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Automating Business Processes With SharePoint

26th September 2016

One of the biggest advantages of SharePoint in an organisation is that it enables the automation of key business processes to improve efficiency.  Using SharePoint’s workflows allows you to manage a process from start to finish and ensure that certain criteria are met along the way.

A properly configured SharePoint workflow provides administrators with substantial information about the way in which different team members interact with content, and also allow for rich analysis into the process to be conducted in order to establish points of failure or measure indvidual performance throughout the organisation.

An Example SharePoint Workflow

One of the most common SharePoint workflows is a document approval process.

In this simple example, a member of a team creates a draft version of a document for a client.  This is then reviewed by a more senior team member before being passed back for any amendments.  The final, amended version is then returned to the team manager before being distributed to the client.

The goal of this process is to ensure that the document meets a required standard for information, but also that it is appropriate to the client’s needs and reflects the company position.  An approvals workflow such as this might have multiple points of sign off, but will also include elements such as version control – to ensure that the correct version is the only version available.  The workflow might also include alerts which are triggered if certain criteria are not met – such as a particular deadline.

More Complex Automation

One of the advantages of SharePoint is that it is hugely flexible and can be integrated into multiple systems with large amounts of possible automation based on information.  A workflow for a logistics company might be to use vehicle mileage to trigger a particular route that takes the driver to a test or service centre in order to allow for maintenance to be carried out at a particular time.  e.g. If it is 10,000 miles since the last service, the next route allocated to that vehicle would be to a destination close to the maintenance centre.

The advantage of this type of rule is that it creates a more efficient system for the business, minimising the amount of waste in both vehicle downtime and also in terms of driver allocation.

igroup and Automation

One of the key elements of any major SharePoint development project that igroup undertake is a full review of how the platform can be deployed for maximum benefit within an organisation.  Our SharePoint consultants will typically work with the different stakeholders to establish exactly how SharePoint is planned to be used, and exactly which processes can be automated for maximum benefit.

Creating simple workflows such as approval processes, or version control through a distribution can be done out of the box as part of a configuration project, while more complex multi application workflows will usually require some custom development that will be planned out as part of our SharePoint Consultancy Process

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