SharpCloud is an interactive data visualisation platform. It differs from and is complimentary to, more traditional MIS and BI platforms that focus on delivering a wide range of charts, graphs and dashboards, by creating a unique experience for the end user. SharpCloud takes you on a journey with the data from your line of business systems, enabling you to present it, edit it, augment it, draw relationships from it and comment on it in real time and in multiple dimensions.
Having a great product and platform is only half the story though and my role as Enterprise Business Solutions Director is to focus on ensuring we have the right guidance and support in place to design and integrate SharpCloud with existing business systems and processes, in the optimum way.
SharpCloud offers a REST (Representational State Transfer) API that can be used to access SharpCloud data using modern web programming tools. REST APIs provide a great deal of flexibility, which is one of their key advantages. The SharpCloud API provides a mechanism for other IT systems to communicate directly with the SharpCloud database via an object model-based interface, and via ETL and workflow tools such as SSIS, Informatica and Microsoft Flow.
Microsoft Flow is a very useful tool for enterprises to automate and integrate business processes from various cloud-based data sources by creating automated workflows that are based on trigger events. Flow is all about automating processes that tend to interrupt your daily workflow so you can work more efficiently - everything from simple push notifications and content management to complex business processes with defined steps and stages.
The value of SharpCloud and Microsoft Flow
Microsoft Flow is ideal for its convenient data sharing abilities. Users can create flows to copy files from one place to another place where others can have access to that data as well. Although Microsoft Flow does focus on connecting Microsoft business tools including Office 365, Dynamics CRM and Power Apps, it has hundreds of connectors and can be used with a wide variety of apps and services including Salesforce, SQL Server, Twitter, Box, DocuSign, Slack, Skype and Google Drive.
SharpCloud is a dynamic and agile data visualisation tool for strategic planning, communication and collaboration. By connecting with Microsoft Flow, SharpCloud will allow you, your colleagues, clients and stakeholders to easily communicate, interact, and collaborate across multiple apps, documents and data in context and in one place. SharpCloud stories can be easily shared with others with edit or view only permissions.
Flow and SharpCloud are easy to use – designed for non-developers, the simplicity of both tools and the small learning curve are a definite advantage over other process automation applications and data visualisation platforms. Together with Microsoft Flow, SharpCloud will bring even more transparency, agility and control to your operational and reporting processes. Data and results are real time and accurate, increasing efficiency and reducing human error. Communication and decision making are more productive.
A great example of the SharpCloud API in use is a two way integration of SharpCloud with SharePoint lists using Microsoft Flow. One of our customers, Arriva, are using SharpCloud to help to visualise and fully understand their SharePoint data.
"We are a big O365 user, everyone uses Teams and SharePoint. SharePoint lists update automatically into our SharpCloud storyboard, so no manual updating is required, making life much easier. It really is seamless. The output is then linked back to SharePoint where the team can collaborate around the SharpCloud storyboard. This means that everyone can view the output even if they don’t have access to SharpCloud. The team is always focused on a live version of the data."
- Steve Warner, Head of Business Intelligence (UK Trains Division), Arriva
SharpCloud brings powerful visual capabilities to the information and benefits include:
- Mapping relationships across the business process (Projects, Risk, Innovation, Roadmapping) to create unique new insights
- Time and cost savings due to automation of regular reporting giving more efficiency and control
- Increase in staff productivity as people work on real business, not creating slide decks and spreadsheets - empowered teams
- Improved data quality - more transparency, agility and accountability brought to operational and reporting processes
Organisations continue to strive for the right tools to help them achieve greater transparency and greater automation and intersection with their business processes. Solutions powered by SharpCloud add value to users at all levels.
In my final blog I’ll be looking at widgets and how they can be embedded into your story views to add new functionality to your story.