Notes from the Field: Solving the Plague of Windows

Application Overload for End Users

I have been seeing a trend in requests from IT and business users to solve a critical issue in most organizations: The Plague of Windows.  We have all seen it, and definitely experienced it.  How many application windows do you need to have open to get your work done during the day?  Are you copying and pasting, flipping back and forth between apps?  Entering data multiple times, in multiple applications?  Referencing data in one app to accomplish a task in another?  So I asked myself, why now?  Why has this started to become a critical issue?  Below are the reasons as I see them:

  • The rise of cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) – platforms like Salesforce, Workday, Box, Dropbox, Office 365 and others have revolutionized the way we conduct our daily work lives, and given us anywhere access to our information.  Unfortunately, when it comes to integrating them with on premise apps, getting them to talk to each other, and sharing data and UI information is absolutely painful.  In essence, we have complicated the always present application “silo” issue, and required heavy custom development for true integration.  Most organizations avoid the pain, or create difficult to manage one-off apps to solve niche problems.
  • Niche/specialty applications are on the rise – every day, I am involved in discussions with IT management and execs that are pondering the ever-present issue in the IT landscape – Do I buy the specialty app for my problem?  The burgeoning start-up ecosystem has created amazing applications that fix focused issues.  Want to provide field inspectors with an inspection tool?  Need to create and manage CapEx requests?  Looking for expense management?  There are specific apps for all those key areas, but when you buy them, you create another silo, another set of data, and another barrier to dissolve.
  • The plethora of data – Ok, there is my $20 word 😉  We have more data today available to us than ever before.  Organizations are leveraging reports and information from all systems to make informed decisions, create strategy and just get there work done.  Access to this data is usually accomplished through the system of record, or through, yet another, application for reporting.

So how do we fix this?  The first step is to solve the data problem, which requires a data integration bus technology (An example is K2’s smartobject layer) .   This can facilitate the creation of this “data foundation”, providing access to all your systems .   Once we have access to the information, now we need a consolidated, dynamic UI to surface the data to the end-user.  This unified interface provides all the necessary information at-a-glance, eliminating the plague or windows, and improving productivity and adding immense efficiency.

Below is a quick video overview of how K2 “no code” technology can solve these app aggregation issues:

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Personal Banking Automation: Hours to Minutes

Financial Services BPM Automation

Financial Services and Banking Automation Through BPM

We released a great case study on First West Credit Union, and the customer achieved some amazing results through automation and smartforms.

“With K2, we can take the member process from hours – and multiple sessions – down to less than 40 minutes,” explained Arrowsmith. “It’s a much simpler and better experience for the member, and made it easier for member service representatives to get involved with new business banking opportunities.”

See the case and video here:

Banking and Financial Services Case Study with BPM

 

 

K2: Enterprise Mobility Demo with Box and SharePoint

Enterprise Mobility and K2

Rapid Mobile Application Development with K2

Tying in with my theme this quarter of Enterprise Mobility, and adding onto my previous post, Mobile Apps and Rapid Development,  here is a quick video overview of a mobile construction safety application that includes not only an iPhone/iPad app, but also encompasses integration with  SQL, CRM, Box and SharePoint.

 

Sales Force Automation and BPM

BPM for salesforce and dynamics crm

Enabling Sales With A Digital Brief Case

I thought I would share a video demo I built out for an organization that wanted a single, unified interface for their field sales organization using CRM.  This leverages digital forms, workflow and dashboards, and integrates with Salesforce/Dynamics CRM to provide great efficiency and sales automation.  Video below:

 

For more information on augmenting and improving any CRM system (Salesforce, Microsoft Dyanmics CRM, SugarCRM), go to k2.com.

 

Geo-enabled Forms: The Demo on an iPhone

GPS Digital Forms

iPhone Forms with GPS Enabled

So, in my previous post about the New Data Dimension: GeoData I discussed how organizations can leverage their mobile devices and smartform technology to glean location data.  This information opens up a whole new layer of reporting around location, and can provide visual tools (Maps) to drive efficiency and solve business problems.  Below is a real-time demo video of GPS-enabled digital forms:

 

Location, Location, Location: GeoData Value in Forms, Workflow and Reports

Adding a New Dimension to Your Data: Location Services

Having been a Flight Officer in the Navy, one of my core duties was navigation.   Position was everything, especially in the expanse of the Pacific Ocean, or in the tight spaces of the Persian Gulf.   In the beginning, it was all about using our Inertial Nav System (INS).   A box with gyros that  used inertia to determine position.  Then we received hand-held Garmin GPS units as a test squadron, and nav was reinvented.  At that time, our GPS used the military system, and we had pinpoint accuracy at any point in time, and we used it with all our other systems to maintain navigation accuracy.

