Many people aren't aware that SharePoint can be much more than just an intranet or document management system (DMS). It's a large toolkit that can be adapted to solve many business problems and drive fundamental business processes.
We have recently been working with a company called Moving Made Easy (MME). They help house builders to sell their properties, by assisting their customers with the sale of their existing homes.
Their business value is provided through the process of selling properties. Any efficiencies that can be introduced into this process immediately affect their bottom line, and also the value to their customers.
MME asked us to help them make better use of their new Office 365 setup and replace their aging property management system.
Although, we spend a lot of time delivering Wizdom intranets these days, we also relish any opportunity to build custom business portals and applications on SharePoint. So, it's fair to say that we bit their hand off.
Replicate then innovate
Given how critical their current property management system was to their business, the first thing that we had to do was make sure that everything the current system did was understood and, at the very least, replicated in the new system.
To do this we ran a discovery process that involved understanding both the logical processes as well as the technical detail of their existing database and datasets.
We often get asked to make things "Future proof". In practice it's difficult to anticipate business changes coming down the line. However, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the risks here:
1. Build on a platform that is being continually updated and is evolving
2. Build on a platform that has a large community of developers who can work with it
3. Avoid too much customisation – stick to configuring the existing features where ever possible
With these considerations in mind, we developed their new deal management system on SharePoint Online.
SharePoint handles the user profiles and permissions, as well as the document and data storage. We built a custom interface for the account managers to keep track of all their property deals – leveraging SharePoint search for property lookups etc.
SharePoint search provides an efficient way to interrogate a large set of data (deals or customers etc.)
The improved interface and automated features (including integration with the Land Registry database) mean a huge uplift in the productivity of the MME account managers. The new system saves them so much time that they can handle three times the number of deals that they could when using the old system.
As well as Land Registry data, the system also integrates with Google Maps and Street View and fetches information about the property automatically
Dashboards and reports
In addition to the core system, we have also used Power BI to provide management and customers with a real time view of important data including the number of close deals in the week and contact reports showing the details of all property valuations and viewings.
The dashboard allows account managers to quickly access their latest and favourited deals and records
Rather than just standing still, we are now working with our customer to continually evolve and add to the capabilities of the system as part of an ongoing contract. This allows us to constantly refine the system and ensure that it delivers more and more value to the business.
All property valuations are stored in the system and the sales process that follows is fully modelled