Several months ago I was in Boston for an IBM event that was under non-disclosure. One of the items previewed was plans for IBM Forms Experience Builder on Cloud. IBM has released the product and the link has a couple of important pieces of data. There is a demo from Marty Lechleider. I’ve had the opportunity to watch Marty demo Forms Experience Builder (FEB) in person as well as at conferences, webinars, etc. You can easily pickup up his deep understanding of the product as that he genuinely believes in the the product. The link also has information about a web account to try out the system. Marty has posted a number of videos to YouTube demonstrating various aspects of the product.
Like Marty, I also deeply belief in this product. I am amazed when I run into customers who are entitled to FEB but aren’t running it. IBM FEB, not to be confused with IBM Forms, is designed for both business users as well as IT. It supports responsive design out of the box, With rules and conditional supports, it allows the creation of dynamic forms. What I find most appealing about the product is the product can be developed via drag and drop UI by a business analyst or business user. For more complex forms, say a form that requires real-time data from a back end system, IT develops or exposes REST services or API calls as needed. I appreciate products that push as much responsibilities to the business while maintaining control.
The best I can determine is companies don’t spend time with an enterprise forms products because they consider forms a sunk cost and the requirements are going to be very extensive because of how wide spread forms are used. I also think many IT departments don’t want to get involved with taking functional forms and/or PDFs and re-inventing them to be ‘appealing’. The people who know design and can develop appealing web sites are focused on externally focused sites.
I was at a client where whose on boarding process was fairly complex because they supported regulated and non-regulated clients. I did an comparison of Forms products vs creating the forms in the new web portal. With FEB sections can be completely hidden based on previous answers. The typical example is a new patient form at the doctor’s office. Based on gender, some questions are applicable and others are not. Some of the the other product would simply that were ‘dynamic’ simply prevented data enter, the fields were still visible.
FEB 8.6.1 features – I especially like the document filling service for PDFs, that allows you to leverage your existing PDFs. The ability to create multi-lingual forms is also appealing.
Whether you are a cloud company or not, take a look at IBM FEB, you will be impressed by what it can do.