I recently had the chance to demo Process Master, a business process mapping tool by the company of the same name and first impressions are very good indeed.
Process Master Limited is an expanding BPM software company based in Limerick, Ireland who’s philosophy is to develop and deliver a process mapping tool that the business community can pick up and run with within a day without the need for intensive training or consultancy advice. The management team has a wealth of experience in the industry and include Steve Brown as CTO, who was the CTO of Metastorm and co-founder of Sysgenics. On the web site, Process Master states that their mission is to organise the corporate world’s business processes in a way that makes them useable, manageable, referenceable and tradable.
So what about the products? Process Master has 4 products in their portfolio:
Process Master ProcessPad: saying it empowers any user the ability to capture and map business processes – without having to be a highly skilled Business Analyst.
Process Master LeanPad is a variation on ProcessPad, but with an emphasis on producing Lean processes using best practice Lean NotationCurrently there are 2 special versions of this tool for healthcare and manufacturing.
Process Master Accelerators are a set of 2-way adapters that support bidirectional round-tripping between Process Master and any of the major BPMS Process Engines, including Oracle BPA Suite/ IDS Scheer ARIS, Casewise and Telelogic.
Process Master Enterprise extends ProcessPad to provide an enterprise-class, sever-based process modelling solution.
Indeed, I can confirm after demoing the tool (which is available by trial via their website) that the effort required to get up and running to produce your first set of process maps is minimal and lives up to the company’s. Here I take a look at their WorkPad solution, which is fully comprehensive and feature rich version of ProcessPad.
Anyone used to Office 2007 and Microsoft products in general will feel comfortable with the environment. The usual directory structures are here to navigate through your existing work as is the large Office 2007 style button used to invoke a number of options (unfortunately Microsoft now see fit to revert back to layouts and File_menus for their next release so I expect Process Master will follow suit or create an option to toggle between the two views)
Creating maps is reminiscent of using Lombardi’s Blueprint solution in that the diagramming is automatically done for you. What you as a business user are required to do is in effect describing the tasks and activities that make up the process; describing the steps, completing the narrative, creating the roles (which in turn create the traditional swimlanes for the user).
The basics of the process map are then created in another view and the user can tweak and add to this once generated. It feels more intuitive this way, certainly from a business perspective as it frees the user to capture the rich set of information up front and forget about tweaking process map formats to fit the information.
The usual list of features expected of a good process mapping tool are present:
- Process governance and audit tools (Check-In/ Check-Out audit trails)
- Automatic report generators (a number of reporting formats and styles are available which are useful for training or procedural documentation. Process Master say these are configurable per client also)
- Templates for BPMN and LEAN VSM
- Import and Export to and from other toolsets which support the XPDL format
- Metrics analysis and reporting
Digging further into the tool reveals a number of features which are also appealing. One deserves a particular mention which allows the user to set competency based questions against a map to assess an individuals understanding of the process, certainly useful for internal audit and training needs analysis.
Overall, I found the tool easy to use, intuitive and focused on the business need to produce quality process documentation simply and rapidly with little need for training.
If you’re looking to support your process initiative with a good mapping tool I would definitely recommend giving Process Master a trial and find out for yourself.
Read my interview with Process Master CEO, Alan Crean in my An Audience With series