Tag Archive for CorasWorks

CorasWorks Today (November 2013) in 3 minutes

corasworks-50

What does CorasWorks offer?  Over the last 10 years, I’ve gotten this question more than a few times.  The answer has changed a bit as we’ve continued to innovate and refine our offerings.  Yet, we still remain focused on enabling organizations to create a flexible, cost effective work environment on SharePoint that meets their needs today and in the future.

Today, the CorasWorks Solution Platform is in version 11.  We have versions for SP2007, SP2010 and SP2013.  We have a rich set of off-the-shelf work management solutions to get you going quickly.  And, we enable you to have it your way through the industry leading flexibility of our platform and leveraging your internal people, our partners, or CorasWorks services.

Click here to see our current 3 minute pitch overview.

william

CorasWorks Community Builds Out in 2009

My – what a year it has been.  Thanks for being there, and, I hope you feel we were there for you.  One year ago, CorasWorks didn’t have an online Community at all, we were coming off a new customer acquisition binge, we were running on CorasWorks v9, SharePoint 2010 was no where in sight, and, we were all staring at a very gloomy looking 2009.

In January of 2009, Gary Voight, our CEO sent an email to customers and partners.  In it, when looking forward to 2009, he said “Beyond the current financial crisis we do have several challenges, but the most significant is helping our customers profitably expand the use and value of SharePoint.“

During 2009, we knew that new customer growth would be constrained and that our customers really needed us to help them be productive.  So we focused on helping our customers succeed.  It was definitely the year to make the switch.  Between the Community, our products, our services, and our partners efforts, we have delivered innovation, education, and support to help our customers better use our products to leverage their investment in SharePoint.  In case you’ve missed a few things, here is a rundown of what went down, with a bit of the rationale, and, some color coding to spice things up:

January – We released v1 of the CorasWorks Community to the world.  It was basically Forums, Blogs and a place for downloads.  But, it was built on a very flexible architecture – CorasWorks on SharePoint.  We had the base to start.

February – We started to release initial apps built on v9 of the Workplace Suite to the Community. On February 19, 2009, we released v10 of the Workplace Suite and v1.3 of the Toolset.  With the v10 release, we started the cycle of releasing the Suite with the Toolset at the same time.  The v10 platform was designed to be able to move customers forward with Ajax Forms, Rich Internet Apps and much more.  The plan was for v10 to be designed to be able to bridge customers to SP 2010 – both technically and from a user experience.  Fortunately, Microsoft made us part of the Technology Advisory Program in January of 2009 – so we were able to plan way ahead (and, the plan has worked). 

 March – We started to release core v10 apps such as the Department Dashboard and Central Configuration in the Local and One Touch Editions, and, the Our Workspace app with tutorials to be used to demonstrate simple collaboration on the new v10 platform.

April – On April 29, 2009, we released v10.1 Workplace Suite & v1.4 of the Toolset.  Our customer transition to the v10 platform was heating up.  We included license management in this release.  It was a hassle to our customers, we heard, and we took it out in v10.2.  Thank you for shouting!

May – We released our Help Desk and Work Order Approval apps – representing reference app designs for Departmental LOB apps and Business Processes, respectively.

June – We went to v2 of the Community adding the Resources section.  Since that time the Resources section has grown to have more than 500 items, including more than 120 videos.

July – We expanded the Community (v2.1) to add a formal App Store with ecommerce for our customers and partners.  We began working with a new cadre of App Publishers to build apps for the App Store based on CorasWorks.  Our goal with Apps is simply to eliminate the need for our customers to design and build themselves.  Even with CorasWorks this takes time and knowledge.  With enough Ready-for-Work apps, at low cost, from quality publishers, that are DLL Free, that all work together – customers will be able to focus on customization and integration and vastly increase productivity.

August – We released v10.2 of the Suite/Toolset – our current shipping version.  We also released the CorasWorks AppEngine as a runtime/customization environment for Apps – providing a low cost way for organizations to run apps and leverage the extensive set of core CorasWorks capabilities.  The first wave of App Publisher apps on v10 hit the App Store addressing classic business problems like Purchase Request, Time Off, Help Desk, Software License Management, etc.

September – CorasWorks released our Project Portfolio Management solution which is quickly becoming a cornerstone app for customers, and, is a reference architecture for project solutions.  We also initiated our new Community Update (bi-monthly now) to inform customers and partners of new updates within the Community.  We announced technical integration partnerships with other SharePoint ISV’s including Syntergy for Replication and AvePoint for backup and administration.

October – We had a great time at the SharePoint 2009 conference where we released CorasWorks for SharePoint 2010.  This product, built for SP2010 Beta 1, put us 9 months ahead of where we were in the SharePoint 2007 product cycle.  It also laid the groundwork for our v10.3 release in January 2010 that will bridge customers from 2007 to 2009 without requiring code changes.   We also announced our joint venture with Fpweb.net to take CorasWorks Apps to the cloud (launch January).

November – We opened up our App Publisher program to new partners and began our formal App Publisher onramp.  We also announced our new push of CorasWorks for the web, leveraging the Toolset, in a webcast with Microsoft and highlighting the really-webby Community Services Suite from Spirit (release January).

December – We launched our new online Web Based Training 5 modules and 27 videos to broaden and make it easier for “builders” to learn to customize and build with CorasWorks.  We began launching new waves of App Publishers and their apps ranging from Conference Room Scheduling to Collaborative Hubs to Sales Force Management – many for Free.  And, I did the research and wrote this article :)

So, all in all, quite a bit of activity.  The Community is taking off and we are thrilled with the interaction and engagement.  In truth, it was a building year.  We’ve had to learn how to be responsive with the online community.  I’ve heard that these efforts did help our customers in 2009. And, we did just fine.  But, what it has really done is highlighted how much more is needed to really blow out our customer and partners success with CorasWorks on SharePoint.  We have a long and continuous path now towards plug-and-play business productivity.  The good news, is that we feel that the whole system and community to deliver this value is now in place for great results in 2010.

