Intellect BPM Review

It allows for business process data to be captured in a way that's usable and structured for not just business process automation, but business process improvement and optimization.


Valuable Features

Business Automation at the speed of thought which is 100% aligned with your business! Empowered knowledge workers - anyone can be use the tool with very little training. Accelerated time to market for web and mobile solutions.

Improvements to My Organization

There are a few different ways my clients have improved the way they function using Intellect. First and foremost, Intellect can be deployed as an enterprise BPMS platform with automated workflow across departments, the organization, and outside business partners. This solution provides for a scalable and extendable platform that doesn't require additional licenses - you can build as many apps as you'd like without increasing your costs. From an investment standpoint, it becomes one platform across the organization instead of many single-purpose solutions, reducing not only disparate applications, but also minimizing the number and types of skills required to maintain the solutions and platform.

Secondly, anyone with spreadsheets can EASILY replace them and add workflow in very little time. All data becomes searchable immediately and access controls can be added to ensure data security and integrity.

Another example of how clients have improved their business functions is by replacing e-mail as a data repository. They now capture BUSINESS information that previously got "lost" in emails. In many organizations, e-mail serves as communication tool as well as a way to share business information. Unfortunately, e-mail data is typically unstructured and valuable business data may never be turned into usable information. Intellect leverages e-mail (SMTP) to communicate key information (e.g. a work activity requiring an approval), but the email routes the user back to the business application to perform the function and capture the business data (including things that might typically be lost such as comments associated with the approval). This is invaluable when you are dealing with business processes such as Contracts Management.

A final example of how Intellect has been successfully leveraged is using it as a "Requirements gathering and application design" tool ... rapid modeling for applications. It's so easy and quick to build forms and workflow that you could add the forms, model the workflow and quickly represent the application functionality you'd like to automate. If you determine it's not the best solution-fit for that particular business need, you at least have the requirements gathered, processes modeled and you know what you now need to seek out in other solutions. Additionally, you can use the model and the workflow, to actually communicate your needs to other solutionvendors. What we find in actuality is that Intellect remains the solution once it's configured

Room for Improvement

A recent improvement was a re-vamped configuration management function referred to as a "publish" feature and a completely new web 2.0 look and feel. The usability with version 8 is incredible.

I would like to see more re-use through "modularization". By that I mean developing a more object-oriented view of things. Currently, everything reside on one platform. In order to implement an object-orientated environment, you would need multiple installs of the product, which is doable. But then you create multiple databases, so you have multiple administration. There's many benefits to doing that too. You might have a sandbox environment for one set of users that want rapid deployment.

If you have a mission critical app, you might want a user-base to go through structured changes, change control stipulation management, and have more business insurance/disaster recovery/business continuity planning behind that. You can do that now, but I would like to see as the business grows and builds on the platform, that you could create objects and basically call out those objects for use.

Use of Solution

5 years.

Stability Issues

It really depends on the deployment. The stability has gotten better, especially with the new releases of version 8, but there are some inconsistencies that happen because the product is so robust. It has a lot of complexity behind the scenes to make it easier for the analysts and people designing. There's a lot of things that have to happen behind the scenes to keep the databases normalized, to keep the integrity in check. Sometimes something might happen in the backend. It's so invisible to the end-users, it's geared as an element of inconsistency or instability but there's a reason for it. Again, the power of the tool is its biggest benefit but also its biggest detriment. It's so complex on the back-end.

Customer Service and Technical Support

From typical support in other vendors I've experienced, their support is incredibly accessible and you can get to very knowledgeable people, and that's just in my personal experience.

If I need to get to people who actually built the application, I can get to them. I know the owner personally and I've been doing work with them for a long time, so they are very accessible. As they grow, that's going to be the biggest challenge for them and continuing to afford that level of customer service, but yet scale up.


Previous Solutions

I found them in an interesting way. I came out of a big organization that, we did a lot of consulting with process re-engineering, process-improvement type work. I had done a lot of, in my younger days, a lot of modeling with business processes to understand how the processes work and then do the improvement and then, as a subsequent step we would automate. What I was seeking out years ago, I was looking at what could model in a way of business office redesign. Instead of using Visio for example, we used what could model but may be that automation tool. I backed into the tool. Most people look at it from a basic forms management tool first, and then workflow is second.

I wanted workflow automation first and then I looked at it from what forms or what business areas you could actually automate, and then I model the process, make the process work, and then pick apart the form. There was a big chance for me to pass through that. It's a little bit of different approach, I see the workflow as most valuable or most powerful aspects of the tool.

Initial Setup

I come from a technical background, so from a technical perspective it's very easy. It's very easy to install, very easy to set up in a new environment to the point where I could set up an entire new environment in an hour. That's from the ground up. Database configured everything. That's as easy as it is.

In terms of administering it, once the application is running, in terms of the administration, it's relatively simple. There's an administration consult that allows you to do the things you need to do to administer and actually configure the files to the associations. In terms of relative ease of installation, I would give a 11 out of 10 relative to other products I've used.

ROI

Every time that I look to use the tool, there's an easily identifiable return on investment, and that's due to a couple different things. I don't know if I could give you an actual number, but it deals with a couple different things. One is the power that comes with automating an existing manual process. The returns, in terms of intangible benefits I find are the power of the performance, the productivity definitely increases when you get to automation. Intangible benefit of accountability and transparency into processes, that's hard to measure. It's incredible.

Taking and reducing risk is another. You could actually make it a tangible benefit by looking at the probability impact at the risk of time, but the fact that you're getting non-structured data in emails, in spreadsheets and you're actually putting a process, a strict process around what then happens to that data. In terms of who sees it, accessibility, controls, and you're actually storing it in a database for recording purposes. Those are huge benefits and reduce risk dramatically.

Other Advice

A couple of different advice points. First of which is, start with something that you know you could show value quickly. A business process, you know there's pains, you know you can measure those pains, and it gets you used to the product itself. Once you start using the product you can see the value of it, so get used to using it so you can see the value everywhere else, but be able to measure that value. In terms of stakeholders, in terms of who's making investments, they want to see value in anything they invest in, so show that value quickly.

The second thing is, don't forego thinking big, but yet implementing in a structure, in a phased way. Meaning, don't just start to model every process you can to throw it together. Think how it will be done in a system in a larger context, and this goes back to some of the object orientation and the marginalization.

Think about it in a broader context and then create a road map to bite off pieces that you can then implement and there are some reasons for that down the road that only somebody experienced with the tool would know. You can just plug away. You can build and build and build and build and build, but if you don't have an end game or some type of long term view of what the platform might be when you start to implement many business processes and include other business users, you would be best served to design it as you would traditional design and then implement rapidly.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Alligar is a management consulting firm located near Washington DC. We have recommended Intellect when it is an appropriate solution to fit our client's needs. At the request of our clients, we have also supported Intellect applications and assist with continuing enhancements and value-add business solutions.
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