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NDS-Based Workflow on Your Intranet or Extranet

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature

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Posted: 28 Jun 2000
 

Introduction

You are using the power of NDS, right? You've got your NDS tree designed wonderfully. You've got your Groups and Containers down so well that your administration is a breeze--right? You've done your job in implementing the full power of NDS, and now your life is simplified for maintaining your system. You have now implemented the full power of NDS, right? Well, not quite.

The Directory can give you so much more. For example, it can be your window into managing, approving and routing many of your company's or clients' Business Processes. In fact, it can be a powerful tool to WEB-Enable all E-Business processes and applications.

Business Process Workflow (E-Business) --- Worth Millions

The people who run the DuPont Registry, based in Saint Petersburg, FL like to say " ? We don't have millions of customers ? We have customers with millions." The DuPont Registry caters to customers with a net worth over $1.5 million. They publish buyer/seller information for luxury items. Vintage automobiles, yachts and collector items are sold through their services. The I.S. Department at the DuPont Registry has implemented NDS. And they have WEB-enabled the first of their E-Business Processes using NDS.

They may have customers with millions, but the I.S. Department at the DuPont Registry still operates on a budget. When the I.S. manager set out to automate the first of their E-Business Processes money was not an issue ? unless he wanted to have any budget left over to automate the second, third, and so forth of their E-Business Processes. He knew what he wanted:

  1. WEB Based E-Business
  2. NDS Based Authentication, Routing, Approvals
  3. Low Startup Cost / Time Frame
  4. Low Maintenance Cost
  5. Expandability
  6. Later Integration with other E-Business Processes

In other words, he wanted the best of all worlds. After looking at several options he chose to implement an off-the-shelf WEB based E-Business design / server product that incorporates NDS as its core framework. He chose to use the E-Business (WEB Forms) Routing suite from GroupLink (http://www.grouplink.net). The I.S. Manager puts it this way:

"We evaluated several products and tools for developing our WEB based application. By far and away the best value was the GroupLink [E-Business] product. It allowed us to quickly develop a customized WEB based application built around our own business ..... at a price point we could afford. ? We look forward to developing additional WEB based applications and broadening its use in our business processes."

Using the GroupLink E-Business suite the DuPont Registry quickly designed and implemented, the first of their enterprise wide E-Business Processes. GroupLink's E-Business system lets them automatically tie the WEB Based E-Business systems it creates to NDS Authentication, Approval and Routing. What's more, they have now put in place, with the first of their E-Business Processes, an infrastructure that allows them to quickly add more business processes as they expand its use.

From Coast to Coast

Let's talk about another E-Business success --- this time on the U.S. West Coast, in Monterey California. This locale may remind you golfers of Pebble Beach. It may bring to mind Cannery Row for you Steinbeck bookworms. For the rest of you take our word --- it's a great place to visit --- and to work according to the folks at the City of Monterey I.S. Department.

In summer of '99 the I.S. department was seeking out the latest E-Business technology for creating their "Paperless Operations" (paperless realistically means "less paper"). Speaking shortly after having downloaded GroupLink's WEB Forms v1.1 (the product is currently on v2.5), the I.S. analyst remarked " ? I got my first WEB Form designed, published and routed without reading the manual --- this is my kind of product if it can do that!"

The folks with the City of Monterey are implementing a WEB based form system (E-Business) where business processes (formerly "Office Paperwork") is routed through an approval cycle using the following main components:

  1. NDS for
    • Authentication
    • Approvals
  2. Database (e.g. Oracle, SQL Server, Access, ODBC)
  3. GroupLink's E-Business (WEB Forms) Routing product for
    • creation of WEB Forms and data tables
    • design and control of routing logic
    • managing day to day workflow
    • funneling access rights through NDS authentication
    • tracking of routing / data history
    • reporting/querying of data records
  4. E-mail (in this case GroupWise) for
    • Notification
    • Messaging, and
    • Routing
Try it! --- a 40 minute Challenge

Have you ever wondered what your organization's work environment would be like without the paper clutter? Within 20 to 40 minutes you can use this technology to tie WEB and NDS based e-forms to business processes. Give it a try! You can download the real software at GroupLink's website (http://www.grouplink.net).

Who's business is NDS ENABLED E-BUSINESS?

If you need this kind of solution --- and you know you do --- Where do you start? Which of your organization's many business processes should you use as your quick-start pilot project? Here are a few ideas to get your thoughts going:

  • Help Desk Requests
  • Contact Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Internal Work Orders
  • Security Approvals
  • Purchase Requisitions
  • Timecards / Project Data
  • Expense Reports
  • Human Resource Data Collection
  • Group, Department or Company Surveys
  • Travel Requests
  • Customer Service Requests
  • Other Business Processes
What the Experts Say

GroupLink's E-Business (WEB Forms) Routing suite is one of several Cool Solutions from GroupLink. The E-Business suite was first introduced in 1999, and is currently used by NDS users in the U.S. and internationally. GroupLink's E-Business (WEB Forms) Routing suite is used by many types of organizations and companies --- including law offices, banks, industrial companies, sales organizations, governments, schools, professional services, etc..

Marc Eiseman, an expert network solutions consultant and trainer from New York City, has consulted for Novell implementations throughout the U.S., and endorses the use of GroupLink's E-Business (WEB Forms) Routing suite. " ... GroupLink's E-Business suite has been on a very impressive expansion track for the last 12 months. I'm amazed the starter kit lets you do so much. It's a very powerful E-Business suite ... ". Mr. Eiseman is a partner with INET Consulting Group (http://www.inetsolutionsinc.com ) in New York City and Long Island. He continues, "NDS users can get tremendous benefits from adding E-Business capabilities ? Some companies get payback in less than a month."

Comments from other E-Business (WEB Forms) users include:

"Using the E-Business Routing [module] was just as user-friendly as the core product. ? Within a few minutes we were able to configure multiple routing scenarios." (I.S. Department Manager)
" ... It reminds me of going from paper ledgers to Excel spreadsheets ? the benefits are so great it's almost an effortless transition." (President, Network Services)
" ... Just what we need ? Low cost ? low maintenance ? and it builds on NDS ... " (IT Supervisor, Consumer Products Company)
" ... In less than an hour after downloading the software we were able to set up the managers to use their NDS authentication ... create our first E-Forms for workflow, collect the form data and track the history of the forms ... it's a lifesaver ... " (I.S. Department., State Government)
"All our major internal business processes can now be ? [automated and] ? tied to a common database ? " (MIS Director, Manufacturer)
Try it Out

A copy of GroupLink's E-Business (WEB Forms) Routing suite (the "real software") can be downloaded for a 30 day evaluation from GroupLink's website. After 30 days of using the real thing it goes dormant, preserving your data, until an extended license is acquired. Give it a try! (http://www.grouplink.net).

GroupLink (http://www.grouplink.net) provides E-Business workflow, WEB and E-forms products for Novell NDS environments. Solutions include authenticated E-Business / E-Forms / Web Forms applications, WEB based Help Desk / Timecard / Project Tracking applications. GroupLink also provides enhancements and add-ons for Novell GroupWise including ContactWise, the premier GroupWise based PIM (Personal Information Management) / Contact Relationship Management (CRM) and Calendar Enhancement solutions.


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