A process map depicts exactly how a process works—step by step, start to finish—so organizations can easily identify opportunities for improvement. Creating visual depictions of internal workflows provides immediate benefits to organizations looking to lower costs and improve efficiency. Looking at a well-defined workflow map, it’s easy to spot redundancies, inefficiencies and gaps within a process that can cost a business time and money. Of course, anybody with pen and paper can create a perfectly good process map—but for organizations serious about cultivating a culture of improvement, process mapping software is a must.
When organizational leaders view a process map, the “image” is how they understand the system to be. In other words, the map needs to be as detailed and accurate as possible to avoid confusion later on. A well-executed workflow map provides a comprehensive view of cross-departmental processes, giving organizational leaders a detailed look at inputs, outputs and the steps in between. Business process mapping software provides the means to create maps of the highest order. But what is the best software for organizations undergoing process improvement initiatives?
Here is a look at some of the top business process mapping software and tools (in no particular order), including pros, cons, pricing and system requirements.
Lucidchart is an online, cloud-based diagram application tool. One of the more straightforward online flowchart makers, Lucidchart gets high marks among users for its intuitive interface and collaborative features. Lucidchart is tailor-made for technical diagrams, business diagrams and product management flowcharts.
- Cloud storage
- Customizable editor
- Online collaboration
- Wide symbols library
- Low sophistication
- Connectivity issues
- Responsiveness based on Internet connection
- $9.95/month (single user, Pro subscription)
- $600/month (up to 100 users)
- Custom enterprise-level pricing
- Lucidchart is a cloud application service (SAAS) built on HTML5; it works on every major browser and most Internet-enabled devices
Edraw is an excellent choice for novice to experienced process map creators alike. With a large and useful array of built-in tools, including thousands of vector symbols and templates, Edraw users can generate a multitude of business diagrams without previous process mapping experience—although the tool’s full array of features and capabilities may be lost on novice users at the beginning. The intuitive layout closely mimics that of Microsoft’s Office suite, adding a level of intuitiveness and familiarity lacking in other process mapping software.
- Extensive shape library
- Intuitive, familiar interface
- Real-time collaboration capabilities
- No revision history
- Sharing and presentation limitations
- Considerable learning curve
- $245 – Lifetime license
- 2 PC licenses
- Lifetime upgrade guarantee
- Lifetime license transfer allowances
- $99/year – Subscription license
- 2 PC licenses
- One year upgrade guarantee
- $69/year to renew thereafter
- Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or later
- 512 MB of RAM, 300 MB available disk space
- Pentium II, 750 MHz processor
- 1024 x 768 screen resolution
Although its many shape and line tools make it easy to use ConceptDraw for flowchart and process mapping, it does much more than that. This comprehensive, multi-purpose mapping and drawing platform can be used for process modeling, SWOT analysis, technical drawings, wireframes, network diagrams and more. Although there is no real-time collaboration, ConceptDraw is a fine choice for businesses that need drawing tools for multiple purposes.
- Create wide range of diagrams and charts
- Create and save custom shapes
- Extensive import and export options
- No out-of-the-box cloud integration
- Thin support and documentation (steep learning curve)
- Lacks real-time collaboration capabilities
- $199 (single license, ConceptDraw PRO 10)
- $499 (single license, ConceptDraw OFFICE 3)
- Apple OS X 10.10 and higher
- 5 GB RAM
- 650 Mb HDD
- Windows 7/8.1/10 (32 and 64 bit)
- Intel or AMD, 1.8 GHz processor
- 5 GB RAM
- 540 Mb disk space
Microsoft Visio is routinely ranked among the best process mapping and flowchart design programs. This expansive and powerful process mapping software is ideal for large businesses and enterprise-level organizations, but it’s also great for anyone who needs to map out complicated processes and information flows. Visio allows you to create professional multi-page diagrams, organizational charts, wireframes, business process modeling diagrams and more. Visio is the process mapping tool of choice for Business Enterprise Mapping.
- Real-time collaboration
- Intuitive user interface
- Link data to shapes using other applications (i.e., Microsoft Excel)
- Not compatible with Apple products (Mac computers and iPads)
- Lacks revision history feature
- Steep learning curve
- $299.99 (Visio Standard 2016)
- $589.99 (Visio Professional 2016)
- Price advantages for purchasing five or more licenses through Microsoft’s Volume Licensing program
- Windows 7 SP1 to Windows 10
- 2 BG RAM, 3 GB available disk space
- 1 GHz processor with SSE2 support
- 1280 x 800 screen resolution
- DirectX 10 graphics card
Note: Visio users can add an extra layer of functionality with TaskMap, a professional data visualization application for Microsoft Visio. TaskMap builds on the impressive process mapping capabilities of Visio by providing pre-defined icons, visual annotations, and dynamic data linking. TaskMap also makes it easier to define granular process details, such as responsible roles, guidelines, resources, sub-processes, etc.
Best Process Mapping Software
Some business mapping software is better than others, but even the best software is useless if you don’t know which processes to map, how to map them and what to do with the map after it’s done. If you want to get the most out of your business process mapping efforts in 2017 and beyond, get in touch. Business Enterprise Mapping has over 20 years of experience uncovering hidden opportunities with workflow mapping.
Interested in learning more? Click here!