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Forrester Looks at Increased RIA Adoption in the Workplace

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Forrester released a new report written by Eric Driver and Ron Rogowski. The report is titled RIAs Bring People-Centered Design to Information Workplaces. Forester's research and analysis shows:

"A movement is under way in midsize and large enterprises to develop Information Workplaces (IWs) that are contextual, seamless, individualized, visual, multimodal, social, and quick. Sixty percent of organizations we surveyed in February 2007 said that they are either in the process of developing, or have already documented, an Information Workplace strategy."

Forrester recognizes that:

"... enterprise portals and Microsoft Office are the most common front ends. In most IW implementations we've seen, an enterprise portal, Microsoft Office, or a custom user interface on a kiosk is the container through which content, collaboration, enterprise applications, and other services are delivered to workers in a seamless, contextual way."

and according to the report, the trend shows:

"RIA technology is emerging to further improve the user experience. Throughout Western culture, product companies have a renewed focus on design. This extends to software applications and, now, Information Workplaces that face the employee."

Why Forrester believes RIA becomes the essential building block for the next generation IW? The reports says:

"Because RIAs improve the way people find and manipulate content, complete transactions, and consume multimedia content, these technologies are ideal for improving the user experience for information workers.

What the RIAs landscape looks like? A few major RIAs players and technologies have been mentioned in the report, including Adobe Flash and Flex, Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR), Ajax, the Curl RIA Platform, Laszlo Systems OpenLaszlo and Webtop, Microsoft Silverlight, Nexaweb's Enterprise Web 2.0 Suite, Oracle WebCenter, and Sun JavaFX.

The, the report goes on in detail identifying three major areas RIAs shine with IW:

  • A seamless user experience
  • An individualized, digital work environment
  • A means for visualizing data in new ways

To solidify the analysis result, Forester emphasizes that RIAs address three of the information management professionals' highest priorities for IW:

  • Access to enterprise app data and functionality via alternative interfaces
  • Workflow or BPM technology to automate business processes
  • Information in the context of business processes and peoples' roles

As the report's title suggested, RIAs are focusing on people-centered design. Therefore, the rest of the report provides detail analysis on what people's roles RIAs are targeting within IW. According to the report, RIAs are well suited for task-oriented workers and strategic decision-makers.

At the end, the report gives recommendations on finding sweet spot for RIA-enabled information workplaces. It suggests:

Conduct a role analysis to determine if RIAs would benefit segments of the workforce. Integrate what already exists when it makes sense.Test, measure, and modify the RIA experience. Design your Information Workplaces¡¯visual capabilities by tapping Millennials.

In conclusion, the report states:

RIAs will increasingly be used to deliver Information Workplaces. While RIA technologies aren¡¯t pervasive within enterprises today, adoption will increase as I&KM pros recognize the technologies¡¯value in creating IWs that are seamless, individualized, and visual.

Forester interviewed 13 technologies provider companies for this report, including Adobe Systems, Backbase, Curl, Cynergy Systems, EffectiveUI, Esria, IBM, Laszlo Systems, Microsoft, Nexaweb Technologies, Oracle, Roundarch, and SAP. This list is a very good representation of both RIA technologies and large enterprise services providers.

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