A client approached DMC to develop a document management system to fit their current business process needs. First, this client requested the ability to upload multiple files of varying types (usually email attachments) to a staging area, where they could then be merged. In addition, this merged file needed to be tagged with metadata, such as office location, so it would be properly organized and easily searchable. Lastly, these files are processed by other team members, so they needed to be able to be filled out with more fields/tags when needed.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner with extensive experience and knowledge of SharePoint, DMC decided it would be the most appropriate platform for this solution given its vast capabilities with document handling. Additionally, we were able to save the client tens of thousands of dollars by utilizing SharePoint because it was already included in their Office 365 license—as opposed to paying exorbitant licensing fees for a third-party software to achieve the same functionalities.
Power Automate and SharePoint Framework
SharePoint not only has built-in document management, but allows for far greater customizations through Power Automate flows and SharePoint Framework (SPfX). Power Automate flows automate business processes and even local computer tasks, while SharePoint Framework can utilize custom code to create new list ribbon buttons, web parts, and more. Both tools save time in development and practice without sacrificing customization.
When users upload and select documents to merge in SharePoint, our custom button shows up, which initiates the document-merging process when clicked. Users are first presented with a pop-up, in which they can specify various metadata fields on the newly merged document.
Once the user clicks merge, a request is sent to a .NET API created by DMC and hosted on an Azure app service. This API makes use of the Spire.Office .NET library, which can merge many different Microsoft file types. This Spire.Office library required an initial license purchase, but ultimately saved a great deal of development time—therefore saving money in the long run. Once this file is merged and populated with the metadata selected by the user, it is saved back onto SharePoint.
Once merged, a team member processes the document by filling out more metadata on that SharePoint item, and a Power Automate flow runs when those changes are made. When the document is fully processed, it is marked "completed" and moved to a final library based on its categorization.
Due to the sheer number of documents needed to be processed, DMC decided to store them in separate libraries, but all within the same site. Since these documents are located in various libraries, we created a custom SPfX web part to make searching and sorting these completed documents seamless and intuitive.
Pictured below is the custom web part, which allows users to search based on various column values of the documents, as well apply filters to easily see similar and specific documents. DMC created this web part with React and utilized Microsoft's Fluent UI library to maintain SharePoint's look and feel. DMC’s extensive experience with React development, as well as the need for Fluent UI components and complex filtering/sorting logic made React an easy choice for this solution. Additionally, when making search queries, we used SharePoint's search API.
DMC's extensive technical knowledge of current Microsoft product capabilities and our vast experience implementing these solutions not only saved the client money, but provided them with a comprehensive solution that met all their needs.
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