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Business Process Automation

In 25 years of working with Microsoft technologies, and now a decade of focus on SharePoint, we've had one consistent goal: to do things better every time! To that end, we've created reusable components, scripts, and our simple methodology.

Business Process Automation involves the conversion of manual, paper-based processes to an electronic system that removes most of their inherent lag times, variability, and human errors. Most people already understand the benefits of automation, but they may not know what types of processes can be automated – or how to automate them.

When our clients ask us for solutions we deliver in the simplest way possible. We use out-of-the-box features if possible, and architect solutions in the simplest way, for the sake of better value for clients, better maintainability of the system, and because it's the logical thing to do.

Please see Portal Software as we may have already built your ideal HR or project management solution...

Microsoft SharePoint Workflow
Microsoft SharePoint Workflow 


Forms connected to workflows automate groups, reduce errors, and speed processes.

If you are still using Excel spreadsheets for running your operations - then we can put SharePoint to work for you!

SimplePortals builds forms and workflows to improve processes including:

  • Customer satisfaction and retention
  • Faster time to delivery, whether of a product or service
  • Streamlining disparate technologies that support business activities
  • Improving employee productivity by automating human collaborative processes
  • Partner interactions
  • Administrative efficiencies and costs

Imagine... orders that are entered over the web that flow directly into your order management application for routing and approval, proposals that convert to projects with all template data pre-populated and security setup, knowledge bases populated directly from resolutions posted in your service management solution, or position requisitions that are automatically updated when a candidate responds.

These are all examples of business automation using forms and workflows. We incorporate your business rules to route the right work, with the right information, to the right people, at the right time to allow better, more informed business decisions.

By integrating business data from back-end systems into the process, we allow real-time information to be surfaced in forms, portals, and documents and rendered on any device allowing for real-time business decisions. And we manage the automation with a user-friendly, personalized task list that shows a user all of their outstanding work, with links to perform the task. And all tasks can be sent via multiple sources such as email and instant message to ensure the work is received. And overdue tasks can be escalated via reminder emails or potentially re-routed to someone who can perform the work.

  • Efficient and consistent
    An Approval workflow automatically routes the document or item, assigns review tasks and tracks their progress, and sends reminders and notifications when needed. The activity in a workflow can be monitored and adjusted from a central status page, and the history of events in a workflow run is maintained for 60 days after completion.
  • Less work for you
    An Approval workflow saves you and your colleagues both time and trouble, and at the same time streamlines and standardizes your approval process. Improved and automated business processes to common business forms like timesheets, expense reports, and claim forms.
  • Take forms offline
    Fill out secure standardized forms using a browser on your PC, laptop, or handheld device.
  • Connect to external data sources for data entry validation.
  • Add workflow form templates
    Provide consistent business process enforcement.
  • Process analysis, optimization, automation, improvement
  • Design of Infopath form templates
  • Incorporate business logic to forms and integrating them with other applications
  • Retrieving and querying data from external data sources
  • Saving, previewing and publishing to e-mail, SharePoint, and more
  • Building reusable components with template parts
  • Creating workflows with SharePoint and InfoPath E-Mail Forms
  • Administering Forms Services and Web-enabled form templates
  • Building advanced form templates using custom controls, add-ins, and the InfoPath managed object model
  • Updating, securing and optimizing your form templates
  • We also offer InfoPath training classes

Automate Businnes Process Workflow

InfoPath is the Microsoft Office application many people have never heard of. It’s the most powerful tool in the world for designing XML-based electronic forms with input controls, business rules, and data connections to SharePoint and Web services.
Microsoft InfoPath actually includes two separate applications: InfoPath Designer is for creating form templates, and InfoPath Filler is for filling out and submitting forms on Windows computers.

InfoPath Designer features

  • Office ribbon and WYSIWYG pane for laying out controls, much like using Word
  • Fields pane for viewing and changing the data structure in a folder hierarchy
  • Rules on controls for manipulating data and building in business logic
    Separate views that can act as pages in a long form
  • Data connections that let forms connect to SharePoint and other backend data centers.

What is InfoPath used for?
InfoPath is used for creating forms to be filled out electronically on a PC. These can be very simple forms that submit by email, or they can be highly complex forms with multiple data connections for querying and submitting data in real time. Like in other Office programs such as Excel, it’s easy to create something simple and much harder to create something complex.

Are InfoPath forms in a proprietary format? What is an XSN file?
Unlike other Office file formats, InfoPath files are entirely non-proprietary. Form templates are saved as .xsn files, which are really just like zipped folders (you can rename to .cab and open the file with free utilities). Inside you find regular XML and XSL files along with assorted image and resource files, all using open standards.

Can InfoPath forms run in a browser?
Yes, if your SharePoint has InfoPath Forms Services enabled. Not all features are available in browser-enabled forms, however, and they don’t work offline.

Using InfoPath forms in a browser can be a suitable solution for office workers with PCs that don’t have InfoPath Filler installed. In fact, some of our customers do use browser-based forms in the office and in the field. For mobile workers using iPads and other devices, the browser solution is less than ideal but we have work-arounds.

Didn’t Microsoft kill InfoPath?
Not exactly. Microsoft announced that InfoPath 2013 will be the final version of the product, but also that it will be supported until 2023. Long before that we will provide our customers with alternative form design methods that do not require InfoPath, though we will continue to support InfoPath for the long run.

