As we discussed in a previous post on mobile and third party approval, TSG is currently in the development process for our mobile approval interface for the Active Wizard. One of the early deliverables of the effort is a standalone demonstration of inbox/approve/reject functionality working on a variety of mobile platforms. A screencam of the overall soloution is located in our Learning Zone. This post will provide a written background on the solution as well as a link for you to try the application yourself.
Mobile approval in the cloud
The solution we are developing focuses on using our existing solutions in a unique configuration. The solution leverages Documentum behind the firewall, and adds an Alfresco repository outside the firewall in the cloud.
- Active Wizard – Our dynamic form and workflow infrastructure will run inside the firewall as it does currently with access to Documentum to identify documents that need workflow approval as well as supporting documents. A Documentum user will specify email addresses in the form for third party approvers rather than Documentum user IDs. Active Wizard will build the approval packet (workflow form as well as workflow documents and supporting documents). Active Wizard may kick off a small workflow in Documentum to do typical pre and post processing (lifecycle, security) so that Documentum users will see that documents are attached to workflow approval processes. We have also discussed a mixed approach where we may be able to leverage some internal Documentum workflow as well as external workflow in the cloud.
- OpenMigrate – Our migration framework, will push the approval packet out to the cloud for the approval process when required. We are proposing to use Alfresco to route and approve the approval packet based on previous success with Activiti and Alfresco.
- Email will play a huge part in this solution. Third parties and remote approvers will receive email alerts that they have a packet to approve. Upon clicking on the included link from their mobile device, the users will be prompted for passwords .
- High Performance Interface (HPI) – Users will be able to leverage our HPI product for approval from either a Mobile or PC device without VPN access to Documentum.
- OpenMigrate – Once the workflow is complete (either approved or rejected), OpenMigrate, which is monitoring the Alfresco instance from behind the firewall, will pull the updated workflow package back into Documentum and complete the workflow activities. A signature document will be related to the signed document similar to current client efforts.
The demonstration of the interface is located at http://www.tsgrp.com/misc/MobileDemo.jsp. The demonstration simulates a workflow alert to an item requiring approval. Once you have the task email in your inbox, access it from a mobile device or your desktop. Try both to see the interface respond. We’ve tested the application on iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets as well as the major desktop browsers. As mentioned before, a screencam is also available in our Learning Zone.
Summary – Let us know what you think
Overall, we think the approach is fairly elegant in that it allows instant and cost-effective mobile and third party approval based on proven components without the pitfalls of the typical behind the firewall approach. We think it gives clients a little taste of the cloud and mobile access without the cost, risk and concern of having the complete Documentum infrastructure in the cloud. It allows mobile access for approvers without having to worry about VPN connectivity from a variety of consumer devices. As this is the initial stages of our design efforts, please add your thoughts below.