erikafulk

Apex at OPEX

This week David Knapp, Nick Laughton and Jay Birchmeier head out to San Diego for PEX’s OPEX Week: Business Transformation World Summit Summer Conference.

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We’re hosting two round tables later today:

Enabling stakeholders to create their business transformation
•  Business led process and decision initiatives
•  Rapidly envision and deploy micro apps and services without coding
•  Leverage Cognitive, RPA, and Cloud to optimize

We’ll also be showing off our collaborative work with IBM BPM and IBM ODM, as well as giving demonstrations at our booth of Apex Designer, Apex SalesForce Toolkit and much, much more!

erikafulkApex at OPEX
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Inc 5000 list for 2017

Last year we were honored to be on the Inc 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in North America. This year we are excited to be on the list again.  Not knowing where we would fall on the list in 2017, we’ve been patiently waiting to tell you…we’ve moved up!

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Last year we were #3654. This year we are 3551! We’ve moved up the ladder 103 spots.

We’ve been working on a lot of new products that we’re excited about.  Have you seen our BPM SalesForce Toolkit or Apex Designer?  Did you know about our growing ODM practice and all the great work we’ve been doing boosting ODM implementations across North America? We are still working hard and making great strides in the IBM BPM sphere. We can’t wait to show off what we have in our back pockets when we are at the OPEX Week: Business Transformation World Summit Summer next week.

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https://www.inc.com/profile/apex-process-consultants

#Inc5000 #IBMODM #BPMfromIBM #BPM #ODM

 

erikafulkInc 5000 list for 2017
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Burly Joe Sayers – Personality profile

(At our annual meeting every year, we take headshots for our website. We also give everyone the option to show off their personalities, and sometimes, we get them to write a story about their idea’s)

Burly Joe came from humble beginnings. His father, a peanut farmer in rural Georgia, would send him into town every Tuesday on the back of a melon truck for supplies and to sell cajun boiled peanuts outside ole McSchuster’s drug emporium. Well, one Tuesday he came back to the farm and his dad was getting arrested. Some snowflake from the city choked on a peanut that came from his farm and he was suing him for not having a choking hazard on the peanut. Burly Joe never did see his father again and all he left him was an axe and a case of Busch beer.

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erikafulkBurly Joe Sayers – Personality profile
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Apex Process Consultants Receives 2017 Best of Southfield Award

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Apex Process Consultants Receives 2017 Best of Southfield Award

Southfield Award Program Honors the Achievement

SOUTHFIELD June 1, 2017 — Apex Process Consultants has been selected for the 2017 Best of Southfield Award in the Consultants category by the Southfield Award Program.

Each year, the Southfield Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Southfield area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2017 Southfield Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Southfield Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Southfield Award Program

The Southfield Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Southfield area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Southfield Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Southfield Award Program

CONTACT:
Southfield Award Program
Email: PublicRelations@onlineawarded.org
URL: http://www.onlineawarded.org

###

erikafulkApex Process Consultants Receives 2017 Best of Southfield Award
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Apex and First Tennessee Bank to present at IBM Interconnect 2017

Apex Process Consultants is proud to present at IBM Interconnect with First Tennessee Bank. Please see below for the session description.

Rapidly Enhancing an Enterprise Services Layer with IBM BPM and ODM at First Tennessee Bank

First Tennessee Bank (FTB) and Apex Process Consultants have implemented a system-guided process to assist the customer service representative in completing the online banking enrollment process. By leveraging IBM BPM and Apex Coach Views, the solution was developed, tested and ready for production in under five weeks. The ability to develop the solution in such a short time provided an extremely quick ROI. FTB is now leveraging both BPM and IBM Operational Decision Manager (ODM) to enhance its enterprise service bus by providing both guided process and decision management across the enterprise. In the latest enhancements, business decisions in ODM provide an early warning mechanism for the bank’s deposit system to detect potential fraud.

Logistics

Come see the First Tennessee Bank presentation at InterConnect 2017 to learning more.
Session:  HBP-2208
Time: Mon, 20-Mar 01:00 PM – 01:45 PM
Place:  Mandalay Bay South, Level 2 – Mandalay Bay Ballroom I

erikafulkApex and First Tennessee Bank to present at IBM Interconnect 2017
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Apex named one of Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America

Today Inc. released their annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America.
And guess who was on that list?!
That’s right! We are!
I know what you are thinking, “Man, they are only 4 lines into this blog post and they’ve already used their allotted exclamation points for a whole year!”
And, you’re right! But we’re just so excited. Apex has spent the past 7 years working hard, building a strong team and powerful toolkits. We’re super proud of this achievement.
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erikafulkApex named one of Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America
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Technology – What we imagined vs What we got

Have you seen those posters from the 1930’s – “The World of Tomorrow” –

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Flying cars, time travel, the fridge that orders it’s own groceries. Some things we’ve surpassed and somethings we’re still working on. Thanks to Apple, FaceTiming isn’t as cumbersome as this illustration. I grew up watching The Jetsons, assuming we’d have flying cars and travel tubes.

But there is no helicopter in my garage. I do keep a phone in my pocket that connects to the internet and therefor the answer to any question I ever have. It’s still costly and time consuming to travel from Detroit to New York or LA. But video chats have cut out the need to travel to for business and makes keeping in touch with friends easier.

I went to Florida a few years back, and stayed with friends of friends, it turned out that everyone in the neighborhood I was staying in worked at Walt Disney World. We were given free passes and went. Over in Tomorrowland, where everything is what we imagined the future would be like when Disney World opened in 1971, (spoiler alert) a talking trashcan rolled over to us and started talking “Hello pretty ladies!” “Are you done with your beverages, please dispose of them here” and it’s “mouth” would open and reveal a trashcan. Knowing we had friends who worked in Tomorrowland, we were surprised that we didn’t see someone in that trashcan. Then we noticed that a guy we knew, was standing around with his hands in his sweatshirt pocket. He was controlling the trashcan from a remote control in his pocket, he had an earbud in and was taking and listening front the trashcan.

Not to date myself too much, but this was before Apple had released it’s iPhone, and I was stunned, even then, that the best we could do in the world of tomorrow was a remote controlled microphone.

Fast forward a few years later, I had discovered a new to me photographer and was researching him. His name is Bill Jay, his website is, and was, dated, but I loved reading everything on there. And then I found his list of published works. I had purchased his book Men Like Me. I loved everything about it, and it spoke to me and what I was doing in college then. Then looking through the list of books I saw this one – Sun in the Blood of the Cat… Well, I thought, that doesn’t sound like a normal title for a book with this description “An anthology of essays on 19th and 20th century photography”.

Here’s where technology and art meet and where my love for Bill Jay became one that will never end. “after installing voice recognition software into his computer, Jay spoke into his computer: ‘I would like to produce a collection of articles called Something Photographic, a seemingly bland phrase but nevertheless one which sounds rather jaunty.’ As Jay sat back and watched, the computer typed: ‘I would like to produce a collection of articles called sun in the blood of the cat…’ Jay looked at that sentence and said to himself: ‘Yes, I would!'”

Here I sit today trying to typing a mass of stories into one seemingly cohesive story. I often think of Bill Jay sitting in a bright office, talking into a big microphone watching his computer screen not type in what he’s saying, I remember my dad had software similar, and once I tried to write a paper for school with it, but after it not being able to figure out my name, I quit.

I think of how today, I will spend 30 minutes talking to Siri, trying to make that technology work for me instead of just opening a browser and typing in my search. Here’s a search I tried for “Do you have to dry pasta noodles before you cook them?”

SiriSo between Bill Jay trying to write a book through words in 2001 and my failed attempt at knowledge of dried pasta noodles, technology has come a long way in 14 years, but not nearly as far as I would have thought it would have advanced. And now you’ve read this far and wondered why I bring all this up, well, here’s why –

In the 1980’s application modeling software was called CASE (Computer Aided Software Engineering). The thing was, a number of companies developed products where you could build a model of an application (like you can in BPM), but those products generated code, such as RPG or COBOL.  If you needed to create functionality beyond what the model could handle, you had to modify the generated code.

The problem was, once you modified the generated code, the model was no longer complete, and if you generated the code again you would lose the modifications you made. The dream was to have a tool that could handle the full round trip between modeling and modifications keeping full integrity.
The dream was never realized in those CASE tools. Many people would model an application, modify the code, and then never go back to the model. It was a one way trip. What everybody wanted was a round trip.
And then finally, BPM! Ultimately this problem was solved by making the model fully extensible with whatever customizations you need to make. You never look at the under-the-covers generated code. You can do everything from within the model or with your extensions to the model (typically for example, with Javascript or calls to external services).
And of course BPM isn’t perfect yet. But you can get a lot farther now than you could with CASE. With the advances that Apex is making with ACV2, our new Firebase Integration Toolkit and with partners like IBM and vLegaci, we’ll get you on the road to success faster than you can reprogram that remote controlled trashcan you found.
erikafulkTechnology – What we imagined vs What we got
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Cordova

Providing access to business processes from mobile devices is critical in today’s fast-paced corporate world. In fact, many companies are moving toward a “mobile first” strategy when building applications. The traditional approach to meeting the mobile need has been to develop mobile applications using platform-specific native code. This leads to inefficient development practices entailing duplication of effort to support a variety of devices and platforms, as well as cultivating skill in multiple programming languages. Apache Cordova is an open source mobile development framework that streamlines and simplifies building of mobile applications that target multiple platforms.

Cordova is a set of device APIs that enables the developer to build mobile applications that can take advantage of native device features using web technologies (HTML, CSS and JavaScript). Writing applications with the Cordova APIs doesn’t require knowledge of native code such as Java or Objective-C and enables companies to develop mobile applications in a much more cost-effective manner.  These hybrid mobile applications run locally on the device using the device’s browser engine and use the Cordova APIs to access device functions such as the camera or accelerometer. There are also third-party plugins available to use in Cordova applications to further extend the API functionality. If a plugin isn’t available for a device platform, it can be written using native code; this doesn’t completely eliminate the need for skill in native code, but it does isolate it to just development of plugins.

Since the Cordova JavaScript APIs are consistent across multiple device platforms, the applications can be ported to other platforms with only minimal changes. Because Cordova applications run on the mobile device, access to them can be provided through an app store. JavaScript frameworks such as jQuery Mobile, Dojo Mobile, Sencha Touch and Kendo UI can be easily integrated with Cordova applications to provide a robust set of widgets that will enhance the usability and appearance of hybrid mobile applications.

Hybrid mobile applications are more versatile than native apps in that they are cross-platform. Mobile apps have two advantages over mobile web apps:  they can access device APIs, and they are usable when the device is offline. One limitation of hybrid apps as compared to native apps is that their graphics performance won’t be as fast since the app runs in a container, but this is not a substantial consideration for the majority of business applications.

Apache Cordova development can be performed using IDEs such as Eclipse and Xcode. Use of the Cordova framework has also been integrated into IDEs from major companies. IBM adopted the use of Cordova in their Worklight product which makes use of Cordova to build hybrid mobile applications.  Microsoft announced on May 12, 2014 at their TechEd conference that they’re planning to add support for Apache Cordova to Visual Studio. Telerik’s AppBuilder solution also makes use of Cordova.

Apache Cordova applications are your company’s best option for supporting multiple mobile platforms and leveraging web skills while maintaining a single code base with easy update distribution.

erikafulkCordova
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Elegant Integration of Coach Views and AngularJS

If you have ever created a Coach View, you understand that it’s more difficult to integrate the data and its visual representation than you’d like, and if you have not created any coach views, perhaps for this reason, now’s your chance!  For example, to create a “Are you sure you wish to assign this task to SOMEUSER?” message view, you require the following (or perhaps a strictly JavaScript implementation):

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Some of you are thinking, “So? Easy peasy lemon squeezy!” while others may be thinking “This is my NIGHTMARE!!”  What if you could get away with the following:

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Boom goes the dynamite!  The text automatically updated! Now we’re talking in the realm of AngularJS and Coach View integration with the Apex Coach Views Toolkit.. 2!

