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Updated 15. December 2021 in

ShiftX as a Microsoft Visio alternative

Black ShiftX logo on transparent green overlay, and a barely visible ShiftX flow in the background
Microsoft Visio is the business standard for process mapping. At ShiftX, we believe process mapping can be done in a more user-friendly, agile, and inclusive way.

Should you stick with Microsoft Visio because it's the business standard for business process mapping? Or should you go for a new, user-friendly, agile alternative way to do process mapping?

What is business process mapping?

A process map, or a process model, is a visual representation of a business process or workflow.

Creating a process map is often done using a visual language, a so-called notation with a fixed set of symbols and characters in given tools.

Some tools are so-called "flat" flowcharts or drawing tools. These are often just "drawings," with symbols and geometric shapes (circles, rectangles, etc). Together they form a visual story that is your business process.

Different software and programs often use different sets of notations. The most common notation for modeling and mapping business processes can be said to be Business Process Model and Notation, BPMN.

A flow mapped using the common notation BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation) can look something like this (Wikimedia Commons, Iancpierce):

A BPMN map of a process with three swimlanes

At ShiftX we believe there should be a more user-friendly, agile notation. That's why we made our own. Here you can read more about why ShiftX is not using BPMN.

A process mapped in ShiftX can look something like this:

A screenshot of a flow in ShiftX with four steps and a split

Visio vs. ShiftX

Microsoft Visio was initially made by Shapeware corporation in 1992 and acquired by Microsoft in 2000. Since then, it's been a go-to software for doing process mapping for organizations around the world.

In Visio, you'll experience great flexibility, with a lot of different symbols, elements, and arrows. You can map and create almost anything. But the flexibility and vast options in the notation also add complexity. And a lot of the organizations using Visio, often end up having a couple of Visio experts doing the mapping themselves, maybe after having done a larger, cross-sectional workshop. This leaves a lot of the process mapping to the experts and makes a lot of the other people's perspectives and knowledge go lost.

ShiftX aims to be so user-friendly, all the non-experts, non-enterprise architects also can join in on the actual process mapping. Don't take our word for it, hear what our customers had to say.

Thomas Trier, Chief Digitalization and IT Officer at Virke, The Federation of Norwegian Enterprise, told us this about Visio compared to ShiftX in Virkes use case:

In Visio, you can't draw in the tool and facilitate the workshop simultaneously. With ShiftX, we can do that. We are now spending less than half the time documenting workshops compared to what we did before.

And this is what Thomas Audunhus, Head of Product at Servebolt told us when we wrote Servebolts use case:

With ShiftX, we've got a visualization language that doesn’t demand any skill – now the people in IT understand the people in marketing, and the other way around.

Hilde Rannem Rostad, Director of Digitalization of Economy at OBOS, has also talked about how they switched from mapping a lot of their business processes in Visio to doing it in ShiftX:

If you want to read more about the things you need to consider when choosing a new process visualization tool, read our article about process mapping tools.

Free Visio alternative

As we want to be the business process tool for everyone, we offer a free forever license for single users in ShiftX, where you can map as much as you'd like in five different flows.

If you want to map more than five flows or map together with your colleagues, you can scale to our Team license. For more details, check out our pricing page.

Give it a go - it's free

Set up your own single-user, free-forever account, or try ShiftX free for 14 days with the rest of your colleagues.

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