Saturday, December 18, 2010

What's the point of Enterprise RIA?

While I agree that having compelling, engaging software could be cliché, it still seems to me that talking about it is decidedly more cliché than actually doing something about it. I still see a lot of enterprise software that looks like unreadable spreadsheets or is simply a scrape of terminal applications in a runtime chrome.

On the other hand I also suspect that we are not going to get up on our soapbox without faceplanting off the slippery top. The power to create compelling, engaging interfaces is inevitably going to fall into the wrong hands and we are likely going to see some apps that are too rich and too engaging and just as effectively silo’d as their predecessors before the real killers emerge.

Beyond videos, cartoons, and web sites driving towards entertainment, rich user experiences platforms are looking towards “enterprise” use cases for novel and productive uses. While the content and the interaction may be different – you’re trying to get something done in an enterprise setting, not just fill your time with fun – the basic technologies remain the same.

What’s the point of Enterprise RIA?

The discussion starts with Adobe’s Ben Watson (that's me) who explains what this enterprise RIA concept is and why it matters to companies. The idea of having a compelling, engaging piece of software is normally cliché, but Ben does a good job of explaining why you want that, what the benefits are and how that kind of experience can help organizations:

Mobile Kiosk

Next up, we talk with Universal Mind’s Chris Rogers who talks to us about the process and tactics of doing an enterprise RIA project. I tend to think that “has a good user experience” is a different requirement to push through a project, so I wanted to hear how Universal Mind manages to do it. Chris gives a good, quick overview based on their word in the field:
After this project and process talk, Chris shows us an enterprise RIA prototype they’ve built that around cellphone users interacting with their account across different form factors, including a kiosk that we see on the show floor:

Beyond the clip-board with medical records

There’s few enterprise-y scenarios more fraught with pit-falls than converting the medical industry over to paperless, getting rid off all those paper and pen forms doctors, nurses, and hospital staff seem to have a tragic romance with. Thanks to the sheer beauty of new form factors, like the iPad, the folks at Ensemble have been finding success using enterprise RIA as the way to digitize medical records.
First, Ensemble’s Vlad Ghelesel gives us an overview of the project and how enterprise RIA is being applied:
After this overview, Vlad shows us a demo of the product in action on, of course, an iPad:
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