by January 3, 2005 0 comments

Almost all organizations use business applications to carry out their business processes and it is users’ more effective and efficient usage of these enterprise software that makes an organization more productive. Hence, people’s performance with key business applications is critical to every organization. Epiplex is a suite of products that addresses these needs and can be used for business-process capture, analysis, improvement, knowledge provisioning, workforce automation and generating e-learning content.

The product has got different modules for achieving the above goals. You first need to install the epiplex client on the machines, which will capture business process and create workflow models. For different teams working on different processes to collaborate, you need to install the epiplex server, which serves as the central repository for processes and process analysis. It allows clients to read, create, and modify the epiplex files across the intranet. The server requires Windows 2000 server or higher and Oracle or MS SQL server. It provides a Web browser based interface, but works only with IE. 

An e-learning file created for a software process

To use it, you first start capturing the process, which is basically capturing the steps that are to be performed in the software application to carry out the business process. The process capture module does a good work of it and precisely captures all the screenshots and steps that the user has taken with the application. After the steps are captured, it is time to define the process workflow. To define a process workflow, it is important that the developer understands the business process clearly, because it is this workflow model that will direct users to use the business applications. The workflow modeler gives tools to insert manual tasks, such as opening a program file, decision-making tasks, which define what the user wants to do such as, whether he wants to create a report or generate an invoice, in the workflow model. In the decision-making branch, you present the user with all the possible processes, as captured by the capture process module. Based on the user’s decision, the appropriate process is displayed and followed by the user.

With the processes that are captured, the developers can create guides that can help users understand and get familiar with the applications that the organization uses. The Simulations and Documentation module lets developers create e-learning or knowledge objects for workflows defined by the workflow modeler. You can create standard browser-based files with on-screen interactions in the form of simulated shows, guides, and test. You can add annotations in the form of notes and voice to supplement the on-screen images. The process documentation can be generated in HTML, XML or MS Word format.

The IDT (Intelligent Dialog Technology) module contextualizes all the workflow models, knowledge files, and other files created for the business applications. It is useful while the user is working with the applications. Based on the application that one is using and the current job one is doing in the application, the IDT can bring up all knowledge objects created by the developers for the user to use. This way the user can easily get help, whenever he is stuck somewhere. For example, if a user is working in Excel to create some graphs and he doesn’t know how to, he can click on the IDT taskbar item and IDT will bring up content relevant to his current work. For analyzing usage of applications and efficiency of users on performing tasks on those applications, the product has an analyzer module. Eith this, the process definer lets you predefine the processes to generate a process analysis report. You also have to predefine the steps required to accomplish a task and which steps are very crucial to complete the task. For generating reports, the analyzer uses remote capture, to capture data on user interactions with the application and compares it with predefined data.

The Bottom Line: The product can enable an enterprise to make its users more productive, efficient and effective with the business applications they use, at a very attractive price tag.

Anoop Mangla

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