Automation is the first thing that pops into my mind when I think of SharePoint. And since so many companies out there that I have talked to who have deployed SharePoint for document management are saying, “I know there is so much more we can do with SharePoint but what next?”. My response to that is – let’s talk about automation. First, you need to get started by thinking of the automation of business processes. We all have 4 versions of one form floating around the office or endless excel spreadsheets being emailed across the organization in order to support various business processes. So, which aggravating, time consuming, just plain frustrating business processes can we automate? Expense Reports, Purchase Requisitions, Sales Quote Approvals, or put your HR thinking cap on and would it be Employee Information, Pay Changes, Emergency Contacts, etc.
With SharePoint you can use InfoPath forms to collect all the necessary data, trigger the appropriate workflow for notification or approval, integrate with Outlook, and most importantly your employees will access all these forms/processes via the company portal intranet. Automation will shorten lengthy processing time cycles, eliminate duplicate data entry, and reduce the endless paper trails. With the automation of your standard business tasks, the value of SharePoint will prove itself and you should expect functionality demands to increase. Additionally, if you are using other Microsoft products like Dynamics ERP or CRM solutions you can further integrate these automated processes directly back to Microsoft Dynamics GP, AX, NAV and CRM.
Microsoft has done an incredible job marketing SharePoint as a collaboration tool but as you try to determine the next steps and deliver quick wins with SharePoint think AUTOMATION!
By DynamicPoint a California (CA) Microsoft SharePoint Partner