Configuration and Wizards – Take the Pain out of Programming

Configuration and Wizards – Take the Pain out of Programming

Product Configuration and the magic ‘wizards’ work

“Wizards” are no doubt part of your vocabulary for software solutions—tools that sharply reduce time and effort for simple and complex tasks, from setups and installations for applications to sophisticated “mini-apps” that can take the pain out of programming. Wizards play a major role in helping back-end teams build, maintain, and modify configuration models.  This blog offers a brief but detailed overview of our goals for providing wizards and the benefits that e-Con users can realize by taking advantage of them.

Modeling without wizards—a small tale of troubles

For generic sales and product configurators such as e-Con, wizards can make standard, but always complex, configuration processes easier to execute. We’ll take an automobile manufacturing factory as an example. We’ll “wizardize” this discussion by making you the business owner. Every car model you offer can be configured. There’s a lot of redundancy, since many models share the same options: available colors, engines, upholstery—the list is usually pretty long. Creating a configuration from scratch for each model would consume many more hours than you’d like to see on timesheets. The issue can be resolved by creating an “if-else formula” in the rules—for example, “if model is Audi A3, the 3.2 V6 engine isn’t possible.” But without a wizard, users struggle to get the rule into place. They need to follow a pre-defined path to extract the data from your ERP system (or SQL database). Only after completing that process can they select what they want to retrieve (text, options, numbers). After that, they need to define where the information should live in the configurator, how the data should appear for the model—all the details related to that relatively simple rule.

E -Con 2012R2 Studio Decision Tree Wizard

Modeling with wizards—a much happier ending

Let’s say now you know that your configurator could take care of the rules issue in minutes with a wizard. Processes for building, compiling, and maintaining models are transformed (as are your time sheets). Using a wizard, modelers can simply drag all the records in your configurator that are needed to build a model and drop them into the appropriate place in the model. The searching, data input, even brain input that goes into the rule turns into intuitive selection buttons—collapse all, check all and uncheck all to name a few—that speed up decisions significantly. When your modelers configured without the advantage of wizards, they were locked into a tedious process of converting ideas into formulas and code. With wizards, the majority of the model can be set up quickly because the wizard puts logic and knowledge into the model. Instead of “following the path” that can turn into a jungle, modelers have quick access to data that can be searched, sorted and filtered easily using a spreadsheet format that’s similar to Microsoft Excel.

You can’t have enough wizards!

Our goal is to deliver a configurator that makes your very complex world of work simpler and easier to handle. We think wizards are key to making that happen. e-Con offers wizards that give modelers much more flexibility. For example, if they’re working with a specific rule or propriety, and use a wizard to start adding knowledge and logic, they can stop at any time if another task needs attention (and there’s always another task needing attention!) The wizard marks the place they stopped at. Work that’s been completed can be saved, and then accessed when the user restarts the wizard.

In short, our wizards are proof that our solution lets users work with ease and flexibility. Configurations are by nature complicated, but we can give modelers tools that are convenient, user-friendly, and designed to free up brain power for new ideas. We like that approach—it’s focused on helping people and businesses thrive and grow.



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Infotech Consulting Group
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