27 February 2013

SharePoint Phone Message Tracker

I am sure you recognize the scenario where a telephone message is left in a reception that handles the main switchboard. Messages are then delivered to the person who is asked to call back, often in the form of handwritten post-it notes.

In companies with a SharePoint intranet this task can be handled in a much more efficient way. Create an app that takes care of it instead!  In the SharePoint 2013 tutorial below I explain how to do it in.
SharePoint apps icon
Add an app
In SharePoint 2013 everything centers around apps, and creating, activating or installing an app is what you nearly always do to enhance your SharePoint site.

In this case we need to create a custom list app that handles incoming phone calls.

Add info columns to the app
The list app should store important information like the caller's name and telephone number and the name of the person the caller wanted to speak to. We must also know if the call has been returned or not.

Add details in the columns
Now, for each telephone call the receptionist just has to add the name and phone number in the app and define what employee the call was meant for. The employee must have access to the SharePoint site, so that name is already in the system and is completed automatically by SharePoint.

Hide title
By default the new app has a title that must be filled out also, but it is really not necessary in this case. Therefore I also go into the Advanced list settings and show how to hide the title field. Now we have one field less to fill out!

Create views
Finally I create three different views for the list, so that it will be easy to find the information we need. I make one view that only shows the calls that have come in today, one that only shows those that have not been returned and a third view that groups the calls by the person who was called.
SharePoint Phone Messages Grouped By Person Called View apps
Apps from independent software vendors can also be added to SharePoint, and my company, Business Solutions, currently has two apps that are meant solely for SharePoint:

Document Tagger logotype
Document Tagger suggests relevant keywords and metadata for documents in SharePoint document libraries. This app is published in a Beta version.

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotypeKanban Task Manager for SharePoint was released by the end of 2012, and this app helps organizations visualize projects and tasks in SharePoint. Tasks can be dragged and dropped between phases, and the tasks can be filtered for project and responsible.

In organizations with several teams, each team can have their own subsite. All the subsites can have a common navigation on top, so that it will be easy for the management to reach all of them.  I have showed how to create such a site in a "Build intranet" demonstration in the Tips section.

But now, back to the current demo about the phone messages app, which also is published in the Tips section of the website.

I have used the Office 365 version of SharePoint 2013 for this demo, but the idea can be used with other versions of SharePoint also. You are welcome to have a look!

Peter Kalmström
CEO, Business Solutions

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