The CorasWorks “Easy Button” – Dynamically Create PowerPoint Presentations

If you’re like thousands of other companies and government agencies that have Program/Project Management Reviews (PMRs), you’ve probably asked the following question:  “Couldn’t we just have a standard PowerPoint deck that everyone uses, that collects and presents the same information, so we see the same data and information, in the same format, for all projects?”

While this sounds like a simple solution of creating a standard PowerPoint template, that doesn’t solve all the problems.  The decks may all look the same, but the information and data is still all over the board–different data, different format, and so on.  And, putting the deck together becomes a nightmare of data calls and “hand jamming.”  By the time the presentation is finally delivered, the data is usually outdated and many times, as a result, tells the wrong story.  It makes it very difficult for the reviewers to get a holistic view of the projects.

We see this problem all the time.  As a result, we developed the CorasWorks “Easy Button.”  The Easy Button is a dynamic reporting capability that creates a PowerPoint deck from the data you have in SharePoint or other legacy systems.  It uses your PowerPoint template and a mark-up file to pull the data you want, in the format you want, and then populate the deck with it.

The result is that all the decks look the same and present the same information and data in the same format.

The Easy Button is an extension of our Project Management solution and can pull data from SharePoint or directly from your legacy data systems.  It significantly accelerates the time required to prepare the deck and also removes many of the errors created when manually building the deck.  Since the data in SharePoint and your other systems is “real time,” you know the deck is being built with the latest (and most accurate) information.

For more information on our Easy Button, contact us a


Do You Have a CorasWorks/SharePoint User Group?

An internal CorasWorks or SharePoint User Group can be a great forum to bring your business users and technical resources together to share information, challenges, needs, and success stories on SharePoint and CorasWorks.  CorasWorks has years of experience in facilitating the creation and management of user groups, as we were founding members of successful user groups like FEDSPUG (the Federal SharePoint User Group) and the New York City SharePoint User Group, one of the largest in the country.  We can help guide you on creating a user group that fits your schedule and available resources, and we’ll provide you with support along the way.

Call Eric Baughman, Director of Customer Success, today at (703) 797-1881 ext. 110 or email him at to explore setting up the right user group for your organization.


Join our LinkedIn Community!

LinkedIn-Logo-02CorasWorks runs a community on the LinkedIn business network to help our customers learn more about what’s going on at CorasWorks, how to get more from our products and services, and connect with other users to leverage the expertise and experience of the community as a whole. If you’re a CorasWorks customer or user and want to participate and learn more, just pop over to the LinkedIn community (sign up with LinkedIn if you’re not already a user…a great professional service in it’s own regard) and come join us! The link below will guide the way…look for you there!

CorasWorks LinkedIn Community



Collaboration Workflow vs. Traditional Workflow


Posted by Gary Voight, CorasWorks President and CEO

Recently we were demonstrating the CorasWorks Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) solution to several people at a prospective customer.  At one point in the demonstration we were showing a workflow component related to promoting the status of a project, and then another workflow component related to approving a cost item into the project.  The senior IT executive noticed the workflow that is built into several CorasWorks software modules and asked when it would be appropriate to use a product like Nintex or K2 versus CorasWorks.  As it turns out they had several onboarding type needs and were considering workflow products.

It is an interesting question.  CorasWorks does have workflow components built into the CorasWorks Software Platform (v11), but we position our products as “collaboration workflow.”   That’s mostly because our products have been designed to support work management processes where there is a high level of collaboration between process steps (aka stage-gates). The prospect’s question illustrates that the workflow topic is confusing, particularly as it applies to when to deploy a workflow-centric product.

Here was my response to the prospect’s question:

If you have an accounts payable function that processes a large number of invoices per day, and you’re trying to reduce errors in the process, then a traditional workflow product like Nintex or K2 makes sense.

If you have a purchase request process that requires collaboration and some workflow, then a product like CorasWorks makes sense.  A “purchasing” example might go like this:

  • User requests budget to pursue acquiring a product and/or service.  This might require a business case, followed by an approval. This could be Stage Gate 1.
  • Once the approval is obtained, the user might need to engage other staff in pursuing alternatives….certainly a collaboration example.  Tasking and notification is generally required.  Once this process is completed this could be Stage Gate 2.
  • The decision in Stage Gate 2 might need approvals….and may have different paths dependent on certain criteria (i.e., amount of funding).  This could be Stage Gate 3.
  • Vendor negotiation would be the next step, requiring different sets of staff to be engaged.  This could be Stage Gate 4.
  • Project initiation could be the next step, which might include forming and assigning a team.  This could be Stage Gate 5.
  • Projects/initiatives not approved could also be tracked…..and might need to be saved for future discovery and analysis.

A CorasWorks solution is a great selection for this type of process, and for collaborative, work management types of workflow in general.


