Tag Archive for Customers

Providing a secure BD extranet for partners and customers using CorasWorks on SharePoint

Lockdown

All Federal Government Contractor customers of our Business Development solutions will at some point face the need to provide secure access to their Partners (Vendors, Suppliers) and Customers.  This month, Steve Evangelista, one of our Lead Architects wrote a series of three articles that cover securing and hardening of your system for this scenario.  We use all of these methods in our BD solutions.  You can also use them in your own CorasWorks solutions.

The articles are:

Part 1: Securing & Hardening SharePoint Sites for External Users: Basic configuration using CorasWorks to support working with external parties.

Part 2: Securing & Hardening SharePoint Sites: How to modify SharePoint Master Pages to security trim common native pages (All Content, native web part pages, etc.).  This is a SharePoint best practice.

Part 3: Securing & Hardening SharePoint Sites: Leveraging CorasWorks to create a secure proxy account to tightly secure what external users can see and do.

Comment: Design for Multi-Party Usage

It is very common for people to design systems in a classic way in which we think about all users sharing the same user interface, with security as a back-end system issue.  However, in most collaborative systems and certainly BD systems, it is a better design approach to think of your groups of users as having separate interfaces.  CorasWorks and SharePoint easily support this approach.

So, imagine your employees, your partners, and your customers each having their own user interface.  It is their place to go.  This interface is then optimized for them.  It supports their role.  You may even get more granular so that you have interfaces for Executives, Managers, and Doers internally or different types of partners or partners in different roles.  Yet, effectively, all of these users are working off of the same data.  This design makes it far easier to manage the security by role in a different interface.  This makes it more secure.

william

Secret Sauce of Top 10 Custom Solutions of 2011 Powered by CorasWorks v11 Solution Platform

Welcome to 2012!  I want to start the year off properly by providing a solid plug for the CorasWorks v11 solution platform.  Last month, we released our Top 10 of 2011 list of Custom Solutions built with CorasWorks.  We got a lot of interest.  We also got some feedback saying basically, “You all need to talk more about these custom solutions and the power of the CorasWorks v11 platform?”.  It is true.  Last year we spent a a lot of time communicating about our productized solutions for Social Collaboration, Idea Management, Project Portfolio Management and how customers were leveraging them.  The reason is that they were new, they were hot, and, they have broad appeal. (I am guilty as charged).

So, to level the discussion in this article I’ll talk about the Top 10 Custom Solutions and the secret sauce of the CorasWorks v11 platform in delivering the business value.

First, at the bottom of the post is a summary chart of the Top 10 solutions.  The range of industries and business functions where the solutions are used is very broad.  In addition, most of these solutions are “mission critical” – very deep.  A couple quotes from customers about this.  “80% of our business relies on this solution ($10m business)”  “This app can’t go down, it would bring down our business (multi-billion dollar internet company).”

Second, congrats and hats off to the business owners – They deserve a great deal of the credit for the success of these solutions for two reasons a) it was the business user that understood what solution was necessary to drive the business value, and b) the flexibility of CorasWorks means that the business user has the ability and responsibility to tailor the solution to optimize the business result.  A couple quotes from customers related to the business value “It was a 6 month project. We got our payback for the CorasWorks software and services in one month of operation”  “We have gotten a 10,000% improvement in the efficiency of responding to customer requests” (BTW, I got the zero’s right).

Third, in effect for solutions in this category CorasWorks is delivering two levels of value.  One is the lower cost, time, risk of creating the solution and maintaining them.  Another is the operating business value the customer receives from cost avoidance, cost reductions, and revenue increases.  A third value that really started to be realized this year for our productized and custom solutions was the ability of our customers to avoid the cost of very expensive COTS solutions that they would have had to spend a lot to rip up and customize.  In effect, over the last couple of years, the cost to build a comparative “custom” solution leveraging CorasWorks v11 is often dramatically less (factor of 2 to 3) than the COTS option.  And, most customers would say that they are better because they really meet the precise business need, even as the needs change over time (cheers for flexibility).

Some key things about the building/delivery of these solutions:

  • They were all built with CorasWorks v11, running on either SharePoint 2007 or SharePoint 2010.

 

  • While the solutions are custom, they are not custom developed – meaning no custom compiled code. These incredibly powerful, broad and deep solutions, including database applications, where all built without having to install custom compiled code or for the most part ever crack Visual Studio.  This drives down the development costs, the risk, and, the maintainability of the solution over time.

 

  • It takes a community – each solution was built/delivered by CorasWorks Professional Services, CorasWorks Partners and/or customer IT.  In most cases the parties collaborated to deliver the solution.  Again, because we have the v11 platform, any of the folks can pick right up and maintain, enhance, or extend the solution.

 

  • Leveraging the Advanced framework of v11 – many of of the solutions leveraged the Advanced framework.  This toolset, incorporated into the platform in v11, enables the designer/builder to deliver very deep, custom solutions that functionally are all based upon a standardized, integrated, component framework.  It is really the secret sauce of the Top 10 and the reason that so many mission critical solutions got built with CorasWorks this past year.

 

  • In general, each solution came in within budget and time.  This is pretty tough since the expectation is that a CorasWorks solution will cost half of other options and be delivered much more quickly.  It is the way with CorasWorks because we are building with a configurable solution platform (not a development tool), with standard design patterns, largely repeatable solution frameworks, a standardized, reusable componentized framework, and, no need for custom developed code that introduces risk.  Thus, this allows the provider to accurately estimate what it will take to deliver the result.

Below is the table listing the Top 10 solutions.  You’ll note that there were actually 11.  This is because with CorasWorks you always get more than you expect Smile

Have a tremendous 2012!

william

 

Top 10 custom