Tag Archive for OpenApp

Customers and Partners Show Their Stuff at CorasWorks Hosted Federal Case Study Seminar

Okay, we love to present.  But, we decided to turn the tables and host a Seminar where our Federal customers and their systems integrators showed off what they’ve built with CorasWorks on SharePoint.  This packed, standing room only, unclassified event was held last week at our corporate headquarters.  I was blown away by the breadth and richness of the applications and their mission-critical importance. Here’s the skinny…

First of all, thank you to all of the presenters.  You made it a great experience.  We had the following customers presenting:

- Department of State

- US Marine Corps – Headquarters

- US Marine Corp – Rapid Development and Deployment Office

- US Navy – Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI)

- US Navy – Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC)

We also had two systems integrator partners presenting and assisting presentations that have done a lot of work with CorasWorks on SharePoint in these accounts.  They were: Twin-Soft (Virginia) and Omnitec Solutions (Maryland).  Thank you to the presenters and all of our guests.

Collectively, these customers represent a couple hundred thousand users of CorasWorks on SharePoint.  They referenced more than 20 applications they have put to work.  These applications covered the full CorasWorks solution scope from Collaborative Portals, to distributed business processes, enterprise task management, project management, and idea and innovation management.  Many were truly mission critical (i.e., achieve the result or really bad things happen).  Some of the key one’s presented were:

- HR Portal Management – many different applications and processes to manage the business activity across the State Department’s portal

- Inspectors General Checklist System – system to manage 130 checklists of the Inspector Generals office of the Marine Corp (replaced 40 year old mainframe system)

- Training Registration – application to manage training classes and registrations for US Marine Corps Headquarters

- Enterprise Task Management – comprehensive tasker management and suspense tracking with 150,000 tasks, 3,000 users across ONI

- Urgent Unmet Needs System – extensive work stream to track and manage urgent unmet needs from the battlefield, through the Marine Corp process, and into the development and deployment of solutions

- Enterprise Best Practices System – end-to-end, idea management system based upon CorasWorks Cim v2.0 to drive enterprise best practices across the 50,000 person CNIC command covering 70 installations worldwide


Here are a few takeaways from the presentations…

- Broad Perspective of “SharePoint Work Environment” – many customers see SharePoint in a narrow context – often site-bound, and usually no more than site collection bound.  Our presenters all had a common and clear perspective of SharePoint as a broad, distributed, yet, unified work environment.  Thus, their apps were designed to be distributed, with role based consoles, Snaplets, and, with the assumption that data can be anywhere (within or outside of SharePoint).  Refreshing…

- Federal Technical Certifications – the fact that CorasWorks maintains Federal Technical certifications has helped the broad/viral adoption of it as a platform for applications

- Strong Adoption of OpenApp Standard – with CorasWorks v11, the OpenApp standard (based upon the advanced toolkit) is being increasingly leveraged by customers.  Most of the applications presented used it for data integration and custom UI’s.  The Tasker Management ONI application used it to build an application where all of the data is in SQL Server, but, the experience is all SharePoint (and so is the document repository).  Combining the OpenApp approach which allows you to build very deep custom applications without cracking Visual Studio (meaning that you don’t then have to convince infrastructure IT to certify a bunch of DLL’s) with the Technical Certifications has really empowered these customers to take SharePoint to a new level.

- CorasWorks for Distributed Business Processes – probably the best kept secret of CorasWorks is its usefulness to build out custom business processes.  Most of the apps fell into this category.  Typically, these are people-driven processes leveraging our Action framework.  In v11, the framework now allows developers to create the Actions separately and then use them in their custom displays.  Further, the Actions can now directly call Windows Workflow Foundation – thus, you get robust people-system automation.  Again, most of the applications were distributed, meaning that users with different roles, were engaging and working from different places across the SharePoint work environment.


Overall, just a stellar day.  We need to more of these types of seminars for Federal and Commercial (PS see my post about the Claims Management app built by Clyde & Co and shown in a webcast a few weeks ago).  If you have a great app that you want to show off ping your CorasWorks contact or email info@corasworks.net.



