14 Apr

Synergies and competition amongst open source vendors in higher education.

Talking open source right now, and especially after the debacle of the Heartbleed Bug is a bit dicey. But if there is one thing that the open source community should learn from the Heartbleed Bug debacle is that even with open code accessible by anyone who cares to have a look, resources are not infinite.

There is need for synergies amongst open source firms, and especially so when building such core technologies that power our products. It would be to everyone’s benefit if we can build affordable, stable and secure applications and more importantly that can also talk to each other.

Looking at the Higher Education landscape and considering that higher education is the birth place of open source, there are very many core open source solutions in use and there is need for synergistic integration between different vendors even when they are also competition.

This collaboration helps to build better products; products that are more secure, allow information inter-change and that work together seamlessly right out of the box.

Standards such as IMS LIS 2.0 and SIF ensure that solutions built for the education market can work together, while at the same time allowing for productive and creative competition amongst the different vendors.

While building A1 Academia, one of our design goals was to use generally accepted standards as default. Instead of taking the shorter route to integrate directly with different learning management solutions such as Moodle, Sakai as an example, we built A1 Academia to work with the IMS LIS 2.0 standards so that any application that is then built to those standards can talk to us, and we them.

It is important that vendors promoting open source technologies also promote open source standards. That way we could use our finite resources better to make our solutions better and more secure.

By
Waithaka Ngigi
A1 Academia
08 Apr

Space in Academia; the underdog resource.

NOT many institutions of Higher learning have the same regard on facility space utilization as I had initially thought. Construction of new buildings has long been as a reactionary knee jerk reaction caused by an over enrolment of students…

02 Apr

Wira for jBPM

As promised, and after six months of intensive development we have have finally released Wira to the general public.

Wira-Landing-Page

We designed Wira to provide the best execution environment for any enterprise that uses Business Process Management (BPM) solutions.

It is not by chance that we picked to use jBPM as our default backend engine; from our analysis we knew the power that jBPM had, however, we were also very aware of the hard to use execution engine that could not rival other competing open source  and commercial BPM solutions.

Our initial plan was to create Wira simply to be an execution environment for jBPM, but with time, and after creating the first prototypes, we decided to relook at how today’s businesses are interacting with their BPM solutions in automating their workflows.

One thing that quickly became clear is that most BPM solutions still have the hang-ups from being simplified ERPs.

We want to look further than that and make working interesting again. We want to create a single portal that an enterprise can work from. A single portal that not only automates repeatable tasks through pre-existing workflows, but also allows tasking and collaboration on the various documents.

Our target is to have “…Teamwork without documents…”

For those who are accustomed to jBPM there are various features that we have implemented in Wira that are enhancements of already existing features in jBPM and in other cases we have implemented new functionality that is currently not supported by jBPM.

Below is simple guide as to what we have in our current release of Wira.

Enhanced & New Features

1. Enhanced Usability

2. Collaboration

3. Task Management

4. Workload Management

5. Project Management Calendaring

Wira-Dashboard

Licensing & Distribution

We have built Wira as a commercial application and as such the current license is a commercial license.

Having said that we are also releasing the Wira client for download and it is free to use in both production and non-production environments

While Wira is be free to download and use, for anyone wanting to either receive support, maintenance and/or distribute it with their commercial applications, they can get in touch with us and we would work out a commercial arrangement.

We are also working on an enterprise grade Wira that would come with deep industry functionality such as pre-packaged Forms, Workflows, Dashboards and Business Applications Connectors, Centralized Authentication Services etc

Wira-Leave-Detailed

Download, Setup & Using Wira

You can download Wira BPM from here. This download file includes:

  1. Wira BPM
  2. Wira Installation & Setup Guide
  3. Wira User Guide

Incase of any queries you can reach us on our Support Email and we will get back intouch with you

For more updates check on this blog as well as our website here.

Yours Wira Team

24 Mar

Is jBPM good enough?

As a BPM Engine, jBPM has few peers in both open source and commercial BPMs. It has one of the best workflow & rules engine that money can buy!

However, when it comes to usability, a lot needs to be done.

jBPM has been the leading BPM solution with some of the most advanced features of any BPM solution in the market. But with time, several upstarts and especially so in the open source arena have upstaged it; not with better features, not with higher performance, not with better support for BPM standards; but with ease of use.

We are setting out to change that! We are setting to recreate how we should interact with our BPM solutions.

We are setting out to put the power of BPM as implemented in jBPM so seamlessly in any organization that working with documents will be second nature and as easy as just replying to an email.

We are setting out to build “Teamwork without documents”

Welcome to Wira

Wira-Landing-Page

If you like what we are doing (or maybe not), leave us a comment.

Wira Team

 

 

14 Mar

Improving Time & Attendance in HR Applications

Time & Attendance has been one of the first areas that are automated, especially in Mid-Large organizations that want to globally keep track of their employees daily attendance.

A1 Time & Attendance

A1 Time & Attendance

A1 Time & Attendance has inbuilt functionality that uses Mobile devices to check employees in. Employees are able to enter time when they check in and out.

This is authenticated either using a challenge request by posting random numbers in various mobile terminals configured around the workplace.

With most modern mobile devices such as the Apple iPhone & Samsung Galaxy introducing biometrics to authenticate, it is only but a matter of time before we see mobile phone based biometric check ins/out which will greatly increase the convenience of using Time & Attendance systems.

A1 Time & Attendance already has the functionality for Biometric based Check In/Out and we are currently developing the functionality to automatically authenticate using Mobile Devices biometric based systems.

–Van Endrik
VP – A1 eHR