Data has become such a catch-word these days, but what is data without processes? Most organizations think of data and processes as two different and independent projects, yet you can never have one without the other. There are no actions (processes) that can be informatively taken without looking at data, and vice-a-versa, data doesn’t do you much good if you can’t take action on it. So how can we bring these two inter-connected concepts into one you might be asking? The answer is Appian’s idea of Records. Appian’s Record-Centric Solutions aim to challenge and address this need.
Before we talk about records, we need to take a step back and talk more generally about how work gets done. Appian is built around these three tenants:
The idea that employees are given the information they need and want in a timely fashion, rather than them going out and spending time looking for that information. Appian does this via the Tempo News Feed. However, the news feed goes much further than just giving employees the information they need. It gives them a way to collaborate on that information right from the news post using comments. Even more powerful is the ability to learn more about that information by digging into the records using record tags.
Once employees are made aware of new information via the news feed, they typically need to gather more information before taking action. Knowledge is acquiring that additional information, which may be scattered throughout various applications/processes/databases, very quickly and in a format that is easy to digest. This is where records come into play, but we will talk much more about that in the next section.
Once enough knowledge is acquired on the topic, action can be taken directly from the Records tab by using related actions. Using BPM methodologies, Appian allows for a very structured process that rigorously follows business rules.
Records provide the Knowledge in the Awareness—Knowledge—Action paradigm, but when designed well, they are truly the gateway for a seamless transition from awareness to action. In a well-designed application, there should be records for all data as well as processes contained within that application.
In the news feed, an employee should be able to drill down into every aspect of that news post and find more information that is tied to it via a record. Once a user gets to the first record, they should be able to easily get to other records that tie in with that information, without even realizing that they are moving to different records. This can all be accomplished using record tags and dynamic links, as long as the records have been designed thoughtfully.
In record-centric solutions, users don’t have to think about whether the information they are looking for is data or a process. They don’t need to know what system or database that information is stored in. All information they could possibly want or need is right in front of them in a well-organized view that is seamlessly bringing together information from various sources. These record views need to be more than just raw information, but rather a cohesive view of meaningful knowledge in the context of the current record.
Once users have been presented all of the information, they should be able to quickly take action on it right from the records tab using related actions.
As you can see, designing record-centric solutions involves much more than just creating well-thought-out records. The records then have to be seamlessly tied to each other as well as being a bridge to get users from information on the news feed to taking action on it. Having your application revolve around your records framework will make the user experience much more pleasant, as users will be spending less time searching for information and more time getting work done.
Let us show you how designing a record-centric solutions for your business can help you get more work done. Please visit our website at http://www.princetonblue.com and request to have us contact you, or you may reach out to us directly at (908)369-0961. Feel free to engage with us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter & Google+ to get updates about BPM and related technologies.