Can RIA technologies help us to build better Enterprise PLM?

I want to ask a straightforward question – how is user experience important for building a successful enterprise application (such as enterprise PLM)? I think I hear your voices – yes, yes, yes… So, I think we need to go and shop for some good technologies that will help us to improve the user experience of the systems we develop. I see that the time of boring web UIs and multiple screens with data, trees and grids are over. So, I have come to RIA (Rich Internet Application) technologies that allow us to develop cool user experience for our enterprise data management mustangs.

I was inspired to read Flashy GUIs versus Longterm Business Benefits blog article discussing how RIA may or may not be important for enterprise applications. So, my question was – are we ready to pay a premium price for user experience that will remind us of iPhone, Xbox, PlayStations and RIA enabled websites? My conclusion is yes. I believe that today’s business PLM definitely needs something that allows us to get a higher acceptance of end users in the enterprise.

So, if you are ready, here are some choices on your way to enhance the user experience of products.

Adobe AIR platform provides a framework to develop a rich user experience. The important thing is that you can build an AIR-based application based on PDF templates and without affecting your current product. Microsoft Silver Light sounds like a visible new competitor in this space. There are some other technologies and products, but in general, my feeling is that – yes, RIA is moving forward and PLM needs to get aboard this train.

Below you can find some more examples of RIA apps:

Microsoft Silverlight

Adobe AIR

Adobe showcase for branded rich Internet applications (RIAs)- NASDAQ and eBay.

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  • Thanks for quoting my blog. Don’t forget Adobe AIR is hardcoded by programmers. What RIA should be about is to make the GUI more adaptable by the business user. The GUI must finally enable the user to do what he considers as practical and not some programmer. This is why we have developed Papyrus EYE based on QT and Flash and stayed away from hardcoding. We do not use FLEX or AIR and can implement also AJAX or Silverlight versions.

    The direction is a ROLE-BASED GUI so that each user can shape his own views freely and be only restricted by role/policy authorization and business boundary rules. That is true for PLM as for any other business application.

    More on http://www.isis-papyrus.com and http://isispapyrus.wordpress.com/2008/03/24/what-is-papyrus-eye-and-how-did-we-get-there/

  • Hello Max,
    Thanks for commenting. I will take a look on papyrus materials more in deep. It’s interesting you decided not to use BPEL…. can you explain why? Thanks. Oleg.

  • Hi, BPEL brings no benefits. The functionality is limited, the processes do not become portable and it should not be manually edited anyhow. I still need to model roles, organization, data, interfaces, GUI and rules someplace else. BPEL is not built for processes but for orchestration. If at all one should be using BPMN. I do however not believe in analyzed, rigid processes whose necessary bureaucracy make a business less agile, but in a social, collaborative approach that empowers the user.

  • Max, great observation! BPMN make a lot of sense. And bring sort of compatibility in processes. -Oleg.