5 Things to Know about Designing IBM BPM User Interfaces
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Business Process Management (BPM) solutions can help your business operations run more smoothly by automating your business processes, and providing increased visibility and analysis into the performance of your processes. In addition to getting the right tasks to the right people at the right time, efficient business operations require tasks that provide a modern user experience that enable business users to complete their work effectively. User Interface (UI) plays a fundamental part of a BPM solution and can have a major influence the overall architecture. This post outlines 5 things to consider when developing UI for IBM BPM, so you can make the right choices for your BPM solution.
IBM BPM includes the necessary tools required to rapidly design and build custom user interfaces for your business processes. The IBM Coach Framework is integral to IBM BPM and enables process authors to rapidly construct web-based user interfaces for business user tasks. Coaches are responsive UI forms that seamlessly integrate with your business processes that can be accessed from a variety of devices including smart phones, tablets and desktop computers. New grid and theme editors introduced in IBM BPM 8.5.7 enable process authors to easily layout and style Coaches to create a modern business user experience.
Process authors assemble user interfaces by dragging pre-built controls from a palette onto a canvas using the IBM Process Designer. These are sufficient for developing UI for simple mock-ups, playback scenarios, and full production BPM solutions. The IBM Coach Framework is extensible to allow process authors to add additional controls and leverage alternative UI technologies. Coach Views are the building blocks that are used to create controls that appear on the palette. Coach Views can also be used to aggregate content that can be used on multiple coaches.
The SPARK UI Toolkit is an IBM BPM UI toolkit created by Salient Process, a Premier IBM Business Partner specializing in IBM Smarter Process consulting services and innovation. IBM and Salient Process have partnered together to make the SPARK UI Toolkit the UI toolkit of choice for IBM BPM customers. There are already efforts underway to incorporate the SPARK UI Toolkit into the IBM BPM product. The SPARK UI Toolkit:
The IBM Process Portal provides the primary user interface used by business users to perform their work when using IBM BPM solutions. The Process Portal was redesigned from the ground up in IBM BPM 8.5.7 and built using the Coach Framework. The Process Portal is now responsive, which liberates field workers by enabling them to access and execute their tasks when outside the office using a mobile device. The Process Portal can be modified to accommodate your specific user experience requirements. It can be easily styled using themes, extended to include custom dashboards, configured to enable or disable specific capabilities, and customized or add your own modifications.
Coaches are not the only approach available to create user interfaces to interact with IBM BPM processes. There can be numerous reasons for an enterprise to use alternative approaches to design and deliver BPM UIs, and each of those approaches comes with consequences on the application’s design, as well as its security and performance. You can choose from a number of design patterns depending on your specific requirements: