EMC Documentum iPad App – workflow tasks

Adequate infrastructureThis is the third and last part of my review of the EMC Documentum iPad application. I wanted to see how it behaves for Documentum workflow tasks.

Briefly, there are 3 major categories of workflow (aka processes) you can run in Documentum platform (aka xCP sometimes):

– quickflows. One user wants to send a document to a sequence/set of others. Ad-hoc, no predefined rules.

– standard document routing. A process template is defined and an information package can be routed through it.

– xCP process. much closer to a pure BPM flow, very similar actually to the document routing above, but with more features (Eg. more advanced forms, integrations etc.)

The process templates are build using Documentum Process Builder using also Forms Builder… etc. All part of the Documentum “xCP” bundle.

Now… the Documentum mobile (iPad) application says it enables users to work with tasks in their inbox. All the above workflows/processes end up in the user’s Inbox as tasks. Let’s see them!


Test scenario: pick a document, start quicklow, select 2-3 users as destination, enter some instructions, click some options…

Work just as you would expected (after reading my previous posts). You see the task in the iPad app Tasks list, you can click on it, see the task instructions as laid out by the originator, you can comment on it and finish it. You can also see the document content (in the same way as in all the other sections of the application, see previous post). Acces to document metadata is a bit clumsy as usual (you need to try to see the document to get a 2-more-taps method of viewing the builtin attributes).

Document routing

Test scenario: design a process template with 1 manual activity, start a document on this process

They are very similar with the quickflows. The only noticeable difference is the name of the task (which is given by the process design not the document attachment, obviously).

One nice touch is that the iPad app allows the user to also “electronically sign-out” the task if requested by the workflow design (meaning the user is asked to re-enter his/hers password… this is the “sign-out” feature). I wasn’t expected that.

One not so nice thing is that once you open the task you see only one “Finish” button. Clicking on it will complete the task (or bring out a menu o alternative options if any are available as designed). You can’t “cancel” the task display (as in “i don’t want to finalize you right now… later!”) by tapping a button. You need to “slide” the task display page away. A bit counter-intuitive. I’ve already seen 2-3 persons clicking on “Finish” to close it. And this was wrong as the task was “completed”. Ergonomy fail.

xCP process

Test scenario: design an “xCP” process (with a “task form”) and start the process from TaskSpace.

Well, here is simple:

The task shows in inbox, you click to see it and wonder how the task form will be rendered. The answer is a “500 Server Error” with a “NullPointerException” reported. End of the test.

As a conclusion:

The current EMC Documentum iPad application can handle simplistic inbox/task features. Can’t be used if the user needs access to custom package/document metadata or  the tasks have forms associated with them (not just plain document routing).

As far as I see it. The iPad application is a reasonable showcase of features for basic DMS but just for demo purposes or very very limited real use cases. I stand by my advice to EMC to make the application “open” for partners to extend and get it closer to the actual real world business requirements.

And another thing: the app design should use the iOS/iPad Apple UI design advices. Currently is a bit non-standard. This is good for entertainment apps, but for this kind of software… you should stick with the beaten path in order to make it easier to the “new user” :).

Next? A review of the Alfresco iPad App which just surfaced in the App Store.

One thought on “EMC Documentum iPad App – workflow tasks

  1. Pingback: Alfresco Mobile iPad application – a short review | Me and Content Management

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