What’s New in Kinetic Task 3.0

Ben Christenson, one of the primary architects and developers for Kinetic Task,  is presenting “What’s New in Kinetic Task 3.0” today at the 2nd annual KEG (Kinetic Enthusiasts Group) Conference.  For those of you who couldn’t make it to the Denver event, here are  some highlights of his presentation.

One of the biggest questions we got during KEG 2012 was: “When can I use Kinetic Task to automate workflows outside of Kinetic Request?” The answer is right now with the release of Kinetic Task 3.0.

We’ve  always had the long-term goal of making the Kinetic Task engine a kind of platform- and application-agnostic enterprise “glue”  that provided a modular approach to workflow automation anywhere in  the enterprise where automation could deliver real benefits.  Our initial focus was on ITSM service request automation delivered through a Kinetic Request management portal.  (That’s why we bundled Kinetic Task with Kinetic Request.)  But interest at KEG 2012 in bringing  the power of the Kinetic Task automation engine to other parts of the enterprise was so strong  that we vowed to make Kinetic Task work with any application by the time KEG 2013 rolled around.

And I  mean any application. Or at least any application that can trigger a call back into Kinetic Task based on some event, like a new or updated field in an application database, and automatically launch a task tree.  The user experience won’t change. Task trees will still be built and processes configured in the same ways.  But now tasks can be triggered from any application, not just Kinetic Request.  That includes home-grown applications, which can be configured with Task Handlers and linked to  Kinetic Task through an improved  API.

So what can you now do with Task 3.0?   When  users learn of Kinetic Task’s radically expanded functionality, their imaginations ran riot.  Just think of it—simplified business process automation in any nook and cranny of the enterprise where, in the past,  the cost of the development effort couldn’t be justified.  In HR, facilities management, sales and marketing, finance, logistics, operations, and customer service (indeed, just about any area of the business), you can leverage your familiarity with  Kinetic Task to build automated  workflows.

Kinetic Task Workflow Automation Engine
Several other enhancements have been  made in Kinetic Task 3.0, including an improved API, easier installation, an improved admin console, and changes to Kinetic Security Language (KSL) to create a powerful new strategy for implementing business-logic-driven security policies. But the real difference is summarized by the slide above. Before, Kinetic Task only accepted input from Kinetic Request.  Now, Kinetic Task 3.0 , which is still packaged with Kinetic Request but also available independently, has  been opened up to allow any external source to start a task tree. That means it can backend any data source. And it can deliver process automation anywhere you want using the Kinetic Task knowledge and skills you already have.

Get in touch with me (Ben. Christenson[AT]KineticData.com) if you want to learn more.

Big BPA Versus “Lightweight” BPA

When you think about business process automation (BPA), you usually think about automating mission-critical or core business processes and long and expensive development efforts.  The benefits to the business usually justify all the time and money you spend, but its best to leave the details to IT experts, since they are the only ones in the enterprise with the knowledge and experience to pull off BPA.

But by making BPA such a big (and often scary) deal, businesses may overlook a relatively unexplored frontier of business process automation — automating the hundreds and often thousands of “small processes” that happen every day in a business and consume untold hours in emails, phone calls, filling out paperwork and manually entering data from one system to another.  In HR, facilities management, sales and marketing, procurement, customer service, finance and other areas, a lot of work gets done in such an inefficient manner. These processes are prime candidates for automation — if only  IT and business decision makers could shake off the “big” BPA mindset and look for ways to automate wherever and whenever it makes sense.

Task Trees for an Employee Onboarding ProcessKinetic Task has long been an fast and efficient way to automate processes triggered within an IT service management environment such as BMC Remedy. The new release of Kinetic Task 3.0 works with virtually any application or database, which  extends those benefits to virtually any part of the enterprise that can benefit from BPA. It takes advantage of the fact that most business workflow processes are started by a trigger, (record gets created) or often when a data field is updated in an application database or entries are made in a logfile. By monitoring these applications and log files, Kinetic Task can invoke predefined workflow steps, such as creating billing entries or initiating and enforcing  approval processes, that result in the process being completed with little or no manual intervention.

But unlike most other BPA approaches and products, Kinetic Task can be extended to non-technical users in any department or business area. It does so by the use of two key components:

  • configurable task trees, which allow non-technical users to easily define the steps in a process automation workflow; and
  • a powerful task engine, which automates the execution of steps in the workflow once it is triggered by an underlying application system or database.

Call it “lightweight” BPA if you like.  By taking such an holistic approach to BPA, larger enterprises can save thousands of hours a year in manual or semi-automated processing while improving the accuracy and quality of process execution.

Want to learn more? Download a free white paper on our approach to enterprise-wide holistic BPA.