Composites help you increase productivity of your organization with no-code collaborative solutions

Let us add power to the software your users already know! SharePoint is a platform for building composite applications with Microsoft Office

  • Building blocks to assemble, connect and configure collaborative business solutions.
  • Process automation and data validation with Forms.
  • Visio services integration for data visualization. Composites are intended to accelerate the process of solution production through easy to use WYSIWYG tools. Composites allow users to create solutions to business problems in graphic tools without having to create or compile the code by hand.
  • Publish databases and share them with others.
  • Reduce confusion with better database versioning.
  • Simplify deployment of Access forms and reports while still maintaining control of them.
SharePoint Access Services

Claims based authentication means building a BI solution or data mart is now possible without multi-hop authentication issues.
With PowerPivot you add:

  • SharePoint integration
  • Unlimited Support of data Sources
  • Fast Calculations & Analysis

Excel Services

SharePoint Excel Services

Excel Services with PowerPivot

SharePoint Excel Services with PowerPivot

Capabilities are very powerful with decomposition trees and performance maps.

Dashboard Services

Our custom application leverages SharePoint for automated file conversions to PDF and archival.

SimplePortals has a library of templates, web parts, solutions, and CSS and so can develop a custom application for your unique needs in days rather than weeks.

In today's business environment, it no longer makes sense to spend valuable time and money building software products from the ground up. That's why we use SharePoint as a platform - it's web-based, natively supports business automation and workflow, enterprise search, and a sophisticated security model that satisfies even the most complex requirements.

SharePoint as a Software Development PlatformMicrosoft SharePoint As A Development Platform

Our Development Process
Our SharePoint Development Process

Jquery, SharePoint Object Model, Microsoft Visual Studio, Web Parts, Workflows, Visual C#, LINQ, ASP.NET Ajax, Visual Basic, Business Connectivity Services (BCS), SharePoint Branding, JavaScript, XSLT, XAML, XML, CSS, HTML, Flash, SharePoint Search, ADFS, FBA, REST, Excel Services, InfoPath Forms, and Microsoft SQL Server BI tools (SSRS, SSAS, SSIS).

If it's SharePoint, we have done it...

  • Design and develop SharePoint site branding Master Pages, Page Layouts, Site Navigation and SharePoint ribbon bar.
  • Brand SharePoint sites with custom JavaScript, jQuery, CSS, and Graphics.
  • Customize SharePoint Content Query Web Part using XSLT.
  • Define website Development Architecture, Coding Standards, Site Security, and Content Management.
  • Integrate Visual Studio solution packages.
  • Install and configure development team environments: using Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V: SharePoint Server, SQL Server
  • Install, configure, backup and maintain SharePoint Server Farms.
  • Setup SharePoint Site Collections and Content Types.
  • Setup Managed Metadata Hub.
  • Setup SharePoint Search, Security, and Authentication.
  • Perform SharePoint upgrades, migrations, and consolidation.
Development Process Waterfall

BCS (Business Connectivity Services)

SharePoint is a one stop shop for your end users by presenting and interfacing all line of business application data.

A Common Scenario

A business currently has a home-grown system that they use. The interface has gotten outdated, but the information interfaced is still valuable to the organization and its employees. All the data is stored in databases (either SQL, Oracle, DB2 etc.). The question now is whether to build another home-grown system from scratch?

A Solution

Use SharePoint as the main presentation layer that interfaces data from various sources in the organization. Office workers don't have to remember which application to use for which purpose. SharePoint is a one stop shop for your end users by presenting and interfacing all line of business application data (such as SAP, Siebel, custom databases).

What Can Connect?

  • Databases with existing ODBC / OLEDB / OData or other .NET based drivers, e.g. SQL Server, SQL Azure, Oracle, IBM DB2, Informix, AS/400, MySQL and many more.
  • Files like Microsoft Office Excel, Access, XML, CSV or other text files.
  • Applications like Exchange, Active Directory, SharePoint, etc.
  • ERP / CRM / DMS / CMS systems like Navision, SAP, MS Dynamics, etc.
  • Cloud-based systems like Salesforce, SharePoint Online, Office 365, CRM Online, Google, Twitter, Facebook, RSS or other XML-based web requests

How to Connect?

1Add Connection

Business Connectivity Services Architecture

2Configure

Connect to external data —in both read and write modes! Create Revise, Update, Delete records. (Or choose just view).

3Use Data in SharePoint

Business Data Architecture 

Solutions using BCS are Faster Than Recoding Your Line of Business Application

  • We can link your accounting customer account numbers (and more)
  • A SharePoint solution is faster and more flexible that traditional methods.

No Code Connectivity to External Data Sources

  • Easily integrate external data on client and server.

Search External Data

  • Leverage the power of SharePoint search
  • Highly customizable
  • Can build custom search-driven applications
  • Tailor different results and refinement options based on the profile of the user or audience

You can sync a SharePoint library, contact list, task list, Project task list and certain types of SharePoint external lists with Outlook 2010.

The ability to synchronize these libraries and lists can help you become more efficient, especially if you work offline or don’t have convenient access to your SharePoint sites all the time

Connect to external data — in both read and write mode!

SharePoint Benefits of BCS
 

SharePoint Topic Drilldown


SharePoint Support

Let us will build your SharePoint
Server, or server farm, and keep it up-to-date with our proactive maintenance and unlimited support. Take advantage of the expertise of a leading Gold Partner specialized in SharePoint.

Microsoft Gold Partners

Schedule A Demo

Getting introduced through a brief demo of our work quickly shows our solutions and begins discussion of your SharePoint goals and how we can assist. ​​