First Review – Nimbus Control iPhone App: BPM on the move

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

 

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One response to “First Review – Nimbus Control iPhone App: BPM on the move

  1. Theo, I feel that putting BPM flowcharts – regardless of what you call them (storyboards in the clouds???) – is the worst of BPM in the worst of environments. Process management in the mobile world makes only sense if the users stop seeing it as process management but as something that empowers them. I absolutely agree the BPM will go mobile, but it won’t be the orthodox BPM that has not achieved much except nailing down business in rigid procedures, it will be a form of process management that it is interactive and user-driven with autodiscovey of processes without flowcharts. More like Google Buzz or Wave but with enterprise data and content. Our Papyrus Platform follows that direction. The Papyrus WebArchive iPhone App is a first step. It allows you to participate in a process through the content that drives the process. You can look at content and change its state, which will change the process state. You can upload an image and add it to a process and it will automatically be processed based on a classification of the content according to the taxonomy. With the Papyrus EYE app that will be released soon, the user can look at his task queue, work on it and add new work items or content to an existing process if necessary. Social networking is not about creating BPM flowcharts together, but it is about creating processes interactively by DOING them. An important function is the User-Trained Agent that will discover the process patterns of certain user roles and recommend them as ACTIONS in a task queue.

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