K2 Smartforms promises code-free business apps

Software maker K2 has released K2 smartforms, a browser-based, drag-and-drop interface for building electronic forms, tying them to workflow and integrating line-of-business data.

“Creating a well-integrated, intuitive user interface (UI) can be difficult and tedious,” said Hennie Laubscher, Managing Director K2 ANZ.

“IT organizations spend an incredible amount of money maintaining and managing the lifecycle of existing applications rather than being focused on new innovations for the business. K2 smartforms reduces this application management overhead and cost of application changes as businesses grow.”

“Gartner research finds that development of UIs often consumes 40% of the total solution development time”

“Some of our existing customers claim this number can be as high as 80%.”

BHP Billiton's Russell Thomson said, “With the majority of our solutions being used on an intranet, K2 smartforms has allowed me to create consistent looking solutions, easily and quickly. We have a lot of paper based forms that will eventually be replaced with electronic versions, and until K2 smartforms came along I was looking at a lot of design time using integrated InfoPath forms.  K2 smartforms has saved me from having to learn .net coding to achieve some of the standard features on offer in smartforms.”

Building an Expense Claim application in a drag and drop environment with K2 smartforms.

K2 smartforms provides a set of visual tools and controls that eliminate the need for code and promises to cut design time of a business application front end dramatically. It allows for the development of forms in a totally browser based environment.

Reusable form field sets, like "address details" or “employee details” can simply be clicked and dragged from a sidebar onto the form being built, and form components can be reused across multiple forms and applications.

In an experiment posted to easyvshard.k2.com, a K2 smartforms user delivered an expense claim business application more than eight times faster than an ASP.NET developer creating the same application.

"With most products that claim to be 'no-code,' you have to give up a certain amount of control," said Adriaan van Wyk, K2 CEO. "But with K2 smartforms, we provide a very powerful rules framework, which removes those limits and allows you to build solutions that work exactly the way you want them to."

“Using K2 smartforms together with K2 blackpearl gives us an independent platform to build our automation on. We now have the tool to rapidly deploy business forms and processes through controlled and predefined workflows," said Mark Kooper - Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef Australia.

"With the K2 SmartObjects we can integrate the forms with data from Active Directory, Payroll and other business systems to reduce human error, back-door approvals, and improve productivity. We can do this quickly and reduce our skill requirements for deploying and maintaining these forms and workflow.”

K2 smartforms utilises K2's SmartObject framework, so a single form can tie together information from multiple, disparate line-of-business systems. Out of the box, K2 supports integration to Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SQL Server, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce.com and other systems, on premise or in the cloud.

Intranet use in modern organisations is driven by forms-based applications such as expense claims, cap-ex requests, leave requests, employee on-boarding, performance evaluations and incident management.

K2 smartforms-based solutions will also support master/detail scenarios like purchase order and invoice processing.

There is out-of-box support for filtering and searching across information displayed in a list view.

"The big difference that K2 smartforms will make for us is that creating the interface will be a totally drag-and-drop process," said Accenture's Wouter Faber. "Currently, about 80 percent of development on a workflow application is spent creating the user interface. Smartforms will help us significantly reduce that time."

Australian K2 partner jEyLaBs has been closely working with the K2 smartforms technology since its alpha release.

jEyLaBs' Jey Srikantha said, "We have seen firsthand how hard the K2 development teams worked to incorporate the many rounds of feedback from the field to make K2 smartforms a solid addition to the K2 platform. jEyLaBs has invested considerable amounts of time and effort in investigating and doing R&D on K2 smartforms as an alternative to InfoPath forms. We are pleased with this effort and the result is we are now moving all our forms development efforts onto K2 smartforms.”

Enquiries to K2 ANZ - Email: anz@k2.com