They’re sometimes some of the first questions potential customers ask us: What’s the difference between ConvergePoint’s compliance management software and out-of-the-box Microsoft SharePoint? Your software is built on SharePoint, so what does your software do and offer that the out-of-the-box functionality does not? Why isn’t what I have now (out-of-the-box SharePoint instance) good enough?
The short answer: Out-of-the-box SharePoint is a platform, not the final product. It’s like an un-started Rube Goldberg project. Your organization has all the pieces and components, which can be configured in a multitude of different ways, but the business-user-friendliness and usefulness of SharePoint ultimately depends on how those components are put together and configured.
Your organization most likely chose to use SharePoint originally because of its great flexibility as a collaboration tool — instead of trying to fit traditional software to your workforce’s processes, build and adapt SharePoint to the way you work. However, all of that flexibility disappears when SharePoint is used with the basic, out-of-the-box functionality only or isn’t configured properly.
How does ConvergePoint software extend your existing SharePoint resources to provide a much more robust, user-friendly platform that closely aligns with your current processes?
With out-of-the-box SharePoint, you often need a SharePoint administrator to help configure, set up and manage SharePoint so it works (for the most part) the way you need it. There’s no manual or instruction booklet to get SharePoint to work just right, so there’s a lot of trial and error.
ConvergePoint software is what we call not necessarily customizable, but instead configurable, meaning it’s: (1) less expensive than a custom solution; (2) ready for use immediately upon deployment, which takes days or weeks, not months; and (3) highly configurable to your processes and needs.
Built with the business user in mind, ConvergePoint software can be configured and modified by your business users, who may have a general familiarity with SharePoint, but not in-depth experience working with it. For example, once trained by our IT support team, business users can easily make changes to workflows themselves. In doing so, we eliminate the time it takes for business users to request a modification to your SharePoint portal from the IT team — now, the business users can make the change themselves, so IT has more time to focus on more important tasks.
Plus, ConvergePoint’s IT support team knows the ins and outs of SharePoint and software, and is available to guide your team through deployment and installation, as well as answer questions that may arise as your team works in the system.
Because they’re both by Microsoft, SharePoint and Active Directory fully integrate with each other, enabling users to easily access the SharePoint portal. ConvergePoint software – for policy management, contract management,employee training, health and safety management, conflict of interest disclosures and case management – takes the basic functionality a step further by enabling you to control and restrict access to specific documents. That way, only the users who need to have access to certain documents are granted access.
From there, use the custom workflows ConvergePoint has built. SharePoint’s canned workflows require processes to be executed in sequential steps, while ConvergePoint software enables your organization to be guided through more complex, dynamic workflows to complete tasks.
Yes, SharePoint offers email notification capabilities, which you would need to set up yourself. ConvergePoint software has already set them up for you — with options to adjust how many emails employees should receive and the frequency of emails. Alerts can be customized and sent out when an employee has a task to be completed, with a link to the specific document he/she needs to look at. No longer do employees have to check the portal every other day to see if they have outstanding tasks.
Most users take advantage of SharePoint for its document storage capabilities — but it can be so much more than just a central location to store files. ConvergePoint’s Policy Management Software and Contract Management Software, for example, capture full audit trails, including version histories, revisions and comments made to documents.
ConvergePoint software doesn’t just show you documents “dumped” into SharePoint; it shows you organized and structured views — see documents in a tree view or organized in folders. Again, permission levels come into play here, ensuring only the people with the right level of access see the right documents.
Perhaps the most used and important feature for users is search. They need to be able to type in a query into a search box that instantly returns relevant, detailed search results. With enhanced search filters and the ability to search by metadata, document type, classification and other key criteria, users can find the information they’re look for faster.