Raven Cloud: Process Diagrams without the PROCESS

Create Process Diagrams using plain English

In IT, we often find that we need to become "all things to all people." This often means we need to learn job functions that are not necessarily within our job scope. One such function is creating process diagrams. Although we do not often refer to it this way, many times, we call it creating an org chart or a Visio diagram. However, they are all one in the same. Being "technical people”, for the most part it is quite simple for us to get the hang if using Visio or Smart Draw or any of those products. To users who is less of a techie or who need to translate some big wigs notes into a process this can be a nightmare waiting to happen, well it does not have to be anymore. A company called RavenFlow has taken the "process" out of process diagrams. I was able to get a preview of Raven Cloud and had a chance to speak with David Ruiz (Vice President of Products) before the product was launched at the Web 2.0 Expo on May 4th. And I must say I was incredibly impressed with their offering. I have been intentionally aloof because I want to build some excitement about the product. But let me tell you what it does. Raven Cloud as the name suggests is a cloud-based solution that allows you to create a process diagram using a text-based narrative. You simply start with a statement like "A customer inserts an ATM card into an ATM machine the ATM machine scans the ATM card, etc, etc." Using these simple statements, you create a scenario. When you are finished, you click the analyze button and where it gets interesting… Raven Cloud takes that text-based statement and turns it into a visual diagram that takes you through the processes you have described. Much like you would do if you created the diagram in Visio. The beauty of Raven Cloud is it removes the need to drop symbols onto a workspace, label them, align them, add connectors and set those up. And if you are like me, you have had those times when you have needed to move the entire process diagram over because of lack of space. But there is much more, you can view process errors, terms and functions with the click of a button. You can resize the process, change the orientation, pan around the diagram and zoom into a region. Once your diagram is complete, you can export it as an image (you will need to provide your email to download the image). David informed me that in the fall Raven Cloud will introduce an enhanced subscription based offering that would allow you to export to PDF, Word, PowerPoint and Visio. And if you have trouble coming up with text-based narratives try some of the ones provided by Raven Cloud (my earlier example came from their site), the examples are searchable as well. Raven Cloud takes a painful task and makes it easy to use flexible and actually a lot of fun, give it a try I guarantee you’ll be as impressed as I was when you see it at work. Ron Barrett is the Director of Technology Services for Real Data Management

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