The future of no-code and low-code solutions

Take a look into the record of our webinar and get to know:

  • important requirements for no-code/low-code solution platforms
  • which UI components (forms) and BPM components (Workflows) play in making that choice
  • how do mobile and cross-platform fit in the whole story.

If you do have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

webinar Recording Video:

  

Migration from Lotus Notes to SharePoint - easy with skybow - Part 4

In the first three chapters I introduced you into the development of a "Request for leave" solution and began to show you how it can be easily migrated from Lotus Notes. Here we talked about "Data Modelling", the "User Interface" and "Data Processing". Today I want to discuss with you the last step - "Reporting" - and bring our whole journey to a conclusion.

 

Reporting:

Once the data has been entered, the next step is processing. With skybow Solution Accelerators, this is done through actions, stages, and expressions. Reporting is the last bit in the solution usage cycle. SharePoint itself does not offer any reporting capabilities. SQL Server Reporting services can be used for complex reporting, and BI dashboards can be used for visualizations, but simple reporting based on SharePoint data is not possible out of the box.

One of the things skybow offers is automated document generation, as an action (regardless of manual, conditional, or scheduled), with the possibility of parsing and evaluating skybow expressions. This enables full-fledged reporting based on SharePoint data. For the “Request for leave” use case, we can create a report with all company-wide, or department-wide, approved requests as a Word or PDF document, and send it each Friday evening to the CEO as a scheduled action. It sounds simple , and it is – this is the power that skybow Solution Accelerators offer in the reporting space. Since Word is a tool that everyone can use, creating and modifying reports is extremely easy. Through the expressions, which can be built directly in Word template fields, a lot of automated calculations can be done in those reports.

Conclusion:

skybow Solution Accelerators are an end-to-end solution development platform on SharePoint. The “Request for leave” use case that we took as an example here, with two-step management approval, a decent UI, and management reporting, would take two to three men/weeks for a skilled SharePoint developer, plus the whole testing/deployment cycle. With skybow Solution Accelerators, we are talking about hours. And this is the major benefit of skybow Solution Accelerators: development, deployment, and change response times are decreased by 85% percent in most cases. When we speak about the ALM cycle, this refers to those areas where benefits are greatest and cost savings are enormous.

With SharePoint Server, you can replace the core functionalities of Lotus Notes. With skybow Solution Accelerators, the missing piece – Lotus Notes-based solutions – can also be painlessly transitioned to SharePoint.

. 

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Migration from Lotus Notes to SharePoint - easy with skybow - Part 3

In the first two chapters I introduced you into the development of a "Request for leave" solution and began to show you how it can be easily migrated from Lotus Notes. Here we talked about "Data Modelling" and the "User Interface". Today I want to discuss with you the next step - Data Processing.

 

Data Processing:

Once the data has been entered, the next step is processing. With skybow Solution Accelerators, this is done through actions, stages, and expressions.

To get back to our “Request for leave” solution: after the request has been entered, a few things need to happen.

An email must be sent to the superior, informing her about a new request for leave. If, by some chance, the superior has not processed the request, a summary mail with all pending requests will be sent as a reminder the following Monday. Once the superior indicates initial approval of the request, there might be an additional check – preferably automated – to ensure that not more than a certain number of people from the same department can take a leave at the same time. After that, it all has to go to the HR department for further processing.

During that process, the employee should be informed of the status of the request – whether it has been approved, sent to HR, or declined. skybow Solution Accelerators help you to fully automate this process. We differ between three different types of actions: link (manual) actions, conditional actions, and scheduled actions. Link actions are triggered manually, by clicking on a link or button. The set of actions that can be performed is very exhaustive: starting a workflow, adding, updating, or deleting data, sending emails, creating report documents …

If all this is not enough, a web service can be called, or a PowerShell script can be executed. If even that is not enough, custom code can be plugged in. Actions are driven by powerful skybow Expression Language, which enables all kinds of data manipulation. This way, practically every imaginable processing is possible with that data.

Besides link actions, there are also conditional actions, and scheduled actions. Conditional actions are executed if something happens in your solution – like sending that email to the superior after the request for leave has been submitted. Scheduled actions are performed in exact time intervals – like sending that summary leave request report every Monday.

By combining those three types of actions, and expressions that can be used within these actions, a powerful clockwork of background data processing is achieved, which enables enterprises to build truly powerful solutions. Based on the conditions mentioned above, there is something we call “stages.” Stages are visual representations of the current state of the process, which helps users to identify what to do next. Throughout the different stages of this “Request for Leave” solution, we will want to show the current status of the request to the user.

. 

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skybow Solution Studio - Anyone can build business apps on SharePoint

Modern business apps for SharePoint Online have to be client-side, quickly adapted to business changes, hybrid-enabled, able to fully interact with SharePoint data and information but to be managed centrally.

skybow Solution Studio is a web-based, easy to use and powerful environment for the development of modern business apps for SharePoint Online (Office 365). It is a complete, fully-featured authoring environment, which enables users to create client-side solutions which can consume and operate SharePoint data and context information.

In this webinar Adis and me give you an inside of the Solution Studio and show you how easy it is to build business apps and create business logic on SharePoint - online and without programming.

Webinar Recording Video:

 

Questions & answers

 

Jesus from Spain was asking if it is possible to copy a business app from one site to another?

This will be one of the next features we are currently working on to package and publish an app. With this functionality you are even able to update an existing app with additional functionality in the future.

 

Jesus from Spain was also asking if the Solution Studio is working with new SharePoint Framework SPFx or if there is a roadmap for things like this?

Currently we do not support the new SharePoint Framework and modern pages, therefore Solution Studio will switch to the classic view automatically. We are aware of this topic and will definitely support it as soon as it is technically possible.

You can find our Roadmap of Solution Studio in the skybow community:
https://my.skybow.com/community/community/sp-online/product-roadmap

 

Another question from Jesus was, if it is possible to create a lookup to a list which is located in another site collection or to work with external list?

Currently there is no support for cross site collection lookups and external lists (at least not to modify their forms). But this would be a good idea to post and vote for in the skybow community:
https://my.skybow.com/community/community/sp-online/ideas

 

 

Marcel from Germany was asking, how we can guarantee the same permission of the dossier to the connected list items?

Permissions are not yet configurable, but we are working on a simple way to make them automatically applied based on a rule set. 

