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 firstname.lastname@example.org to explore setting up the right user group for your organization.
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.
As part of a new effort by CorasWorks to help people understand the power and ease with which solutions to common business problems can be implemented when powered by the CorasWorks Solution Platform, we have started this new series, Scenarios and Solutions. In each post, we will describe a common business scenario and then present one or more ways to quickly and easily address the solution using CorasWorks technology. This is a series focused on inspiration and creative thinking when it comes to solving problems and getting the most from CorasWorks.
The CorasWorks platform is based on extending the SharePoint environment to build solutions focused on solving business problems. The first step in this process is defining the problem in a manner that can be translated into “CorasWorks terms.” Here’s an example of how a common business problem can be redefined into a CorasWorks powered solution.
Scenario: A company has several divisions, all with their own collections of documents stored within SharePoint. The company has decided the best way to handle the documents is to provide one page in SharePoint from which every member of the company can access their documents. In this way the IT team has only one page to maintain and the users have only one page to visit for their content. The challenge comes from limiting what is shown to each user to only the documents they have access to while eliminating unnecessary maintenance and overhead.
Solution: A direct and easy solution to this scenario is to use the aggregation capabilities of the CorasWorks platform combined with SharePoint security permissions. The approach is to use separate libraries for each group in the organization and apply SharePoint security groups to manage rights and access to the libraries to the correct users. The separate lists of documents are then aggregated into one CorasWorks Grid display on an .ASPX page. Since CorasWorks performs a security check before displaying any content called by a grid, the user will only see content they have permission to view.
The second part of this solution is to deal with an issue that arises from it’s design. When you aggregate multiple libraries into one grid, it can be confusing to know what library each file came from depending on how you have the contents grouped and sorted. This is where another CorasWorks feature of the Grid displays comes into action. One of the capabilities of the Grid display is to show the list or library a record is being called from through a list variable (%list%). This is shown in the Grid through a simple check box and then is treated as you would any other list column.
By combining the aggregation features of the CorasWorks platform with the specific list column function, we have defined a solution that meets the needs of the original scenario and can be implemented in a matter of hours.
Scenarios and Solutions is presented by Art Gelwicks, Solutions Consultant for CorasWorks. A former CorasWorks customer turned evangelist, Art provides a perspective on finding business ready solutions powered by CorasWorks that can be accomplished without extensive technical knowledge.