By now, most of you might be aware of latest Microsoft’s Cloud based Office collaboration  and services – Office 365. The offering consists of Office Professional Plus, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online.

In the last few months, Office 365 has grown tremendously and widely adopted by small and medium businesses. Add to that, many of our existing customers keep nagging me when the support for Office 365 is planned. Reluctantly, it was decided that the time has come to finally do it. But wait, there is no blueprints or easier way to achieved it. One aspect of Office 365 is the claimed-based authentication which is quite different from the usual NTLM or form authentication, that are quite common in in-housed Microsoft software environment such as SharePoint 2010. So, spent 2 days learning about the new claim-based authentication implementation in Office 365 and another day for finally coming out with a working prototype. The journey was painful, but the end it was worth it, because now, I can proudly display ‘works on Office 365‘ for our products. Moreover, I would be scanning less emails on Office 365 support from now onwards – a relief actually!

The following products are now updated to support Office 365, especially the SharePoint Online service.

1. Issue Tracker for Outlook & SharePoint (Team Edition)
2. Issue Tracker for Outlook & SharePoint (Personal Edition)
3. Team Helpdesk for Outlook & SharePoint
4. Data Publisher for Outlook & SharePoint
5. Team Publisher for Outlook & SharePoint
6. Team TimeSheet for Outlook & SharePoint

The update does not add any new UI or options to go along, only the logic that drives connection to the Office 365 SharePoint Online site is piggyback into existing module. So, there is no new steps to get accustom to and you can keep on using the product the way you had been doing before. What is new is now, you can specify your Office 365 SharePoint site to interface and work with our product, by simply keying in the office 365 team site URL and you will be prompted to provide the credential to log on to the site.

For example, below, the Office 365 team site URL is http://amt100.sharepoint.com/TeamSite

And in the credential dialog prompt, you will enter your Microsoft Online Services ID, as the user name. In this context, it is john@AMT100.onmicrosoft.com and the password characters.

Note that, Microsoft Online Service ID is the same that you use when signing in to Office 365 site in your web browser.

If the credential provided is correct, it should load up all the lists and sub-sites as shown below.


Edited (30th November 2011): Please note that you need the following requirements to be able to integrate Office 365 SharePoint Online with our products:

Operating System – Vista SP2 or above. Windows XP and 2003 won’t work with Office 365 SharePoints.
.NET Framework – 3.5 or above
Windows Identity Foundation – This component is required to be installed on the system so that our product can work with Office 365 SharePoint lists.

You can download and install this component from below:

For Vista 32 bit (Windows6.0-KB974405-x86.msu)
For Vista 64 bit (Windows6.0-KB974405-x64.msu)
For WIndows 7 32 bit (Windows6.1-KB974405-x86.msu)
For Windows 7 64 bit (Windows6.1-KB974405-x64.msu)

 

With the widespread adoption of SharePoint for intranet and portal services, many organizations store useful lists of information, including announcements, contacts, events, tasks, issues, meetings and custom lists for other types of information to SharePoint. And as workers with the appropriate permission can use Microsoft Excel or Access to view and edit data stored in lists on SharePoint from anywhere, it offers an excellent platform to share information, make use of information that is already published, and provide standardized lists of information that can be used throughout the organization.

Though workers can easily feed their time-sheet data directly in the company’s SharePoint portal, it is not an ideal technique at most time, such as when you are offline, you can’t keep track of your time-sheets. A viable solution is to use a bridging application such as Microsoft Outlook. In fact,  as Outlook being the most extensively used application in a corporate environment  – all day, every day for email communications, meetings and contacts makes it an ideal platform to prepare time-sheets for projects or for any entity via the calendar or task feature. Unfortunately Microsoft Outlook lacks a direct and an efficient solution to track time and expense in its original state. This is further aggravated with little support for a centralized management and distribution of projects, activities and other meta-data. But nevertheless, many workers resort to capturing time-sheet data from appointments and tasks in Outlook and feeding to an external data source manually (often crudely – using copy-paste technique).

Team TimeSheet for Outlook & SharePoint

Team TimeSheet for Outlook & SharePoint

Keeping this in mind, we have launched Team TimeSheet for Outlook and SharePoint, a groupware application, that leverages your existing investment in Microsoft Office and SharePoint, to make it very easy for your employees and staffs to prepare time-sheet and other project deliverable in Microsoft Outlook and publish to the company’s SharePoint repository.

With Team TimeSheet system, access to centralized project data are streamlined and automated in Outlook with the integration of the company’s project repository. This enables individual worker to prepare time-sheets, tag project meta-data, enter expenses and other deliverable from the familiar interface of Outlook appointment or task items. Once a time-sheet is finalized and ready, it is published to one of the administrator specified SharePoint list in just a single click. This submission process is seamlessly integrated in your Microsoft Outlook and the whole exercise is transparent to the worker. Managers can then use these submitted time-sheets for calculating expenses, payroll or billing on projects, clients or resources etc – to mention a few.


Outlook 2010 calendar with appointments color coded with projects. Ribbon shows time-sheet #11 already reported to SharePoint


This is how the published time-sheet  #11 looks like in your SharePoint site (mapped to a calendar list). Notice the calculated total cost and other expenses as well as the project fields.

Our time-sheet reporting solution can be adapted easily to track, plan and calculate expense for payroll purposes, billing to clients, or simply to record and estimate expenditure on projects. What set it apart from other time reporting solution is the seamless integration with Microsoft Outlook and SharePoint. And as your workers are already familiar with Microsoft Outlook as they use most of the time, the advantages are maximum user adoption, minimum training time and administrative costs, and more importantly, streamlined process of reporting for all employees. The end result is a highly accurate and scalable solution for the organization.

Summary:
Product: Team TimeSheet for Outlook and SharePoint
Page: http://www.assistmyteam.net/TeamTimeSheetSP/
Platforms: Microsoft Outlook (2003, 2007, 2010 – 32 bit only), WSS 2.0, WSS 3.0, MOSS 2007, SharePoint 2010. Even supports SharePoint hosted on web or cloud, such as Microsoft BPOS)
Scope: Groupware (Unlimited Users)
License: Enterprise

We have provided 4 video demonstrations on Team TimeSheet for Outlook and SharePoint, covering administrative configuration, preparation of time-sheets in Outlook, publishing to SharePoint and finally, generating reports and statistics.
Video 1: Configure a Project Data source in SharePoint, Map Outlook fields to SharePoint list fields, add or change drop down list for Projects, Activities, Custom Fields and deploy to all members. Set hourly rates, reporting and notification options for all members.
Video 2: Establish Project Data source connection, choose own Projects and Activities, and reporting behavior in Outlook. Prepare timesheets, record time and expenses against configured projects, publish to SharePoint, make revisions or withdraw timesheet from SharePoint.
Video 3: Work with Team TimeSheet specific views in Outlook calendar and task folder, to ease recording, reporting and updating time and expenses information from Outlook. Present project information in Outlook in an understandable and intuitive way.
Video 4: Generate summarized and aggregated reports on different time interval, analyze timesheets data in multi-dimensional view with OLAP Statistics and Reporting tool and extract business intelligence.
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