7/20/2017 by Garrett Curtis
(By Garrett Curtis)
Recently, when extending an existing SharePoint site with Infowise Ultimate Forms I was faced with the need to integrate Custom Content Types with Infowise Ultimate Forms. Thankfully these two tools work very nicely together and, when combined, produce some very powerful configuration options. In this article, I will briefly cover the purpose of content types, and explain how to setup a simple list combining custom content types with Infowise Ultimate Forms.
Content Types are SharePoint’s out of the box method of segregating items in the same list into separate “types”. For example, in the default “Documents” library crated with every new SharePoint site, clicking the “New” button will bring up a list of different document types (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, etc...) which can be created in the library.
This method can also be used in a normal list; one example is an IT Helpdesk where users can submit different types of requests (hardware request, software issue, new employee setup). In this case, the requests share some properties (requestor, time, priority) but also have properties that are unique to each request type. Creating custom content types for each of these request types allows you to utilize one central list in SharePoint that behaves like multiple lists!
Infowise Ultimate Forms allows you to compliment having multiple content types in the same list by specifying rules for specific content types. With this methodology, you can turn one list into a fully featured business tool such as a helpdesk, project tracker or sales system. To get started with custom content types, create a new custom list in SharePoint and follow these steps:
- In List Settings for the new list, select "Advanced settings", the first option in Advanced Settings is to "Allow management of content types", change this to "Yes" and then press "OK" to exit the Advanced Settings page.
- Now in List Settings, you should see a new section "Content Types". This section is where you will manage the content types for the list.
- Select "Add from existing site content types" from the List Settings page to see a list of all the defined content types available in the site.
- Each of these content types has a series of predefined columns that will be added to the list when you add the content type. You can create your own custom content type with your own column layout by following these instructions:
- Double click each of the following content types to add them to the "Content types to add" box: Announcement, Discussion, Link. Press "OK" to return to List Settings.
- Now you will see each of these content types has been added to the "Content Types" section of the List. Clicking on one of them will take you to the List Content Type settings page which lists the columns associated with that content type. Here you can also add or remove columns to further customize the content type.
- Exit from List Settings and return to the new list, from the ribbon, select "Items" and then click the "New Item" text to see each of the content types that can be added to the list.
- Try creating each of these content types and notice that each one presents different columns.
Now we will add Infowise Ultimate Forms customization which behaves differently for each Content Type. For this example, we will be setting up an email alert to go out when a new Announcement has been added.
- From the ribbon, select "List" and then "Design" to enter the Infowise Design screen.
- Click "Alerts" under the "Configure Business Logic" section to enter the email alert configuration section
- For this alert, we will set "What To Send" as follows:
- Only check “Item is Added” so that the email only sends when a new item is added to the list.
- For Conditions, create a condition for the Content Type that always equals Announcement
- Click Add to add this alert to the system.
Now every time a new Announcement is created, you will receive an email alert. You can configure the email alert to go to different recipients or to have a custom body by following the instructions on the Infowise training page:
All the Infowise features can be configured to act differently for different content types, either using conditions as shown in the Alerts, or with a specific Content type dropdown like the Default Values section shown here (note that in this case, leaving Content type blank will create the rule for all content types).
Now that you have seen the power of Custom Content Types and Infowise Ultimate Forms, I challenge you to integrate these tools into your next SharePoint list!
In actions, you can add a condition to compare a date column to [Today] function, such as Created equals [Today]. But date columns in SharePoint contain not just the date, but the hour part as well. [Today] function returns time as 00:00 or 12:00 AM (midnight), so when your date column is not exactly set to midnight (let's say the item was created at 4:00 PM), the condition will not be valid, as the dates don't exactly match. You could create two conditions, such as:
- Created >=[Today]
- And Created < [Today]+1
But it looks a bit complicated and could lead to confusion and errors.
We decided to make your life easier. Now, when we see an equals or not equals comparison of a date column to a value containing [Today] function, we will add those two condition implicitly in the background. So now all you have to do it simply use the "equals" (or "not equals") operator, and we will take care of the rest. This new functionality is now available for Actions in the app version and will soon be implemented on-premises as well.
(Written by Robert Cathlina)
CRM systems handle a number of different functions within an organization. Some of the most important functions of a CRM are: Contact Management, Activity History, Task Assignment, Templates for ease of use and Sales Pipeline Management and Dashboard Reporting on these features.
Off the shelf CRM tools such as a Salesforce can be extremely expensive and require constant maintenance. Infowise UltimateForms offers many of these services out of the box so you can save time and money.
Contact Management in SharePoint can be as simple as adding the Contact content type to a list.
The Contact content type comes out of the box with many fields to help us keep track of our Customers such as: Name, Job Title, Company name and Business Phone. The more information we can capture about our Customer the better!
