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Situation

This project was undertaken for a leading business solutions company with over 600 clients, many of whom are FTSE 100 finance, telecoms and media organisations. Their focus is the transformation of IT infrastructure, Business Process Management, Commerce solutions, Mobile solutions, Analytics and Information Management for clients.

The client had worked with their Microsoft Dynamics NAV Partner on an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system for the management of:

  • Core business financials (orders, purchase orders, invoices, ledgers, accruals).
  • CRM (contacts, clients, opportunities).
  • Jobs, tasks, resources, timesheets and scheduling.

It was determined that the Dynamics NAV ERP system could be enhanced by Ballard Chalmers, with the addition of Microsoft SharePoint to manage all of the client’s controlled documents and other production related information needed by their software engineers and project managers. This included critical documents such as framework agreements, contracts, quotations, tender and marketing information and documents used by software engineers, such as specifications, architecture diagrams and test scripts. Finally the bulk of staff needed access to the information in Microsoft Dynamics NAV other than when they filled in their timesheet to gain insight into how well the jobs were going.

Solution

Ballard Chalmers produced a portal on Microsoft SharePoint Online in Office 365 to complement the Dynamics NAV ERP system, which does the following:

  • Automatically extracts the headline information from NAV for clients, jobs and opportunities.
  • Creates a separate SharePoint Server site for each opportunity and job, to be used by sales and production teams to store documents and collaborate. It also displays top level information and KPIs on the job from NAV so the production team knows the status of each job they are working on.
  • Has controlled document libraries and templates for proposals, contracts, framework agreements, purchase orders, Statements of Work, etc.
  • The critical libraries such as Proposals have complex workflows that manage the approval of the documents. For example, depending on value and risk level a proposal needs sign off from 1 to 7 managers before it can be sent to the client.
  • Provides access to business intelligence dashboards providing up to date information on all aspects of the business from sales to production.
  • Provides a knowledge base for departments to use to record information on products and procedures as well as known issues in certain software products.
  • Sales strategy forms for each of the top 100 clients.

Architecturally the system is as follows:

Channel Partner Architecture

The homepage of the site uses the usual Metro Tiles:

Channel Partner Metro Tiles

Outcome

Geoff Ballard, Chief Technical Officer at Ballard Chalmers said, “The addition of SharePoint Server to the existing Dynamics NAV ERP produced a unified portal that marries the full capabilities of these two systems, bringing the business information needed to all members of the organisation online wherever they are; in the office, at home or anywhere.”

About

Ballard Chalmers is one of the UK’s leading enterprise software engineering companies, specialising in development for the Microsoft Enterprise Application Platform. We are principally dedicated to software development and integration for the Microsoft Cloud, as well as on-premises and hybrid systems. Our expertise is in Microsoft .NET, SQL Server, BizTalk Server and SharePoint Server.

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