Sure, we all want exactly the right app for our needs. But, our needs today are usually not the requirements of next month. People change, processes change, needs change. So, does it work to buy the “100% solution” today? Let’s explore how CorasWorks Apps on SharePoint are really designed to be a perfected 80% solution.
The CorasWorks App Store is filled with off the shelf apps. Each can be put to use immediately and has extensive documentation. This applies to apps from CorasWorks and independent publishers. You’d kind of think that what you are getting as a 100% solution. I guess that is true at the start. But, the reality is that they are designed to be the perfected 80% solution. Now, in the software industry, the “80% solution” has had a bad rap, meaning that really what the vendor is shipping is just short on features and then the customer actually has to spend lots of money to custom build what they really need.
Our approach is different. It is a solution for the perfected 80% solution that actually addresses the downstream 20% by design, in advance. And, this is actually even more valuable.
To me, this is what makes the perfected 80% solution for apps on SharePoint:
First, it seems to be all there to start. It works out of the box and addresses a single need – cleanly. The core design is complete and the documentation makes it easy to be a user. It feels like 100%. But, think of it as the base…
Second, it is easy to customize. You can have it your way. It is easy to do things like change the color scheme, add, remove, or rename fields, shows different columns, change their displayed labels (surprisingly just missing in most apps), pre-filter, add conditional formatting. etc.. This is the typical province of the customization part of most apps that profess to take you from 80% to your 100%. But, with CorasWorks it is truly easy to do, supported by a very rich set of options, and, it is just the beginning of YOUR 100%.
Third, you get to add your own features. This is where our 80% solution rally breaks from the app pack. At the start and over time, you want to add features that aren’t in the app. The fact is that your 100% solution changes over time – it is a moving target. Imagine using Salesforce.com or any app and you want to add new features. These features are completely new, maybe even using completely different information. Can you do it in a few clicks? With CorasWorks you can. Here are some examples:
- Example 1: You are working on projects. You want users to be able to select all of their tasks done for a week, mark them complete (changing 3 fields) and then email the project manager. You want them to do it in one step. With CorasWorks, you just create an Action and add it to a display. Instant productivity.
- Example 2: You want to be able to take documents from one or more workspaces and publish them into a “Knowledge Base Review Process”. Just create an Action and add it to your Workspace template.
- Example 3: You are a marketing manager. Your users work on marketing campaigns where they subcontract vendors. You want to add a shared resource to the environment that shows pre-approved vendors and contact information. This is configured in one place as a Snaplet. Then, the Snaplet web part is dropped on a tab in any project or added to your project template. Instantly, everyone sees the vendor information from within their workspace.
The ability to add new features is really the kicker for the perfected 80% solution. You are in control of the app and where it evolves to. Example 1 is a feature that enhances the app to increase end user productivity. Example 2 is a feature that connects workspaces or apps across the environment. Example 3 is a feature that creates a centrally configured, shared resource and allows you to distribute it across the environment.
Each of these is done easily, using point & click wizards. When you create one feature for one app, you can then reuse this feature to add to any other apps (point #4, added features are re-usable).
So why is 80% better than 100%?
Because at the start, you don’t know what you don’t know. The perfected 80% solution actually incorporates by design the necessary flexibility and ease to customize an app and to add (or even turn off) features. It has a vast set of options, that are easy to do, and manageable as part of an environment. Any app dropped into a SharePoint environment that is really useful will end up being connected with other apps, portals, dashboards, workspaces, consoles, etc. They simply should change as your people learn ways to work better together. With the perfected 80% solution from CorasWorks and our independent publishers, you can get to and stay at YOUR 100% solution even as your needs change.
Feel free to test it out on us. Next time you chat with someone at CorasWorks ask them for a few ideas about what someone may want to do next with a given app, how long it would take, and how it is done. It’s a great way to get a different perspective of where you may want to go before you get there.