Sure, keeping details about Customers is useful, but just housing information is not a CRM system’s main function. One critical component of any CRM system is Activity History. It is imperative that at any time our users can check to see the last action taken and the current Status of any Customer. We can successfully implement an Activity History Tracking System by adding a Status and a History column and combining it with an Infowise UltimateForms Action that logs any changes when the Status column changes.
The History column can be used to keep track of changes made to the Status column with a simple Action.
If we set the column to append changes, we have a complete History of all changes made to our Status column on a per record basis.
Another main function of a CRM system is that it helps to move Customers through the Sales Pipeline and one major way they accomplish this feat is through Task Assignment. By utilizing the Infowise UltimateForms Associated Tasks feature we can create a child relationship and thus keep track of tasks specific to each Customer. We can utilize the Associated Tasks features to remind and enable our sales team to continue pushing Customer through the Sales Pipeline.
We can even utilize some additional features in the Infowise Suite to have tasks auto-generated.
Another important aspect of any CRM system is the templates it provides for Customer interactions. Templates for ease of use mean that your team isn’t having to recreate the wheel with every new engagement.
The Infowise UltimateForms Associated Document content type makes templating a no brainer. We can also combine the Infowise Associated Document content type with the Copy item/ document Action to move existing templates into our Associated Document library.
Just add the Infowise Associated Document to your Document Library along with a look column pointing to your Customer list to keep track of which documents belong to each Customer.
Next you need to add the Document Library as an Associated Item. Once this is done you can see we have created a child relationship and can store templates associated with our Customers in a separate Document Library. We can also combine the Infowise Associated Document with the Copy item/ document Action to add existing templates to our new library.
CRM systems work to bring all these features together, but one of the most important aspects of any CRM system is that it provides transparency into the sales process.
We can utilize Infowise Smart Chart Pro features to Sales Pipeline Management and Dashboard Reporting over and above what you would get out of the box with SharePoint.
Infowise Smart Chart Pro allows us to choose from over 30 different graph types, build 3D graphs, include a legend and other things such as show values or percentages for our underlying records.
CRM systems are a critical part of any Sales team. Luckily, Infowise UltimateForms for SharePoint gives us features that can easily replace larger and harder to manage CRM systems to drive sales forward. In this article we built a simple, but robust CRM tool using out of the box Infowise features.
Recently we published a PDF explaining a great practice exercise to integrate Microsoft Azure functionality with Infowise Ultimate Forms. If you haven't had the opportunity to go through this exercise, I hope you will soon do this. Note that you do need a Microsoft Azure account which I strongly encourage you to set up even if just for learning purposes. Here is the article – there is a PDF link to the exercise at the bottom.
Azure Logic Apps allow you to connect your SharePoint tools to other tools on the web. The general concept is that within Azure you can define a Trigger listening for a specific event in many popular web applications integrated with Azure and then define Actions that happen as a result of the trigger.
(Note that if you are using an on premise SharePoint environment, it is required to use an on premise data gateway to connect to your local data. This extra layer isn't necessary with O365 / SharePoint Online.)
Think of this as a way to further strengthen the already versatile and powerful Infowise Actions in a way that communicates outside of your SharePoint Environment.
It is possible to integrate your custom SharePoint solutions with many popular web based applications including:
Azure AD, Basecamp, Dropbox, CRM, Facebook, FTP, Gmail, Outlook, Google Calendar, Google Sheets, Gotomeeting, JIRA, SQL Server, ZenDesk and many more.
Infowise provides email import capabilities, but you can also accomplish email interactivity using Azure Logic Apps with SharePoint.
One potential application that you could create with these tools is your own built-from-scratch help desk system. Here is the general process to create this type of system:
- Set up a trigger listening to a custom email address you create e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Using Azure Logic Apps, trigger creation of a new SharePoint list record.
- Capture email data including Subject, Body, and From email address.
- Set up your Help Desk List in SharePoint to capture the email information and auto-generate a Ticket ID.
- Use Infowise Email Rules to auto-generate an email to the user that the ticket is being worked on and an email to the relevant manager.
- Set up an additional Azure Logic Apps trigger which responds when a user sends an email that is a follow up including the help desk Ticket ID.
- Set the corresponding action to capture the Ticket ID from the email and Update the corresponding SharePoint list record instead of creating a new ticket.
You can set up branching logic to handle all the different conditions based on user response. I especially like the visual design surface that shows branching logic and conditions. Do you have ideas on what to build with these tools? We love to hear about your innovative solutions!
We had an excellent webinar today about how to enhance Project Tracking with Infowise Ultimate Forms and SharePoint! Some of the key concepts are Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), Charting + Graphs, and Automation. If you have any interest in adding these features to your site, give this webinar a watch!
If you want to watch the webinar from, please go here: https://www.infowisesolutions.com/webinars.aspx
If you want to read about the new Kick-Start Training package, please go here: https://www.infowisesolutions.com/training.aspx
If you want information on signing up for Kick-Start Training, please drop us an email: email@example.com