Retail Order Fulfillment Solution
Web-based purchasing linked to warehouse order-processing system
Microsoft wanted to demonstrate the flexibility of its software platform for building integrated, complex business solutions that are user-friendly and easy to learn. It needed a proof of concept to illustrate the powerful synergy among Microsoft client and server technologies, external data connectivity, and XML.
The legacy software was found to be the principal cause of code instability and Office incompatibility. Collaborating with Microsoft developers, a 3Sharp team created a working proof of concept that worked with older versions of Microsoft Office while having full compatibility with Office 2010. During the process, 3Sharp partnered with the firm’s internal development staff on both design and implementation of the new code. As a result, the client company stayed deeply involved and assumed ownership of the solution early in process, positioning it to support internal customers after the engagement with 3Sharp ended. The solution was delivered on time and within budget, and continues to be well-received by end users.
3Sharp built a live-code solution, implementing a rich, end-to-end retail fulfillment scenario. Using SharePoint 2010, ASP.NET, Visual Studio and SharePoint Designer workflows, programmability aspects of Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Office Communicator 2007 R2, Word 2010, and InfoPath 2010, the solution shows a customer submitting an order for a product from an online store. The demonstration then follows the entire business process, from assigning the order to a warehouse agent, to picking the actual products off the shelf and completing the order form, handling order substitutions, and generating receipts.
- The first aspect of the solution is a public facing web site, which shows off a custom master page and integration with line of business systems to highlight products that can be purchased.
- Next, a custom workflow built with Visual Studio and SharePoint Designer converts the order into an InfoPath payload, then locates an available warehouse agent using presence information from Office Communications Server 2007 R2. The workflow sends an instant message to the warehouse agent and includes a custom window with details about the customer’s order. Once the agent accepts the job, the workflow assigns the task to her and opens the form in InfoPath.
- The InfoPath form provides integration with the inventory system, plus custom business logic to handle contingencies like order substitutions.
- When the order is finalized, the workflow uses the Open XML SDK to generate a Word document receipt.
- Complete business process solution is built using core Microsoft platform technologies with minimal custom code.
- Integration into line of business data systems.
- Ease of use, as all capabilities are implemented in familiar Microsoft Office programs.
Disclaimer: The solution and benefits described in this case study demonstrate a software proof of concept created by 3Sharp. The business need scenario describes Contoso, a fictitious company created by Microsoft Corporation for demonstration purposes.
- Microsoft® SharePoint® 2010 (custom master pages and Team sites with workflows)
- Microsoft Word 2010 (Backstage programmability)
- Open XML SDK (using workflows to convert Word documents into PDF customer invoices)
- Microsoft InfoPath 2010 (integrating with inventory systems, workflows, etc.)
- Office Communications Server 2007 R2
- Office Communicator 2007 R2
- Microsoft Visual Studio® 2010