 

Florian from Germany was asking, what are payment possibilities?

Simply pay the finished app using your credit card (MasterCard/Visa) whether monthly or yearly and therefore make it accessible to others.

 

Önder from Switzerland was wondering about the performance of the skybow List View Search in a list with thousands of entries.

If the indexing is configured correctly, it is performing really good on large lists. Please follow the guidlines from Microsoft:
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Manage-large-lists-and-libraries-in-SharePoint-b8588dae-9387-48c2-9248-c24122f07c59 

 

Microsoft PowerApps and Flow for business users

Microsoft has presented a new way for creating mobile and responsive user interfaces – PowerApps and Flow. Data-bound mobile apps, connectivity to SharePoint, responsive web apps, in a matter of minutes; now that’s a promise! In this session, we will present PowerApps and Flow – what is it, which benefits does it bring for businesses and the users, what can it offer, what are the limitations. All that with a live demo: we are going to create a mobile app – from the business user perspective – from scratch.

Just Click here to Download the Slides 

 

Webinar Recording Video:

 

Gregory from Switzerland has asked if Powerapps can connect to SharePoint on premise?

Yes, through the On-premises data gateway, the same one that PowerBI uses to connect to on-prem data. 

 

Gregory asked again, if Powerapps connect to office Graph?

not yet, since PowerApps cannt pass AAD Authentication Tokens to the Graph API.

 

The next question was, what is the best place to store PowerApps data if I need record level permission, or is this not a well supported feature yet?

The best option is still SharePoint Online lists, since Common Data Model (CDM) does not support granular permissions management. 

 

The next question was about Skybow Rich Forms, to they automatically scale to mobile views?

The answer is yes, if they are built that way (with horizontal and vertical groups), and if SharePoint that host the forms is made responsive.

 

Alistair from South Africa said - awesome stuff. Thank you for being with us, Alistair.

 

Migration from Lotus Notes to SharePoint - easy with skybow - Part 2

Data Modelling:

Data structuring in SharePoint works in a similar manner to Lotus Notes: through lists and document libraries, which can be connected through so-called lookup fields. What skybow Solution Accelerators add to that is fine data structuring, master–slave relations, intelligent data filtering, aggregation, and validations. We in skybow call these “Case files.”

With “Case files,” you can easily model data structures needed for the “Request for Leave” solution: list of employees, their superiors, their requests, and request approvals or rejections. With skybow Solution Accelerators, you are able to define totals and aggregates on that data immediately, so enterprises can know right away how many requests for leave have been submitted, the approval rate, the number of requests still awaiting approval, etc.

The best part is that skybow Solution Accelerators do not mess with the data, do not leave any “dirt,” and do not include third-party systems. Everything is stored in SharePoint, and all the customizations are done in appropriate SharePoint structures – easy to understand, migrate, and manipulate.

 

User Interface:

Once data structures and data model have been created, the next step is creating the user interface for the solution. The user interface is the first thing that users see, and it is one of the decisive factors in solution adoption and acceptance. For that “Request for leave” use case, users will need data entry forms for entering their leave requests. SharePoint offers linear entry forms out of the box, which is not always the most convenient way. Grouping the fields, separating them by tabs, and making fields visible, or enabled, based on the current user’s role, would be a much better way – to fill that gap, this is where skybow Solution Accelerators come into use.

Visual indication of the number of days that can be requested for leave, as well as form validation that would prevent a user from requesting more days than she is entitled to, would further increase the solution adoption and acceptance, and decrease unnecessary processing steps. While this is not easy to achieve with out-of-the-box SharePoint functionality, it is fairly easy with skybow Solution Accelerators: user interfaces can be well designed, dynamic, and helpful to the user in every possible way.

 

You want to read the whole story? Click here to get the eBook!

 

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Migration from Lotus Notes to SharePoint - easy with skybow - Part 1

A lot of enterprises are facing the challenge of phasing out legacy Lotus Notes installations. The first choice in that replacement, and the most recommended choice, is Microsoft’s SharePoint Server. SharePoint Server offers all required functionalities expected by former Lotus Notes users: easy collaboration, content creation, and even the features that were not so easy to achieve with Lotus Notes, such as Enterprise Content Management, Business Process Management, etc.

 

Even with all the advantages of SharePoint, there has always been one obstacle in Lotus Notes migration to SharePoint: custom solutions built on Lotus Notes. After implementing Lotus Notes, enterprises were usually implementing business solutions on top of it. A typical solution, often used as a token example, is the “Request for leave” solution, which enables employees to request a leave, holiday, or any other absence that then must be approved or rejected by their superiors and HR. Even if it sounds simple, such a solution has a lot of facets: the request for leave process varies just enough from company to company that a generic solution wouldn’t work.

 

Lotus-Notes-v5-1.jpg

 

In Lotus Notes, development of such solutions was made fairly easy by combining different elements. SharePoint, on the other hand, does offer all the bits and pieces that companies need to create such solutions, and many more: lists and document libraries for data entry and storage, web parts, event receivers, and timer jobs for data processing. But creating such solutions on top of SharePoint is a costly job, which involves skilled software developers and the complete software development cycle.

And this is where skybow fits in. skybow Solution Accelerators are the abstraction layer between SharePoint platform components (web parts, application pages, event receivers, timer jobs...) and the solutions that enterprises need. It is a clockwork of different internal mechanisms, which is helping enterprises to create structured data, processes on that data, and

visualization (UI) and reporting on that data, with as little coding as possible. Using skybow Solution Accelerators in developing a “Request for Leave” solution becomes a straight-

forward process, which can be implemented by functional consultants, without (or with minimal) involvement of developers. This drastically decreases the time needed for development of such solutions (up to 85%), and makes a Lotus Notes to SharePoint Server migration a much easier and more straightforward process.

In the next few chapters, we will give you a high-level overview of the development of a sample “Request for Leave” solution, and how it can be easily migrated from Lotus Notes.

 

You want to read the whole story? Click here to get the eBook!

 

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SharePoint usage survey 2016

2016 Prof. Dr. Arno Hitzges and Prof. Dr. Thorsten Riemker-Gurki published a new survey concerning the use of SharePoint in companies in Germany. Hitzges and Riemker-Gurki asked 300 CEOs to talk about SharePoint in their company and how it well was integrated into their environment.

