Enhance Your BrightWork Deployment with SharePoint Web Parts and Tools – Part 1
One of the fundamental components of a SharePoint site is Web Part. Web Parts are “gadgets” that can be added to a page or a tool to perform a specific function. Although you may purchase or develop your own Web Parts to meet a specific need in your organization, SharePoint provides many Web Parts out of the box, and there is a robust market for third-party web parts. In this article, I explore some of the Web Parts that can enhance a BrightWork deployment.
SharePoint comes with good basic notification alerts via email generated upon creation, change or deletion of a list item or document. With third-party web parts, you can take the good old alerts to a new level, with conditions, timed notifications, user-defined mail templates and much more. Define precisely what you want to be notified of and when, without flooding your inbox with useless messages. Perhaps you want to alert your project team via email when a status changes or a due date is overdue. Web Part software vendors such as Infowise Solutions, KWizCom, and Pentalogic offer conditional alert web parts.
Enhanced Actions and Workflow
Whether you need an approval process at certain milestones or to automatically create a list item or document as a result of a task completion, SharePoint workflow capabilities are key to automation of business processes. However, using standard SharePoint workflow can require the use of SharePoint Designer, writing code-based workflows or custom event receivers using Visual Studio.
Enter again, third-party vendors who provide everything from powerful activity – action web parts to full workflow systems.
Many allow business power users to create workflows once requiring experienced programmers. If your project requires workflow automation, take a look at these type of tools before hiring a consultant or scheduling IT resources. Workflow web parts and tools are available from Nintex, Infowise Solutions, Virto Software.
Update Tasks, and Project Information from your Smart Phone and/or Tablet
SharePoint 2010 offers the ability to access a SharePoint website through a mobile device like smartphones by using so-called mobile pages. Once again though, there is some work required to make this an acceptable option for your mobile workers. If you have project teams in the field or who would like to update task information immediately from their location, there are some really neat third-party offerings which can be implemented quickly.
Third party tools for enhancing mobile access comes in two approaches. First, you can simply load an application onto your smartphone or tablet of choice and see lists, documents and more. These are available for Android, iPad/iPhone, and Blackberry. Some of these are offered by SharePlus, SPElements, and Wicksoft. Second, you can drive mobile views and access from your SharePoint server. These tools allow you to deliver SharePoint data and content to your smartphone with mobile tabs, custom actions and customizable interface. Your mobile users will get the information they need in a concise and user-friendly manner. Once again, setup requires no programming and no special SharePoint setup. These type of mobile tools are offered by Mobile Entrée, Infowisesolutions, and KWizCom.
As you can see there are many opportunities to power up your SharePoint environment with tools and web parts from our vendor community, many are very cost effective and easy to deploy!