Turning words into process maps, an exclusive look at Raven Cloud BPM

What if you could dictate a process and it turned into a process model in front of you ? Well, we’re almost there with the launch of Raven Cloud from Raven Flow, a new cloud based BPM tool which takes your written word and translates that into a process map. Cool.

Raven Flow announced their Raven Cloud product at the Web2.0 Expo in San Francisco and I was invited to have an exclusive look at it by David Ruiz, VP of Products. Raven have traditionally been a requirements vendor but have now pushed into the BPM space with something pretty unique.

Taking a process narrative Raven Cloud will analyse and translate this into a process flow in a cloud based environment using a Silverlight interface. Process examples are contained in the left hand pane and when clicked will bring up the process narrative and associated process map. You can start from scratch and enter activity information into the text pane and build up the process in this fashion, then using Raven Cloud’s natural language interpreter it translates this into a process model in the right pane. Users can colourise the text so understanding how the model is created can be viewed. Users can alter the text and the model will reflect the changes (although synching the other way, making a change on the process map then automatically translated to text doesn’t occur. David explained that the focus is on using the narrative as the input, not the process model)

Pan, zoom, fit controls are present which allow the model pane to be viewed as well as vertical and horizontal map alignment to suit a users tastes. What’s particularly interesting and a possible byproduct of using Raven Cloud is that an organisation may find itself standardising the language it uses to describe its processes, something which is a common problem for those stuck with the likes of Visio.

Using the natural language engine also has some useful points, such as ensuring consistency and logical flow which it will highlight as it creates the model itself so it’s apparent to the user when something isn’t right. 

On the roadmap is the ability to export to Visio 2010 (it can publish to Word and Visio current versions) and potentially BPMN and UML 2.0/SysML standards also. What would really push this product in the right direction is to introduce some collaborative environment where analysts can work on the narrative at the same time to pull together a process.

This is a really unique product, I’ve not come across it before on my travels and it’s certainly something worth investigating. Currently in Beta, Raven Cloud is BPM with a twist. And a cool one at that.

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