The most important objectives were to find out:
• What back-end is used: SharePoint Server or Office 365 (SharePoint Online)?
• What is SharePoint used for?
• How satisfied are users with their solution?
• How important is the usability of the platform?

On-Premise or Cloud? 

Microsoft focuses on Office 365 with its marketing but it turned out that more than 65% of the interviewed companies were still using SharePoint Server while only 17% had a combination of both Server and Online. Only 17% only used SharePoint as part of Office 365 cloud solution.

 

onpremise-1.png

 

Most valuable functions

Despite the rich set of capabilities, SharePoint seems to contain core capabilities people are very happy with. Document Management, Team Sites, Project Websites and the Search seem to be the ones people value and use the most.

 

usedapps-1.png

 

Workflows

Over 60% of the companies use SharePoint for workflows. But only 12% of them are happy with the capabilities which SharePoint is providing out-of-the-box. So Hitzges and Riemker-Gurki point out that this is one of the areas of SharePoint where companies start using SharePoint experts and system integrators to build their complex Workflow applications.

 

Worflows-1.png

 

Do you like the usability? 

One of the most important issues concerning SharePoint seems to be the usability of out-of-the-box SharePoint. Only 5% appreciate the usability very much and 52% think it is good. Compared to the last few years there has been an improvement, but people still ask for better navigation and document management. In an ordinary five star review system, SharePoint would have only 3 stars.

 

Zufriedenheit_eng-1-1.png

 

Out of the Box?

Another interesting question of the survey is how customized the used business solutions of SharePoint are. Only 12% use the platform straight out-of-the-box. Almost 60% have at least some customization like design etc. and over 27% made major adjustments and tailored it to their exact business needs.

 

Customized-1.png

 

Conclusion

Users really count on SharePoint experts when it comes to SharePoint integrations and customizations. SharePoint becomes a very powerful tool when it is customized in the right way to fit the needs of the business. So after 15 Years of product development, companies still need adjustments to apply their business logic on their Microsoft SharePoint environment. The survey shows many opportunities for system integrators and consultants. A SharePoint Business Solution needs to be easy, secure and extensive! 

 

If you are interested in experiencing how to build up Forms easily or how to get a nice looking SharePoint, just take a look into our eBooks about skybow Theme Designer and skybow Rich Forms.

 

Download Rich Forms eBook Download Theme Designer eBook

 

SharePoint with Style - the skybow Theme Designer

You are working with SharePoint whether On Premises or Online but you are not satisfied with the default look and feel?

This Blog post including the related Webinar record is about how to get a nice looking SharePoint User Interface with a couple of clicks. Of course you can use SharePoint Designer or Microsoft Visual Studio to adjust it to your corporate design requirements. But if you do this, you need to have advanced HTML/CSS ls and youeed to change the default layout. Therefore, you are losing the possibility to get automatic updates at least online. 

If you have a hybrid scenario it is so easy to apply these styles on both platforms, so the user will get the same experience. With skybow Theme Designer you can create multiple themes and apply them very easily whether globally or on specific forms and views. The intuitive designer allows you to change the look and feel in minutes and you will directly get a preview on how it will look like.

In case you missed the Webinar we attached the record down below. Furthermore there were a few questions which were handed in. You can find the questions and the corresponding answers below the video.

Again, thanks everyone for attending, and until the next Webinar!

 

 

 Webinar Recording Video:

Joost from the Netherlands asked if Theme Designer can help in building responsive themes?

Unfortunately, classic SharePoint pages are not responsive. So we could actually make the forms part customized using Rich Forms responsive, but the pages will still not work responsively. Luckily a new modern SharePoint page experience is coming, which provides fully responsive pages from the start. We aim to implement responsive forms with Rich Forms as soon as Microsoft makes customizing these modern pages available. The forms can then be filled out easily on any device and will even work with the Microsoft's SharePoint mobile app.

 

Michael from Germany asked where the themes are saved to?

The theme definition is stored in a hidden library in the site called “sbThemeDesigner”. If it is applied to a form or a site the file is copied and “themed” in the Style Library of the site collection.

 

Marcel from Switzerland asked how he can get Theme Designer to install on premises?

If you want to use skybow Theme Designer in your On Premises environment, you need to configure the app environment for you SharePoint farm as described here. This is possible SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016. Afterwards you have two options to install skybow Theme Designer. You can get it directly from the Office Store or if not accessible you can download an “.app” package from the skybow Portal or by contacting our support (support@skybow.com) and install it to your corporate app catalog.

 

How to migrate from InfoPath to skybow Rich Forms

Thanks everyone who has joined our Webinar about replacing InfoPath with skybow Rich Forms on 20.10.2016. skybow Rich Forms is arguably the only product on the market which can cover InfoPath features with SharePoint one to one. In addition to that, skybow Rich Forms are built on modern client-side technology, light weight and offer easy deployment and migration.

image001.jpeg

In case you missed the Webinar we attached the record down below. Furthermore there were a few questions which were handed in. You can find the questions and the corresponding answers below the video.

Again, thanks everyone for attending, and until the next Webinar!

 

Webinar Recording Video:

 

 

Nicklas from Sweden has asked what about connecting to external datasources?

skybow Rich Forms can be used for List Forms and Pages, and use SharePoint lists and libraries as the data source. External lists, which consume external data through BCS, can be used as the data source for skybow Rich Forms.

 

Marco from Switzerland has asked if it is possible to apply the rich form themes also for the skybow apps?

skybow Theme Designer, which is used for theming and designing skybow Rich Forms, can be used for designing all the other apps and site elements. Even more, it should be used on that way, to create styles which will be applied to multiple elements, pages or even sites. The special skybow Theme Designer webinar is announced for the 9th of November. You can register right now!

 

Register now  
 

Happy Anniversary. Let's celebrate!

Join us on a journey that started one year ago. A year full of awesome changes and cool achievements. We are proud and celebrate that skybow is a well-known vendor in the business solution market and the Microsoft Ecosystem.

skybow started with a team of 12 motivated people and grew up to 30 employees in the last 12 months. Thanks to a great team we could enter the world market and now have Regional Sales Managers in Germany, BeNeLux, Nordics and Switzerland.

