MS SharePoint Development
Case Study 1: Document Management System For a Major Hotel
A prominent 400+ room Hotel in Central London.
The Business Challenge:
The Hotel dealt with typically dealt with a large volume of Client traffic, with Reservations for the hotel coming from multiple sources which included email, website based as well as paper based correspondence, especially for group bookings.
When invoicing, it was not possible to correlate all the prior correspondence related to the bookings and there were often disputes on the billing because of the inability to show the correct supporting documentation at the right time.
Remote Software Solutions proposed the use of a document management system (Windream) which would allow easy retrieval based on reservations made. Apart from standard use of the Document Management System(DMS), the team developed custom applications whose functionality included the following:
Reservations staff could file emails into the DMS, directly from outlook using a custom plug-in. Since a majority of the reservation confirmation mails were in a standard format, it was decided to read this format and automatically index the files with the Reservation number, Name and other booking information, rather than making the hotel staff manually enter this data.
A service was also developed to automatically pick up each generated invoice PDF file, read the booking Reference from the invoice, and search the DMS for any documents existing for that Booking Reference. The service would then merge all the documents into a single PDF, thus attaching all the relevant correspondence to the invoice itself.
His turned out to be a great benefit to the guests, especially corporate groups, because all the references were directly available with the invoice. The advantages of having an efficient DMS were soon realized, and Windream was soon used by the Hotel’s other departments as well.
The Hotel immediately benefited from a vastly more efficient reservations process, fewer disputes and generally improved workflow – along with better Client & Staff satisfaction.
As a bonus, the solution ended up delivering an excellent Return on Investment to the client as other departments also started using the system, thereby leveraging the solution for far greater benefit to the Organisation.
Case Study 2: Windream Data Capture using QR Codes
A reputed back end documents processor based in London, for a major Global bank.
The Business Challenge:
Our client had invested in the Windream Document Management Solution for their organizational use. It was used for the business critical function of scanning and storing application forms of multiple types, which the document processor dealt with as part their of its routine business process.
Indices were picked up through OCR from several fields. However, it was noticed that the OCR zones kept shifting, as forms sometimes shift when printing, which meant that accuracy of picking up data was often suspect and had to be manually corrected. This naturally led to significant overhead in terms of extra effort and potential errors creeping into the data.
The team at Remote Software Solutions analysed the issue and proposed the solution, to have all the relevant info in the forms stored in a QR code. This would then be read and processed by the Capture software, rather than identifying the values through OCR.
The entire page would be scanned for existence of the QR code, instead of a particular zone, and once identified, the exact values were picked up from the QR code.
Our custom built Capture software for Windream did not have this functionality at the time. Our team worked on incorporated QR code recognition into the software for this requirement, and further allowed for the QR code to be displayed anywhere on the page, so that forms didn’t need to be designed in a restrictive manner. We then broke up the code (JSON format) and populated the individual fields from it.
In cases where the QR code wasn’t found on the page, the Capture software would handle the scanning of OCR Zones in the normal (older) manner and process it as usual.
Because of the complete understanding and analysis of the client requirements Remote Software Solutions were able to make this change to the product with a quick turnaround time meeting the deadline for roll-out of the new forms.
The Client benefitted from far greater efficiencies in scanning and indexing – higher output and no errors in indexing. The resultant drop in manual intervention and correction was very appreciated by the staff as well!
Case Study 1: Accounts System For Accounting & Accounting Major
A UK based Group of Companies, that is a leader in the fields of Recruitment and Man-power outsourcing. They also provide Financial Accountancy services to organizations across the country
The Business Challenge:
The Organization had a rapidly growing portfolio of clients. And the senior management team required a “real time” view of the financial status of the company, to the extent this was possible. Sage Accounting was the primary financial system in use. However, it was judged that the reports available within Sage Accounting did not meet the type and manner of reporting required.
Despite the number of reporting add-ons available the Client was not happy with what Sage had to offer, but also was unwilling to shift away from Sage Accounting as their solution, because their systems & processes were well invested and stabilized on this platform.
Remote Software Solutions proposed a web based reporting system built over Sage. Rather than connect to the live Sage database, we built a data transformation package to synch the Primary Data data to a SQL database, and run on a scheduled basis. This job could also be called on request.
