MimiYin of OSAF has hit upon the next generation of calendaring in her Negotiation and Scheduling post.
"Ideal scenario:" I want to schedule a meeting. I know right from the start who needs to come to that meeting. I have access to everyone’s free-busy info and it is clean and accurate. The client software automatically picks the next available time-slot, I click Send and it drops auto-magically onto everyone else’s calendars…and another angel gets his wings ;o)
She goes on to frame the issues very well. This is an area that we have been working on leveraging Business Process Management (BPM) applications which provides the rules, collaboration, work-flow and multiple system coordination with our calendaring and scheduling background.
The following is a scenario we wrote with respect to a public opening of a procurement proposal for one of my clients.
Background: Public organizations follow formal procurement rules and for large purchases, these entities issue Requests for Proposals (RFP). In most cases, responses to RFP include a technical proposal and a separately sealed financial proposal. As part of the process, this organization holds a public opening of the financial proposal which all participants may attend. Participants include internal staff and external parties. For a particular organization only the internal project manager and the internal procurement officer are required to attend all others are optional. This event occurs after the technical proposals have been opened, evaluated, and the evaluation approved.
1. The BPM application tracks the status of the procurement and when the technical proposal has been approved, it automatically checks the free/busy of the conference rooms, the project manager and the procurement officer and then issues a meeting request.
2. The project manager and the procurement officer using their existing calendar client; accepts, delegates, or counters the request.
3. Once a date/time has been accepted by the mandatory participants, the BPM application issues a meeting request to all other participants, including the external bidders.
4. Responses including delegations are tracked and available to the internal staff to print the official sign-in sheet.
5. The day before the meeting, the information is passed to the security system for day badges to be issued.
The above scenario highlights how BPM can be used to assist with the scheduling of events. Mimi’s fuzzy time-frame options would be very helpful with #2, as this part is still a negotiation.