“But Kyle! How do I make it show up nice and pretty?  Whenever I create something,  I always have to worry about configuration options for style, format, and the likes!”

ACV2 (Apex Coach Views 2) solves this issue by allowing you to simply add “columns” as a configuration option and you’re done!  Instantly fits perfectly into a responsive layout with Bootstrap CSS!  No extra time in CSS Hell.  (CSS and DOJO Hell are terms coined by Apex consultants before coach view toolkits existed)

Now that you’ve created a dynamic message for your application the client will be very impressed and you can call it a day; however, if you want to ensure a free dinner and drinks outing at the steakhouse by Wednesday night, you’ll have to take advantage of a few more AngularJS features.

Let’s try our hand at a basic Text control:

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The label for a view is now displayed with conditional visibility, and the input not only reflects updated local variable values but also sets the value with each keystroke.  Neato!

Now that we’ve seen interactions with Coach View bound data as well as options, let’s throw in Angular’s handy dandy ‘ng-change’ directive to show some love for the oft forgotten metadata.

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Above we see two of our views exhibiting Bootstrap CSS automatically with the “columns” configuration option.  Due to ng-change, not only is our bound variable updated as we type, but the label is updated with each keystroke as well.  Coach Views + AngularJS + Apex Coach Views 2 = Less Script + More Power + tan(DELTA(time)/resources) <- I don’t even know what that means… and as Will Ferrell would say: “Nobody knows what it means, but it’s provocative!”

Naturally, using Custom HTML blocks is bested by ACV2 patterns for IBM BPM web file templates and Custom Builds, but those adventures are for upcoming posts.

erikafulkElegant Integration of Coach Views and AngularJS
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Apex Firebase Integration Toolkit – Why You Should Use It

The Apex Firebase Integration Toolkit is one of the newest products in the suite of Apex tools.  This toolkit contains a set of coach views and services that allow you to quickly integrate with Firebase and have access to real-time data within your application.  As amazing as this product is, you might be thinking, what in the world would I do with it?  Let’s walk through three scenarios where you might find it helpful to use within your IBM BPM application.

#1 – Real Time Collaboration – Collaboration on a task is common in the business world; however, with workers scattered around the globe, it’s not always easy to make happen online.  In traditional database ways, on-screen data can quickly become stale or require a manual “refresh” to display current data; having real time information to make business decisions is often a critical success factor for an application.  Using the coach views within the Firebase Integration toolkit, you’ll be able to open a connection to Firebase from your coach and any updates to the data (from any user) will be reflected on screen within seconds.

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#2 – Proof of Concept – In a world where a “quick win pilot” is often the path to more funding for your project, you want to be up and running quickly with access to real data.  Screen mock-ups are good, but a running application with real-time data is better.  Firebase is a full backend, so you won’t need to install database servers or write SQL code to create and access your data.  Using coach views and services from the toolkit, you’ll be able to quickly connect your application to Firebase and have data stored and synced within minutes!

#3 – Build Consolidated Views of Data – Finding the most relevant data to display to your user doesn’t always come in a pretty package; often it’s dispersed across multiple tables, databases, and even systems.  Sometimes it’s necessary to bring all this data together into a single view, which can easily be set-up with Firebase.  Displaying task data and business data for a single entity can often be an impressive and helpful view to a business user wanting to see all the activity that has transpired for the entity.

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These are three common scenarios where the Apex Firebase Integration toolkit will help you take your IBM BPM application to the next level.  As illustrated, the capabilities within Firebase combined with Apex Coach Views will help you present rich mash-ups of data to your user to help them work in a very collaborative way.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll build with it!

erikafulkApex Firebase Integration Toolkit – Why You Should Use It
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