We are also happy to inform you that we moved our headquarter to Vogelsangstrasse 17 in 8307 Effretikon Switzerland!

anniversary2.png

 

skybow Enterprise offering with “On-Premises”

In the first place we developed an awesome product for developing business solutions on SharePoint faster. With the skybow Solution Studio developers and consultants can easy configure business solutions and picture business logic on Microsoft SharePoint. Today skybow has 17 partners in Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden.

Welcome to the Future with the skybow Online offering!

The world is talking about cloud which means Office 365 in the Microsoft world. In this ever-growing and highly successful environment "SharePoint" has once again become an important concept. We currently speak of more than 200,000 companies and 190 million users on Office 365. Many companies are using Office 365 to use applications like the famous Office suite, Exchange and Skype for Business. And what’s more: more than 40% already use SharePoint online. These numbers reveal a powerful potential for everyone who wants to add value to this platform to create an outstanding user experience.

The message of skybow remains the same in the Online world: The potential to use SharePoint as a business application platform by many companies still stays. skybow provides you with the platform that enables you to do so.

Most of the companies that use SharePoint online, use it as a collaboration or intranet platform. However, Sharepoint offers much more:. SharePoint is an extensive tool that offers a wide range of opportunities for its users, but it needs to be customized to create a higher usability for end users. The solution is to offer attractive customizable business solutions. This is what skybow has done in the last 9 years.

Anybods should be able to build a contract management in only a few steps, maybe based on a template which he can customize on his own. skybow delivers the leading platform for implementation of end-to-end business solutions based on SharePoint. What we already offered for on-premise will now be even easier in den Cloud.

 

What’s new with skybow in Office 365?:  

  • Targets SharePoint 2013 (On-Prem), 2016 (On-Prem) and SharePoint Online (Office 365)
  • Client side, JavaScript based code architecture
  • Will have between 70-80% of skybow Solution Accelerators Enterprise
  • No local installation needed, deployment through JavaScript code deployment and in cloud 
  • Easier to master

A large architectural difference to the On-Prem Solution Accelerators in the Enterprise version is that each Add-In will be separately available. Examples are Rich Forms, List View Search and Theme Designer.

 

If you’re interested, would like a demo or a free evaluation, contact us!

Contact us!

 

 

 

Dynamic Forms - Part 7: Setting the “Category” value based on the lead’s position

 

The last requirement we have in this small use case is to set the “Category” field value to “A – Premium lead” if the “Position” field contains the phrase “CEO.” This makes sense: if we encounter a CEO at a SharePoint conference, we want to make sure to follow up with that lead.

For that purpose, we will use so-called Dynamic values. These are JavaScript-based expressions that are evaluated each time a field on a SharePoint form loses focus.

In our case, we want to set the value of the SharePoint choice field “Category” dynamically. In order to do that, we will use the “Dynamic value expression” setting in the “Values” section of the “Category” field:

 

 

dynamics_15.png

Setting the dynamic value of Category field

 

The expression we are entering here is JavaScript based, with skybow placeholders (values in the double square brackets). It evaluates the value of the “Position” field, converts it to upper case, and checks to see if it contains the expression “CEO.” If it does, it simply returns the value of the choice field we want to set (in our case, “A – Premium lead”).

if ([[Position]].toUpperCase().indexOf('CEO') !== -1) { " A - Premium lead " }

After the changes are saved and the form has been reloaded, each time the phrase “CEO” is entered into the “Position” field, the “Category” choice field is set to “A - Premium lead,” just as our customer wanted:

 

 

dynamics_16.gif

Behavior of Category field

 

 

Conclusion

We have seen how some of the most common customer requirements around forms and fields in SharePoint can be implemented within minutes with skybow Solution Accelerators. This powerful mixture of server and client side configuration options, combined with the skybow expression language, can provide you with a powerful toolset for creating form scenarios whose capacity reaches far beyond standard SharePoint features.  

Wishing you a lot of success in your SharePoint projects!

 

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Dynamic Forms eBook

Dynamic Forms - Part 6: Making the “Category” field dependent on the selected industry

 

The next customer requirement is to limit the choice of the lead categories ( “Category” field) only to the value “A – Premium Lead” if the field “Industry” has been set to “Information Technology.” (This customer apparently treats all leads from the Information Technology industry as premium leads.)

In order to meet this requirement, we will go to the Choice Settings section of the “Category” field in the skybow Solution Studio, and limit the other two choices (“B” and “C”) to be visible only if the lookup field “Industry” has not been set to “Information Technology.” In our demo environment here, the “Information Technology” list item in the “Industries” list has the ID “8” we will use that to limit the choices within the “Category” field:

 

 

dynamics_13.png

Setting the visible choices for Position choice fields

 

This setting will make the choices “B” and “C” visible only if the selected Industry does not have ID=8, which is “Information Technology.”

If we now save the changes and reload the form, we will see that those settings have immediately taken effect:

 

 

dynamics_14.gif

Behavior of Position field

 

That means that another customer requirement has been set within seconds.

 

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Dynamic Forms eBook

Dynamic Forms - Part 5: Making values in the “Subindustry” field dependent on the “Industry”

 

SharePoint’s “Subindustries” list has two fields – “Title” and “Industry,” which is itself a lookup field to the “Industries” list. It makes sense in the “Leads” form to make those two fields dependent: after a user selects an industry, only those values that belong to the corresponding industry will be shown in the “Subindustry” field. For example, if the user chooses the “Information Technologies” industry, the only choices that should be presented for the “Subindustry” field should be “Semiconductors,” “Software,” and “Hardware.” This is called “cascading lookup fields,” and it is not possible in SharePoint without heavy customizing. With skybow Solution Accelerators, it is achievable within seconds. 

To achieve this, we need to put the filter on our “Subindustries” lookup field in the skybow Solution Studio. This filter is in the form of a CAML query, and defines the fields of the “Subindustries” list that the lookup will be filtered by (in our case it is the “Industry” field of the “Subindustries” list), and which value that field should have (in our case the value of the “Industry” field of the lead that we are adding or editing).

We will open the “Lookup settings” of the “Subindustry” field, and click on the query icon beside the “Query for Lookup” field. That opens the visual CAML query builder:

 

 

dynamics_11a_subindustryloo.png

 

Creating cascading lookups through setting the lookup queries

 

In the CAML Query Builder popup window, we will set the Where clause as the “Industry” field of the “Subindustries” list, set to the value of the “Industry” field of the current “Leads” item (use the [[Industry.ID]] placeholder from the skybow expression engine to achieve this).

