InfoPath – What can it do for me?
InfoPath forms in SharePoint are an invaluable feature that most firms can leverage. First let’s jump into a brief explanation of what an InfoPath form is. An InfoPath form in SharePoint is an electronic form that allows user to populate data into it via the use of drop down menu and text boxes. SharePoint allows you to attach a workflow to a form to mimic a business process, if need be.
The great thing about InfoPath is you don’t need to be a developer to create an InfoPath form, you can create a codeless form using InfoPath Forms Designer.
Let’s take a look at some real world scenarios. One of the most common uses of InfoPath forms in SharePoint are for expense reports. Rather than using excel or a manual paper process, you can easily create an expense form in InfoPath in which different expenses appear in a drop down menu, you can even add cost centers in the form. Once a form is submitted you can have a workflow attached to it so someone in accounting or a supervisor receives notification of the submission. Once they approve it you can automate the notification of the approval/rejection back to the originator. This eliminates an employee submitting an expense report and wondering where in the chain of command his/her expense report may be.
Some other uses of InfoPath in organizations include:
- Employee New Hire Forms
- Medical/Dental Forms
- Insurance Claim Reporting
- Inventory Management
- Market Research
In addition to creating the forms in InfoPath, the data entered in the forms can be stored as metadata in the forms library and be easily reported on.