Staying Paperless On IBM i In A Post-It Note World
August 17, 2015 Alex Woodie
At some point during the move to the all-digital office, customers discovered they’re missing something that’s little, yellow, and slightly sticky. Since 3M launched the humble Post-it note 35 years ago, it has grown to become an irreplaceable component of the American corporate machine. In fact, it’s so ingrained in how we work that IntelliChief recently added Post-it note-like functionality to its workflow management software.
“What we found was it’s really a Post-it note world,” IntelliChief marketing manager Tim Nissen tells IT Jungle. “It’s amazing how everybody understands the value of the mighty Post-it note. We thought, hey, if we can automate that. . . . There seemed to be a great deal of demand.”
IntelliChief, you will recall, was spun out from its parent company Quadrant Software several years ago to market and sell paperless processing and workflow system. Its Windows-based software serves as a content management and routing system of sorts to help companies’ back-office processes flow more smoothly. While the core parts of the product don’t run on IBM i, the majority of IntelliChief’s customers are IBM i shops, and the company has expertise integrating IntelliChief software with IBM i-based ERP systems.
The new annotation function that IntelliChief is shipping with version 3.5.1 of its eponymous software closely resembles the paper-based Post-it note. They are yellow and users can place them anywhere on the electronic documents (unmodifiable TIFFs) that IntelliChief manages; they can also resize them.
But unlike real Post-it notes, once they’re added to a document in IntelliChief, they’re staying with that document forever. IntelliChief does not allow users to make changes to business documents, yellow or otherwise–that’s what the ERP system is for.
Nissen says the Post-its provide one more way to get co-workers’ attention. “If you have something that literally says ‘Hey Steve see me about this–Paul,’ you know to just give him a chance to talk on-document about something related to a project,” he says. “It’s yet another way for people to communicate throughout a workflow.”
The IntelliChief system already has a place for people to write notes, a sort of “diary” that stays with the document indefinitely. But according to Nissen, some workers didn’t use it to the full extent that they could (or should).
“What we found is, depending on the amount of notes that have already been accumulated in the main field, some people would see something that was important to them and they would skim over [everything else],” he says. “It just goes back to human nature. Some people are meticulous when it comes to detail and they literally see all and review all. We all wish we were that way.”
For those that aren’t as detail-orientated, IntelliChief now offers a Post-it note that will really grab their attention.
In other news, IntelliChief has also developed a graphical workflow designer with version 3.5.1. The new GUI will be a boon for those among us who are more visually inclined.
“Being able to show it visually has been a great help,” Nissen says. “It’s all in a diagram format, instead of either code or a long-winded description. The visual media really works out well when you’re reviewing a workflow.”