Last year I predicted that BPM would go mobile with the advent of the iPhone. This year I reiterated that prediction and with the launch of the Apple iPad what better way to kick start this evolution in BPM than to review the newly released Nimbus Control iPhone app. Nimbus have just announced their new Nimbus Control iPhone app and I was fortunate to have access to the Beta before general release via the Apple App Store.
Launching the app is much the same as any other available application, you’re presented with the Nimbus splash screen and then into the initial Home menu.
From the Home menu you can access and synch an available list of process maps (or Storyboards in Nimbus terminology). Synching from the Cloud server (mine is pointed to the Beta server, in a real scenario it would be pointed to your own enterprise deployment) is effortless over WiFi. Expect some lag using 3G depending on the number of Storyboards being pulled down, don’t bother attempting via anything else, the wait isn’t worth it.
Selecting a Storyboard from the menu once synched presents the user with the process map. Familiar iPhone functions have been implemented such as touch scrolling, pinch and zoom and they work smoothly with no issues. You can toggle between Whole View or Centre View, the latter homing into the step you’re looking at, the former presenting the map in its entirety on screen. You can step through the process one activity at a time which is useful if the Storyboard is complex.
There are limitations, as with any Beta release. For example, there is no landscape orientation implemented so the iPhone’s small screen fixed to portrait limits what you can view. Whole View also automatically zooms back into the step you’re looking at when stepping through, ideally I’d have preferred to walk through the map at high level using this view also.
You can access a step or activity simply by touching it on screen and you can view the information behind it, this can be either in text form or by stored documentation/ media files which are played via the iPhone’s built in capabilities. This partly explains why synching can become a lengthy process, if there are a lot of associated files then expect delays doing so. I’d like to see some more synching options available on full release and Nimbus have assured me that the issues already pointed out are being addressed.
There are other options available via the app;
- marking a Storyboard as a favourite
- adding a Storyboard individually
- a Search function (Storyboard, Steps, Attachments, Keywords, Roles)
I’d like to see the option of synching changes you can make to the Storyboard and its elements via the app to the server (assuming there’s an approval cycle in place back at base). Again, all for future release I’m told.
Overall it’s a welcome step in the right direction and an insight into the enterprise capabilities that the iPhone can bring to the party as well as BPM on the move. Once this transitions to the iPad and uses it’s larger form factor to its fullest then mobility in the BPM world is really going to take off.
You can read my exclusive interview with Ian Gotts, CEO of Nimbus in my An Audience With series