Thursday, July 7, 2011

Domino & Sametime: RADest Platform for CEBP?

A few months ago, David Leedy posted a great video showcasing showcasing Domino's Rapid Application Development capabilities by creating an XPages application with Create, Read, Update and Delete capabilities in less than 4 minutes. Domino combined with Sametime may also provide the fastest platform for implementing CEBP.

What is CEBP?
CEBP stands for Communication Enabled Business Process.  Michael Finneran explains it this way, "CEBP involves embedding UC functionality into existing business processes and the applications that support them to increase efficiency and minimize human latency." You can see CEBP listed in the Enhanced Unified Communications category in the chart below.
Chart by Blair Pleasant, President & Principal Analyst, COMMfusion LLC
Why is CEBP the holy grail of unified communications?  Because it takes the general benefits of unified communications, and focuses it like magnifying glass capturing sunlight, and targets those capabilities to address a specific business need.  Marty Parker provides a great overview of seven specific business values achieved through CEBP.  But perhaps Robin Bloor best captures why CEBP is so important,
"Let’s cut to the chase and consider the sad state in which most business processes currently find themselves. Very few business processes are well automated at all. The reason for this is very simple. It’s people that make systems work."
We have so many business applications, but at the end of the day, we still need to connect and communicate with the people that are involved in those processes to complete them or to address unplanned hiccups in them.  We get stuck, we dig around to find out who we need to communicate with, dig some more to find a phone number, call, leave a voice mail, email, wait for a response, find them online and IM them, and then start again as we find out we need to reach out to someone else.  All of this adds delays and costs to the business.  CEBP eliminates this "human latency" by putting awareness and communications tools embedded right within a business application.

When IBM discusses CEBP, it is almost always in terms of Sametime--not too surprising because that is its platform for unified communications.  Sametime by itself provides a powerful set of APIs and SDK that can be tapped to either pull business applications into Sametime as plug-ins, or to pull Sametime functionality into business applications.

We've seen some great examples of companies leveraging Sametime in this fashion.  Carestream Health has embedded Sametime functionality into its medical imaging application, and both Genesys and Interactive Intelligence have embedded Sametime functionality into their Call Center applications. 

But although these methods are highly capable and highly flexible, it is not a small undertaking to go this route.  This is why in many IBM presentations, you'll see CEBP listed as providing the highest business value for a customer, but also at the highest cost.

CEBP with Domino and Sametime
But CEBP does not need to be expensive nor difficult to implement.  What is not typically talked about is how simple it is to create CEBP with Domino and Sametime together.  Perhaps because it is SO simple to do, we've simply ignored the immense potential value that can be achieved.  The somewhat siloed approach to solutions, even within the Lotus/ICS/Whatever brand, may also have contributed to this (Domino = messaging and collaboration, Sametime = UC, Connections = social, etc.).

But the fact is, thousands of business applications built on Domino exist in organizations today, and it couldn't be easier to communication enable the business processes within them.

My colleague, Jeff Shreve, demonstrated this at the Get Social event in Cleveland last month.  He took a sample help desk application from OpenNTF, and within 1 minute (yes, we timed it), he had added Sametime presence awareness to that application by simply checking the field property for "Show online status".

Since you can access the full range of communication options from Sametime presence through a simple right-click, that immediately provided end-users the ability to escalate from a help ticket to IM, web conference, or an audio/video chat.  When Sametime is integrated with your telephony environment, either through SUT or through telephony vendor plug-ins, you can even get the added benefit of seeing if the individual is currently on the phone, and escalating directly to a phone call.  I'm not certain if this makes Domino and Sametime the rapidest platform for developing CEBP applications, but it is hard to imagine it being any easier or faster.

Have you communication enabled your existing Domino applications?  If not, you should consider it.  For a very small investment in time and effort, you can significantly enhance your applications by making it easier for your users to reach out and communicate with others involved in those processes.


  1. Aren't you supposed to be on vacations? :P

    Some of your images aren't coming through.


  2. Blogging isn't work. :-) What images aren't you seeing? They are all coming through when I view the page in Firefox.