SharePoint Office 365 Portal Development

Service: Portal Development in SharePoint Office 365

Client: Commercial Real Estate Lender

Technologies used: SharePoint O365 & SQL Azure

The Challenge

The client was using an antiquated Deal Management System to verify and process loans. The existing set up was a group of disparate systems consisting of web applications, Excel sheets, emails, etc. Since the information was lying in multiple locations, loans were often processed based on data that was inadequate, inconsistent, obsolete and scattered. The client wanted Contata Solutions to develop a portal that would not just revamp the existing set up, but also collaborate and centralize the information lying in multiple locations.

Most of the initial discussions on loans were conducted offline or via email along with documents attached in the form of scanned forms and proofs, notes, and Excel models for loan repayment plans. All these communications were never captured in their current systems, hence not available to the higher management for planning and reporting. As a result, correct insights could never be drawn from the available data. The client expected the new system to make this kind of information be captured Just-In-Time (JIT).

In addition, there was no central storage and users never had all-time access to their documents and related data. Also, at the time of building a formal case for underwriting the loan, the client was unable to efficiently manage all artifacts collected from borrowers and loan seekers.

Our Solutions

Contata Solutions used SharePoint Office 365 and SQL Azure to develop and implement Deal Management System for the client. The system was equipped with robust functionalities to maintain details of property, client, loan, and deal. Users could now perform myriad of operations such as view, add, update, or delete on these records. Quick and advanced search functionalities were added to enhance system’s search capabilities. Custom theme and navigation were built to match the look-and feel of client’s other LOB applications. Contata also build the capability to store and retrieve data residing in external database SQL Azure to integrate with other LOB applications.

The following basic development building blocks of SharePoint were used to perform extensive SharePoint online customizations:

SharePoint Designer
Extensive customization was done on pages and other SharePoint artifacts like workflow, content types, lists and libraries. Also, new custom themes were created using SharePoint Designer.

Client-Side Object Model
To achieve the complex data-driven functionality, SharePoint Online was extended to custom HTML forms. Web parts were created to build search functionality, navigation, wizard type interfaces, grids, etc.

REST API
REST API was used to develop SharePoint Online customized components. This was because the programming model supported REST API with OData protocol to get data stored on SharePoint Online.

Connection to External Database
The client also wanted to connect the new system to access data residing in other Line of Business (LOB) applications. Therefore, SSIS / Web Services / third-party tool (Layer2 Cloud Connector) were used to seamlessly integrate with LOB Data.

Database as SQL Server
By using SQL Azure, the client was able to access external database to retrieve and share data residing among other LOB applications. Since the database had to be defined on SQL Azure, database schema was migrated from on premise SQL to SQL Azure using the freely available SQL Azure Migration Wizard (SQLAzureMW).

Custom Navigation Implementation in Office 365
Out-of-the-box controls allowed to create different types of custom tiles and links. Navigation links, background color, description fields, etc. were created to enhance the functionality of the application. By creating custom tiles, the application’s navigational features were significantly improved. In addition, a summary/snapshot of key information on top of the tile about a particular business process / flow was displayed for the benefit of users.

Business Benefits

By developing and implementing the solution in SharePoint O365 and SQL Azure, the client reaped the following business benefits:

  • SharePoint O365 gives significant cost reductions by avoiding purchase and maintenance of costly IT infrastructure.
  • Anytime, anywhere accessibility now enables client to take critical business decisions with Just-In-Time (JIT) information.
  • Single-point collaboration platform that allows users to communicate, share, and collaborate documents, information, comments, etc. among the stakeholders.
  • Information is now highly organized and in sync, allowing clear visibility of the work in progress.

Pipeline Management System Development

Service: Application Development & Quality Assurance

Client: Energy Transportation Solutions Supplier

Technologies used: .NET, Apache Flex, Silverlight, WCF, WPF, JQuery, SCADA & SQL Server

Through the Global Delivery Model (GDM), Contata Solutions helped a leading energy logistics solutions provider to revamp its existing pipeline management system. The aim was to build a comprehensive solution in .NET technology that integrated all stages of an energy pipeline supply chain—from nomination (placing an order) to billing and invoicing. Equipped with rich functionalities, the enhanced product helped the client achieve considerable operational efficiencies, cost reductions, and higher customer satisfaction.

By consolidating disparate systems into a single application, stakeholders can now access relevant information with more ease and convenience. Users can leverage the benefits of enhanced scheduling and forecasting capabilities. Due to Internationalization and Localization, the application now supports multiple languages. Contata Solutions’ collaboration was not just limited to offering the client in-depth technology expertise, but was also extended into the areas of technology support and recommendations.

Engagement Highlights

  • Rich customization that meets specific needs of the customer.
  • Scalable architecture with extreme reliability, even in peak user load.
  • Unmatched enhancements and capabilities to meet high demands of the energy transportation sector.
  • Absolute transparency and clear communication helped this collaboration to be carried on successfully for the last 7 years.