HarePoint is anxious to offer our best wishes to you this holiday season and to thank you for the collaboration over the previous year. As in the past, we have worked on improving our existing products and creating new ones, and we very much hope that our efforts have not been in vain. We stand behind our HarePoint branded products and strive to achieve satisfaction among users.
We welcome your feedback, especially constructive criticism, as it is one of the main ways we learn about what is lacking in our products and a channel for development proposals. Positive feedback about our work is also important, since it shows that we are moving in the right direction and we are happy to get the encouragement! The list of changes and new functions for each product is long, but in this message we want to highlight some of the improvements made in our main projects.
HarePoint product highlight from 2017
This is our largest project and has been ongoing since 2008. It is our flagship. Even at the ripe age of 10 years, a project this size still has many places to improve and features to add, as user expectation and needs grown. Our goal is to meet those needs as closely as we can.
Among the many changes done in 2017, we would like to emphasize one important option that helps expand the collection of data by using any field from a SharePoint User Profile or Active Directory. Throughout the product’s history until now, customizing the collection of data had been available only to us, the developers – users could not make changes to the data sources. But in 2017, we reworked the data collection engine and now users have the option to choose any additional fields from SharePoint User Profile and AD from data about users can be collected. So, some clients now have the option to include data about sub-departments or the office of the users in question, others will want to show the managers under whom site visitors work, etc.
For client, HarePoint Analytics is foremost a tool for easy visualization of statistical data, so it’s not surprising that each new version of the product includes new reports and new types of data added to existing reports. Many of these changes are driven by feedback from customers like you. So, in 2017, we significantly expanded the set of farm level reports, enriched search reports with more data, improved the method for distinguishing between downloads and document views, and revamped the diagnostic utility for the current working state of all product components. The work done was truly massive and we hope very much that our clients and partners will judge the impact of it positively (or constructively!).
The first product introduced for the SharePoint platform that allows creation of an efficient system for receiving and processing incoming support requests is still unique in many ways. It was released in 2012 and since then hundreds of users around the world have come to appreciate the functionality and convenience of HarePoint HelpDesk, and we in turn are constantly working on improving the product, adding new features, relying both on user feedback and on current trends in helpdesks and service desks.
One of the most important and anticipated improvements in the product is the addition of a basic Knowledge Base functionality. With the KB articles, users can get information relevant to these questions immediately. This can reduce workload. Technicians can also create special articles that are not available to users.
Among other important improvements, we would like to point out the optimized and improved processing of email-based support requests (customization for e-mail notification, advanced email parsing). We added convenient sorting and filtering for the search results - this provides the capability to find requested information faster. Finally, the latest version of the product presented this December contains efficient an diagnostics tool that simplifies 'on the fly' monitoring, diagnostics and resolving of the most common issues which may occur during the product installation or operation.
Again we want to emphasize the importance of customer feedback since it has been critical in most of the improvements made to the product, making it more useful and complete. A good example of this is the improvement concerning email-based requests – many users prefer to assign questions and receive support via email, with no visit of a site, no login, no forms, etc.
This popular and essential ‘builder’ for workflows to automate business and IT processes of any level of complexity received dozens of new actions, so that now there are more than 300 custom activities in 19 different groups.
The most important news of the whole year concerns our new workflow solution with the same functionality - HarePoint Workflow Manager Extensions. This product is fully compatible with the Workflow 2013 platform and can be used in either SharePoint 2013 or 2016 on-premise. The first public release version offers 185 actions and conditions for workflow creation, but this is just the beginning.
What's coming in HarePoint products in 2018?
The HarePoint team is a cohesive and energetic team that does not want to dwell on the successes achieved and strives to take the leading position in the market of solutions for SharePoint, both on-premise and online. And we want to share our plans for the next year, because we know that some of the items are really going to be welcome!
HarePoint Analytics for SharePoint
In 2018, we plan to bring this product to a new functional level. Following the expansion of the functionality of SharePoint itself, we plan to add a new category of reports for SharePoint Social Features. This will allow us to analyze not only the activity of visitors, but also report on users’ evaluation of content by capturing data on Likes, following, rating and comments in worksheets and webpages.
But this is not the most significant expansion of the functionality, it is only a typical extension of the set of reports. The new level that HarePoint Analytics will reach in 2018 is the addition of the ability to compare data of different time periods and create shared comparative reports! We know that this functionality will make our clients a lot happier, as it will reduce the amount of routine work and save time preparing the reports.
HarePoint HelpDesk for SharePoint
An important component of any helpless service is the evaluation of the work done through the system itself - its quality and volume. Management should be able to find and understand data that reflects the effectiveness of the support service, because its success is one of the key factors of customer satisfaction.
HelpDesk has a set of reports to evaluate and demonstrate the effectiveness of support services, assess the quality of the work of individual technicians, and to analyse incoming requests. These reports can be viewed in the system itself or received in scheduled emails.
But the issue is that the presented reports have little flexibility concerning custom fields added by the user -- the data from these fields cannot be displayed in the product reports. So the first point of our roadmap is to provide the customizable reports that allow users to manage the data and display exactly what they want to see.
The other general direction is mobile compatibility. We are always taking into account the expansion of mobile technologies and its importance for the modern business – since 2016 HarePoint HelpDesk has contained a mobile version of solution's web part that allows users to send their requests via mobile interfaces. In 2018, we will expand the mobile support by adding of a 'mobile-view' version of the technician dashboard that allows technicians to access the product's full functionality for the processing of requests right from a mobile device.
HarePoint Workflow Extensions for SharePoint
First of all, we will continue adding new activities for the both on-premises solutions - for Workflow 2010 and 2013 platforms. Our users will obtain more and more tools for workflow development with each new version of the products.
Secondly, we will release the fully-functional version of Workflow Extensions for Office 365 (SharePoint Online) that supports building of workflows run in Azure in the most convenient manner. The beta-version of this solution has been around for a long time, and it has provided us a lot of useful information in developing the public version of this product.
But it's not all product news for 2018!
HarePoint Workflow Designer both for SharePoint Online and for on-premise will be released in early 2018. This advanced alternative to SharePoint Designer allows you to create workflows directly in your browser in a user-friendly graphical interface with a range of features! Use the Workflow Designer with our Workflow Extension solutions and you’ll get a complete, high-efficient infrastructure for the convenient development of SharePoint workflows.
And surely we are going to meet the upcoming Office 2019 release and present you with compatible versions of our key solutions immediately!
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