InfoPath for SharePoint

November 2, 2014

InfoPath Forms 2010 is a great tool to add on to your SharePoint intranet experience. It's free and it allows for automated forms. You can also attach a great SharePoint custom workflow to it to enhance the whole experience. If you have SharePoint Foundation, then the user will have to view forms in InfoPath itself. For SharePoint Standard and SharePoint Enterprise users, they can see the forms in the browser itself. Inside the forms, a user can enter his data unlike the old email approach or the paper and pen method. Here are some intranet examples that you can get for free from Microsoft:

-- Absence Request: When you need time off from work, record this with your InfoPath Forms 2010.

-- Applicant Tracking: Allows HR personnel to compare employment applicants

-- Asset Tracking: Inventory tracking

-- Change Order: Need to alter a project? Use this form. A must have on your SharePoint intranet.

-- Expense Report: There is a domestic and international version. Used to submit your business expenses. Goes great with a SharePoint custom workflow.

-- Invoice: This is used to make invoices. There are 2 versions: Single Tax Rate and Multiple Tax Rates. Both should be placed on your InfoPath Forms 2010.

-- Issue Tracking: Great for managing issues on projects. There are 2 versions: simple and detailed.

-- Invoice Request: For buyers to request an invoice from a seller.

-- Meeting Agenda: Great for having a productive can set up the agenda here.

-- Performance Review: Rate employee performance. Perfect intranet example of a SharePoint productivity booster.

-- Project Plan: Set up the details for a project and then it's viewable by all who need it on your SharePoint intranet.

-- Purchase Order: Shows which items are due for delivery with prices.

-- Purchase Request: List items that need to be bought.

-- Resume: Perfect for filling in your skills.

-- Sales Report: What have you sold this month? Pretty interesting intranet examples and also goes well with a SharePoint custom workflow.

-- Service Request: Need support? Of all the intranet examples, this is one of the most useful.

-- Status Report: Great for keeping score on an employee's projects and tasks.

-- Time Card: How many hours have you completed this week? There is a simple and a detailed version.

-- Travel Itinerary: What are you going to do on your trip?

-- Travel Request: This is for asking the correct person for setting up travel arrangements.

-- Vendor Information: List what your vendors do and rate them according to quality, pricing, and capability of delivery.

For this another great things to check out, watch this demo here. And contact us here.

SharePoint Uses

November 2, 2014

What are the uses of SharePoint intranet 2010 and where is it useful (if you are still playing with SharePoint 2010 intranet examples, we recommend that you upgrade to SharePoint 2013 and then you can check out some great SharePoint 2013 intranet examples). This calls for an introduction on the technology of SharePoint 2010 intranet examples or SharePoint 2013 intranet examples.

As an intranet portal, SharePoint is the best, hands down. Compared to the competition, SharePoint intranet 2010 does a lot more. It's quite a bit more complex as well, and if you wanted simple collaboration features at a low cost, then SharePoint is not the right tool for you. If you want something that your company can grow with, then SharePoint intranet 2010 is a good option...but get that it's a major investment in time and money. Even if you are getting the free version (SharePoint Foundation), it's still going to take money since you have to pay one of your resources a lot of money to handle it.

Intranets are used for sharing information and connecting with your fellow staff members, managers, and executives, so you can spend less time sending emails and making phone calls. Plus, if it has a good look with cool SharePoint 2010 branding, then it will be a joy to use on a daily basis.

It can store information as a repository, so no need for network shares. The advantage of SharePoint over network shares is that it can save version history, you can set alerts on changes to that file or folder, etc.

It's great for managing tasks. You can assign tasks to staff and then as they finish the work day, they can mark how complete are their assigned tasks. The next morning, when you come in to work, you can see how far along each of your subordinates has gone.

Team communication is made easier by using any one of a # of web parts that are designed to deal with communication...from announcements and calendar event web parts, to information banners, etc., you can communicate with your team in a multitude of new ways. SharePoint 2013 is better at this than SharePoint 2010, so if you are still on the older platform, then we recommend that you upgrade to SharePoint 2013 with good SharePoint 2010 branding.

Document management is taken to a new level as well. There are document and picture libraries. You can do coauthoring which is basically 2 or more people being able to access a document at once (or at separate times when it is convenient). The point of this is that various sections of a document can be locked for editing by various users which is great for large complex documents.