Our Team then analysed the data structures and built an entire web-based accounts reporting system, having all the major required reports (including aged reports) all with date filters, so the Client could report on any period. These could be drilled down, grouped to the nominal codes, or the transactions that made up the number, giving the management a complete top to bottom view. The resulting solution so successful that even the Accounts Staff started using this system for reporting in preference to Sage Accounting’s own reporting module!
As a later add-on, we added Document Management functionality to the system, so documents could be scanned in and uploaded to each transaction. The application then became a full-fledged Document Management System for all accounts data, apart from being an accounts reporting system.
Other modules built, included an automated export of financial reports. This was then converted into a payment mechanism for the Client’s accountancy services. Finally, in a payment gateway was developed, with access for the Client’s customers to log in and purchase the financial reports on a monthly/quarterly/ annual basis, giving them all the benefit of the new system.
Aside from taking care of the original requirement, the solution delivered to the Client made the accounting team and processes more efficient.
The benefit allowed the Client & Remote Software Solutions teams to enhance functionality over time and then build it into a revenue generating model. This naturally resulted in an excellent return on the investment into the solution.
Case Study 2: Insurance Brokerage Quotation System Enhancement
A leading Insurance Brokerage that operates across the United Kingdom, with direct and immediate access to all of the UK’s major insurers, in a range of industry sectors, including Shops, Public Houses, Bar and Property Owners.
The Business Challenge:
The Client business process revolves around an in-house custom developed application that assists in the creation of Quotations, around the various Insurance policies and insurers that the Brokerage deals with. Given the quick changing nature of the business and the need to remain agile, there is an ever present need to enhance & improve the Quotation system.
However, it had become increasingly difficult for the in-house development team to cope with the volume & number of changes, improvements and corrections being asked of them. Meeting ever close deadlines meant they were usually stretched beyond their limits and often couldn’t achieve their targets, usually resulting in severe hurdles for the business.
A sizeable backlog of enhancements meant that that very often, urgently required functionality remained undelivered, further hampering the ability of the business to operate efficiently.
The team at Remote Software Solutions worked out a two phase approach to addressing the issues facing the Client.
As a first phase, we augmented their in-house Development team to provide the necessary additional technical resources required, to meet immediate deadlines and even add on additional items from the critically required functionality backlog.
In the next phase, we worked with the Client’s in house Architects, product managers and developers to work on a scalable and modular approach, both to aid functionality development and provide extensibility & scalability to the system, thereby enhancing its utility across and beyond the Client’s organization.
The solution was built around a Web Services concept, using the Model View Controller (MVC) pattern as the software architecture for implementing user interfaces. The teams worked in unison and using best practices from Agile Development methodologies, around a Microsoft TFS and Microsoft C# .Net development environment.
There were several benefits to the Client that arose from this engagement and ongoing relationship.
The most notable included:
• A huge improvement in the ability of the Team to have the enhancements & improvements and enhancements to their business system, delivered in a timely, bug-free and predictable manner.
• Improvements around the Architecture and modularization using Web Services allowed for greater extensibility and utility of the system.
• Improved project management & test management practices across the board, improved the efficiency and quality of the phased deliverables to the business.
Case Study 3: Reservation & Online Booking For a Boutique Hotel
A Boutique Hotel in London, catering to a select clientele, from the UK and beyond.
The Business Challenge:
The hotel had carried out it business in the time honoured traditional manner, with all its reservations and bookings done manually, in Notebooks and later spreadsheets. Clients typically called in or emailed to make reservations. A fair number of reservations happened via Travel Agent bookings and walk ins as well.
The Client knew that the business needed a more efficient and effective means of managing their own operations and processes around room Reservations. And also, provide a simpler and more convenient means for Customers to transact with the hotel.
Remote Software Solution proposed a two step approach to addressing the business needs of the Hotel.
First, after conducting a thorough study of how the hotel’s operational processes, a room management and booking system was developed using Web based technologies, for use by the Hotel’s internal staff. We recommended this approach to allow all aspects of the reservation process to be automated and stabilised. And also ensure that the Hotel’s staff were well versed with the system.
The functionality developed during this stage, included the ability to search for availability of rooms, both by room type and across all rooms, book rooms using the appropriate weekday or weekend rates. Seasonal tariff changes were also managed through the administration module, to enable automatic rate calculation. Special rates for certain event days could also be changed on a need basis, by tagging those dates on the Hotel Calendar. Finally, additional services like ‘Airport pickup’, local tours etc, can be included as additional price lines, to the Reservation.
