January 18, 2011Doug Hadden
Pedro Jorge, Senior Software Development Specialist for FreeBalance described the workflow management and data access security functions in Version 7 of the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. Mr. Jorge exampled that workflow is available for any entity in the Suite that is “workflowable”. Any entity can have multiple statuses during the lifecycle.
Mr. Jorge pointed out how a process aggregates process stages, transitions and rules. Simple to complex processes are supported. The workflow functions supported automated and people tasks. This includes role-based tasks and task delegation for a defined period of time. Task re-assignment is also available. Tasks can be pooled to a group of users where tasks can be assigned based on number of open tasks. And, workflow is context-sensitive based on organizational structure. Tasks can be assigned with time limits at each workflow step.
Workflow is just one of the methods of adapting FreeBalance applications. All entities have parameters that can be configured. Custom domains support adding fields and validation rules. This enables changing configurations and meeting unique requirements without requiring software code customization. FreeBalance also supports customization through an Integrated Development Environment in the FreeBalance Accountability Suite. As described earlier, this Platform provides more functionality to create custom applications in government than traditional technical platforms.
FreeBalance provides a Workflow engine including workflow execution, execution step, workflow history and notes. The history shows when someone was assigned, who was assigned, and when the step was completed. Any workflow can send back to the previous step. Users are notified by the internal messaging system of the FreeBalance Accountability Suite.
FreeBalance workflow supports aggregating multiple approvals at once. Multiple workflow processes can be handled for the same workflowable entity. For example, in the procurement application, the procurement document could be a Request for Proposal or an Expression of Interest. The workflow for each document is different.
Data Access Security
Mr. Jorge presented an overview of data access security. The FreeBalance Accountability Suite has this mechanism that inspects and filters any data coming in and out of the database to prevent users from receiving data they should not. Mr. Jorge demonstrated how this works for data retrieval and data update functions. This data access security functions outside of the business layer based on good software architecture design. This layer support the entire security context for every entity in the system. He described the different security dimensions used in the software and the definition of security groups.
The annual FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC) conference runs from January 16 – 19, 2011 in Madeira, Portugal. FISC provides an interactive forum to exchange Public Financial Management (PFM) good practices among international customers and PFM thought leaders. FISC drives the FreeBalance Accountability Suite product vision to direct FreeBalance GRP solutions. Previous FISC events were held in Mt. Tremblant, Canada (2010); Prague, Czech Republic (2009); Cascais, Portugal (2008); and London, United Kingdom (2007).