In their blog-post on Excel-versus-Sharepoint Online (Read it here) Nimbus365 highlighted a few interesting features that make SharePoint Online services a superior alternative to the age-old Excel spreadsheet. There are many applications for it at Betasoft and we’ll slowly but surely increase use of SharePoint online in favour of our trusted old excel sheets. For me the key differentiator is that with Sharepoint Online, which comes free of charge as part of our Office 365 subscription, we can automate many manual processes and workflows. Automatic email notifications or approval requests when the contained data hits certain thresholds should mean we never miss a support renewal or pay a large invoice without senior approval.
Now most of our data, such as invoices, orders, etc, we still enter manually. However, using Nuance Autostore Forms Processing we should be able to capture incoming paper or electronic (PDF) documents, extract information contained therein and then feed it into Sharepoint Online lists. Once in the list, the data triggers the most appropriate actions, such as sign-off or payment reminders.
Another use of our rather elaborate accounts spreadsheets is to record what is purchased by whom and when. We have a separate sheet for each financial year. I was recently asked to report on the total purchases made on behalf of our largest installation. This turned out a rather laborious task to say the least. Had we implemented SharePoint Lists years ago I could have established the information using a simple SharePoint view in a matter of minutes.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I am sure that Betasoft will slowly but surely replace many of our document processes with Sharepoint workflows. Something similar is afoot with our customer data. But more about that in another post.