Press the “OK” button, and the resulting CAML query will be:

<Where><Eq><FieldRef Name='Industry' LookupId='True'  /><Value Type='Lookup' >[[Industry.ID]]</Value></Eq></Where>

When we save the changes, we will see that the “Subindustry” lookup field behaves exactly as it should – as a field dependent on the “Industry” field:

 

dynamics_12_SubindustriesLookupAnimation.gif

Behavior of cascading Industry-Subindustry lookups

 

In this way, within seconds, we have met the customer’s requirement for cascading lookup fields in SharePoint forms.

 

You want to read the whole story? Click here to get the eBook!

Dynamic Forms eBook

Dynamic Forms - Part 4: Setting “Subindustry” to be visible and required if “Industry” is selected

In the last step, we set the SharePoint field “Subindustry” to be invisible all the time (we set its “Visible expression” to “false”).

The customer’s requirement is to make that field visible only if the “Industry” field has been selected (it is a lookup field). So, in the next step, we need to change the visibility of the “Subindustry” field based on the selection of the “Industry” field. We will first change “Visible expression” of the “Subindustry” field from “false” (the value we set it to in the previous step) to:

[[Industry]] != ””

This will make the “Subindustry” field visible only if the “Industry” lookup field is populated.

But, since the “Industry” field is enabled only if the “Company” field is not empty, we will need to do the same for the “Subindustry” field, otherwise the form behavior will be weird. So, we will also set the “Enabled expression” of the “Subindustry” field to:

[[Company]] != ""

The last thing we need to do is to set the field “Subindustry” to be required if the field “Industry” has been selected. But here, also, we will need to pay attention to the current value of the company field. So we will set the “Required expression” of the “Subindustry” field to:

[[Industry]] != "" && [[Company]] != ""

This will make the “Subindustry” field required only if both the “Industry” and “Company” fields are filled in:

 

dynamics_10_subindustrysettings.png

 

Setting visible, enabled and required expressions for the subindustry field

 

If we now check the behavior of our form, we will see that all the customer requirements regarding enabled and visible fields have been met:

 

dynamics_11_subindustry.gif

Behavior of Subindustry field based on the values of other fields

 

In less than 5 minutes, just by using skybow Solution Accelerators, we have met the customer’s requirements of making the “Industry” and “Subindustry” fields enabled and visible, based on the values filled into another fields.

 

You want to read the whole story? Click here to get the eBook!

Dynamic Forms eBook

Dynamic Forms - Part 3: Enabling the "Position" and "Industry" fields based on other values

For now, all of the fields on the “Add new” and “Edit” SharePoint list forms are enabled and visible. But, the requirement was that the “Position” and “Industry” fields are only enabled if the field “Company” has been entered. Field “Subindustry” should not be visible at all, if the field “Industry” has not been selected.

Let’s go back to the skybow Solution Studio, and make those changes.

With the fields “Position” and “Industry” in the “Attributes” section, we will change the “Enabled” expression to

[[Company]] != “”

This will make those fields enabled only if the value of the field “Company” is not an empty string. Note the skybow Solution Accelerators expressions notation here – double square brackets denote placeholders for the field names, from current or related lists. In this case, since those are dynamic expressions, we will use JavaScript in combination with skybow placeholders to determine whether the “Company” field is empty, and if not, enable the two fields from our requirement:


 

dynamics_07_enabled.png

 Setting enabled expression for the Position field.

 

For the Visible Expression in the Subindustry field, we will, for now, just enter “false” – this will make the “Subindustry” field invisible no matter which values we enter into other fields.

 

dynamics_08_visible.png

 

Setting visible expression of the Subindustry field to false.

 

After saving this configuration, and opening the “Leads” list item in either the “Add new” or “Edit” form, we will see that “Subindustry” is not visible at all, and that the “Industry” and “Position” fields are enabled only if the field “Company” is entered.

 

 

dynamics_09_conditionalenabled.gif

Behavior of Position and Industry fields based on the other fields values

 

You want to read the whole story? Click here to get the eBook!

Dynamic Forms eBook

Microsoft is removing code-based sandbox solutions from SharePoint Online, and skybow can help!

On Monday, 29 July 2016, Microsoft announced that it would be withdrawing support for code-based sandbox solutions in SharePoint Online and Office 365. New code-based sandbox solutions cannot be deployed and activated in SharePoint Online and Office 365 as of now, and existing sandbox solutions will stop working in the course of the next few weeks. This will pose a serious problem to the thousands of customers using sandbox solutions in their SharePoint online, since their solutions will just stop working.

Even if this comes as a surprise, it really isn’t. Microsoft deprecated code-based sandbox solutions back in 2014, and urged customers and developers alike to move towards the AddIn model. Withdrawing support for sandbox solutions in SharePoint Online was just a matter of time. Still, a lot of SharePoint Online solutions are sandbox solutions with code. So, what do you do?

This is where skybow can help! skybow Rich Forms, and other skybow AddIns like List View Search, Action Links, Tabbed Pages and Theme Designer are feature-rich SharePoint AddIns, which can help you, and your customers, to transfer sandbox solutions to the AddIn model in an easy and cost-effective manner. Combining those addins, both UI elements (forms, behaviors, design), and business logic (actions, data processing, data validation, search) can be easily implemented. A great deal of existing sandbox solutions can be re-developed in only a fraction of time, where otherwise a complex and longlasting custom client-side development would be needed.

skybow is offering to help you with the analysis of existing sandbox solutions, and to evaluate which of them, and for how much effort, can be transitioned to skybow Rich Forms. This offer costs nothing for you or your customers. In the subsequent steps, we can accompany you on the journey of transitioning custom sandbox solutions to the skybow platform.

Hurry up! This offer is valid only during the transition period, as long as the sandbox solutions have not yet been switched off by Microsoft, which presumably will be over the next 4 or 5 weeks (no exact date except for a “few weeks” has been set by Microsoft). Our experts can help you to evaluate the sandbox solutions in use and to form a transition plan, with as little downtime for those solutions as possible.

