Using the power of widgets to handle request management, a look at the Integrify BPM solution

I’ve made a couple of statements recently about BPM solutions becoming more flexible to the point that they’ll start to overtake OTS products and on top of this, with the support of developer and client communities, market places for packaged and templated examples that can be shared with others. This became apparent with Integrify and their rather neat BPMS which is based on a template and widget architecture. Dave Willsey, CEO of Integrify explained that they have been in the market since 2001 and are currently on v5 of their solution, launching their SaaS version in 2004 and so far estimate that there’s a split of 60% towards on-premise, the remaining 40% turning to their on-demand solution.

Integrify is another example of a human-centric tool which handles Enterprise Request Management tasks, i.e. automation and visibility for areas such as IT, HR, Finance, Sales, Marketing and other types of services that involve supporting end user requests, approvals and tasks and allows for dynamic processes covering both sequential and parallel execution but the flexibility of the front end that users interface with is apparent in how it deploys it’s widget framework. If you’re familiar with some blogging tools and dragging and dropping executable widgets into your panel that allow you to customise your own form then this is really the easiest description I can give on how it works. Integrify has standard widgets out of the box but because of its customisable nature you can create your own using javascript. You can also create ones which pull in external links and feeds, so you can keep tabs on current events out in the financial world for example if you work in a Treasury Dept.

Initiating a process kicks off the first task, in the example given by Dave it was an IT Service Request Form which the user completes much like any other web based form. Once it’s submitted for actioning the recipient or recipients (can define this as a group) of the task are alerted that they have a new item to progress. Users can be alerted by email or via the widgets on their interface and clicking on the task takes them back to the browser based form to take action against. What’s interesting is that users can add other participants to the task on the fly, so if a direct authoriser isn’t available another person can be added to the task so it doesn’t hold things up.

Creating the process itself brings up a familiar palette and canvas view with drag and drop interface. Business rules can be configured against the connectors at both process and participant level, web services and database calls created all driven through forms and menus, no code involved.

The Integrify Flow View functionality allows users and admin to track the status of a process in action, usefully colour-coded so you know what’s happening quite visually. This can be tailored per user role, so for example process owners can request to view and monitor the activities, drill into task histories to see the interaction between participants but only in read-only mode. Roles play a big part in enabling what users can do with Integrify, from being able to pull together a process to building reports.

The forms users interact with are all based on HTML templates and Integrify has a forms library that users can pick from and use many times against a single or multiple processes. The layout and editor is much like others I’ve seen, a nice effective drag and drop interface with no code involved. Widgets can be embedded into an existing Sharepoint implementation via their web parts and also on an external web pages too via simple javascriping that can kick off a process instance when used.

Whilst many of the features are similar to other tools recently reviewed there are some features which I really liked. The widget implementation is especially cool and building user views and interactive elements is looked very simple to achieve with a ready made kit bag which should speed up implementation. The other is the way Integrify are promoting the use of templates to drive development and a support community. This is really something that’s going to take BPM by storm over the next 2 years and it’s an example of a another vendor taking the initiative in this way.

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