (Business Process Model and Notation) and visually check the correctness of the construction of these diagrams. It is possible to create diagrams based on the UML 2.4 modeling standard in the new version of Visio.
Microsoft Visio is available in two versions – Microsoft Visio Standard and Microsoft Visio Professional. The difference between these options is in the composition of the diagrams. The Professional version provides more types of diagrams and features for their presentation.
Visio's business process modeling capabilities are related to the graphical representation of models, but the latest versions of this product also include additional functions that are inherent in CASE tools. These functions are limited in their application, however, they significantly expand the capabilities of Visio and make it a more versatile product.
The main features of Visio for modeling business processes are as follows:
- graphic design of schemes. You can set various effects for shapes on process diagrams, choose the design themes of the diagrams, change the shapes, saving the layouts of the diagrams and the metadata of the shapes using Visio tools;
- teamwork on schemes. You can organize shared access to viewing diagrams using a web browser. Users have the opportunity to comment on schemes, collaborate with them and exchange messages with the additional installation of SharePoint Server and Microsoft Lync 2013;
- relationship of schemas to datasets. Each shape from the schema can be associated with a dataset from Excel, SharePoint, SharePoint Business Connectivity Services, and SQL Server. A large number of graphs and color schemes can be used to visualize the data;
- creating schemas using standard notations. Visio has built-in rules that allow you to control the correctness of the application of elements in order to check the correctness of the created schemes. These rules are set for standard notations such as BPMN. Such rules can be set independently if necessary.
Microsoft Visio is a powerful graphical tool for presenting various diagrams and schemes. You can create process models and show complex data in a convenient way with its help. The simple interface greatly simplifies drawing diagrams. These capabilities provide a number of advantages in process modeling.
The main advantages of Visio, compared to CASE tools, are:
- ease of creating diagrams. No special training is required to develop process diagrams. Drawing diagrams and process schemes is carried out using a simple and intuitive interface;
- availability of sample diagrams. Microsoft Visio includes a large number of different sample diagrams, which simplifies and speeds up the process of creating business process diagrams;
- connection of process diagrams with data from office applications. The process diagrams can be linked to documents and data from Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Project as Visio is a part of the Microsoft Office suite;
- application of standard notations. Visio includes a set of diagrams that are used in various CASE tools (for example, ARIS, BPwin, ERwin, Rational Rose) in order to create diagrams of processes. Such diagrams are, for example, eEPC, IDEF0, IDEF3, UML. Visio allows you to control the correctness of creating process diagrams for some of them.
The use of Visio for modeling business processes has a number of limitations. These limitations can be significant for large and complex business improvement projects. The advantages and benefits of Visio allow you to use this software product instead of CASE tools for small projects and small organizations.