New Ways to Navigate Work by

Clay Richardson of Forrester connects some dots that only analysts covering multiple products would notice – the idea that both IBM and Appian are effectively making it easier for users to navigate complex work without predefined paths:

While I like these new features from Appian and IBM, they both still have work to do to make the features easier to configure and use.  In the case of IBM, users can only take a limited number of actions from a dashboard app.  They will need to enrich these dashboard apps to allow users to execute custom actions.  For example, as a manager reviews process performance for an order process, maybe he will want to launch a social conversation around why a bottleneck appears in the process at a particular point in the month.

As for Appian, they provide the ability to initiate custom actions from a records view, but they still need to work on making it easy to create the records view object.  Currently, the records view object is created from a  schema mapping interface.

In particular, I have to agree with Clay on this point (emphasis added):

Based on follow up demos and deeper review of the new dashboard functionality, I believe IBM is underselling this capability.  Calling it “enhanced dashboards” seems to miss the point.  Why? Because it really is a new interface for navigating and completing work tasks.

Instead of accessing and completing work tasks from static work lists, IBM is empowering developers to create custom applications that allow workers to access and navigate work in richer more meaningful ways. For example, the new features support overlaying social interaction with process timelines to show how team members interacted throughout the life of a given process (see screenshot below).

I had the same feeling that this capability was being undersold – perhaps because it is being presented by the engineering / product team instead of by marketing?  In some sense it is refreshing that they’re not overselling it, but on the other hand, I’d rather them sell the feature based on the value proposition that Clay proposed, than as just “enhanced dashboards”…