Corporate Synergy from Casewise is part of their suite of Business Process tools which via a web-oriented front end provides the business user with the flexibility and speed to create automated workflow based on a process flow, form based wizard and business rules editor. Their marketing states “Corporate Synergy delivers a comprehensive BPM suite that provides a simple and efficient way to implement, execute and monitor business workflow applications in a familiar and easy to use environment. Requiring no programming or database expertise, this wizard-driven suite provides added value to existing organizational management and operations by linking all necessary process components into a single cost effective enterprise platform.“
Synergy was developed on the Microsoft .NET platform and has tight integration with Sharepoint, BizTalk and Outlook. It’s actually a OEM’d version of PNMSoft’s Sequence platform and was apparent during the demo as there was functionality which eluded directly to this integration on some of the Outlook email forms.
Alan Brown of Casewise states that typical time from initial Synergy deployment to designing fully automated processes is around 12 weeks although the quickest turnaround he’s seen is 9 days by Alcatel with a Casewise consultant onsite which is pretty rapid considering that it’s fully led by the business and not IT.
I was initially led through a demo of a preconfigured application process with the fictional UBank.
(The demo set up was similar to one I saw presented at a Casewise User Conference in Edinburgh a couple of years ago when Synergy was still in it’s infancy. Good to see that things have progressed here…)
If you’re familiar with creating forms in Excel or Visual Basic you can get the picture at a simplistic level as to what sits behind the web forms a web user or customer sees.
The usual array of options are displayed that accompany form building; radio buttons, drop down lists, text boxes, combo boxes etc The form building looked fairly easy and intuitive, I can’t see a user having much trouble with this if they’re comfortable with designing screens, layout is all important here for the correct aesthetics. Field validation exists and these require to be set up also.
Creating the workflow is a case of setting up the necessary inputs and events, whether it’s a system driven activity or human interaction. Some of the person-centric workflow consisted of Outlook based actions designed via another wizard which delivered an email to the appropriate resource to action, so for example a credit-based application that needs to go through an referral cycle will be sent to the authorised user who needs to make the decision.
Further functions are prescribed in the Business Rules editor where defining how each activity within the workflow operates takes place. Whilst form building is very much a visual exercise, building a set of rules does require a little more technical understanding and thought behind it and there’s no getting away from this. Rightly so however because this piece is integral to ensuring the process flows correctly. Here you can set up how the activity is delivered, whether there is a Service Level Agreement behind it, predefined time allocated to complete each task.
This is useful because Synergy allows you to monitor the state of the available or completed work via some KPI dashboard views.
If we took a simple process and automated it some of the benefits could be:
- Users still receive email notifications of new tasks so it is at their discretion how they wish to access the system
- As the system is linked to their Microsoft Windows log on, there is no requirement for password management
- Users will only see the workflows and tasks that are appropriate to them. This is done through the creation of user groups. A user can belong to multiple groups however from their perspective it is all appears seamless
- You can look to modify the GUI by adding buttons
to allow users to trigger those workflows which are not automatically triggered as part of their process
- You can deploy further Microsoft services which allows you to generate bespoke reports as per
the business or MI requirements
I’ll be able to put most of this to the test myself soon as Alan kindly offered to let me loose on the platform and create an automated process personally. This should confirm on the surface that the Synergy tool does appear to be aimed at the business user to create and maintain automated form based workflows.
Watch out for a follow up report soon.