Name: ARIS Express
Publisher: IDS Scheer
Slogan/tool description by authors: “… the world’s first free Business Process Management (BPM) software to model and optimize business processes” / “the free BPM entry-level software”
Subjective remark: It should be noted that for the time being ARIS Express does not offer much support for the process optimizing. Therefore the second slogan seems to be more right since ARIS Express is rather modeller (albeit a nice one) than full BPA/BPM tool. Therefore it is rather more similar to Bizagi than ADONIS:CE that also has analytical functionalities, simulation and powerful publishing.
Additionally – I don’t think ARIS Express can be really called “world’s first free BPM software”. ADONIS:Community Edition has much more functionalities (e.g. simulation and KPI monitoring) and was released last year. And even earlier Tibco released free Business Studio with simulation.
Short description: ARIS Express is a free process modeller with some functionalities of the commercial version of ARIS – one of the most popular BPA/BPM tools worldwide.
It allows creating few types of models that describe various elements of organisation (e.g. processes, org. structure, IT) and publishing documentation. ARIS Express uses IDS Scheer’s EPC modelling method.
Website: www.ariscommunity.com (download, forum, blogs and other “community” features)
Info about company: IDS Scheer is a Germany-based consulting company and globally recognised BPM software vendor.
Overview: ARIS Express is a standalone multiplatform Java-based application. It stores models in files (*.adf).
Requirements: Java 1.6.10
Download package: few KB .jnlp setup file that downloads the rest of the package.
Functionalities and features
Graphical editor uses drag and drop approach. There’s also mechanism called by IDS “hotspots” – pretty similar to Bizagi’s “pie menu” – it allows easy modelling process flow (almost) without using object palette.
There’s also pretty cool functionality called “SmartDesign”- it allows adding objects to the model in a tabular form (it’s pretty similar to Savvion Process Modeler XL) and the objects are automatically arranged.
Additional interesting feature are so called fragments – kind of personal cache where parts of the model can be stored to be reused. It is also possible to select group of objects, add it as a new fragment and reuse it in different models.
ARIS Express comes with some nice sample models helping novice users understand the modelling method.
Compared to ARIS, ARIS Express has pretty limited objects – there are only few attributes for the object (nothing about e.g. times and costs). It is however possible to use standard ARIS functionality of visualising selected attribute(s).
You can have many models opened at the same time – they are shown in tabs.
Models are saved as ADF files. It is possible to link models by inserting links to the files, but you cannot link one object to an object in a different model (as you can do in ADONIS:CE).
It is possible to export model graphic (as EMF or PDF) as well as model attributes (PDF or RTF). There’s also option to import from Visio (VDX files).
Final remark: it may be just problem with Java on my computer, but ARIS Express worked significantly slower than Bizagi or ADONIS:CE and there were occasional problems with stability (especially with SmartDesign).
There’s also worth reading review of ARIS Express on “The Process Ninja” blog.