Ravenflow has devised a requirements authoring service for the “technically challenged.” A new SaaS offering called RAVEN Cloud takes written requirements and transforms them into diagrams.

RAVEN Cloud entered beta on May 2 and will launch in the fall as a subscription service with several different tiers of functionality, said Ravenflow president and CEO Susan Boers. The company’s objective is to have a low cost of entry, she explained.

The service converts text into diagrams using a natural language processing engine. Business analysts need only to write a grammatically correct sentence; they do no need to preprogram words, said vice president of operations Jim Sciarra.

The service has a Silverlight front end and uses Windows Azure as its back-end service platform.

RAVEN Cloud automatically identifies process errors, and future versions will dynamically link errors in diagrams to any offending text. It will also generate a list of actors and objects from the text, which is a prelude to a glossary in the subscription services, Sciarra said.

More than 50 requirements templates are included in the beta, which may be edited. The company is considering private cloud editions of the service that come with customized process templates for their specific verticals, Boers said.

Over time, the full feature set of RAVEN Professional will be migrated to the cloud service. There are plans to allow customers to export requirements to Office file formats, as well as Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) and UML tools. The free beta exports diagrams as JPEG images that are e-mailed to users.

Ravenflow, an IBM partner, is working with partners in the ALM and BPMN space to export diagrams into downstream tools, Boers said. It has built integrations for IBM Rational Requirements Composer and IBM Rational DOORS in its existing on-premises software.