Basic principles

An iPB-based application works according to a business process map developed in the iPB’s Design studio. The process map is a drawing that consists of boxes placed in some order. Each box represents a step inside the process, the name of the step appearing inside the box. A textual description is attached to each step that explains the work to be done in this step.

The process map is used in the iPB application in the following way. As soon as an end-user starts a new process, a copy of the process map is created to handle this particular case (instance). The case-related process map is accessible for everybody who is engaged in the case. It serves simultaneously as an overview of the case, guidelines for handling the case, and a menu for navigating inside the application. The user navigates through the case by clicking on the box of a step with which he wants to work. Not all boxes are clickable at the beginning, those that are grayed require that one or several previous steps are dealt with first.

By clicking on a step box, the end-user is redirected to a web-form that assists him in completing the step. The form contains textual fields to fill, option menus, and radio-buttons to make choices, checkboxes to check (e.g., that some operations have been completed), as well as more complex fields that allow choosing an organization or a person, or register a record in a journal. The form may also include texts explaining what should be done before one can fill some field.

When after filling the form the user comes back to the map, the map looks slightly different. The step becomes green and gets additional information about when the work on it has been started, and who started it. One or several next steps may become white, which means that it is possible to click on them.

All information entered through the form is saved in the built-in database. The user can re-visit a web-form of a green box several times, each time adding more information, e.g., filling more fields and checking more checkboxes to reflect the progress achieved while completing the step. When the user decides that the form is fully filled, he marks the step as finished, which will lead to additional changes in the map. The step box becomes blue and information about the finishing date is inserted in the box. Some other boxes may (or may not) become ready for start and get white color. The blue box is still clickable, and the user can view information he/she entered during completion of the step.

The user continues working on the case until he/she reaches the last step. After the process is completed, it is archived but still accessible. It is possible to view its map and information related to each step.