Clyde and Co’s Claims Management Application: OpenApp Development with CorasWorks v11

Last week, Rhonda Jenkins of Clyde & Co, a major international law firm, graciously presented their Claims Management application to our customers and partners.  This mission-critical business application was built using CorasWorks v11 running on Microsoft SharePoint.  She presented the detailed business case along with a demonstration.  It is a very compelling business success story that demonstrates the potential of the “OpenApp” style of development made possible with CorasWorks v11.  Here’s the story…

Background and Business Resultslogo

Clyde & Co is a major international law firm of 1,400 people, in 26 offices, covering 130 countries and headquartered in the UK.  It was named Law Firm of the Year in 2011 by Lawyer Business magazine.  The San Francisco office specializes in insurance claims for professionals and insurers with a brand name list of high tech companies.  This was the site for the Claims Management application.

Over the last few years, the insurance claims management practice in San Francisco has grown rapidly and Clyde & Co wanted to build a system that would support their process in a more efficient and effective manner and enable continued growth and better service and lower costs.

In six months over the last year, they built their Claims Management system using CorasWorks v11 on Microsoft SharePoint.  Effectively, they have went from a manual, ad hoc work environment to an integrated system.  This new system has been running for 6 months and has increased productivity 10X (1,000%).  It is used to drive 80% of their business.  They stated a full Return on Investment payback period of 1 month.  It has also vastly reduced cycle time.  For instance, previously it would takes weeks to prepare a status report for a client.  This is now available at the click of a button.  It is chock full of specific features that supports the unique process of Claims Management for Clyde & Co.


Getting to the Application

Rhonda did a great job of telling the story by going through the 3 main generations of their “way of working”.  A couple of years back, in Generation 1, their process consisted of emails and distributed file stores.  It was ad hoc at best, with distributed information.  Finding the status and details of matters for a client across attorneys was “challenging” (meaning practically impossible).  The focus with Generation 2, was simply to build an Excel based tracking system to augment the ad hoc work process.  This made it possible to begin to manage top down.  However, the lack of a central repository and database cost a great deal in productivity.  As above, to create a client report across matters could take weeks to prepare.  The goal in Generation 3 was to centralize the documents and information and create a single system with unique features for attorneys and clients.  They decided to go with CorasWorks on SharePoint.  Cost was important.  However, more important was the flexibility of CorasWorks to enable them to follow a very agile process to build out the application and innovate as they got feedback from internal users and clients.


OpenApp Development Approach

The team to develop the application was Rhonda Jenkins, Head of Administration and Practice Support and a CorasWorks-certified developer, Michael Bradley.  At first glance, you would refer to their approach as agile.  They built the application in sprints with user feedback at each step.   However, using the OpenApp development environment of CorasWorks, they were able to accomplish this with real hands-on user input.  Since CorasWorks is a componentized, integrated open environment for SharePoint, there is no coding (no Visual Studio compiled code).  Features are able to be added to a running application, providing instant, practical user feedback.  SharePoint provides the data, security, and administration.  The OpenApp pipeline of CorasWorks allows developers to customize the data connections, the UI, and the business logic independently to support new features.  This OpenApp style of development allows for faster and more agile development with a much tighter relationship with business users.

The result is that the application was able to go into production after 6 months and succeed right away.  Since then, the application has continued to evolve, a feature at a time, while, it is delivering business value.  For instance, when we first saw their demonstration (about a month ago) they emphasized the wonderful value for clients that their new reporting provides – they could provide status reports in specialized document-oriented formats in seconds for their clients.  However, by the time of the web cast, they had extended this functionality to an Extranet environment in the cloud (running CorasWorks on SharePoint at FPWeb.net).  This enables their clients to access and get reports whenever they want.  In effect, in a matter of weeks, they now have a hybrid application with an Extranet in the cloud integrated with their Claims Management application running on their Intranet on premise.


Summing Up Their Success

This is a mission-critical, very customized application.  80% of their business relies on the application.  CorasWorks provided our v11 software, standard training and support, and, a bit of up front design assistance.  However, their team designed and built out the app working closely with the business users.  The requirements were not documented in detail up front.  They evolved as users experienced the application and discovered how they could improve how they work.

Clyde & Co’s success is a great example of how our customers are succeeding using our software.  Successful projects are always driven by business users that are deeply engaged in the process and committed to driving practical business results.  The CorasWorks v11 OpenApp development style on SharePoint really puts the software at the service of the users and developers which drives unusually effective business results.