Friday, February 22, 2013

Business automation with SharePoint

It was super to get customer feedback yesterday that @StarfishCI is already helping them to work faster and better; now we're taking it to the next stage...

The client has begun to replace paper on clipboards with electronic forms on iPads: already, the data gets captured straight from the iPad and stored safely and securely in the central database, run by Microsoft SharePoint, and with no costs of keying the data in, or correcting errors!
Workflow automatation with Microsoft SharePoint Designer
Microsoft SharePoint Designer workflow rules
Now, though, we've introduced some business rules: as soon as a new 'Contract Visit' inspection is carried out and reported via the iPad form, it is automatically
  1. Filed - so that everyone can lay their hands on the results immediately, from any computer
  2. Reported to the Branch Manager and the Inspector, in summary form.
  3. Acknowledged back to the end-user customer: no longer does the Inspector have to leave behind a carbonless copy, the customer will get a courtesy email. There's no admin time in making this happen, because SharePoint takes care of it; and reflecting the 'contract compliance' score back to the customer acts as an audit trail to keep the Inspector honest!
  4. If 'Contract Compliance' falls below an agreed level then SharePoint will automatically generate an alert email to go to the appropriate individuals in the management chain: they can get all of the information they need, right there in an email to their mobile device, and they can take action at once, without waiting for a paper form to find its way back to the office and through the system before they become aware of a problem.
Similarly, whenever a field worker fills out a request for new stock items on their iPad form, the resulting order is picked up by SharePoint and can be automatically routed to the right person.

And that's just the start!