If you are considering an upgrade to SharePoint 2013, then contact us here. And if you’d like to see a working demo and SharePoint 2010 intranet examples or SharePoint 2013 intranet examples, click here. At this demo, you will see some great examples of SharePoint 2010 branding.

SharePoint Notes on Style

November 2, 2014

SharePoint intranet templates won't promote your business -- unless you use the extranet feature of SharePoint. Rather, SharePoint as intranet is used primarily for internal use (and in some cases, external vendors have access). In a nutshell, SharePoint allows you to create your own internal business website that lets your employees collaborate and share on a level they've never done before. It is a step up from email, phone calling, and Google Docs. These other platforms still have their place, but now it's like you get to choose the tool that makes the most sense, whether its a SharePoint intranet template or not.

In typical SharePoint intranet templates, employees will coordinate on tasks, share files, declare announcements and events, have group discussions, etc.

Whatever the resource in SharePoint intranet templates that you are trying to use with your best SharePoint portal, whether you have access or not depends on what access has been granted to you by the admin on that site or web part. There are 3 types of permission levels in SharePoint: read-only, contributor, and owner. Read-only means that you can only see the data and not add or change anything. Contributors can add and change some items. Owners can do almost anything (like create and delete sites). If you don't have one of these three permissions, then you cannot do anything with it.

Only the owners can do branding. Branding is loosely defined as applying creative input onto a SharePoint intranet template. For example, in the world of fonts on the SharePoint as intranet page, you can play with the font size, font style, font family, and font color. In the world of colors and backgrounds, you can touch the background color, foreground color, add gradient colors, and add background images. Regarding style, you can play with the layout of web zones on the best SharePoint portal page, rounded corners on web parts, adding web part top headers, etc. And it's great to even brand apps on your site like SharePoint 2013 Employee Directory.

Why do we want to do all of this? Because SharePoint intranet template out of the box is inadequate to capture the attention of your users, thus creating a downward spiral in adoption. Yes, looks matter! It has to be visually engaging. Artistic principles apply -- balance, form, color palette, accent colors, function, etc. Functions can include a SharePoint 2013 Employee Directory.

If you liked this article and want to see a great example of SharePoint as intranet, click here. And learn more about us at SharePoint Implemented here. Here we discuss what it takes to have the best SharePoint portal. Also we have a page with a great SharePoint 2013 Employee Directory here.

SharePoint Consultants

November 1, 2014

SharePoint Consultants can ensure the success or failure of a project. Some things to consider when hiring SharePoint Consultants include how many years experience does he have in doing SharePoint development, is he good in the front-end design or is he just a backend type of guy, does he use templates for design or can he design a new look for you in his SharePoint development, does he understand the administration end of SharePoint or is he a pure developer, can he provide 3 professional references, can he show you examples of his work, etc. Lots of questions to ask about SharePoint development!

More importantly, when you talk to the potential SharePoint developers and you tell him what you want, is he able to summarize what you want at the end of the conversation? That's a good test of his listening skills. And make sure he shows you a SharePoint demo.

SharePoint Consulting in general requires strategic planning...definitely not something that can be floated through. Consultants know that a launch is not the end of the project but rather the beginning of a long-term partnership with the client. There is maintenance required, administration efforts, feature/enhancement requests, training, and of course bug fixes to come.

SharePoint Consultants will set up the following types of sites for your organization:

Team sites are used in project teams and are useful to manage tasks, task deadlines, file sharing, and of course all of this efficient management of these kinds of activities would promote accountability, responsibility, on-time delivery, and cost control.

Blog sites are great for promoting thought sharing via discussions. You can post text, links, images, videos, etc.

A document center template is great for sharing and archiving large numbers of documents and records. Definitely something is a good result of SharePoint Consulting by your SharePoint developers.

A personalization site is great for differentiate your personal needs from the company pages...this is perfect in a SharePoint demo.

Wiki sites allow great documentation repositories to be formed from the inside out...meaning that users create the documentation versus the department heads.

Meeting sites allow the employees to set up meetings along with the appropriate files, attendee lists, and agenda. Good to ask your SharePoint developers about this.

For this and other examples of a SharePoint demo, click here. And you can contact us here if you are in need of SharePoint Consulting. We not only make a great intranet product but we also do SharePoint consulting.

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