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Old 12-01-2012, 06:44 AM   #1
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Default Sharepoint sever

We are in the process of moving our Management software to a state approved web based system. We work in child welfare and most of our contact with families are in their home. Currently everyone has desktops at the office go out take notes and comeback and enter their contacts. Not very efficient.

The state has recently given use several computers like these

Our IT dept has not set them up to be able to use the tablet function ans print any documents. We have had this discussion several times. I can access my desktop at the office over a VPN, but I can't use the tablet functions while I am doing it. The big advantage of the tablets is the familes can sign the documents right on the computer. If I do that I can't print because IT doesn't have that set up.

So fast forward, I am becoming the point man for the new system I attend my first regional meeting in January. I have yet to see the new system and we have no documentation so to speak. I am going to a neighboring to check out the system to get a very basic knowledge of how it works. In the next year and half our lease on our desktop computers will be up and will need to be replaced.

The more portable the computer is the better it is for the Caseworkers. Which got me thinking about Chromebooks or something along the lines of Ipads or MS-Surface tablets. The key is the need to use MS-Word and excel. I can do this with Office web apps, and it has to be MS-Office, google docs doesn't work. I can do this with a Sharepoint server, I would rather not host it myself because I do not have the staff to do that, I would have to contract that out. There are concerns for confidentiality as well in this process and I would be support about 25 users.

How workable is this on a reasonable budget, I am just getting into the nuts and bolts of this and am just trying to get some background. I am a Social Worker by profession, and a wanna be computer geek (I do run Linux at home). Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 12-01-2012, 08:00 AM   #2
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So, I'm a little unclear. You have documents that your caseworkers will need people to sign in the field and you'll want to upload those into Sharepoint, correct? Do you have an application or add-in to Word which facilitates the process of signing documents, etc., or is it just standalone Word?

The main concern would be security and confidentiality, as if the documents contain certain information, they're subject to certain privacy laws. Also, you don't really say what you want to do with the documents once they're in Sharepoint. Are you merely storing them there or do you need workflows, custom metadata, etc?
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:14 AM   #3
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The tablet have the function build into them to use a stylus and sign documents. The chromebooks would not have this function. ipads and surface tablets I am not sure if i would have this function. I am just learning some of this.

The way I understand it I would be able to host Microsoft office Apps on the sharepoint server allowing me to use the tablets or chromebooks with MS-office The main things we use word for are Family service plans, and releases so the we can get information from other agencies. We are governed by the HIPPA laws for privacy so the documents have to be secure and everybody in the organization needs to be able access them.

Currently we take paper FSPs out to the clients have them sign them come back to the office make copies and then mail them. Using the tablets would allow me to make changes on the spot and have them sign them.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:02 PM   #4
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If I were you I would look into Office 365 - http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/offic...nt-online.aspx Their "E2" plan seems like it would suit what you're trying to do. Most hosted Sharepoint providers don't provide Office Web Apps alongside their usual Sharepoint offerings. Most, if not all hosting companies provide security safeguards that are in line with HIPAA requirements so that shouldn't be an issue. They also handle backups and the retention of said backups - also a stringent HIPAA standard.

The biggest issue you will probably have is with the signatures. If you want them to actually use a stylus to sign the document I'm pretty sure that you can do that through Office Web Apps - it's not as though you are actually working in an instance of Word where the input of the stylus is detected by the touchscreen. You COULD have them type their name on a document as a sort of digital signature (as you might do on online tax forms) but you would have make sure that's handled properly from a legal perspective and general usefulness.

The most important thing you can do right now is go to the organization that is currently using the system and ask them exactly how they do it. Find out what they like and dislike and what they would do differently next time if given the chance. Also, think of it from a workflow perspective: What do I need to be able to do? What do the families need to be able to do? Input (keyboard, etc.)? Output (printers)?

There are a lot of fairly minor things to keep in mind that you may overlook. For instance, in Sharepoint you have the ability to do 'Explorer View' for files where instead of having to manipulate the files through a web interface (upload/download) you can open up the folder structure as you would in Windows. It makes the manipulation of files (especially multiple files) infinitely easier with that ability to copy/paste and drag/drop files - however, this only works in IE not Firefox, Chrome or Safari. Sharepoint has a lot of little 'gotchas' but it's a great platform if used in the correct way.

Ideally, you should work with your IT department to see what they have to say. It sounds like the workflow aspect is just as if not more important than the technical aspect so you need to get together and make sure you communicate effectively.
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:23 AM   #5
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Thanks for the information, it is very helpful. Finally got a look at the new system when I visited a neighboring county. I may not need MS-Web apps. Most of the the forms and letters are built into the system, and I can add county specific forms as well. That will alleviate the need for Word and excel for the most part. IF we need to use Word and excel there would be options at the office for that.

I need to keep the computers as lite as possible so people take them and use them in the field. They will be equiped with cell modems, or if they use tablets have it built in. Verizon's web site says they support Linux with there cell modems, I wonder if that includes chromebooks or similar devices running android. Will have to do more exploring. I probably have a year to come up with a desktop replacement plan, and I currently have 7 convertiable laptops to use in the mean time.
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