Davidson Morris Solicitors came to Felinesoft with an idea to create a website which would allow their customers to complete an online form; the completion of this form would then produce a document that could be reviewed by a qualified solicitor before being sent back to the client. The goal was to create a system that quickly delivered detailed and accurate reports with as little human interaction as possible, thus saving time and staffing costs.
The business of handling immigration and visa applications involves fixed processes and Davidson Morris’ business processes were naturally document-centric. At the time of commissioning this project they were already using SharePoint 2003 as a basic document management system, so integrating their SharePoint system with the new online questionnaire was a key functionality
The website was to consist of a single product, the immigration report. Once a customer chooses to purchase the immigration report, their credit card details are taken and the card transaction processed. The customised online questionnaire was developed by Felinesoft using .Net technology with SQL server and SharePoint.
With the purchase complete, the customer is granted access to the Immigration Management Zone (IMZ) where they can complete the questionnaire; once completed, a report is generated in MS Word. Completion of the online questionnaire produces two lists, one of the customers/ users’ details, and one of the questionnaire results. The documents are created in .docx format and then inserted into SharePoint using SharePoint Web Services. A customised SharePoint Workflow was then created to handle the document processing. The SharePoint Workflow sends an alert by email to the Resource Allocator each time a new item is added to the list. So, whenever a new customer fills in the online questionnaire, the appointed administrator is notified to assign the document to a junior member of staff. Once the junior member of staff sets the status to complete, the SharePoint Workflow pushes the document for review by a senior member of staff. Once set to sign-off by them it is automatically emailed to the client. In cases where the document is complex a document workspace is created for group collaboration on the document. The SharePoint personal site is configured to show each individual user their lists of tasks and assigned documents.
The integration of SharePoint with the customised online questionnaire was the easiest and most cost-efficient method of storing and uploading the documents which were created by the online system. As stated earlier, the major goal of this project was to minimize the interaction between Davidson Morris staff and their customers while maintaining high standards of service. Therefore, the customisation of the questionnaire and the integration to their existing SharePoint system were integral to the success of this project. The automation had to be made smooth enough to allow a large percentage of the documents to be accepted first time by the solicitor, and this in turn would ensure that margins remain high along with customer satisfaction. By working through the complex nature of the visa application administration carried out by Davidson Morris Solicitors we were able to streamline their business processes and successfully automated their document management through SharePoint integration.