In the second stage, the ability for customers to search for and book rooms themselves, via the Hotel website was included. This greatly eased the process by which the Hotel’s clients (specially the regulars) could engage and book rooms with the Hotel.
Functionality included the ability for the customer to search for room availability across date ranges, view prices for different room types, select and reserve one or multiple rooms for the specified date range and pay for the same via the integrated payment Gateway. The hotel also has the ability to set that only a certain percentage of upfront payment need be made in certain cases.
The reserved rooms are automatically deducted from the room inventory and a booking notification & confirmation is sent both to the Hotel’s Front office and the Customer.
The Solution was initially built using classic ASP and Microsoft SQL Server. It was later migrated to ASP.Net for better performance and extensibility.
The solution delivered to the Client provided several tangible improvements to the efficiency of process and the overall satisfaction of the Hotel customers and even the Hotel staff, due to the automating of several processes that were manual in the past.
The Hotel also benefited by creating a new Sales channel – which has in time quickly become the main source of reservations at the Hotel. Having all key processes around reservation now automated, means that the hotel staff can now focus on their main objective of providing their guests a comfortable and hospital stay.
Case Study 1: Room Booking System SharePoint
Medium to Large Law Firms requiring a robust no-frills facilities management system
The Business Challenge
The existing system too cumbersome to use and non intuitive as a result of which business users are reluctant to use it and the entire responsibilities lies with a rather overburdened facilities management group.
SharePoint Based Room Booking System is a software package that makes it easy for the organization to manage rooms and resources and to book a room in any of the locations of the organization. It is easily accessible being web-based, and the access by permission allows delegation of activities while retaining full control with admin and the reception groups.
Salient features of the system:
• Effectively does away with the possibility of double booked rooms thanks to its intuitive booking calendar interface.
• At-a-glance view of all the rooms with details and facilities that come with each room.
• Pictorial representation of various seating arrangements with capacities and ability to select one among-st them while booking.
• Scheduling of repetitive events as recurrent bookings.
• Allowing for large gatherings via linked rooms.
• Booking for car parking spaces either stand alone or linked to a room booking.
• Fully integrated catering module.
• Extensive reporting including cost & revenue analysis linked to a particular room, host, hosting department or client-matter number.
Streamlined booking process with delegated responsibilities, Buy-in from end users reducing proxy bookings overhead for reception, elimination of bookings conflicts.
Case Study 2: Skills Management System
A major UK based Organization with operations across the UK and Europe.
The Business Challenge:
The legacy system did not track employee skills there by making it difficult to search for qualified individuals who have skills needed for certain jobs or projects. Data maintained on paper or excel sheets made this difficult to maintain and analyse.
Furthermore, the client needed the means to quickly ensure the correct skills mix and plans for enhancement was easily trackable.
Remote Software Solutions created a Microsoft SharePoint Based Skill Management System which allowed creation of organization level skills database and allow employees to manage their own skill profiles under the supervision of their reporting authority and the HR Department
Key functionality included:
• Easy access to the employees via the Intranet based SharePoint HRMS Site.
• Users can choose skills from the database and add to their profile.
• Endorsements can be solicited from authorized endorsers for specific project related skills.
• Automatic progression of skill level for a skill from Basic to Experienced to Advanced to Specialist based on positive endorsements received.
• Visibility to reporting authority of skill profile of employees.
• Authorised Endorsers can receive endorsement requests which they can endorse.
• HR has complete control over skill levels and can add skills at any level by proxy.
• Designated skill administrators can update Skills, Projects and Allocations.
Centralized searchable skill repository, Transparency and standardization of skill endorsement and evaluation process, Significant reduction in overhead on part of HR and PMO functions to maintain employee skill database, Risk of information loss eliminated.
Case Study 3: Absence Management System
A prominent UK based medium sized Organization, with a Corporate Intranet based on Microsoft Sharepoint, that requires functionality for management of leave and absenteeism.
The Business Challenge:
The Client had a range of issues related to the management of leave & absence management. Absence Management was traditionally managed as an email based activity and required manual data extraction, correction and categorisation by HR Department team members and relevant Authorizers.
There was also minimal visibility regarding team or department absences. Absenteeism information remained localized and often neglected. Reporting was done through manual consolidation and processing of information, usually on a case by case basis.
