How to Maximize SharePoint's Out-of-the-Box Features
To provide users in the English Department the ability to dynamically control the dropdown of tutors' names available to assign to a request, a lookup column can be leveraged. "Tutors" is a custom list within SharePoint with a "Tutors Name" column.
The use of the feature has multiple advantages. Some of these advantages include:
- As the tutors get added to the "Tutors" list, they will also automatically get added to the lookup column in the "Request Assistance" document library.
- All tutors are managed in one central location.
- The IT Department can delegate any administrative rights to the English Department on the "Request Assistance" document library to manage the columns.
- On the site, click Site Actions and Create.
- Create a Custom List named "Tutors".
- Click Settings and Create New Column called "Tutors Name" (or change existing, unused, column "Title" to "Tutors Name"). See Figure 6.
Figure 6: Column name settings
- Follow Steps 1 and 2 above to create a Document Library called "Request Assistance" and Create New Column of type "lookup" and name it "Tutor Assigned".
- In the Get Information From field, select "Tutors" from the dropdown.
- In the In This Column section, select the column as "Tutors Name" from the dropdown (see Figure 7).
- Click OK.
Note: The "Tutors" list and "Request Assistance" document library have to reside in the same site within SharePoint.
Figure 7: Create new column page
Now, as the requests get added to the "Request Assistance" document library, the supervisors have the ability to assign the request to a specific tutor from a dropdown. This dropdown dynamically pulls all the names of the tutors in the "Tutors" list that is managed separately, as shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8: Edit document properties
Taking It to the Next Level
Now, with a library that captures the tutors' names, the SharePoint Business Data Catalog can be leveraged to connect to a back-end system that contains the tutors' availability. Then, with a custom .NET feature, new requests automatically can be assigned to a tutor based on availability. This process automation can result in increased efficiency and cost savings for the English Department.
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