06 December, 2012

Liferay to build online environments for regulatory organizations

By Victor Zorin, Enterprise Architect – MyOffice24x7 Pty Ltd
(As presented at the Liferay Symposium, San Francisco , 2012)

Challenges of regulatory environments
What is a regulatory environment? One example is an Australian statutory authority that administers state gambling and liquor laws, including management of licensing and compliance.
We had already worked with them to produce a Liferay-based intranet for employees and several specialised extranet portals.
They wanted us to help them come up with an improved way of managing the issuing and renewal for each of their  100+ types of licenses, which were all currently in paper/scanned format. We discovered that the one major challenge faced by these types of organisations is that end users (customers, applicants) expect an uncomplicated, easy to use, and unified front with which to interact BUT regulatory organisations by nature are comprised of a large number of highly disconnected business stakeholders.

These disconnected business stakeholders include:
  • processing officers/clerks
  • business unit managers
  • legal/paralegal
  • IT
  • Security auditors
AND  this disconnection is a major roadblock.
An online environment that meets the expectations of regulatory bodies and their users, can only be tenable if these stakeholders are able to interact in a managed way, especially when a large number of documents and processes are in play.
The challenge of this project was to develop a SmartForms software product for the effective collection and processing of structured information from customers, employees and other stakeholders on a single development, maintenance and operational platform.  This includes surveys, collection of feedback, applications of any type, as well as a wide range of business specific product and service flows.
In our work with the authority we achieved this connectivity and the resulting online regulatory environment via a transition framework we developed which comprehensively covers all facets of analysis, implementation, migration and maintenance.
  • We used Liferay Portal Community Edition 5.2.3 to build this environment, in conjunction with JBoss Application Server 5 running MyOffice24x7 SmartForms.
  • System is currently running 55 different forms, which each on average about 500 fields. Largest form contains almost 1500 fields, which we believe to be one of the longest online forms in the world.
  • Each group of forms relies upon the connectivity of, on average, 5 different stakeholders within the organization (some with external stakeholders).
The SmartForms product is available for purchase to public and private sector organisations where it can be customised to the specific needs of the organisation and made available through subscription where the SmartFormss can be accessed via a cloud service. This service is also intended to provide access and manage a collection of templates, forms and associated libraries developed and shared by the global community.
 We have comprehensively documented this transition framework as a whitepaper ‘Moving Away From Paper Forms – Benefits, Challenges and Solutions’, which is available on our website

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