Now here we are in 2015.  Everyone has a GPS in the palm of their hand, or in their back pocket, and positional data is available at any time.  The modern GPS chipsets utilize not only GPS technology, but also leverage the wi-fi hotspots and cellular networks triangulation to get down to under 10m in accuracy (in many cases under 3m,  see this cool test here: GPS Device Accuracy).  In the past, if a business wanted geo-data for any type of purpose, they needed to invest in an expensive infrastructure of hardware devices and software, and the capability would only be given to a handful of people as it was cost prohibitive to make it pervasive.

K2 Geo-enabled Form with Location Services

Along with the pervasive hardware today, Business Process Application (BPA) platforms now provide “location services” to surface GPS/location data in their forms from just about any device type.  What type of information is available?  Latitude, longitude, altitude, accuracy estimates, position time stamp and position age.  So what are some use cases, and how can this all be leveraged?  See below for some industry ideas:

Oil, Gas and Natural Resources – obviously, and organization with field-based assets can leverage positional technology.  Take a field technician working on a well, where his positional information is reported back to a supervisor and mapped.  Maybe a mining company doing an asset inventory across all their mines, and creating a real-time database of equipment position.

Government – there is a great opportunity for just about any level of government to leverage this technology, whether it is a city allowing citizens to report potholes, or a county assessor surveying property, with positional information at their disposal, services can be accelerated.

Law Enforcement and Fire – imagine a fire fighter that could walk the line of a forest fire, and report back real-time to the command center.  Maybe a disaster recovery effort where just mobile phones can be utilized to crowd source information.

Construction – with all employees on site armed with positional information, management can get real-time information on progress of jobs, location of assets, and automatic location reporting of safety incidents.

K2 Location-enabled smartform On iPad
K2 Location-enabled smartform On iPad

So how can a BPA platform utilize this information?  See below:

Geo-enabled Digital Forms – forms are for data collection, and with location services enabled, positional information can be transferred with any form submission.  This data can be stored, and used for trend analysis, mapping or decision-making all based on location.

Real Time Decisions – with smartform technology, dynamic form decisions can be made based on location information.  Maybe the currency on a form is auto-adjusted based on the location, or available options in a drop down list are adjusted based on position.

Workflow and Branching – when a form is utilized to initiate a digital business process, that information is now carried through the process, and work can be routed based on location.  How about a workflow that routes to an appropriate service manager based on region?

Reporting – With a location dimension now enabled, organizations can now use mapping for trending and analysis.  This data dimension can be compiled without any further information entry from end users, and can just become part of any submission.

Just some thoughts…more to come on the topic.

 

 

 

 

Digital Forms for Services Companies

Digital Forms for CRM

K2+Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online=Automation

I wanted to share this demo for any service company looking to automate the initiation of new service with forms.  Although this demo ties to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, note that because of K2’s extensive CRM integration capabilities, this could tie into just about anything, including Salesforce.

 

Digital Signature Advantages

Digital Signatures with workflow and forms

Why the fuss about digital signatures?

Digital signatures have taken many industries by storm, but why aren’t all businesses moving to this advanced technology.   I wanted to give a quick overview of some of the core advantages:

  1.   Speed of Transaction – I see it all the time in my personal and business life:  “I will email you this document.  Can you print, sign and return?  Preferably via fax?”  Really?  Isn’t this 2015.  Saving time and money with documents that can be prepared for a quick digital transaction provides an efficient, simple way to conduct business.
  2. Scalability – Document preparation and processing is a costly and inefficient exercise for any business.  Try and grow your business with these legacy processes in place, and there are just so many transactions one person can complete in a day.
  3. Customer Service – customers find it so refreshing to just review and click, right through the convenience of their browser.
  4. Control and Insight – Digital signature technology today can be integrated with workflow, forms and business process applications.   Using these signatures creates a seamless process, and total control and visibility throughout the steps.  See K2’s integration here:  Digital Signatures in Business Process Applications and Workflow.
  5. Business Anywhere, Anytime – Digital signatures provide the ability to sign documents anywhere, anytime, regardless of device and location.

These are just a few advantages digital signatures can bring to any business.  Want to learn more?  Checkout the webinar below:

Workflow and Digital Signatures – The Webinar

Mobile Forms and Workflow for Construction and Mining

Mobile Workflow and Forms for Construction

Enabling Your Field Workers with Mobile Tech

Giving field workers access to enterprise data has always been a challenge, and enabling form-driven workflows can be even more of a challenge.  Below are some great examples of how you can enable your mobile workforce with the right tool set.

 

Mobile Forms and Workflow for Mining/Construction Safety Management

 

Construction Safety Incident Management
You can find more information here: Mobile Workflow, Forms and Reports

Upcoming Webinar Schedule

Business Process Management Applications

WEBINARS

Want to learn more about how business process application can transform your business and improve efficiency?  See the below webinar schedule to get more information on some great topics.