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Graduating from Visio

While the flowcharting tool Visio is used in businesses across the world to capture and chart key business processes, it doesn’t meet the real needs of continuous improvement and effective business process management. Nintex Promapp® is committed to providing a better way to map, manage and optimize business processes. Below we explore why Nintex Promapp® is a better alternative to Visio and why it’s imperative to make the switch.

Already have processes in Visio? Don’t worry, you can easily import them from Visio into Nintex Promapp®.

Keep it simple

There are very few things in life that are better because they’re complicated. Relationships, appliances, routes – complicated is a code word for difficult and less than ideal.

Visio is complicated.

There’s a very steep learning curve for the tool, and experts are usually few and far between in any organization. That means those sprawling masses of lines and boxes that represent your core processes aren’t going to be easy to edit. Not that many people will be trying, though; opaque process diagrams with dozens of branches and nodes tend to switch most people’s attention off.

When your teams are looking for procedures and guidance, they will want to be able to find whatever level of detail they require, but they won’t want to be hit with it all upfront. A great process management and mapping tool will present the process as a series of easy-to-read steps, which can be dug into to find more detail, including all the relevant documentation and notes.

With effective search tools and personalized ‘Processes I Own’ and ‘Processes I’m In’ filters, Nintex Promapp® lets users easily find and understand the process information they need to increase work productivity.

Lift together

Once processes are captured and mapped, the real work begins.

Even if you do have people with the necessary skills to edit your tangled Visio charts, the question of what changes to make will be hard to answer.

Visio doesn’t natively encourage user engagement, and so the people who know your processes best – the ones who use them every day – don’t have an avenue to make their voices heard. That means innovation and continuous improvement can’t come into play.

As an alternative to Visio charts, Nintex Promapp® actively encourages user feedback and collaboration. Users can provide feedback and improvement suggestions on the process page itself, and they can be assured that the process stakeholders will see it appear on their dashboard.

The feedback system encourages a continuous improvement conversation and keeps a log of the suggestions and changes as they occur. If users see a gap in the procedure manual, they can use Nintex Promapp®’s suggested process tool to offer an outline for a new process, which the experts can build and collaborate with them to fill out.

Make it personal

While Visio can assign business processes to people, the realities of that responsibility don’t usually go beyond the page. Moreover, it doesn’t recognize the really critical elements of the links between people, and the way responsibilities dovetail to make a process work.

It’s great to assign someone to a process, but it doesn’t help if they aren’t kept in the loop when that changes, or if they can’t see how their role plays a part in the larger organization.

Process owners and experts in Nintex Promapp® have clear responsibilities and are kept informed of how their processes are evolving, in real-time. Personalized dashboards for all users and regular email updates ensure that everyone can see at a glance when processes change, when they’re due for review, or if there are actions to be taken.

The process maps outline the roles responsible, and using the simple Checklist tool users can be informed the moment their duties are due. The process governance dashboard shows the overall health of processes in the business and can keep tabs on reviews and process capture efforts across any division.

Keep it under control

Process maps should be dynamic, able to grow and evolve at the speed of business as the organization moves with its customers. However, when those processes are held in Visio diagrams, that evolution is more like mutation.

Once the charts are complete, they go out into the business and teams or individuals change them on the fly, adapting procedures to their needs and introducing risks and inefficiencies that can’t be seen until the next audit. As each business unit tailors its procedure manual full of Visio charts, the original becomes less and less identifiable. It’s a recipe for chaos.

Nintex Promapp® creates a central source of truth. Everyone can find the process information they need in one place, and it’s always the same.

Standardized processes ensure simple, compliant procedures no matter where the teams are accessing them. If there are genuine reasons for differing approaches, the process variant management add-on allows controlled variations by product, region, customer type or almost any other distinction that ties the variations back to the core standard, and allows accurate and clear reporting of the differences the variations create.

Ensure accountability

Procedure manuals full of Visio charts are unlikely to garner much attention with your teams, but if they do, there’s very little you can do about it. Enormous process maps kept on intranets and file servers are just as hard to monitor, and less resilient when unauthorized changes are introduced.

Using the process approval function in Nintex Promapp® eliminates that concern. While process owners and experts can build on and revise process maps and documentation, the actual processes that your teams rely upon won’t change until those new versions have been signed off by the stakeholders you assign.

They won’t stagnate in process purgatory either; when processes are submitted for approval, all of the approvers are notified on their dashboard and can read, review and sign off the changes with just a few clicks. The full changelog also ensures that you can review earlier versions and see what changes were made, when and by whom, with any notes they submitted on the revision.

A better alternative to Visio

Visio is a powerful business tool for creating complex and precise flowchart diagrams. It’s not a business process management tool, though. Nintex Promapp® has helped hundreds of organizations graduate from complicated static diagrams to elegant and powerful interactive process maps that engage teams and invite continuous improvement.

Find out more about how Nintex Promapp® can provide a better alternative to Visio and help overcome the limitations of Visio charts in this video:

What our customers are saying

“Prior to Nintex Promapp®, we relied on a number of disconnected systems including Visio for process maps. Keeping process maps in sync with procedures was particularly challenging as not many people were trained in Visio, and some of the content was only available on internal shared drives so could not be accessed by teams in the field.”

Ricoh Australia

“We timed mapping a set of processes in Visio, and then in Nintex Promapp®. And it took one-seventh of the time to do in Nintex Promapp®.”

Tararua District Council

“HAMBS had relied on a mix of Visio charts, Word documents, and Excel files to capture process documentation. This has proved limiting in its ability to facilitate process governance, ownership, compliance and maintenance. The lack of a central storage location also meant that process documentation was often hard to find and underutilized.”

“In the past Lantec’s project managers have used tools such as Visio and Excel to record processes, but these were not easy to access or use by all staff. With Nintex Promapp®, no extensive technical knowledge is required and both process owners and users have been hands-down impressed.”
– Lantec


Interested in learning more about Nintex Promapp® as a better alternative to Visio? Request a personalized demo today. 


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