The Essence of Escalations

what a lovely morning …you are busily working through your tasklist. before that 10 am meeting you need to finish these last 3 items… and you hit a snag!

You need help. You need it now. Usually it is not that easy…

But, you can get help and get it formally if you have had escalations in place.

Escalation is a management tool. it helps the managers to help employees get things done.
Escalation support also helps to avoid things that could slip through the cracks.

Escalation mechanisms are handy when you are dealing with business processes. Continue reading “The Essence of Escalations”

Dynamic Business Applications

Changes are so dynamic in this world, in our environment and in business. They say “Change is the only constant”. I say “Change is a dynamic constant”.

We the human race, race to control this change to our convenience constantly. that is our heritage. building business applications in this tradition is a natural transiton that has been the trend in IT with different degrees of success.

Looking at bits of data as information and mining it to extract powerful knowledge has been the domain of specialised apps. now that power is coming to the hands of every information worker. the specialised tools are becoming platforms on top of which familiar interfaces are building feature sets to enable managers and receptionists to impact and control change in the business. it is impressive.

K2’s upcoming release ‘blackpearl’ is aimed at making business applications more dynamic. process centric approach makes sense in the business world. you dont spit bits that go into a blackhole. they are transactions certainly costing you something so you need to know about it and you need to leverage it. why send an email to discuss a meeting plan? use calendar or the meeting workspace. use search. leverage the integration into document management. look at the flow of process and anticipate. learn from automatic documentation. do bulk actions. collaborate and get notified through the appropriate channels….and best of all control all these and adjust them dynamically. build more dynamic apps easily.

The power of simplicity

When we look at business process automation, in most cases, we are talking about electronic forms automation. That is the human side of BPA.

Most business applications have forms and reports (what more is there from a user perspective? 🙂 If we can get users to build these applications (they know what forms/reports they want) and make it simple and a satisfying experience then we can get IT to focus on the harder aspects – like the architecture, plumbing, hosting, security, backup, system integration, etc, etc.

Recently I have come across two projects involving K2 and AchieveForms. Here’s a link to an integration video made available on the net that illustrates the possibility of this kind of app building: http://video.businesswebsoftware.com/AF_K2.wmv

in this video they showcase how you might get a business user to design and implement a forms based business process that involves approvals, etc without coding and IT involvement.

Buy or Build

The “Buy vs Build” argument is an age old one. It is still a very important one that we encounter in our lives many many times. some times the decision is easy, simple and very clear. at other times it is not. when you can make the decision and see the pros and cons clearly it is just natural. such as do you make a sandwich or buy one from the cafe 🙂 we get it toasted right? 🙂

We used to build everything. because we dont usually know what we will be needing tomorrow. when the need arises we fulfill it by building it. later we started seeing repeating patterns, efficencies and issues with building things when we needed and so on.. we created a system of work and labour and products and cash that based on the principles of specialisation, supply and demand.

In IT where the concepts of technology is about automation, meaning re-use and customisation are king, we still find this situation of products being built by many people in different ways to suit their different sometimes not so different needs.

With the help of live.com 🙂 we should be able to find whatever we need being available as a product in some way form or shape some where… live is good..it will find it 🙂 however, the 80% match on the feature set is important and so is the price. usually the price should be cheaper. learning it and implementing it to fit the rest of 20% and evolving it are the key challenges.

Not every product is implemented to make these challenges go away. some products are not so critical to you. they are axillary tools, like a spell check add-in for IE. some are very very important – like your OS, Database, or a BPM platform.

These products usually have these angles well covered. some products are much much better than others in being true platforms.

I guess you will always buy and build (customise) as 100% feature set fit will never happen 🙂

Composability is a paradigm shift – Chris Keyser on The Architecture Journal

Chris Keyser the lead architect for Microsoft’s Global ISV team wrote an article on the MSDN architecture Journal 10 on composite applications. the full article is here: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/arcjournal/bb266335.aspx

He wrote business process application assembly capability will be demanded by end users. And this will have to be delivered. We will see vendors bringing these features in the products.

I am a fan of application orchestration. As a lazy coder I like to work smart and not too hard so assembling apps like a chair or a table is just beyond cool… it is very productive. as long as the parts fit well or you have a saw to shave off the edges 🙂 If this is going to be a end user task then imagine the kind of automation we can get at the enterprise level with business processes.

Now, one thing is to have the ability to spring off websites in seconds….and then being able to manage it … but isn’t the google way is not to organise but to searh? 🙂 so..what we learnt from WSS 2.0 and SPS 3.0 we should leverage that …and whatever the offering vendors have they better bring the management tooling with this platform as well.