First Impression: Intellect BPM Platform Version 7
- Published: May 21, 2013
- Written by Nathaniel Palmer
Interneer’s web-based BPM solution promises to be user-friendly and easy to configure – and delivers...
Originally formed as an engineering consultancy more than a dozen years ago by a group of mechanical and aerospace engineers who saw an opportunity to build a web-oriented application with integrated workflow, since then, Interneer has built its Interneer Intellect Platform that allows technically capable business people to configure web-based applications to support integrated workflow, without programming. Today Interneer has hundreds of customers including Bose, Jacobs Engineering, and Host Hotels in markets including construction, manufacturing, energy, public sector, and services.
The company recently launched its Interneer Intellect 7 Platform, a major upgrade that adds more than 50 feature enhancements to the product since its 6.5 update in April 2010. In addition to itsIntellect 7 upgrade, the company also released Intellect MobileApps for iPad.
Users will also find that this major upgrade was designed to make it super simple for building and automating business-critical processes such as those associated with cloud applications and mobile apps.
It is a truism in the software industry that small and mid-market companies want most of the same functionality as that desired by enterprise class customers. The challenge has been making that proposition affordable.
Interneer has made a point to focus on what it sees as a gap in the midmarket for BPM. One way that Interneer has fulfilled that goal is by emphasizing a do-it-yourself approach that engages the non-specialist. Ease of use, drag-and-drop configuration and “no programming” are the company mantras. It is also unique in that it is web and cloud-based and has always been that way.
Indeed, the limited resources of SMBs make it even more helpful that business users can implement a solution to fit their needs with little or no help from IT.
So far, so good: Interneer Intellect 7, with its rapid, no-coding development environment, enables business users to easily define, configure, optimize and automate business processes and workflow around common, but critically important tasks or applications, such as “submit expense report”, “create contract and proposal”, “install user software,” etc.
Once processes are defined and established, Interneer 7 intuitively tracks and monitors progress within a central dashboard, creating a single central place to manage processes and workflow.
Through exposing XML and SOAP-based services, other systems can query and update the platform. On a practical level, this means a wide range of applications, crafted in differing programming systems, can be connected to Intellect.
Again, integration is the Intellect mantra. Other competing BPM suites sometimes resemble a collection of related functions while Interneer aims to integrate across the application architecture, which is a stack consisting of User Interface layer, a Business Logic layer, and Data Access layer. As a result, there is no need to learn multiple environments and you can connect all the resources you need in the cloud with a single log-in. Using this approach, you can easily set up rules by clicking through a series of menus.
A special strength of Interneer is its cost structure. The company has a simple and pain free fee structure: $50 per user per month, which is a practically unheard of price-point in the BPM space. If you choose an on-premises option – giving potential access to a huge number of users, the cost can be as little as about $15,000, which again is very aggressive price-point for a BPM suite.
However, it is not just cost and integration that make Intellect both cost-effective and compelling. With founders that grew up in industry they have focused on functionality and on the things they have actually seen people needing and using. So, Intellect is relatively light on complicated analytics since that is not as much of a focus in the mid market. Instead, Intellect provides immediate, automated workflow to get reports, dashboards and other key functionality up and running fast.
That should not suggest any limits in the technology of Intellect. Founder Romeo Elias was issued a US patent in 2006 for a knowledge management system and method, elements of which have found their way into the product. Intellect has features that include a powerful report generator, and a requirements and change management module. Users can generate reports, with custom field queries and display charts, in just a few mouse clicks.
In keeping with the company goal of no-programming and easy of use, a requirement and change management module actually guides the analyst through a BPM configuration from concept through implementation and deployment. Furthermore, by leveraging web services and linked server technologies, business analysts can quickly access external data sources, look up data in real time, or call and pass data to external HTML objects and display them within the platform pages.
In other words, Intellect has managed to provide almost all the typical features, functions, workflow models, and other standard features such as notification emails, APIs, and web services found with other BPM packaged for a remarkable $50 per user per month price.
Web services catalog
Making integration robust, Intellect has a built-in web services catalog for standard such as ODBC (Open Database Connectivity-- a standard C programming language middleware API for accessing database management systems), SalesForce.com, SQL Server, and others. Interneer also makes available documentation to assist users in creating other services. However, according to the company, approximately 90 percent of its customers simply plan to leverage data in their existing spreadsheets or databases.
Rather than providing a workflow engine, Intellect delivers something that many BPM product do not; a full database capability which can function like a development environment for building applications, workflow and rules.
User Friendly, Really
Interneer has chosen to focus on one aspect of BPM and bring it to an advanced state – namely do-it-yourself configuration. They were “born” in the cloud and have retained that focus along with a meaningful no-programming commitment that can deliver functional applications in less than an hour....something that’s all but impossible with other vendors.
Intellect runs on Chrome and Safari as well as on tablets and smart phones, further simplifying alterations and adjustments to workflow. In the iPad environment, in particular, Intellect provides a platform “container” app, Intellect MobileApps, that supports building additional native apps through invoking rules, menus, and other existing applications.
Again, a business person with no programming skills can leverage Intellect to create native iPad apps that are fully integrated with the system’s backend, with data forms, and with records without having to deal with IOS or an app store.
Taking the Goodness to Verticals
While Interneer does provide a few basic template “building blocks,” for crafting individual solutions, its business model and approach emphasizes the role of partners leveraging the company’s “horizontal platform” and developing industry- or geography-specific solutions. Working together, Interneer and its several dozen partners have developed solutions that include:
- Retail Kiosk Management
- Sales Pipeline Management
- Permit Management
- IT Maintenance Contract Management
- Work/Job Order Management
- ISO Documentation
- Lab Test Management
- Property Maintenance Management
- Asset Management
- Telemarketing Campaign Management
- Manufacturing Process Management
- High End Clientele CRM
- Non-profit Campaigns Tracking
- Health Nutrition Management
Interneer says Intellect has been adopted by companies with as few as five employees and with much larger firms, such as the retailer Circle K, which has purchased 20,000 licenses.
Although the company emphasizes the ease-of-use and self-service nature of Intellect, they do provide a full range of professional services to help with set up, design, customization, and launch for customers who need or want additional assistance.