GTconsult innovates the basics

20.01.21 12:27 PM Comment(s) By Jonathan Faurie

Admin can be very challenging for any business. if done right, innovation comes naturally. 

Covid-19 has changed the global narrative to such an extent that many companies are feeling distressed and do not know where to turn. It is hard to appreciate this if you do not take a step back and look at the full scale of the problem. For retail companies, sales are down and the prospects of another shut down loom large as the country’s Covid-19 cases continue to grow. For service-based companies, hard decisions need to be made between the continuation of a service and paying rent or school fees.


There are products and services that cannot be cast aside. The challenge of these product and services then becomes the task of trying to innovate so that the product or service does not become a grudge purchase. This was felt in many industries long before Covid-19, and business leader realized that the natural place to focus their innovation was in improving the customer journey.


“GTconsult has always been at the forefront of innovation and we have worked tirelessly to bring our clients the best products and services in the market. But we are also aware that more is needed when it comes to client innovation, and we take the client journey very seriously. We have come up with an important solution which will help clients service their contracts in a convenient and hassle-free manner,” says Craig Tarr, CEO GTconsult who added that this will be a specific focus for 2021.


Growing demand

The motivation behind designing this product came from a growing demand amongst users who approached GTconsult expressing a problem about how they manage contracts as well as the approval of these contacts and then extending this to how they manage their customers and vendors.


“A lot of clients have indicated that they don’t want to use a conventional customer relationship management (CRM) system. The reasons for this are varied and very valid. It may not suit some of our client’s purposes or the licensing of the CRM system is proving to be a challenge. What most of our clients do not realize is that they most probably already have Office 365, so they have already taken the biggest step in taking a different approach,” says Tarr.


Servicing a need

So how do users pull all of their demands together into a system which will enable them to manage their contracts, run through approvals, have more than one relationship that they need to manage and the documents that are associated with that without using a conventional CRM system? Even a small company may find that they have to manage multiple vendors at the same time.


This can be built in Office 365 by using a SharePoint extension and PowerAutomate.


“We first need to establish what the problem that we want to sole is. It is essentially an onboarding problem whether it be contracts, customers, or vendors. At some point, you will want to onboard these parties and all of the documentation that is associated with them. Once this happens, you then have the task of dealing with contracts and service level agreements (SLAs) and documents which you will need to keep up-to-date and compliant with differing legal requirements. The major problem with this is that each of these contracts of SLAs have different workflows that have to be run simultaneously. Approval processes are often a challenge and documents that relate to a customer or vendor may need certifications and will most probably have some form of legal requirement that will need to be managed. Finally, there will also be performance reviews that will need to be conducted at various times,” says Tarr.


Users may also find that they are in a situation where one company has to manage many contacts. This may mean that they have different project managers and stakeholders that all belong to the same organization that they will have to deal with at different times. This is typically something that will be put into a CRM, but it is also something that can be managed by SharePoint using a contacts list.


Making a list and checking it twice

“Speaking of lists. Once a user has gone through the onboarding process, or even during the process, they will typically need to go through a checklist to ensure that they are dealing with the right vendor and that the vendor checks all of the boxes. GTconsult uses a checklist that is dynamic enough that users can go through the process and modify these lists in real time should the needs of the project – or checklist – change,” says Tarr.


Once you have uploaded the customer/vendor, and have approved them, users could run into systemic issues (operational)which are risks that need to be managed and mitigated. Users will also occasionally have performance reviews (depending on the type of contract) that they would need to run on either a quarterly or yearly basis. These are processes that you will need to work through and ensure that they are done properly. Good governance is key.


Innovative solution

“So, how has GTconsult solved the above challenges? We have used Office 365 and the SharePoint extension – along with PowerAutomate – to build a solution that allows GTconsult to manage all of the different aspects that were highlighted above in one go. This is done though the use of a single page app. By using the SharePoint app extension, we have a hosting capability in terms of JavaScript. So, whether you need to fast-track a project by using something that is already tried and tested (and built), or whether you need specific functionality that is difficult to building the first place, JavaScript is the best place to turn to because most of these requirements are inherent in the system,” says Tarr.


He adds that, once you deliver all of this functionality, you will obviously need a workflow functionality that operates behind the scenes.  “Whether it is approvals, or permission structures, or whether you need to reach information that is hard to source, you will always need some form of framework for that workflow. PowerAutomate does this with ease due to its integration capabilities as well as its timing capabilities which is often found to be a specific problem in SharePoint. We now have the capability to set a timer to kick off on a daily or weekly basis,” says Tarr.


Underpinning all of this is SharePoint and GTconsult utilizes SharePoint and several different lists to enable this capability through a single page form using it as a relationship type database. Previously, this functionality would have been provided through lookup lists in SharePoint.


“What we are finding with the SharePoint extension is that it really enables users to take this to another level in terms of relationships and how you store & retrieve data. Yes, there is a lot of learning around specific shortcomings, in terms of the number of items (for example indexing) to make sure that you do not run into problems after you hit a specific number (typically 5 000 items). This is a learning curve that needs to be worked through,” says Tarr.


A step-by-step video walking you through the process is available on our Facebook ( page and LinkedIn page ( 


Simplifying workflows

Admin is often a stumbling block for most companies. It can become troublesome and complicated if it not managed properly. The other side to poor administration, particularly when it comes to contracts and SLAs is that compliance becomes a problem.


“What we have shown you today is not just the ability to use charting libraries, but also the frameworks that you could have around navigations and easy list manipulation with data tables. In addition, behind the scenes, all of this is getting mapped using Rest API which makes single page apps viable in terms of performance moving through the application. As you can see, migration between pages using the GTconsult solution (which makes use of Rest API) was swifter as opposed to a page refresh. There is a lot of benefit in all data being managed in a single location,” said Tarr.


Simplification of workflows, particularly when it comes to admin, allows companies to focus their strengths in other areas. Doing the basics well means that you will have a solid foundation to build business plans around that will benefit your company in the long run, particularly in a world that is being defined by the Fourth Industrial Revolution where almost every aspect of everyday life is being driven by technology.


“GTconsult is committed to enabling productivity and helping its clients grow by simplifying workflows and taking stress away from its clients. Contact us today to find the solution that will benefit your company,” concludes Tarr. 

Jonathan Faurie

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