Build your own Task Tracker using Application Designer

As part of our ongoing work on the new CorasWorks Application Designer, we are releasing the first of a series of Solution Guides – documents that when combined with the Application Designer allow you to build targeted solutions you can configure to your needs.

The first one in this series is the Task Tracker guide – building your own simplified method of tracking tasks using SharePoint and the Application Designer.  You can see from the screen shots below there is a core set of functionality for your team to track tasks and actions, provide updates and reports, and keep everyone on your team on track.

Dashboard Metrics:

Full Dashboard

Clean and easy user interface:

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Dynamic, automatic forms:

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Interactive grids of data:

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The best part…you put this all together yourself.  The guide takes CorasWorks features empowered using the Application Designer to put the solution together in just a matter of a couple of hours.

More Solution Guides are coming including:

  • Idea Capture
  • Time Off Requests
  • Document Approvals
  • Getting Work Done (by Eric Baughman, CorasWorks)
  • and more each month

Now’s your chance to get targeted, specific applications configured on SharePoint by the person you trust the most…yourself.  (With a little help from CorasWorks.)  Ask us today to learn more if you’re an existing customer or you want to become one!

Designing Dashboards for SharePoint

One of the most common features in solutions we receive requests for at CorasWorks is dashboarding capability. No matter how much work you do, there are always metrics to be measured, reviewed, and shared. This is one of several reasons we’ve added the Dashboard Canvas to the CorasWorks Application Designer, our new tool for Visual Application Design.

By using a drag and drop interface combined with the power of the CorasWorks Report Canvas, dashboards like this can be built in a matter of minutes:

We had a very popular webcast on Wednesday of this week about not only dashboarding but the Application Designer as a whole and what you can do with it when it comes to building SharePoint based solutions. It’s always a mixed blessing when an event generates so much interest that you have to turn people away because there are too many in attendance. For those who may have missed out, I’ve included a link at the bottom to the recording of the webcast so you can learn more.

Dashboards are just one of the many ways you can empower your SharePoint solutions using CorasWorks. If you’re curious about what else CorasWorks can do, drop me a line and we’ll talk.

CorasWorks Application Designer Webcast

Visual application building in SharePoint is as much art as science

Application Designer CanvasIf you spend your time building solutions on SharePoint as I do, I’m sure you’ll agree there are far too many mouse clicks involved.  Click to open a page, click to add a webpart, click to configure said web part, click to test, click to change again, and so on.  All of this clicking is getting we business users nowhere fast.  It’s time to change the game.

A visual tool gives us the ability to see, imagine, and create.  Add a new page for data, drag it to where you want it, change your mind, and drag it again.  Fluid motion.  Creative inspiration.  Configuration of solutions within hours rather than days.  The Visual Application Designer from CorasWorks is where the art of creativity meets the science of SharePoint to aid you in delivering solutions.

It’s time to stop clicking and start solving.

New comments feature added

We’ve added a new comments feature to the blog site.  Now you can tell us how you feel about our posts, ask questions, follow the conversation and more.  Just scroll to the bottom of your favorite posts and Leave a Reply!

A new mobile-friendly look to the blog

We’ve updated the blog with a new mobile friendly look and feel for our users on the go.  Check our site out on your mobile device (phones…tablets will render the same way as usual) and tell us what you think!

A Change is in the Air

Big things are happening at CorasWorks.  Big things.  The kinds of things making a difference in how you build solutions and solve problems at work.  Yes, that kind of big.  You see, CorasWorks has changed the landscape when it comes to building solutions on SharePoint.

The CorasWorks Application Designer is all about taking the feature rich world of the CorasWorks platform and putting it in the hands of power users, ready to produce business and organizational solution in a timely and effective manner.  You have always been able to leverage the power and simplicity of CorasWorks features in your SharePoint sites, but now it’s easier than ever before.

The Application Designer takes CorasWorks and SharePoint features and adds a visual design canvas plus drag and drop efficiency to building single site solutions.  But the power doesn’t end there.  Even though the Application Designer focuses on single sites, the CorasWorks Solution Platform which makes all this possible still provides that tried and tested aggregation across multiple sites, site collections, and beyond.

We’re dedicating this blog to sharing more about the Application Designer over the coming months.  If you’re already a CorasWorks customer, make sure you contact us so you can get your copy of the Application Designer installed and running.  If you’re not a customer yet (what ARE you waiting for?) contact us and we’ll get you on the path to building SharePoint based solutions using CorasWorks in no time.

To help you understand more about what the Application Designer can do for you, I’m going to run a five part series right here on how to build your own Task Tracker using the Application Designer.  By the time you read the last post you’ll be able to have your own Task Tracker up and running in just a couple of hours.  This is only the beginning.  After the Task Tracker we will release more Solution Samples; starter kits of directions to build your own solutions of various types and needs.

Keep checking back here or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn to stay in the loop as we explore the power and capability that is the CorasWorks Application Designer.

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