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SharePoint Blog

September 08
SharePoint and Apps are NOT Mutually Exclusive

SharePoint is such a powerful service and yet there are so many negative things consultants, your own employees, trade magazines say you cannot do without significant infrastructure and cost.  Things like mobile SharePoint, branding SharePoint, and building a true mobile app utilizing SharePoint data.  While there is some truth in all three, I am focusing in on the SharePoint App.  I am here to share with you two ways in which you could build a SharePoint App without the significant cost and infrastructure. 

The first question I always encounter is:  Why even create an mobile app?  Here are some of the objections I hear as a consultant and as someone who has a broad network of both business and developer people.

There are enough Apps in this world cluttering up our phones and tablets.  The cost of creating and rolling out an App is astronomical (Averages range anywhere from 15k to 150K).  Our customers and employees will not even use it.

It’s hard to argue with the above but to play devil’s advocate, look at your phone/tablet.  What App do you use regularly and why?  What are the trends going forward and as a business how do you reach millennials either as an employer and consumer.  

I believe it boils down to three objectives:  Creating value, creating a convenient way to communicate with your audience, and establishing a focused purpose.

There is plenty written on the why.  Today I am honing in on your SharePoint data and a focused purpose.   This takes the conversation from “do I need an App?” to “what data to I want to display, collect through a mobile device?”

Here are two methods you can use to build an App without skyrocketing cost and infrastructure.

1. SharePoint and Nintex Enterprise Mobile

In July at the Partner Conference, Nintex announced Enterprise Mobile.  You can read about it here.

This is special.  If you have Nintex Enterprise Mobile let’s state the obvious – you have SharePoint!  Using this tool you can create a branded mobile App that your employees and/or customers can use.

Think about the cost savings of this.  Nintex is very simple to use, you may already own Nintex, that further reduces the learning curve, and now you can integrate your SharePoint data into an App.  An App that runs on the platform(s) of your choice.

Here is what I find compelling – you choose the platform of your choice and have to do ZERO coding.  That’s right no learning Objective-C, Swift, Visual Studio, and a multitude of other languages/methods to create a mobile App.  If you are a manager tasked with delivering a mobile app utilizing SharePoint data this means you do not have to hire a special resource (App Developer) who has special knowledge which translates to a higher salary/bill rate.

What is you do not have Nintex and do not want to purchase it, how else could you do this?

2. SharePoint and Kentico

SharePoint at the core is a Content Management Service.  It provides a way for data to get in, get organized, and consumed.  It has been embraced because it is efficient, easy enough to use and get up and running.  

Kentico is a Content Management Platform.  It is a vendor of Note on the Gartner Magic Quadrant in this space.  Kentico has been around since 2003 as a business and is quickly gaining name recognition.  When creating public sites with this software, there is no proprietary code, it is all HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.  Tools which all UI and developers should are familiar.

From a user perspective, it is very easy to use.  For example, here is a screenshot of the user interface:

peter9815.PNG

Tiles.  An easy paradigm for your content managers to understand and utilize.  Security trimmed tasks that are pertinent to them so they are not overwhelmed by that which they should not be concerned.  To learn more, please register and attend our complimentary Lunch and Learn event on Kentico here.

Utilizing Kentico you can build a cost efficient web App that renders perfectly on any mobile device.  What is an App when you break it down?  It is a “store” for content.  That’s it, that simple.

The key to Kentico’s integration with SharePoint is through its SharePoint Connector.  Using this object, a content editor can send data to Kentico.   In reverse, a consumer/employee can send data seamlessly through Kentico right into SharePoint.

Think about this.  There is no exposed data that you do not want exposed.  The connector handles the authentication/authorization with Kentico so only users who are granted access can publish.  No one ever touches the public site physically.  This is a win-win.

The common denominator between both methods is that you do not have to write specialized code to have your App render on the device of your choice.  This immediately provides a benefit to the ROI when making a decision on how to build an App.

To find out more information, please feel free to contact us, contact me (peter.serzo@protiviti.com), and check out the links in the article.







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