‘Electronic Forms’ typically means PDF Files, Word Documents or Excel Files which allow people to input data electronically rather than using paper forms. But using PDF Files, Word Documents and Excel mean that while the data is captured electronically, it is not stored and maintained in a database.
AppForms for SharePoint enable organizations to easily create web forms that can be designed to look and feel like existing paper forms or electronic forms that currently exist in PDF, Word or Excel while maintaining the data managed by the forms in SharePoint lists or SQL Server. This approach allows organization to build forms that connect with existing data from external databases and systems and provide a seamless experience for the end users updating these forms. The data captured in the forms can now also be reported off and presented in dashboards and used for KPI measures to support improvements in process and productivity.
Many organisations over the years have built business applications on technology options that were relevant in their day but have to now continue using such outdated technology simply because of the time and costs involved in migrating to more modern technology options. Such business applications are called ‘Legacy’ applications due to their nature of being based on outdated technology. In most situations the issue is not in the Data layer typically SQL Server or Oracle which are easily upgraded to the newest versions. The real pain is in the front end forms technologies that read and write to these databases like VB6, Classic ASP, PowerBuilder etc. The challenge in maintaining such systems has been finding resources with these legacy skillets and the lack of documentation and knowledge of the source code behind many of the applications.
AppForms for SharePoint allows an organisation to migrate outdated legacy applications to an easier to maintain platform by retaining the same existing Data layer in SQL Server, Oracle etc., but migrating the front end forms to SharePoint by recreating the applications User Interface and forms using the AppForms product within SharePoint. AppForms can continue to work with the existing Database schema while the front end functionality can be recreated exponentially faster in AppForms because it is done via configuration, not writing code. Once a legacy application has been migrated to SharePoint using AppForms, the ongoing changes and maintenance are done via configuration, not hard coding which is very supportive of quick change.
Many organizations struggle to optimize the efficiency of their workforce and to improve the collaboration between their employees. They also need to automate processes related to supporting their employees. Some examples are Helpdesk Trouble Ticketing, Client Request Automation, Employee Onboarding, Requisition Management, Expense Reimbursement, Paid Time Off etc.
AppForms for SharePoint allow organizations to manage these employee self-service processes within SharePoint very efficiently. Speed of automation is achieved by leveraging SharePoint Workflow to define rules required for routing the review/approval processes and by having the front end forms that the users interact with, configured using AppForms. AppForms ability to easily work with data that exists in external systems and databases within the organizations network makes it possible to automate these processes in the most efficient manner.
With SharePoint evolving to be the default Intranet within many organizations, it is becoming the place to go to for monitoring the state of business processes, business operations, project collaboration etc. With so much happening within SharePoint there is a rapidly growing need to create dashboards that surface summary views of operational and process oriented data.
AppForms provides the functionality to configure such dashboards within SharePoint. You can leverage the charting and graphing features supported by the AppForms Charting widgets to present visually appealing summary views of data within the dashboard. In some scenarios you may need to relate data within SharePoint, to data from external systems and databases as well which is also supported within AppForms. AppForms also allows you to very easily create simple real time tabular reports to present data summary views inside your dashboard.
Many organizations have built custom functionality in SharePoint to meet their specific business requirements. Custom functionality is typically hard coded to the version of SharePoint that the functionality has been developed for. When it comes time to migrate SharePoint environments to the latest version of SharePoint, the organization is held back due to the customized features created on their current version. The time and cost to redo these modifications are factors that hold the entire organization back from getting the benefits the latest SharePoint version offers.
Using AppForms , it is significantly faster to re-configure the custom coded functionality than it is to re-code it. You can quickly recreate the forms and business logic or custom web parts while continuing to work with the same data sources like lists or databases. Once your custom functionality is now migrated to AppForms, it will easily port to newer versions of SharePoint as AppForms is completely metadata driven. This is the same paradigm as older Excel spreadsheets seamlessly opening in the latest release of Excel.