Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Importance of Having a Platform Solution with Configurable User Interfaces (UI)

SmartSimple’s success is largely attributed to its flexibility in terms of configuration. The SmartSimple platform provides its users with full control over field names and types as well as workflows,notifications and so on; SmartSimple can truly track and manage what matters.

Of course, given that the system is web based and facilitates interactions within and across organizations and individuals, it is clearly beneficial that the look and feel of the SmartSimple platform can also be configured to make sense to the end user’s sensibilities.

There are 3 primary methods to customize the UI of SmartSimple:

1. Portals
By using SmartSimple’s portal tools, you can create user role based portals to provide a simplified UI, in which you by can placing icon short cuts to specific relevant applications and records. For instance, while IT staff may have access to the entire system, executives may only be interested in accessing reports, business intelligence and CRM information. Thus, a portal containing links to reports, business intelligence and the integrated CRM system makes perfect sense. Of course, workflows can be integrated into portals so that notifications by the icons indicate items that need attention. The system administrator has full control over the icons used as well as styling, while retaining a standardized layout.



2. Workbenches
Workbenches are relatively new to the SmartSimple platform and reflect the evolution of the portal. Rather than simply being icon based, the workbenches provided actionable functionality from the get go. Additionally, they can also display reports which can contain any relevant information stored in the system. For instance, a grant reviewer can log into SmartSimple and be exposed to a workbench that may show them applications for review, a history of applications already reviewed and a directory of open calls. Our clients have full control over the layout as well as the branding.



3. Website Integration
Every aspect of SmartSimple can be “web enabled” using CSS and iFrames, which allows SmartSimple clients to seamlessly integrate aspects of their SmartSimple system into their actual website. In the not-for-profit space, this functionality has proved popular with organizations who want to allow potential volunteers to register for specific or general opportunities. A website visitor can click an “I want to volunteer button” and enter the relevant details (which are specific and fully under the control of the organization). Although the end user feels that they have signed up right on the specific website, the volunteer manager logs into their SmartSimple system and will receive an instant notification stating that a new volunteer has registered.



The best practice for selecting the appropriate interface is largely determined by the actual needs. While some methods are more involved than others, every SmartSimple client should be able to embrace the configurability of the interface as yet another way to ensure that SmartSimple truly meets the unique needs of individual businesses.