The “Microsoft Cloud”
A multi-player in this relatively young cloud-based world is Microsoft with its “Microsoft Cloud”. The basis for this is Microsoft Azure. It provides the necessary infrastructures, storage and databases as well as security, administration and governance and various platform services. Azure thus provides the basic cloud infrastructure.
Building on this, Microsoft provides the Dynamics 365 ERP and CRM applications Business Central (BC), Finance & Supply Chain Management (FSCM) and Customer Engagement (CE) as Software as a Service (SaaS). The user no longer has to worry about the operation of these solutions.
Microsoft 365 services such as Office 365, the Power Platform, Teams and SharePoint add to the wide range of possible applications. A new addition and ever stronger focus in the meantime is the topic “Turn content into knowledge”. This refers to the provision of AI solutions, represented by Microsoft Syntex, Viva and Topics.
The connectivity of the different solutions / services is established via the Power Platform. Hundreds of connectors from Microsoft and its partners are already available as standard. The “Power Automate” module can be used to set up automated workflows for the exchange of data and tasks and help to optimise business processes. Based on the “Power Apps”, simple applications for business-relevant processes can be created in a low-code process. The data collected in the process can then be evaluated via “Power BI” reports and visualised in an appealing way for the user.
Microsoft Content Services
The entirety of Microsoft 365 applications, consisting of Power Platform, Office 365, SharePoint, AI, and parts of the Azure platform, among others, can be described as “Microsoft Content Services”. More specifically, Content Services is the “aggregation of Microsoft 365 cloud services for managing documents and their data as the basis for document-centric processes.” This means that the Microsoft Cloud provides ECM basic technologies (platform, server and software) without the user having to set up his own infrastructure or install software.
For the implementation of many simple DMS/ECM requirements, these basic functionalities of the “Microsoft Content Services” are completely sufficient and these can be implemented and introduced very quickly and mostly at low cost. On the other hand, it is not as easy for every company to build specialised, subject- or industry-specific solutions individually “in-house” in this way. Nor does Microsoft itself offer such solutions.
The Shareflex product suite – Complex business applications for Microsoft 365
The third-party software “Shareflex”, however, offers exactly that: “Ready-made DMS/ECM solutions” in the form of standardised business applications based on Microsoft 365. Compared to individual developments, it offers users immense advantages. For example, the “resources” factor often plays a decisive role.
Building individual solutions is very time-, cost- and know-how-intensive. By relying on third-party software, this factor is eliminated. Furthermore, the standardised Shareflex business applications also take into account factors such as maintainability, upgrade security and mass data suitability. In addition, audit security is ensured at all times, as the applications operate in the powerful Microsoft 365 environment, which is, among other things, very strongly positioned in the area of “compliance”.
The Shareflex ECM Online product suite currently includes four solutions: Shareflex Contract, Shareflex Documents, Shareflex Invoice and Shareflex Quality Documents. Thematically, the focus is on document and file management, contract management, incoming invoice processing and quality management / document control and their integration into the existing ERP / CRM systems. All applications can be used individually or in combination.
All documents always and everywhere available
With Shareflex and the Software-as-a-Service model in Microsoft 365, all digital files, contracts and other documents are available anytime, anywhere. Shareflex fits seamlessly into the Microsoft 365 service architecture and can be combined with the standard ECM functions of Microsoft Content Services at any time. It is especially important for us as a manufacturer of Shareflex that the product interface of our solutions is also visually designed in such a way that it provides the users with a clear added value. By following the Microsoft design, users are in their familiar environment. This gives them a better user experience and a more user-friendly interface at the same time. This makes the applications intuitive and easy to use.
Crises like Corona have shown that it pays to move to cloud-based applications and go digital. Contracts, invoices and documents can be accessed anytime and anywhere, making it much easier to work remotely. If a Microsoft 365 strategy is already in place in the company, standardised applications such as Shareflex can help move quickly and efficiently with digitisation and drive companies forward. And they do so without having to invest a great deal of their own resources.
Hamburg, 04 August 2022
Author: Sara Glöckner
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