2010 starts tomorrow.  We will be hitting January big – with the v10.3/1.6 (Suite/Toolset) release - the bridge from SP2007 to SP2010.  With the launch of CorasWorks in the Cloud.  With the launch of lots more Ready-for-Work apps from many more partners and CorasWorks.  With the introduction of CorasWorks Building Blocks – a whole new genre of apps for builders that have grown out of what we learned this year.  And, plans for a lot of improvements in the Community and our content.

Now, I go to celebrate.  Monday, I’ll be back at it.  Talk to you in 2010.

william

CW Apps: Local vs. One Touch Configuration

CorasWorks and partners are releasing more and more apps to the App Store.  Typically, the business applications are being provided in one of two basic configurations – Local or One Touch.  I’ll briefly cover the differences between the two.

 

Local configuration is the classic way of providing portable apps.  By portable, we mean apps that can be built by a partner, and then, shipped to a customer, installed and used – without major configuration.  The Time Off Management app by R3 Business Solutions is an example.  The app is self-contained and ships as a single application template with all functionality.  Technically, the various application features are all configured to work with the data that is stored within the application site itself.  This makes it very portable and easy to install and use.  The end-user is free to customize the configurations, but, it is very easy to get started with.  In addition, local configuration is very useful for apps where you will have many separate instances.  Examples of these are the CorasWorks Our Workspace and the Add-Ons.

 

One Touch configuration is a new type of application configuration that is possible using the new v10 of the CorasWorks Workplace Suite.  Typically, these applications have two parts that are separate application templates.  One is an “application configuration site” and the other is the production site that holds the data.  Examples of these are the CorasWorks Department Dashboard and the Help Desk with Self-Service.  There are a number of benefits to a One Touch configuration as follows:

 

- Application Management – An application owner has control over the app, via the ACS site, and thus, the users can be prevented from “messing” with the app functionality

 

- Centralized Application Governance – You can have many ACS sites for different apps in a centralized site collection with control, even though the production apps themselves are distributed across your SharePoint environment (different site collections and web apps)

 

- Multi-Site Central Configuration Management – You can have a single ACS site, which is centrally configured, that serves as the basis for multiple sites.  this is very useful in situations where you have multiple instances of sites where you want consistency, such as our Department Dashboard or multiple project sites for a single program

 

- Distributed Application Functionality – The One Touch configuration enables you to distribute application functionality across your SharePoint environment.  (See my blog on the Self-Service Snaplets of the Help Desk).  Effectively, you can “snap off” any functionality from a production site and distribute it to portals, dashboards, my sites, or other apps.  Users are able to work wherever is convenient while working with the production app information.  Most importantly, the application manager can make one change to the ACS site and the many distributed UI’s will immediately update. 

 

The key technologies that power the One Touch Configuration are Global Links, Central Views, Lock Down Manager, and CorasWorks Central Configuration.  Using these features it is easy to build apps in a One Touch configuration and very easy to install them and even to distribute the application functionality.

 

For many apps, you’ll see CorasWorks publishing both a Local and a One Touch version.  However, certain apps lend themselves to one approach or the other. The short guideline is:

 

- Local configuration is for apps where you’ll be using it for multiple unrelated instances.  Great for workspaces, add-ons, and, business apps that would apply to different departments.

 

- One Touch configuration is where you want a more controlled environment, multiple instances of an app which are related, or the ability to distribute application functionality.

 

william

 

Check out the new CorasWorks App Store for plug-and-play apps for CorasWorks/SharePoint!

Application Evolution White Paper – A story of continuous improvement on SharePoint

Today, we released a new White Paper called “Enabling Application Evolution”.  It tells the story of how an “application” evolves from a simple vendor work order approval point solution into a more complex, distributed, inter-connected system for vendor management.  It is the story of how organizations can continually improve in this new world of modular, distributed, work environments on SharePoint.

 

We published the white paper to compliment today’s “integration release” of the new CorasWorks Workplace Suite v10.1 and Data Integration Toolset v1.4.  Affectionately known as  r14.14 (10.1 times 1.4), these products are now integrated in such a way as to very effectively empower organizations to naturally evolve their applications and their work environments forward without having to redo things over and over.

 

The white paper tells the story of how Greensleeves Solutions, our fictitious company, goes through five very natural stages of the evolution of this app.  Along the way people argue, haggle, like and don’t like, and, get innovative and productive.  The software plays its role to incrementally meet the changing needs to enable the organization to get to the next stage of productivity.  You can download the white paper from our site (see upper right corner of the landing page).

 

Below is a graphic showing the five stages of evolution covered in the white paper from a single app in Marketing up through a Vendor Self-Service portal.  All of the elements are reusable, inter-connected and centrally manageable – and being CorasWorks – done with point and click modular software vs. custom code development.

 

image  

 

The interesting part is that you’ll probably find it to be a realistic scenario.  It starts to raise a number of questions about application software in the future.  Do the classic options of Buy or Custom Develop really make sense in this new world? Do people really know how they will want to work at the beginning of requirements gathering?  Exactly where is THE application?  What if you build the apps, but, the users actually work from their own departmental dashboards, personal consoles etc. and don’t go to the app per se – they just do task-oriented work across apps and business processes?  Is the application now just the data and configuration?  Have we moved to a services oriented architecture on the front-end?

 

Over the years, our software has evolved to support this evolving new world of applications.  The v14.14 release today is a big step.  We hope that this white paper will give you some insight into how the process of evolution could occur in your organization and the benefits of continuous improvement.

 

Enjoy!

 

william