Understanding Comindware Tracker
No doubt you’d like to get started right away, assigning tasks and combining tasks into a sequence. Understanding the following concepts will make that process go smoothly.If you find yourself hunting through emails for status updates and consistently wondering how to achieve your team’s goals more effectively, then it might be worthwhile to spend a few minutes learning how Comindware Tracker helps managers like you to take control of business processes. This article defines the basic concepts of Comindware Tracker’s logic, showing how you can design, implement, change, and track your team’s work.
Tasks are pieces of work that need to get done. They are parts of a project, or components of a day. They can exist on their own or they can be part of a larger picture with subtasks or workflows. You can assign them to yourself or to members of your team, and with Comindware Tracker, you can track their status automatically.
Documents are static datasheets you want to be stored, organized and be available to certain team members for viewing. Besides the actual text of the document you want to store, there can also be a set of complimentary taxonomy (e.g. creation date, type of document, document owner etc.) which would help you categorize the document storage.
Suppose you have tasks that are part of a process. How would you push tasks through a sequence or automatically generate tasks based on where a project stands? In Comindware Tracker, you do this by creating a “Workflow Task.” Examples of workflow tasks are change requests, help desk tickets, claims, product bugs, employee records, essentially any process that you want to be moved along and tracked.
Your Workflow Item has a Workflow associated with it when the process you are tracking is dynamic rather than static. For example, a dynamic workflow item would be a Vacation Request by that employee, because this request would need to follow a sequence (request, management approval, HR approval, payroll notification, and so on).
In contrast, a Document (without a workflow) would be an Employee Development file. Here you want to keep lots of different types of information together, with the ability to track things like classes taken and salary history.
Essentially, a Workflow is a sequence of steps, as in a complex process or a decision tree. Comindware Tracker, powered by ConnectStep® Technology, will automatically generate the Tasks you need done, in the right order, at the right time, by the right person. Therefore, unlike static diagrams in other graphical tools, a Comindware Tracker Workflow is a powerful engine moving things along.
Unlike complicated workflow tools that require sophisticated programming, Comindware Tracker provides a Graphical Workflow Builder that lets you visually design and modify workflow processes with drag-and-drop simplicity.
Comindware Tracker also provides a universal workflow engine so you can manage all of your processes from a single system . Our ultra-flexible universal workflow engine, powered by ElasticData technology, can handle just about any workflow process and issue tracking need.
This versatility also makes a Comindware Tracker Workflow indispensable when it comes to automating multiple processes in one department or even multiple departments in your company. With Comindware Tracker, you don’t need to start with all of your processes from scratch; just use one of our pre-built solutions and then easily modify it to address your specific needs. Any kind of custom solution can be built as well.
Applications (or Apps)
Now that you know what a Workflow is, you can create one, and you do that inside an App. An Application is where all the Workflows Tasks, Documents or Tasks of the same type are stored. In App settings you design everything to do with the Workflow Tasks and Documents it will store: Workflow, Fields and Forms. There are pre-built Solution Apps in Comindware Tracker; you can customize these and also make your own Apps.
We’ll discuss Fields and Forms towards the end of this document because the default settings are usually fine when you are getting started.
You can organize all of the tasks and items that you create by defining roles and relationships based on a hierarchy. Think of a Workspace as a team or a project. For example, you might have department-specific Workspaces, such as “IT” and “Administration.”
You could also have a project-specific Workspace that would include people from several departments, such as “Sales Kick-Off” or “Building Construction.”
Workspaces contain Apps. Simple as that.
Comindware Tracker has a fully customizable reporting function that lets you sort, filter, change views, add widgets, and essentially go crazy with real-time visibility and insight.
And only Comindware lets you run all of your projects and departments on a single system, so you can keep all of your organization’s data together in one place if you’d like. This flexibility (from a new kind of database called ElasticData) lets you have departmental, team-specific, and organizational views of your operations.
Here are three tools you can use to run your real-time statistics:
- List: A list is a customizable view of items or tasks based on your preferences, and you can filter and sort the information however you’d like.
- Widget: A widget is a chart showing the data that you selected when you made your list. You can use widgets to visually compare data and data trends.
- Dashboard: A dashboard is the “board” where you keep your widgets, allowing you to see all of your information in one place.
Fields and Forms
We mentioned these during the talk on templates, but we’ve left them for last because we wanted you to have the bigger picture first.
You’re ready now: Fields represent what you need to know each time one of your team members starts a process that you’ve designed. They capture data points like due date, urgency, budget level, item number, and so on. You start with default Fields and you can also add your own. Plus, special to Comindware Tracker, once you create a Field, it becomes part of your global directory so you can reuse it in any other item you choose.
Forms are the virtual “sheets of paper” that capture the data you require. Each Workflow and Document App has a Graphical Form Builder letting you visually create any form with a flexible layout for the fields you need: just drag-and-drop the fields you want to add, rearrange them to suit your fancy, and hit “Save.”
We have defined each term so that you’ll achieve success sooner with Comindware Tracker. To put it all together:
1. Create a App to store Tasks, Workflow Tasks or Documents you want to track
2. If you went for a Workflow App, define a Workflow and specify who gets a Task at each stage
3. Then design what the Workflow Task will look when your team members fill out a Form for a new Workflow Task.
4. Additionally, use Workspaces to group your Apps by team, project or department.
We have many resources to walk you through the process of trying Comindware Tracker in your environment as you decide the following:
1. Who will use the system? (either add them manually or use LDAP integration)
2. For which departments, teams or offices should you create Workspaces?
3. Which requests, processes and functions need to be tracked, with Apps created to do the job?
Remember, the Workflow App captures these three things:
1. The data you should capture in the Fields on your Form
2. How the Form “looks and feels” by having the fields arranged however you want
3. The Workflow that follows the process you need
4. What data do you need to be available to yourself, globally, real-time and historically?
5. What level of permission should each of your Workspaces and Apps have?
These five steps are what you need to consider when you build a fully functional sample tracker from the ground up. Normally, you’ll only repeat steps 3 through 5 for each new tracker/App you want to use within an existing Workspace.
Be sure to experiment with various App types and hierarches – Comindware Tracker gives you freedom to structure your Tasks, Documents and Workflows however suits you.
Plus, in Comindware you can easily change your Workflows just by visually adding new steps, connecting them with transitions, and pressing “Save.” Changing Workflows on-the-fly is possible thanks to unique patent-pending ElasticData technology. No need for any deployment process; just press the “Save” button.
Plus, a built-in verification mechanism will guarantee that the Workflow you created is functional, so you can be sure that you don’t break anything with your changes.
Contact us if you have any questions, or would like more information: www.comindware.com.