Mar 15, 2022

How ConSol built a modern workflow editor with JointJS+

Enterprises often struggle with documentation of their business processes, manual and repetitive labor related to these workflows, and in general, digitalization of how they work. ConSol CM – empowered by JointJS+ –   is an enterprise process management platform with a focus on service and support processes of any kind that transfers workflows into software with the mission to enable their clients to provide delightful customized service experiences.

A workflow example in ConSol CM

Table of contents:

  • ConSol CM, a way to convert digitalization into business success
  • The challenge: Replace the old Java application with a modern and secure web app
  • The solution: JointJS+, a complete diagramming toolkit
  • The success: A modern solution built in half of the expected time
  • Interview with Johanna Juszak, the Product Manager at ConSol
  • Conclusion

ConSol CM, a way to convert digitalization into business success

ConSol CM, which was built by the German company ConSol GmbH helps companies make their processes leaner, more efficient, and transparent. The company itself has been on the market for more than 30 years and has developed its position among German and international clients as a reliable partner for tailored IT services covering the entire software life cycle.

The challenge: Replace the old Java application with a modern and secure web app

Knowing that ConSol CM has been around for some time, it comes as no surprise that the technology used in their solutions needs a refresh from time to time. This was the case of the ConSol CM Process Designer which ran on Java Web Start so clients faced some access barriers and solution creation was not as efficient as desired. The outdated environment faced not only technical challenges but left a bad impression on customers too. Hence, the company decided to build a modern web app that would make documenting and executing business processes a piece of cake.

The solution: JointJS+, the complete diagramming toolkit

After investing resources into the research on the best solution that would help ConSol build the solution they required, the company decided to choose JointJS+. One of the key factors that played an important role in the decision-making process was the SVG approach that JointJS advocates. Thanks to that, it was easy and straightforward for ConSol's development team to adjust the design and styling.

The canvas approach – preferred by some of the other solutions on the market – would have caused difficulties in customizing the library to their liking. As Bartek, the Senior Software Engineer at ConSol puts it: “We needed to make some tweaks like customizing the connections of the elements - our requirement was to have custom routing and sophisticated layering of connections which required logical connections spanning several physical connections. Here we could always count on JointJS+ together with their great support.”

The success: A modern solution built in half of the expected time

One of the key benefits of libraries like JointJS is the time saved on in-house development. ConSol would have needed two years to develop the desired solution. With JointJS+, it took them twelve months and offered the opportunity to invest the resources elsewhere.

A workflow created in ConSol CM

ConSol CM is meant to be one solution with unlimited possibilities. As the screenshot above shows, the ways to create workflow truly are without limits. With solutions like ConSol CM, the time of manual and repetitive tasks will soon be over.

Interview with Johanna Juszak, the Product Manager at ConSol

We've spoken to Johanna, the Product Manager at ConSol responsible for the development of the new web app, about why they decided to choose a solution like JointJS+ and how they managed to succeed with it.

Johanna, what was the initial impulse that made you think of choosing a diagramming library?

We had an old Java Web Start application which we wanted to replace by a modern web application. For this, we needed a diagramming library to implement our graphical workflows.

If you had stuck with the old application, what would have happened?

We would have continued using outdated technology, which was not easy to access for our customers. Replacing it by a modern web application would make solution creation more efficient and give a better impression on our customers.

Previously, you shared with us that you looked at other solutions as well. Which were you evaluating for your use case and how did they stand?

Some of the JointJS+ alternatives seemed to be easier to use for our developers with Java background at first glance, but when we tried to implement something which did not come out of the box, it was complicated. In addition, design and styling would be hard because oftentimes it was canvas-based.

You finally chose JointJS+, what were the key factors that influenced your decision?

Apart from the SVG approach that I mentioned before, it was flexibility and compatibility with other technologies that influenced us most. We needed to come up with some custom solutions as not everything from JointJS+ served our purpose out of the box, but it never became a blocker for us. Also, the support was very helpful.

You have the new solution up and running. What key business results have you achieved with the upgrade?

We have improved the productivity of our consultants by integrating workflow management into the web application which we use for configuring and administrating ConSol CM.

Conclusion

Leveraging existing solutions rather than building new ones from scratch helps companies save a tremendous amount of time and resources. The successful cooperation with ConSol proves that. If you build a visual application that contains a diagramming studio such as a workflow designer, BPMN, chatbot, org chart or any other, feel free to start your free 30-day trial of JointJS+.