Mobile-Enabling Your SharePoint Forms and Workflow Applications

This post describes how to build an employee on-boarding workflow solution on SharePoint with some new twists.

The employee on-boarding process starts with the submission of an Employee Change Request form by the Hiring Manager. Based upon information captured in the form, multiple tasks are then assigned to various roles in the organization:

  • The Department VP is tasked with approving the Employee Change Request
  • The Facilities Manager must ensure an office space is assigned in the appropriate location in the building
  • The HR Manager ensures that the HR systems are updated with new or changed employee information
  • The IT Manager is required to set up access to necessary systems such as the network, email, VPN etc.

In our current business world replete with smartphones and tablets, the participants in such a workflow have the expectation that they can complete their assigned tasks using their mobile device. This “consumerization of IT” as it is known, sometimes has expectations of technological capability in the business space leading reality. Happily, today we can elegantly fulfill this expectation.

In our example scenario, the tasks sent to the Department VP, Facilities Manager, HR Manger, and IT Manager are all designed once and automatically rendered for the requesting device whether it be a Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad, Android or laptop browser. The image below shows the IT Manager task rendered on an iPhone. The task form provides the provisioning information to the IT Manager and allows entry of information required to complete the task, all directly from the hand-held device.

Once this task form is completed and submitted, the SharePoint workflow status is updated and the workflow continues to the next step.

Throughout the on-boarding process, the status of the request is tracked and notifications are sent to the appropriate team members. Once all assigned tasks are completed, the on-boarding process is completed and the company is ready for the employee’s first day at work.

The underlying technology that allows for this mobile-enablement of SharePoint forms is Nintex Forms 2010. This SharePoint add-on provides a drag and drop, browser-based form designer and the ability to preview the forms on different device layouts before publishing. These forms can then be consumed on multiple platforms and devices, including browsers, smart phones and tablets. Nintex Forms 2010 also integrates seamlessly with Nintex Workflow 2010 to allow for customizing workflow task forms, which allow companies to automate business processes and deliver rich SharePoint applications.

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