Sunday, April 28, 2013

IPA Tech Discussion Added Interactions 2013 Agenda

Hi Gang! Quick note to let everyone know we've added an IPA session to Interactions 2013 that won't make the printed agenda. Much thanks and props to the rockstars on the Conference Team!

Thursday May 16th: IPA Technical Roundtable
Hosts: Geoff Calhoun and Rick McGlinchey
Room: 200
9:00 until 10:15-ish (to give folks time to get to the must see"Where we are going" session with the Don.

Target Audience: Ideally those who have worked with Interaction Processor Automation in some way, shape or fashion. We had a little internal session back in December and everyone involved found the it beneficial to get together to share some ideas and lessons learned.

The numbers in the IPA community are relatively small but growing, and we're all still very much in the learning phase as we get experience and develop design principles and best practices around improving the experience with the product.

All the better if you have had your hands in Process Automation Designer, or have at least taken one of the IPA courses, but those certainly aren't required. We'll try to grab some of the ININ folks who work with IPA as well.

Goal is to let folks as questions and have everyone share lessons learned about IPA. Very informal and you're sure to learn something!

I'll also be co-presenting at these two sessions. There's lots more to learn with IPA, to be found in the agenda for Interactions 2013.

Wednesday May 15th: Looking to automate business processes? Start here!
Geoff Calhoun and Rick McGlinchey
1:45 to 2:30 in White River Ballroom I‐J

Automating business processes is a daunting task and can lead to many questions. Which process should we automate first? How to map out a new process? Is there anyone who can help us? Get the answer to these questions and more as we explore process automation best practices to help your business gain productivity and cut costs.

Wednesday May 15th: Interaction Process Automation (IPA) Technical Best Practices
Rick McGlinchey & Jason Loucks, Senior Business Process Template Developer, Interactive Intelligence
4:45 to 5:30 in Grand Ballroom 7

IPA is an amazingly flexible tool for process automation. Come learn design best practices from seasoned IPA process developers. They will walk though how to use IPA’s features and explain concepts such as using database driven design to help you get the most from your IPA processes. This will be an interactive session; we want to hear from other process developers. What tricks have you used and what obstacles are you trying to overcome?

Jason and I did this session at Interactions 2012, which was standing room only. Jason has been working with the product as partner, customer and now ININ since the 90's and has mad technical skillz. Make sure to get there early to get a seat!

Some conference suggestions:

  1. Download the conference app - it's pretty slick and easy to pick the sessions you want to create your own schedule. If you would like to get in touch, it has a message application built in for conference attendees.
  2. Bring an extra layer of clothing, like a sweater or lightweight jacket. Temps vary in the hotel and sessions.
  3. Be prepared to learn lots and HAVE FUN!!!

See you soon at Interactions 2013! Until then...

Happy Processing!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

IPA MarketPlace Download to Deployment Part 2

Hello again folks! It's been a while. I've been busy working on some more IPA projects plus an internal deployment of Interaction Analyzer at ININ that does a hand-off to IPA, but more on that later.

Today we're going to check out Ross Blaettner's article continuation of his previous piece, IPA MarketPlace Download to Deployment.

This topic is targeted at IPA Template and other developers who wish to sell their ININ wares on the ININ MarketPlace. We're assuming you're already on board, but if not, get signed up for the ININ MarketPlace with Dionne Flickinger and tell her RickM sent you.

Also, don't forget to get yourself registered for ININ's Interactions 2013 if you haven't already. The theme this year is "Deliver the Experience" and I'll be co-presenting on a couple of sessions on IPA with rockstars like Geoff Calhoun and, of course, Jason Loucks (as we did at Interactions last year). More on that before the conference. 

For now, take it away Ross and thanks again for your contributions!

MarketPlace Download to Deployment, Part Two:

Everything, and the kitchen sink!
by Ross Blaettner

There’s something special about the allure and mystique of a secret recipe. Surely, the ingredients exist—we might recognize them in their individual parts. However, it’s their varying combinations, preparations, and inspired creativity that make great cuisine.

The chef’s challenge is to concoct a palatable solution with wide-ranging appeal and consistent reproduction.

(Hopefully, you are making the connection with a pleasant installation experience, using varied operating environments, while achieving repeatable, quality deployments. If not, well, you are now.)

Here is a starting list of ingredients in my metaphorical kitchen. Feel free to add, or substitute with, your own. By the way, these components are freely available and graciously linked for the so inclined.
Start with Auto-It. The macro language, with its basic-like syntax is refreshing, surprisingly powerful, and abstracts mundane OS details. It also interacts nicely with the Windows UI and GUI-based applications. At their primal core, the scripting commands originate from the IT profession, for purposes of automated software deployments, configuration, and the like. Use Auto-It for fine-grained control of operations, settings, and integration. You could quite practically build a basic installer with Auto-It alone, but more appropriate and overall effective tools follow.

Remember, pack what you will need. Regardless of whether or not you would want to, you cannot feasibly oversee every deployment of your solution. In that case, you need to package your intelligence and necessary resources into an automated installer. Advanced Installer provides a free offering that will copy, pack, unpack and install files, and generally get the table set for the next course.

If you need to tweak the install tables, you certainly can—with InstaEdit for MSI-based packages. The generated install packages contain, among other resources, tables of relational instructions that can dramatically alter the experience and “flavor.” Sometimes, some extra spice is good, and sometimes it’s not. Consult the guide. You’ll just have to test and decide.

If neither here nor there, check with delta, i.e., WinMerge. You can certainly test the generated installer by comparing conditions before it starts and after it finishes. Examine the difference to see what happens. Are you getting what you ordered?

Interactive Update. With all due compliments to Interactive Intelligence, this is the toaster oven of speedy rollouts. If your solution requires delivery to multiple destinations within an organization, then Interactive Update is one simple and intuitive option. Network administrators can associate MSI’s or MSP’s, a la Advanced Installer, with Interactive Update, for automated, scheduled deployment. Presto.

Come back again soon, to the Interaction Center MarketPlace. Socialize with the community. Exchange ideas. Monitor ratings and reviews. How is your solution performing? What general guidance can you provide to your install base to invigorate their interest? Is it time to update your recipe, to keep things new and fresh?

When you’re ready to improve or innovate, create an MSP revision from Advanced Installer. Zip and send it to Make sure that it’s ready to serve for the next appetite.

What are your favorite installer tools and utilities?