You know what ELSE everybody likes? Parfaits! Have you ever met a person, you say, “Let’s get some parfait,” they say, “Hell no, I don’t like no parfait.”? Parfaits are delicious! Is Webcon like parfaits?
I believe that there is no tool, that is for everyone – just like, despite the perfection of cream cakes – there is no cookie for everyone. However, there are tools that we can use for a wide range of needs, on the scale of business or at the level of departments in the company.
Bearing in mind the above-mentioned range, it should be added that when I speak of it, I mean the processes that take place, the relationships between them, and the needs that affect them or the consequences resulting from them. It is especially important that it can be implemented quickly, adapted to newly emerging requirements or relationships, and that it is responsive to sudden changes in business logic. Just like us, we adapt to new challenges or changes in our lives.
A very good example is the appearance of a little man in the family. Such an event affects all family members, relatives, and friends, not including parents. For the latter, it is a revolution of changing all the usual patterns, time management, and adding new responsibilities. I know about it from the best source, because I have two wonderful daughters. However, I know how much they changed my thinking, planning, reacting to quick daily changes, and controlling emotions.
So let’s look at a little man appearing in our lives and the first biggest change is his feeding. Of course, in most cases, it falls mainly on the mum, but the dad supported by a previously prepared portion or artificial milk will also participate in our example. Now that we have a real-life example, let’s draw it! In my opinion, it would look something like this.
Already at the very beginning of our process, we can see that the activities that start it are repetitive more or less at regular intervals. However, they cause a lack of a full night’s sleep, as has been the case so far. In addition, at the beginning you can see the difference in our reaction, where, of course, after some time in the case of an alarm clock, we will act according to a pattern / automatically, even being fully sleepy. However, in the event of a sudden scream/cry, our action will be instinctive, and sudden, and will also require a long time of learning / getting used to. But despite this, it will require constant adaptation to new changes, problems, or situations in which it will occur.
Of course, there are many variables in real life that cannot be presented in such an example, so we are not able to model or predict everything. That is why we need tools that are as flexible as possible and able to adapt to our specific needs in our dynamically changing work.
I believe that Webcon, with its advantages and disadvantages, is a tool that, in a wide range of our various needs, can support us and fulfill our tasks. Carry out the steps according to clearly presented rules, but not simple assumptions. It is a flexible tool that allows you to easily adapt to new needs or sudden changes occurring in the process. It forces us to add a new step (e.g. disguising a child), changes parameters, or start conditions of the process (changing the time of repeating the alarm clock).
Just like in life, feeding is one process, but it involves many activities, but you can also view them as sub-processes. For example, “disguising a child” or “Putting a child to sleep”, but still these processes are related to our main one. The same tool, clearly and simply, should enable linking together many processes, dictionaries, and activities that we perform. Here, too, Webcon allows us to fully cover such needs, allows us to link our processes, exchange data between them, order their start-up, or wait for their mutual completion. It allows you to manage it very flexibly, and its implementation is not a problem and is not time-consuming. Thanks to this, we can quickly expand our process with new dependencies, or add another one to the process so as not to excessively interfere with our main process.
Another important, in my opinion, a feature of Webcon is the ability to automate activities and make decisions based on clearly defined principles for us. Imagine a system that is connected to a light in a child’s room, an alarm clock, and a milk heater (the milk is already waiting in it). When the alarm clock rings, the milk is automatically heated and the parent wakes up and goes to the baby’s room. A floor lamp lights up in the child’s room so that the parent can see where he is going and can change the child’s clothes. Then he goes for the already warm milk. He does not have to wonder what to do first, and the activity he could automate was done for him. We can do the same with the process in the Webcon application. We can link it to many external systems and collect data from them. On their basis, make decisions and choose specific paths/steps in the process, start e-mail sending activities, and contracts, and accept cost requests. These automated activities will significantly reduce the waiting time for decisions of other users, but also reduce the amount of our attention, which will allow us to focus on those more complex cases and those difficult ones that require unconventional action.
Of course, the above issues are a great advantage of Webcon, but like any tool, it also has weaknesses that have not escaped critics and it is worth talking about them openly. However, when assessing them, it should be taken into account that we are dealing here with a low-code product, not an Enterprise-class solution with many modules and of course costing correspondingly more (not only licenses and software assurance but above all implementation). It should also be taken into account that Webcon does not try to build every functionality into its solution, as is often the case with Enterprise tools (these are usually clunky and difficult to change). Instead, it provides ready-made extensions enabling, for example, additional communication with external suppliers.
Webcon is a tool for data processing and process building, therefore the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) engine itself has average capabilities for working with text documents. However, it got a specially written and constantly improved extension for reading data from invoices. Here it is really good at dealing with data on documents, in addition, a great advantage is the ability to teach the indicated module a different distribution of data for individual suppliers, e.g. based on their NIP (tax identification number). Such a possibility ensures the possibility of delivering various invoice patterns from our partners, and still their automatic correct handling, after a little learning 😉
Currently, most solutions talk about the notion of AI (Artificial Intelligence), of course, at Webcon we also have such a usable module. It may not be as extensive as in the case of Enterprise-class tools, but in my opinion, it is very well suited to Webcon’s assumptions. The module allows us to analyze data based on a larger volume of data, and make decisions based on the completed data on the form in the context of other analyzed cases. It allows us to detect anomalies: whether the processed data went through the process differently than most of the supported tasks. Such use allows for quick verification, process adjustment, or correction of job instructions.
I think it’s time for a summary. In my opinion, Webcon is a very good tool for managing and creating business processes, for quickly addressing business needs, even those with complex rules or logic. However, the first and most important limiter is the statement that we have a process that has states, steps, and maybe even some returns. And we don’t want to create an Excel file in a process tool where everything is clickable everywhere – in that case, Webcon is not the right tool for you. So Webcon is not for everyone. In my opinion, it is suitable for people/teams who want to automate their processes, want to be able to easily influence them, and adapt to the changing world. Their job is to improve their operations, not to transfer them 1: 1 from old tools where they need to be refreshed. One more important point is that Webcon is not a project planned to migrate data to it, rather the assumption is to create new instances, and leave the historically old (in old systems) for inspection.
Webcon, like any other tool, has its strengths and weaknesses. However, looking at the entirety of the provided functionalities of the tool, extensions, additional modules (AI, OCR), and the possibility of extending the tool with its components (SDK) influencing data sources, field operation, in my opinion, it is a great product for automating and adapting processes to those changing demands and new times.
- Quick delivery of processes, easy to introduce changes, flexible adaptation to the needs
- Constant delivery of new functionalities
- Providing ready-made components extending the functionalities of the tool, e.g. Collecting electronic signatures
- Listening to the voice of users and suppliers in terms of tool development
- A very good OCR module for invoices and learning different templates of these documents
Issues to improve:
- OCR dedicated to reading data from invoices
- AI adapted to processes and their analysis
Summarizing all the pros and cons, you can see that the strengths prevail, and the weaker ones have a lot of potential for release, which Webcon has shown in its development path. We are waiting for the next versions, updates, and releases of new functions that will further increase the attractiveness of the product straight from Krak’s Land.
And does Webcon taste like a parfait? I leave this to the individual assessment of the consumer.
Hubert Chadaj, Cezary Rzucidło – Transition Technologies MS