Solution Head-Start with CW “Solution Sets”

A few weeks back we released our Solution Quadrant for SharePoint white paper. Over the last 2 weeks, we’ve released two “solution sets” with downloadable elements that are FREE and ready to work for CorasWorks customers. In this post, I’ll talk about how these fit together and give you an overview of our solution set approach.

The Solution Quadrant white paper discussed 30 solution areas that fall into 13 categories. The solution categories are horizontal solution categories such as Project and Program Management and Line of Business applications. CorasWorks can provide value in most of the categories.

Two weeks ago we released our Document Management Solution Set. It is a set of 10 elements that support each other to provide a comprehensive solution for document management needs. The set wraps around the Document Review and Publishing application to more specifically address situations where you are contributing, reviewing, approving, and publishing documents. I’ll talk more about the contents of a Solution Set later. The key point is that this Solution Set was the first that addressed one of the 13 Solution Categories in the Solution Quadrant.

As a horizontal solution set it is accessed via the By Solution Category menu of Resources as shown below. When you choose the category you see featured items and a listing of elements of the solution set.

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Last week, we launched a second Solution Set for HR Administrative Processes. It was another 10 elements. It included two main applications for Vacation Approval and Training (with two parts). It is targeted for the HR department. This is the first of a new type of solution set that is targeted at specific departments. The departmental solution sets are accessed via the By Business Function menu option of Resources as shown above.

So, the basic plan is to routinely release and announce solution sets that either address horizontal solution categories or specific departments/business functions. At any time in the interim you can browse Resources to see how the solution sets are coming along. Over time, each solution set will be further fleshed out with contributions from CorasWorks, partners and customers.

Now, let’s talk a bit about the components of a Solution Set. They each consist of Applications, Building Blocks, How To’s, and Blueprints and Demo Apps that support the solution. Here’s how they work together as a solution set…

First, each solution set will typically center around one or more Applications. These are downloadable and “ready-to-work” applications. They each contain an End-user Guide and a Setup Guide. Usually, they take about 30 minutes to a hour to install and configure for your organization.

Solution Sets also usually contain downloadable Building Blocks that enhance or extend the applications. For instance, the Document Management solution set contained distributable Snaplets that allow contributors and reviewers to work remotely from their user consoles/portals without having to go to one or more sites to do their document work. This Solution Set also referenced Building Blocks in the Forums that can be downloaded and snapped into the application to add charts and calendars.

In addition, the Solution Set typically has How To documents that are designed for business users/builders. They enable the user/builder to customize the application/building blocks in fairly simple ways.

Lastly, each solution set will typically have a number of Blueprints and Demo Apps. The Blueprints cover design patterns used in the solution, best practices or implementation options. The Demo Apps show examples of applications or other elements of your work environment that you can build on your own. An example is the HR Administrators dashboard for the HR solution set – a great place to start putting aggregated views of Time Off Calendars and downstream business processes.

When used together, you get a rather robust set of elements that enable you to quickly start addressing the typical requirements covered by the solutions. They offer a head-start to get you up and running quickly. You can then leverage the Community and your own resources to move them forward.

If you aren’t yet a CorasWorks customer, you can become a Community member you can also access the elements that may help you with your work. You can also request a Sandbox from CorasWorks to try out the solution sets in your own online development environment.

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