2 page Case Study - Posted 4/29/2013
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Hops Processor Improves Collaboration by Visualizing Line-of-Business Data
John I. Haas, a leader in hops trading and processing, wanted to provide tools and better information for its growers, customers, and employees to improve its business processes. They implemented a Business-Critical SharePoint solution from Dell, called Dell™
Quick Apps for SharePoint ®, to enable users to quickly display and aggregate business-critical Oracle data in rich and compelling 3D charts in SharePoint—without expensive and time-consuming custom coding.
The Barth-Haas Group is the world’s largest supplier of hops products and services. Hops are the flavoring and stability agent in beer. John I. Haas, Inc. is a member of the Barth-Haas Group, specializing in hops trading and processing. The company owns
and runs its own hops yards, warehouses, extraction plants and pelletization plants in the northwestern United States.
||Fortunately for us, we found Quick Apps for SharePoint. It was easy to install and configure—and we were able to easily connect to the Oracle data.”
| Tom Mack
Principal Business Systems Analyst/ Programmer, John I. Haas, Inc.
John I. Haas purchases hops from a number of growers and provides products to a variety of customers. To enable growers to monitor the progress of their hops from delivery through weigh-in and the production process, and to track their business year-to-year,
John I. Haas provided a portal hosted by Oracle On Demand Services that accessed information from a hosted Oracle database.
However, John I. Haas soon found that this solution was too limiting; the company wanted to be able to provide additional tools and better information to its growers and customers than was possible with Oracle On Demand Services. Accordingly, the company
decided to move to SharePoint, a platform that would give it the flexibility it needed for its future growth. But the company needed a way for its limited IT staff to quickly deliver the same functionality on the new platform.
What’s the best way to make the most of SharePoint? When SharePoint is connected to backend systems, creating a Business-Critical SharePoint solution, it can accelerate business processes and improve productivity. John I. Haas needed a way to display and
aggregate business-critical Oracle data in rich and compelling 3D charts in SharePoint, giving customers the same—or better—functionality than before.
“We needed to take those same queries that we were doing on the Oracle portal and put them into SharePoint, and have a very similar look and feel,” explains Tom Mack, Principal Business Systems Analyst/Programmer at John I. Haas. “The question was how: what
do we need to install to give our growers the same thing they had before?”
The IT staff at John I. Haas first tried to create the necessary functionality in SharePoint without third-party tools, but found the process too difficult. “We spent a couple of weeks trying to figure out how to connect to Oracle natively through SharePoint,
but it was just too difficult,” recalls Robbert van Andel, Job Senior Web Architect at John I. Haas. “Plus, we have a limited IT staff, so we couldn’t afford to have to do a lot of coding to get the functionality we needed.”
Then a web search uncovered Quick Apps for SharePoint. After a free trial, John I. Haas immediately knew it had found the right tool. “Fortunately for us, we found Quick Apps for SharePoint just a month after we moved to SharePoint,” Mack notes. “It was
easy to install and configure—and we were able to easily connect to the Oracle data. In fact, it was so easy that we had no reason to even look at anything else.”
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Improving productivity among employers, growers, and customers
Using Quick Apps for SharePoint, John I. Haas has created three portals: an internal internet site for employees and two external-facing extranets, one for growers and one for customers. Each portal is customized to serve its users; for example, the growers’
portal enables growers to see detailed information about their hops. It surfaces Oracle data in a user-friendly way in SharePoint as a self-service. Now growers see real-time data in easily consumable graphs and can make better decisions about their business.
Also employees can collaborate better, shortening the lead time to complete tasks and projects. Finally customers can get more information from the customer portal, reducing the number of calls customers make to the customer service desk.
No need for custom coding
It’s much easier and faster to configure rather than code. With Quick Apps for SharePoint, the IT staff at John I. Haas was able to surface and display their business-critical Oracle data within SharePoint without time-consuming coding or additional training.
“Quick Apps for SharePoint was exactly what we were looking for,” says Mack. “It made moving from the Oracle portal to SharePoint seamless for us, which was a wonderful surprise. Being able to move off of one system into another and have things just keep on
running was invaluable; it saved us a lot of effort and a lot of craziness.”
“I can’t think of anything that we did in our old portal that we can’t do with Quick Apps,” continues Mack. “The tool helped us easily create websites that were nice-looking and that pulled in our data the way we needed. And it didn’t involve any coding other
Easy to maintain and upgrade
All of these portals are maintained by just two IT staff members. Furthermore, SharePoint upgrades are easy, too, since there’s no custom code. John I. Haas originally deployed SharePoint 2007 and then upgraded to 2010 a year later—and was delighted to find
that migrating Quick Apps for SharePoint was simple and risk-free. “Migrating the web parts was no problem at all,” recalls van Andel. “In fact, we’ve upgraded Quick Apps for SharePoint several times through the years, and it’s always been easy.”
The sky’s the limit with Dell
Now that John I. Haas has all the base functionality it needs in SharePoint for its growers, customers and employees, the company is looking eagerly to the future and the wealth of opportunities that Quick Apps for SharePoint provides. “Having SharePoint and
Quick Apps for SharePoint together opens the door to a whole bunch of options,” notes Mack. “We know we’re just really at the tip of the iceberg here trying to discover all the things we can do with the tool.” In fact, John I. Haas is so satisfied with the
Dell solution that it intends to seek out other Dell tools as well. In particular, it plans to evaluate Dell’s tools for migrating to SharePoint 2013 and eliminate the manual work required in previous SharePoint migrations.
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