INTEGRATED WORK ENVIRONMENT ENABLING CUSTOMIZED SUITE SETS BUILT DYNAMICALLY WITH EXISTING LOB APPS, NEW PRODUCTS & EXISTING PRO
Original Publication Date: 2001-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-19
INTEGRATED WORK ENVIRONMENT ENABLING CUSTOMIZED SUITE SETS BUILT DYNAMICALLY WITH EXISTING LOB APPS, NEW PRODUCTS EXISTING PRO The disclosed idea is for a GUI layer, exposed externally from composite applications, which presents an integrated work environment to the customer without limiting their familiar functions and without a high impact to the individual applications being integrated. This layer works with the existing applications by hooking them together in a way that the interfaces of all are integrated and enhanced with limited impact to the individual application interface development themselves. The GUI layer replaces the applications' individual interfaces but allows access to the information and functions that the customers familiar with those products expect. The GUI layer allows for richer information access across series of often dissimilar applications, without the windows management and function relearning on the part of the user, and without the high impact usually required of an interface overhaul associated with most integration efforts. This GUI layer has little impact on the individual applications while retaining their functions. In this way, a level of integration beyond what we know today with suites like SmartSuites is achieved without the high impact associated with the development. While we think some environments could potentially claim that they provide the end user functionality of what we're describing, at the time of the invention the componentization of what we have and how the components mix and match at a visible level (the functionality isn't hidden away somewhere so that they virtually have to leave their work environment to find it) makes it usable and INTEGRATED with the user's task. Also, the aspect of bringing together existing apps in a layer that integrates them dynamically is not known to exist Described here is an integrated layer supporting a set of user tasks defined by a particular business need. A user, such as a customer service rep, can then work in the environment all day. This shell provides the ability to call and start all applications that they use or are required to use. The user does not have to manage separate applications or bother with the operating environment. All their LOB apps can be tied into this environment seamlessly because of the layer's easy integration technique. Customers can build their own suite from existing and familiar applications without bothering with the application's code. This integration layer sits on top of their existing applications. This layer is flexible to accommodate not only the products that it was designed for, but also unknown TBD applications that a customer would want to include in their customized version. It has been designed not only for defined set of applications as, for instance Lotus Smart Suite, but also for an undefined set. For example, the level of this flexibility could be described as if a user of MS Office could decide to switch out MS Word for a preferred application like Lotus WordPro. They would still maintain the integration and interface consistency with the other applications as a suite, but gain the function and special features of their preferred product.