Clearly, there was significant inefficiency and unnecessary manual intervention to manage the entire process, with very little insight into actionable data.
The SharePoint based Absence management module, developed by Remote Software Solutions, allows for automated routing of absenteeism requests from employees to their specific reporting hierarchy and subsequently HR, which in turn was governed by an approval process.
Classification of general Absences into configurable absence types, and Leave Entitlements are linked to the individual’s position and can be managed via an Administration module. Pro-rata calculation of Annual Leave Entitlement for individuals is built-in and linked to the approval process.
Unique process for sickness absences allows registering an absence by proxy. An option is available to designate non-managerial employees as absence approvers, based on need. “Absence calendars” per Department, are available across the organization, depending on the level of access designated to the viewer within the system.
Extensive reporting is available for the HR team. This module is also designed to be integrated with the “Employee Management & Organization Chart” module for Sharepoint, also developed by Remote Software Solutions – information for which, is available on our website.
Consolidation of Absence functions into a single system with self-service requests and approval processes relieves HR of the additional effort & manual processing involved.
Through all this HR retains complete control of the system and has instantaneous visibility into absenteeism across the organization. The wide range of reporting available also reduces the information processing time significantly.
Case Study 4: Employee Management and Organization Chart
A range of Organizations, running their Corporate Intranets based on Microsoft Sharepoint.
The Business Challenge:
In each case, our Clients, which ranges from medium to large Organizations, already employed a Microsoft SharePoint based corporate Intranet. However the means to leverage organizational information about the staff in terms of HR & reporting lines wasn’t available.
In each case, our clients wanted to allow highlighting key HR details of their employees like Designation, Departments, reporting structures etc for general information, as well as leverage SharePoint functionality more fully in order to handle basic document management functionality around this area.
The Employee Profile Management system built by Remote Software Solutions as a custom built solution op top of SharePoint, captures and classifies an employee’s profile into different access controlled sections.
The HR department has full and fine grained control over all aspects of each staff’s profile. The organization chart feeds in from the reporting hierarchy which is captured as a part of the profile, and is visible to everyone within the organization.
Additionally the team built functionality that allowed Documents related to an employee to be linked with their respective profile. Various reports compatible with MS Excel can be generated quickly and easily.
Proactive permission management function allows HR to delegate responsibilities to individuals, which allows for better distribution of duties around keeping data updated.
All our clients ended up with a solution that leveraged their existing investment in SharePoint technology.
The overall solution delivered a comprehensive employee database, which also doubled up as a document repository for all HR related documents. Permission management function reduces administrative overhead and reporting reduces the information processing time.
Case Study 1: Remote In-Sourcing for a Major UK Law Firm
A tier 1, top 50 law firm in the UK
The Business Challenge:
Large in-house software support team, management challenges and costs escalating and no movement on new project development, high cost of out-sourced product development and support over and above in-house.
RSS Remote In-Sourcing, reduced costs and provided software support to much higher standards with a dedicated highly effective team. The team was sized as per studied requirements, including onsite resources moved under RSS, and once the support process was stabilised in 2 months the same team was able to pick up development on pending projects resulting in major cost savings to the client. All development was handled in an agile manner giving maximum exposure to the Product Owner on the client side, ensuring that all requirements were fully taken care of.
Being a fully managed team with structured monthly and quarterly reporting put in place, there was very little management overhead from the client’s side.
Minimised senior management involvement in the process. Saved costs on both internal operations and external procurement. Increased productivity with new systems and reduced response time on issues.
Case Study 1: Infrastructure Support for Hosting Service Provider
Hosting Service Provider based in London.
The Business Challenge:
Client was developing their business and required a cost effective solution to providing 24/5 support, with on-call support on weekends. Their team handled 1st – 3rd line support, but was unable to provide support out of hours in the UK.
Managed Infrastructure services running for last 20 months
– 24x5x365 2nd line support team put in, and the same team provided on-call support over week-ends
– 1st line calls were directly routed to 2nd line out of hours. During working (UK hours) calls picked up by 1st line were assigned to 2nd line offshore.
Server monitoring and support
Citrix End User Management
Users based in UK | USA | Europe | Asia |
Although cost was not the primary reason, clients got an immediate cost benefit due to reduction in the cost of 2nd line.
Cover earlier given to clients for working hours UK only were extended to 24X7X365 (including on-call on weekends) resulting in a major increase in customer satisfaction at a very low cost.