Microsoft’s official announcement about switching off the sandbox solutions: http://dev.office.com/blogs/removing-code-based-sandbox-solutions-in-sharepoint-online

A webinar on the rapid development of SharePoint and Office 365 business solutions with skybow Rich Forms by Adis Jugo (Microsoft MVP and Director of Product Technology at skybow) and Matt Walter (Head of Product Services at skybow) can be found here: http://www.skybow.com/blog-en/rich-forms-webinas

Register for the free skybow consulting evaluation session here:

Sandbox Replacement

Dynamic Forms - Part 2: Enabling searching industries and subindustries, and adding them directly from the leads form

The first requirement was to make it possible to add and choose new values for fields “Industry” and “Subindustry”, directly from the “Leads” form. That essentially means adding new list items to the related lists (“Industries”, “Subindustries”), which are related to the “Leads” list through the lookup values.

In skybow Solution Studio, we will first set “Industry” and “Subindustry” lookup fields to use some of the skybow magic – in the “Lookup settings” section, we will select “Use search button” and “Use add new button” checkboxes.

 

blogpost1.png

 

This will render those fields in “Add new” and “Edit” forms in such a way, that users can search for the values of those fields (very useful with lookup fields to the long SharePoint lists, where scrolling is very inconvenient), and, to add new values to those lookup fields without losing the context.

With those changes made, the rendered form looks like following:

blogpost2.png

 

You can notice the search icon, and the “Add new” link beside the lookup fields. After clicking on those elements, the results are, as expected, lookup search form, and form for adding new lookup values.

 

blogpost3.png

 

 blogpost4.png

 

So with the effort of just a few seconds, the requirement for searching lookup lists, and adding new values to the related lists from the Add/Edit form has been implemented.

 

You want to read the whole story? Click here to get the eBook!

Dynamic Forms eBook

Dynamic Forms - Part 1: Creating dynamic SharePoint form and field behaviors with skybow Solution Accelerators

A few days ago, while running a training program for a partner company, we came up with a requirement for dynamically setting SharePoint field values in the “New” and “Edit item” SharePoint forms. Every SharePoint developer comes across this sooner or later, because customers often want a form’s behavior extended beyond the standard SharePoint functionality.

Skybow can help! Using some JavaScript magic and SharePoint field values, we can easily set dynamic values on the SharePoint “New” and “Edit” forms’ fields in just a matter of minutes.

Let’s imagine the following scenario: we’ve come back from a SharePoint conference, and we have a list of leads that need to be categorized and consolidated. We create a very simple SharePoint list that might be, but does not have to be, part of a skybow case file. The list contains the following fields:

 

dynamics_01_liststructure.png

 

As you can see, for each lead, standard CRM values like Phone Number, Company, Position in company, Industry (lookup to the “Industries” SharePoint list), Subindustry (with its own lookup field to the “Industries” list), and Lead category (A – premium lead to C – loose lead) have to be set. 

The standard SharePoint “Add” or “Edit” form would look like this:

dynamics_02_plainform.png

Our requirements are as follows:

1. It should to be possible to add a new industry and subindustry directly from the leads form without navigating to those respective lists, and therefore losing the context.

2. If the field “Company” is filled in, the fields “Position” and “Industry” have to be enabled (by default, they should be disabled).

3. If “Industry” is selected, the field “Subindustry” has to be visible and marked as a required field; otherwise the field should not be visible (and therefore also not required).

4. Subindustry always has to be limited to the selected Industry.

5. If industry is set to “Information Technology,” the choices in the field “Category” have to be limited to “A – Premium lead” – or leads from that selected industry are premium leads. 

6. If the field “Position” contains the phrase “CEO,” automatically set the “Category” field to “A – Premium lead”

As you can see, those are some standard requirements that can be expected in pretty much every SharePoint business solution. So, let’s start. Our goal is to get this running in less than 15 minutes.

 

You want to read the whole story? Click here to get the eBook!

Dynamic Forms eBook

Farewell Ardevia, welcome skybow Rich Forms

The long term users of Ardevia Rich Forms might have noticed that this popular SharePoint AddIn is not anymore available in the Microsoft Office Store. This is a part of our consolidation efforts, and bringing all our products under the green skybow flag. 

For the past few weeks, skybow Rich Forms and Ardevia Rich Forms existed parallelly in the Office Store, with two different prices, and that was confusing our partners and customers. This had a lot to do with Microsft’s Office Store policies, and we could not do much there. Now, only skybow Rich Forms are in the store, and ready to use.

 

For the existing partners and customers, probably the following questions will arise:

Q: We have bought the license for Ardevia Rich Forms, what happens to us now?

A: Nothing really. Ardevia Rich Forms will continue working, but you might want to contact us to renew your license under the name “skybow Rich Forms”.

Q: I have already customized my SharePoint with Ardevia, will my forms be lost after I switch to skybow Rich Forms?

A: No, all your customizations will remain intact. There will be no issues for you, or your customers. For further updates, we advise to migrate to skybow Rich Forms. Please contact support@skybow.com if you need assistance.

Q: Is the development of rich forms stopped?

A: No, exactly the opposite is truth. skybow Rich Forms will be in the core of our future offerings – stay tuned, we have big news to announce this autumn!

Q: I have no idea what Ardevia or skybow Rich Forms are, but it sounds interesting.

A: Then it is a great moment to try it. Go to Microsoft Office Store, grab the skybow Rich Forms with a 30-days trial and create some great looking forms and business applications on SharePoint Online, SP 2013 and SP 2016. You might want to watch this video, to get a quick start from our Adis Jugo and Matt Walter on skybow Rich Forms.

 

Step-by-step migration guide

1. Download and install skybow Rich Forms from the store for free.
https://store.office.com/en-us/app.aspx?assetid=WA104380173

2. Install the foundation Add-In as described here:
http://www.skybow.com/docs/o365/webframe.html#Add-InFoundation.html
For all the skybow Add-Ins to work correctly you need to install this, which is just a full trust Add-In.

3. Fill out the license request form available on the Rich Forms app homepage after successful installation.

4. At the end uninstall the Ardevia Rich Forms App

If you have problems with the licensing, you can always check manually in a hidden library called FormsStoreLibrary if there is the correct license file uploaded. Details can be found here: http://www.skybow.com/docs/o365/webframe.html#LicensingRF.html

If you're facing any issues or difficulties installing the skybow Rich Forms, please contact our support team at support@skybow.com.

