Business Process Automation with SharePointVinayak Patil
Renown English playwright and the Nobel Prize Winner George Bernard Shaw once remarked, “Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” In the contemporary era, technology has made access to information very easy. Technology is valuable and beneficial in all spheres of life – Business, Education, Healthcare, Banking – the list is endless! It has also positively influenced the way we communicate and connect. We can send information through text, email and social media platforms in seconds. Today, it has become part and parcel of our existence.
In the business domain, technology has the power to influence everyday operations, sales & marketing amongst others. A report by McKinsey has revealed that 45% of the current paid activities can be automated by leveraging technology, which is equivalent to $2 trillion in total wages. Chiefly for this reason, small and medium enterprises are expected to adopt business workflow automation on a larger scale, creating a market of opportunities worth US$ 1,600 million between 2017 & 2026, according to GlobalNewsWire Study.
Therefore, it is crucial to implement the automation process in various business activities to take advantage of these trends in the industry.
The good news is you need not invest exorbitantly in any special hardware or robotic automation. Simple web-based applications too can work wonders for your business processes. One of the most efficient tools for this purpose is Microsoft SharePoint.
Launched in 2001, Microsoft SharePoint is a cloud-based service that helps organizations share and manage content, knowledge, and applications to:
- Empower teamwork
- Quickly search for information
- Seamlessly collaborate across teams and departments
SharePoint is primarily a document management and storage system that is highly configurable for customized use and thus its usage varies from one organization to another. It is also a secure place to store, organize, share and access information from any device.
For these reasons SharePoint is the first choice for many companies looking to automate their general business activities.
Most business processes revolve around content – files and data. SharePoint offers tools to collect and manage data in lists and libraries.
Key benefits of SharePoint includes:
Ease of integration:
SharePoint can be easily integrated with other Microsoft Office tools like MS-Words, One Note, PowerPoint, and MS Outlook. Creation of documents and the related workflows can be initiated from any place. Other Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications used in the organizations can also be integrated with SharePoint, facilitating a seamless workflow and monitoring.
Due to higher flexibility in personalizing the application and high efficiency, SharePoint is considered to be the easiest web application for improving the workflow. For example, a firm involved in financial services where loan processing, card data, money transfer is required and processes like procurement, quality testing and delivery must be managed. SharePoint services can be ‘moulded’ in multiple ways to meet the requirements.
This simple and easy to learn application has similar features as seen in the MS Office tools. This enables employees to switch to automated workflow operation with greater ease.
The monthly subscription of Sharepoint starts from $5, making it super affordable for small businesses and even start-ups. The minimalistic design makes it easier to adapt and track important activities.
The Automation Process with SharePoint:
Through the workflow elements, SharePoint automates the business processes and specifically three key workflow elements are responsible for it:
1. Mailboxes: This workflow element ensures related emails are stored in a distinct place and are easily searchable. With different users having different access permissions, the mails are easily sent for faster processing.
2. Notifications: This workflow element enables the participants to stay informed with the latest upgrades and updates regarding their work and its processing. With the notification system, any update or change is never missed by the users.
3. Workflow Task Management: This feature allows the participants to assign the tasks to different collaborators and users, set the timeline and the option to update the task. This makes tracing a particular task at any stage easy and also accessing it at one place when you need it. The well-structured schedule of the task helps the participants in planning the activities and prioritizing the subtasks as and when required.
Depending on the complexity of the projects and the related sets of sub-tasks and action required, SharePoint can be used to automate the processes in two ways:
1. With Built-in features: Out of the five default workflows i.e. approval, feedback, signature, publishing, and three-state workflows, all the necessary tasks can be easily executed.
2. With customized workflows: The SharePoint workflows can be customized to meet the specific needs of the organization to process and monitor the workflow between different assignees.
While the linear processes can be easily customized without much IT expertise, the complex non-linear workflow customization will need an IT specialist who can develop the personalized workflows using Visual Studio.
This is the only minor challenge associated with SharePoint. The built-in features are to be used by the small enterprises requiring very basic workflows and business operations. But for large corporations that have a complex and non-linear flow of operations, the proper workflow must be established as per the specific needs that could take considerable time and monetary investment.
The McKinsey Business Function report has revealed that CEOs spend 20% of their time in matters that can be completely automated and 60% of such chores can save up to 30% more time for more critical and pressing matters.
Business process automation via SharePoint gives the best results to the organizations that have Office 365 subscription. The fundamental and universal tasks of an Office can be automated with the application but to personalize the process to suit your specific requirement will require coding the workflow. This drawback can be eliminated with an experienced programmer or a third-party vendor that can help you in setting up the workflow.
Datafortune For Business Process Automation
Over a span of 9 years, Datafortune has assisted several firms- big or small alike, all over the world meet their business process automation requirements and the reviews have been nothing but stellar.
Our team of skilled programmers and IT ninjas have collaborated with numerous organisations to collect, share, and manage their data, tailor it as per their current business requirements and offer timely support when they need it.
Our clientele includes: Vodafone, Fujitsu, Ameritech, Appointlink, VanRan Communications, Creative Media, UPL, Synechron, IPG, Pidilite, and many others.
Automating your business processes with SharePoint allows you to focus on core business operations and thereby helping your staff manage their time and resources more efficiently, increasing overall productivity.
To automate business process automation, get in touch with us through our contact us page or email us at email@example.com