New power features
The Sharepoint platform is used to meet the diverse needs of many varied business requirments in both profit and not for profit sectors. In this space we have called 'New Power Features' we are listing a range of proven features that are built upon and enhance SharePoint funtionality, and work to resolve some of the key pain points encountered with the platoform. These features are enabled by a number of tools from Quest Software or Nintex.
In all cases these features will be accessable if you were to download and install either 'Quest Web parts for SharePoint' and or 'Nintex workflow 2007' on your sharePoint envioment.
Build powerful form-filling solutions in SharePoint. QWS provides a very powerful set of features for the development of simple and advanced form filling solutions within SharePoint. The OOB SharePoint form is very basic in terms of its capabilities and look and feel. In many cases business are compelled to look at using Infopath and Forms Server to meet there internal forms development needs. QWS provides a rich and comprehensive set of form development options right within the Sharepoint environment.
Some of the features include, cross site viewing of data, list filtering, auto filling of content from other lists or sessions, data mash-ups combining SharePoint and external data [e.g. data from SQL Server ot Lotus Notes], advanced formation, data validation and integration with work-flows and other custom actions.
You can also leverage data from external solutions such as SQL Server, Lotus Notes, Oracle and or SAP.
Cross site aggregation and viewing of content
Cross site aggregation and viewing
We can expose, summarize and leverage data, documents or forms in your SharePoint site structure and make it available for viewing or consumption in form filling anywhere in the environment.
SharePoint content is contained in customs lists or as meta data around documents or forms. This data is essentially bound to a site structure of HTML pages created in SharePoint. This binding of data and structure presents SharePoint users with many positives but it can also be the cause of some considerable pain. It is only when we can see all the data in one location can one process it and convert data into usable information.
As any SharePoint implementation reaches only a modest level of complexity the site structure evolves into discrete islands or chucks of information. Successful share point implementations take on almost a viral characteristic and over time these islands grow in number, size and distance between them. Managing them is challenging, controlling them can be a headache, leveraging them for a positive business outcome almost impossible. As data is stored in a structure of HTML pages viewing or forming a complete picture of the data requires a user to navigate the structures before he can see all data. The ability to view and manage information beyond the site the user is located is not simply possible in out of the box SP. Remember data and structure are linked in SharePoint. For a user to build up a complete view of all data then one needs to visit all the appropriate structures. This assumes the user knows where to go and is willing to make the journey.
Turn raw data and content into valuable information
Accessing a complete set of data is one thing, being able to interrupt and process is it is another. It is only when we can see all the data and can process it can we convert data into information. Data alone is valueless. Information is knowledge and supports better decision, organizational control, agility and value creation.
Some of the specific issues with “Out of the Box” SharePoint are as follows….
- It requires users to visit all data locations to obtain a complete picture. Making assessments with only incomplete data can result in flawed decision making!
- The location of data is not obvious in SharePoint, this means that data is disaggregated or scattered amongst many or possibly hundreds of sites.
- Data is only held in its most granular form with no summaries or simple management views.
Parent child relationships
QWS provides a comprehensive set of tools to make SharePoint data relational. It will help you connect, relate and manage data with advanced relational constructs. It provides business users with the power to create advanced cross site systems with a simple ‘drag, drop and configure’ interface. It includes a number of webparts that allow business user to easily build parent–child relationships, cross site lookups, auto filling, dependent lists, flow control and persistent filtering. This is a must have for the development of rich applications in SharePoint.
Solve critical pain points without custom coding: Being able to relate data is a common capability in any database or Business Intelligence system. Relating data has been a key tool to turn raw data into relevant meaningful information. In real terms SharePoint has no capability to relate data across sites, sites collections, web applications, or virtual servers.
Connecting SharePoint to external data
Connect to and or use SQL Sever data in SharePoint based applications
System Integration solutions enable you to display and modify data from other external database systems and Web Services. The integration tools will allow you to integrate line of business data into SharePoint to form the basis of composite applications.
The System Integration WebParts provide users with an easy to configure interface. Configurators for well known software will also be included. A generic configurator enables connections to external systems with properly implemented Web Services and to common commercial databases. SharePoint users can gain instant access to Business Data through System Integration Web Parts.This is a single approach to back end data without developers needing to program against multiple API’s.
What is System Integration WebParts?
The System Integration WebParts (SI WebParts) are a set of WebParts that can communicate with external systems.
Out of the box, the SI WebParts can communicate with other backend systems using Web Services. Over time, we will support more ways to communicate with external systems.
There are 4 WebParts included in the SI WebParts family:
SI List View – displays external data in a grid.
SI List Form – displays external data in a form. It also lets you create records and edit existing records from external systems.
SI Chart View – displays external data in a chart (pie chart, bar chart, line chart, etc).
SI Selector – displays external data in a dropdown control. It lets you select one of the records in the dropdown and store that record into a session variable that can be used by anothe WebParts.
Nintex Workflow 2007 enables organizations to build complex workflow processes quickly and easily using a web browser interface. Nintex Workflow 2007 empowers users across the organization to automate business processes, review workflow activities and automate common SharePoint administrative tasks.
Nintex Workflow 2007 is available in three editions - Standard, Enterprise and Workgroup.