Rapid development of SharePoint and Office 365 business solutions with skybow Rich Forms

Our Matt and Adis have delivered an online webinar about skybow Rich Forms on July 13th, and we have received some great feedback and a bunch of good questions about it.
skybow Rich Forms are so much more than an InfoPath replacement: a powerful visual forms designer, master-slave data representation, client-side data validation and aggregation (totals, sums...), customizable field behaviors, but also acting on data and data changes, through actions and actions links. skybow Rich Forms speeds up SharePoint and SharePoint Online (Office 365) development to a great deal.

Below you can find the webinar recording, download the answers on the questions we got during the q/a session after the webinar here.

Again, thanks everyone for attending, and until the next webinar!

 

Webinar Recording Video:

Niklas from Sweden is asking if the fields can be hidden depending on which SharePoint/AD group logged in user is member of?

Yes, they can! In the field behavior menu, you can choose to customize either “Visible” or “Enabled” behavior. There you can set an expression when the selected field should be enabled or visible. Under the “Context objects” -> User, you can find the IsMemberOfGroup() method. This will work out of the box.

 

Q1.png

 

 

Niklas is also asking if there can be different views, like in InfoPath?

Absolutely! You can group your controls in the control containers (panels, tabs, etc…), and then set the visibility of those containers (show them or hide them) based on the context information – user, field values, etc.

 

Aly from Nethelands is asking if it is possible to delete a form fields?

Sure! You just need to take care that if the underlying SharePoint field has been declared as required, you might experience unexpected behaviors.

 

Aly is furthermore asking, if it is possible to add workflow interaction to skybow Rich Forms?

Sure! Among the actions you can assign to elements like buttons, you will find workflows. You can even set a condition to that workflow, for example, to start it only if the field “City” has value “Zurich”. It has to be a SharePoint 2013 workflow (Workflow Manager), and it must be created prior to creating the action.

 

Q4.png

 

 

Aly’s last question was if skybow has it’s own database, of uses any kind of SQL server in the background?

skybow Rich Forms do not use any kind of 3rd party store, including Microsoft SQL Server. Data is kept only in SharePoint lists and libraries, there is no data replication of any way.

 

Steen from Denmark was asking is it possible hide or lock a field based on membership?

This was already answered in the Niklas’ question – yes, for each fields it is possible to “calculate” if the field is visible, enable, or even required. Input for that calculation can be any SharePoint field values, or context object values, like group membership, or combination of both. So it can be set that the field “Address” is visible only if the field “City” has been previously set to some value and the current user is member of “Contributors” group, and that field is required, only if the city has been set to Zurich.

 

Tomasz from Ireland was asking if the access per tab can be specified, for example, that tab could be read only for a group of people, and another tab to be hidden?

Sure! Tabs are just another container-style controls, and their visible/enabled behaviors can be set up just like with other controls.

 

Q7.png

 

 

Remco from Netherlands is asking are skybow Rich Forms actions executed parallel or serial, and in order of bottom to top?

They are serial, executed from top to bottom. In the example from this screenshot, clicking on the button will first start a workflow, then send an email, call a web services, then execute a JavaScript code block, save the form data, end then, on the end, reload the form.

 

Q8.png

 

 

Remco is further asking if it is possible to style the table cells / rich text boxes with css/html?

Sure! You can either do manually injecting the CSS styles, or use skybow Theme Designer. The skybow Theme Designer is another SharePoint AddIn, used to configure the look and feel of the whole SharePoint page, and in particularly another skybow AddIns, like skybow Rich Forms, skybow Action Links, skybow Tabbed Pages, skybow List Search etc…

 

Q9.png
 
 

Remco is also asking if is it possible to check in an item directly with the action button?

There is no special “check in” action, but you can use either Script action, to check in the file using the CSOM, or making a REST call directly through the request action, like this:

http://<site url>/_api/web/GetFileByServerRelativeUrl(

  '/Shared Documents/a.txt')/CheckIn(comment='Comment', checkintype=0)

 

The next question from Remco was are there any limits to formula, like max amount of characters.

No, there are really no limits to that. It is not only formulas: you can write the whole JavaScript code blocks there, using skybow expression engine and SharePoint values and context information in your JavaScript.

If the logic you want to execute is complex, though, you might want to displace that code block in an own JavaScript library, and then reference it and call it from the skybow expression builder. But, no, there is no physical limitation.

 

Remco is asking what is the difference between skybow Rich Forms and ardevia rich forms? 

There is none! Ardevia Rich Forms are now skybow Rich Forms, and it will be fully integrated with all other future skybow offerings. 

 

The last Remco’s question was what is the licensing model for the skybow rich forms.

Stay tuned! We are soon to offer the whole range of licensing options, ranging from free to enterprise offers. Everything will be published on our web site.

 

C3C Kapa

C3C Case for a SharePoint solution with skybow! – C3C Kapa

Hier gehts zur Deutschen Version

skybow is delighted to introduce a new Solution based on our products. C3C Customer Care Concepts built a new use case with the solution studio of skybow. The Solution is called C3C Kapa and Part of their existing CAFM Solution that is built on skybow too.

C3CKapa is a SharePoint Solution to evaluate how many employees of a particular qualification are required to operate a multilevel facility. The system also provides possibilities to optimize investments based on the facilities data.

Thanks to the extensive solution studio of Skybow, C3C can provide fast and successful Business Solutions. The use of C3C Kapa requires no change to an existing system. Just continue to use the favorite solutions and supplement these with C3C Kapa. If there is missing data for capacity planning of the facilities, it can be easily imported by easy to use interfaces afterwards.

So what is C3C Kapa providing in particular?

Principal characteristics:

  • Inventory of plants
  • Representation of required capacity for work
  • Maintenance
  • Inspection Intervals
  • Differentiation by own and external services
  • Automatic calculation of required annual capacities and qualifications
  • Freely configurable, storable Filter and views of data (switchable via one click).
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Minimal training effort
  • Easy to change and optimize
  • Consideration of disorder services
  • Employees management

You need more Information? Visit C3C on their Website! http://c-3-c.de/

Tutorial Video:

skybow is ready for SharePoint 2016

SP_2016.png

Today marks the moment, where we can officially say that we are ready for SharePoint 2016. From now on SP 2016 is part of our official release cycle.

Customers and partners often ask us if there are any issues or constraints when they install or migrate our skybow products to SharePoint 2016. Up to this point we can gladly inform that all features work 100% identical to their previous versions on SharePoint 2010 or 2013. 

