Business Process Management System
In the course of any business, gathering, updating and reporting on information accurately and in a timely manner is key to delivering any project on time and on budget: forms need filling, reports need creating.
For many, life has become consumed by paperwork. There’s a form for this, a report for that. A questionnaire here, analysis and results there.
The ICON Solution
Part of the core functionality of the ICON System is a template driven web-based interface used to record, track and report on information.
This solution removes some of the hassles of form-filling and eases many of the tribulations of chasing respondents and analysing results.
Although historically the ICON System has tended to be used by the construction industry, this functionality is of use to ANY business type as it can be used to drive and deliver a whole range of business processes.
Any paper-based form can be configured as a template in the ICON System. The template is then used as a basis for whatever the business project is, a team of users is assigned to the project, permissions are granted and the gathering and disseminating of information can begin.
It is also quick and easy to set-up multiple projects at the same time, based upon the same or differing templates.
Information can be input by any member of a chosen team of users. By defining permissions, team members will only see the information they are meant to see; they can only edit the information they are meant to edit.
The system records a full audit history; for example who changed a date and when, when a price was increased and who made the change, etc..
Standard Information Types
Templates can be based upon the any of the following standard types of information:
Checkbox, for 'yes' or 'no'
Company, from the system's registered companies
Contact, from the system's registered users
Date, in dd/mm/yy or yyyy format
Financial, i.e. cost in pounds sterling
Hyperlink, allowing a link to any web page
Image, to display a picture in the template
Note, a free-form text box
Number, any numerical value
Radio, a set of radio button options
Selection, a drop-down list of options
Value, a single line of free-form text.
Any type of document can be uploaded to the system. Folder structures mimic Windows Explorer and can go to as many levels as required. Permissions such as full, read-only and hidden, can be set at folder level. All uploads and downloads are tracked.
The ICON System has three types of folder:
A 'standard' folder for any type of document.
A 'photograph' folder which displays images in a thumbnail format.
A 'certificate' folder type where documents are assigned a 'valid from' date and 'validity duration' for tracking when inspections are due.
As set of document handling options allow:
A simple reporting tool allows on-the-fly reporting. Selected users can choose which information to report on and have that information compiled into an Excel spreadsheet which is then immediately made available for download.
The system also provides more complex reporting in the format of on-line dashboards which can have RAG (red, amber, green) statuses, key dates flagged etc.. Reports can be created showing what has changed since the last time the report was run.
ICON also provides a service to replicate existing report formats in the ICON System. In doing this, management teams are presented with reports in a format that they are familiar with. Using the system provides consistency in that there is only one place when the information is logged and updated rather than, as often happens, multiple copies of reports in Word or Excel being held and updated by different people.
A feature of the ICON System that many users like is the ability to view and report on what has not been done or updated. As the system tracks who changed what and when, it is possible to show what has not been changed. This can be useful, for example, when viewing reports monthly to be able to query why something has not been updated.
Similarly, at certain key points during a project a requirement could be that a document has to be uploaded. Reports can be generated to show where documents have not been provided.
Extended Information Types and Functionality
For more complex scenarios, the ICON System has an extended set of information types and functionality. These are Calculations, Stages, Links, Triggers and Dependencies.
Calculations allow pre-defined formulae to be set-up which affect the user input. For example you may want the user to enter a project start date and then add on two weeks thereby recording the date for a subsequent event.
Stages allows a pre-defined workflow to be set-up. This can enforce a process structure as well as requiring that information is completed or a document has been uploaded before it is possible to move onto the next stage of the process.
Links provide the ability to populate a field with information stored elsewhere on the site. For example a 'start date' or 'total cost' may be defined in another project, but it is useful to show it in the current project. Linked information is updated as and when the source is updated so avoiding duplication.
Triggers provide the ability to populate a pre-defined value when the criteria in another field is met. For example a drop-down list may provide the options 'Wood Finish' or 'Painted Finish'. If 'Painted Finish' was selected another item of information such as 'Decorator Required' could be set to 'Yes'.'
Dependencies provides the ability to show or hide groups of information based upon selections made elsewhere. Using the above example, if a decorator was required a further set of fields could be displayed prompting for 'Estimated Decorating Costs', 'Decorating Timescale' etc.
Create your template from a whole range of information types.
Assign permissions to the groups of information.
Create a folder structure for any documents you may want to store.
Document handling options allow a range of actions.
Use the simple 'on-the-fly' reporting tool to choose what information to report on.
||The beauty of the system is in its simplicity. Within half an hour an administrator can set-up a template to record information with a corresponding folder structure and then start the recording process immediately.
Chris Lovelock, ICON