We tested our environments thoroughly and came to the conclusion that skybow is without any issues completely ready for SharePoint 2016.

Updates for the new SharePoint version are going to be deployed continuously. This means that it becomes more important to check our own release notes to be on top of every possible change. We can ensure you though that our product is so close to the SharePoint original that your business solutions will run as smooth as ever on SP 2016.

We are aware that migration to a new SharePoint platform can be a big issue for some software vendors. We showcase you that with skybow Solution Accelerators it is possible to upgrade from 2013 to 2016 in less than 15 minutes. 

 

FÜR EINE DEUTSCHE VERSION KLICKEN SIE BITTE HIER!

Tutorial Video:

skybow growth at 400%

skybow was founded in September in 2015 with 7 employees. 10 months later the number of people has doubled twice and is currently at 28. skybow delivers the leading development platform that enables SharePoint integrators to boost productivity up to 80% in developing end-to-end business solutions for customers: configuring instead of programming. So-called solution accelerators are picked by the configuration platform solution studio, followed by adding the business logic.


“skybow is expanding internationally in Germany, the Benelux and the Nordics to fuel the growth and success in Switzerland”, as Philip Nussbaumer, CEO, states. “skybow is working with SharePoint integrators. Adding people that understand this partner model and know the Microsoft market, are going to create the difference.” In June former Microsoft employees like Dennis Berkes (Sales Manager Benelux), Bart Wessels (Pre-Sales Consultant Benelux) and Harald Weinl (Regional Sales Manager Germany-South) joined skybow as well as two Marketing specialists in Germany: Benedikt Betz (Product & Brand Design Manager) and Florian Pflanz (Marketing & Communications Manager).


skybow also employed Adis Jugo recently. Adis is one of the best SharePoint professionals and joined as the Director Product Technology. He got honored with two Microsoft MVP awards.

FÜR EINE DEUTSCHE VERSION DES BLOGS KLICKEN SIE BITTE HIER.

skybow Forms: Dynamic Field Validation

Building a business solution with the out-of-the-box functionalities is challenging. Dynamic data input masks are often an important criterion for user acceptance and the success of a project. We are aware of this problem and solve it by providing a way to dynamically optimize forms for the user, without the need for InfoPath or complicated iQuery. skybow called this solution “Dynamic Forms” and. It was able to set fields dynamically in dependence of another field as hide, disable, or mandatory. The “Dynamic Field Validation” adds another possibility to those previous options.

Now, one might wonder why skybow releases specifically this extension. It is true that with SharePoint it is already possible to set a validation per field . An expert in SharePoint formulas knows that their possibilities are limited and cover only a small part of the requirements of a business solution form. The option to use skybow Expression Language in the new Dynamic Field Validation offers a number of additional options.  

 

The following examples show how the skybow Dynamic Field Validation can optimize your forms:

Truly unique information

The Field Validation recognizes if the entry has already been added by someone else. This check can be based on several field, which clearly stands out from the standard functionality “Unique Value”

Correct email format

A good example of the utilization of our " Dynamic Field Validation " is a CRM. It is essential that the information entered is valid. One way skybow helps is to check whether the entered email address has been entered in the correct format.

Passwords

Dynamic Field validation can check whether a certain password fulfils the given guidelines, by for example containing at least one number, an uppercase and lowercase letter.

Field_Validation.png dynamicvalidation_2_250-1.png
 

This is the latest extension of the skybow SharePoint Forms. More information on further skybow solution accelerators are available www.skybow.com. If you have questions, contact me anytime.

 

Best regards,


Matthias Walter

skybow release 2016.1: “Do you view Francais?”

If you are familiar with SharePoint, you defnietly know the problem. Moving documents is horrific and the general overview is not logical. Our former solution for that was the on ActiveX/Silverlight running Document Explorer, which already improved usability by far. This tool will be replaced by the brand new skybow Document Library View. The handling is even more intuitive, because it is closer to Microsoft Windows. In addition to that it is based on HTML, which will solve all compatibility issues for every browser. As a little bonus and to answer a often called demand, we are now offereing all of our skybow products also in French language. We see it as a necessary step towards becoming a global operating enterprise.

Als Bonus und auf vielerlei Anfragen hin bieten wir nun die skybow Produkt-Palette auch auf französischer Sprache an. Wir sehen dies als nötigen Schritt hin zum global präsenten Unternehmen skybow.

 

Drag & Drop 

You can see on the left screenshot how close the skybow Document Library View is to Microsoft Windows. Similar to Windows you are able to drag & drop documents to assign them to their place.

 

Overview

If you take a closer look at the architecture of the skybow Document Library View you will recognize, that it is closer to the original SharePoint architecture than the Document Explorer. The true innovation lies in the details. One structured folder tree with a logical hierarchy and intuitive adding of folders and documents separates the Library View from SharePoint.

 

Do you speak French?

Finally, we are able to answer this question with a "yes". It is nice to see in which parts of the world skybow has grown. We think that the French speaking areas of the world are of great importance to us and build a prominent market. We want to shorten the distance to that market, by translating our product. So now we can say proudly: "Nous parlons francais"

These are, next to minor improvements of the product, the most important new features of the skybow solution accelerators. Please feel free to contact me, if you have any questions .

 

Best regards,

 

Matthias Walter

skybow Tutorial: Send Email Action

Matthias explains our skybow solution accelerator "Send Email Action" in this tutorial. Emails can be send with any SharePoint content. Possibilities of triggering this Action can be per link, periodically or, under certain conditions.

The content and receiver are gathered automatically out the current metadata during the sending process. In addition to the email content documents can be added as attachments.
With skybow Expressions emails can also be send to all the SharePoint and Active Directory groups. Both the CC as well as BBC functionality are added.
The "Send Email Action" offers great value in the handling of notifications, because the appearance and the time of sending notifications can be designed freely.
An email can be triggered by three different actions:

  • By actively initiating a Link Action
  • Automatically by creating, changing or deleting a list entry
  • Scheduled, for example by reaching a record or a certain value
Example scenarios:
  • Contract Management: Reminder of the Contract Owner before the expiration of a contract or prior to an automatic extension of the current contract.
  • Automatic purchase, when reaching a defined phase or amount
Everything can be easily configured in the solution studio.

 

 

Tutorial Video: