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Data Collection using Office 365 E3 plan

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I am a former user of Office Live Small Business and have transitioned to Office 365 and now using the trial plan Office 365 E3.  I already have my public facing website provisioned with Microsoft.

I need the ability for my external customers who do not have Microsoft Access database to input data for collection.  Will someone point me to a resource?  I have been searching and reading until I am almost blind. 

 

The only resource located thus far is one where the database is published to a SharePoint site but it clearly says users must have MSFT Access database.

 

 

Thanks very much

Larry

5/23/2012

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  • Hi Larry Kizziah,

    This is Jonis from Microsoft Online SharePoint Support.

    SharePoint Online for Office 365 is an excellent place for your Microsoft Access database.  Once you publish your database to SharePoint Online, users will be able to access your database from anywhere there is an internet connection.  The following links detail the setup, configuration and recommendations for an Access database on a SharePoint online site.

    How-to Build and Publish an Access database to SharePoint

    How-to Build an Access database to Share on the Web

    With an Office 365 E3 subscription plan, you have the ability to view, build, and publish external lists and InfoPath forms.  With Microsoft InfoPath 2010, you can design a form and connect it to a Microsoft Office Access 2010 database. By using these two programs together, InfoPath collects the data and Microsoft Access provides the data storage.  When the form is submitted, data validation rules are imported.

    InfoPath forms can even be filled out offline and the design tools make it easy for users to fill out forms.  When you design an InfoPath form, you use declarative logic so, no code is required.

    The following links detail the topics covered above:

    Building SharePoint Applications with InfoPath 2010 (Part 1 of 2)

    How-to guide: Connecting an InfoPath form to an Access database

    Integrate an InfoPath Form with a Microsoft Access Database

    InfoPath 2010 Help and How-to

    If that does not solve your question please let me know as I will continue to monitor this thread for any additional posts or questions. 

    Jonis Estrem

    Microsoft Office 365 SharePoint Support

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  • You stated "....." *users* will be able to access your database from anywhere there is an internet connection".  

    Ok...are you referring to potential *EXTERNAL* users visiting my *FRONT* facing website who are *NOT* internal customers ("internal customers"=do not have a subscription to Office 365)?

    thanks,

    Larry

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  • Hi Larry,

    I have no idea who it is you want to give access to, do you mean invited guests? Those who can log-in but who have no paid license, or do you mean just anyone on the web?

    If you are talking about invited guests, then yes they can infact put data in, and no they do not need to own Access.

    If you are talking about users on the web, people you don't know, then you collects their e-mail using a contact form, and then mail them an input form from Access to fill in, and then have Access process the results and place them in sharepoint or access.

    Another option is to create an Access application, make it a standalone app, and send it out to folks, they need not have Access to use that, and they could simply e-mail you back tables on what ever schedule you need for you to gather data.

    With OutLook, Access, and Office 365 there many things that can be done, these three tools when used to gether are able to a great deal of work.

    Hope this helps

     

    Robert

     

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  • Hello Robert, thank you for your reply.  

    The "users" I would like to attract would be (I think) considered uninvited.  Well almost.  They are invited by the fact I am attempting to provide a service and have them input their contact information and certain other information not listed on the Contact Us widget now provided me via Office 365's front facing site.

    Example: I would like to be able to create an input form on my public front-facing website that contains brief contact information and "other" data which would then be consolidated into a document for public viewing/downloading.

    From the days when I used OLSB, we had that capability except that data collection via email was not secure and we were cautioned by MS it was not secure.  

    From your reply, I hope I understand you correctly that in order for me to accomplish a data collection task I would first need to send an InfoPath form to complete and return via email to my https: secure email provided with the Office 365 Professional Plus E3 service. Yes/no???

    Thanks very much

    Larry

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  • Larry,

    What's missing from 365 is the ability to connect anything Sharepoint with anonymous (ie unlicensed) users. 365 would be a great place to do what you want if that was enabled, as it was in OLSB,  but without it I'm afraid 365 really isn't of much use for that type of data collection.  There are far better public site platforms available that don't require a multi step manual process. 

    webbrewers | Easy to use sites | Low/no cost hosting
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  • Hi Larry,

    Here is a quick sort of overview of what you would do. Ok lets say I fill-in the contact form on your site, so you now have my e-mail. Ok now lets say you have a list that asks thing like number of servers, employees, locations an so so on that you want to populate with my info. You link Access to that list, tell it which items you want, and who to email the form to ( me ). Of so Access sends out the form using Outlook, when the user (me) replies Outlook know it was an Access request, so it sends the form to Access, which then takes the answers and inserts them into your share point list. Once you have the system up and running it is all automatic, you have no manual steps except getting the starting e-mail address from the contact us form.

    Hope this helps

     

    Robert

     

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  • Would you suggest a few public site platforms......I am not in love with Office 365 but I do like Office.

    Thanks for your suggestion

    Larry

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  • Robert, thank you for taking time to assist me.  It now appears to me that the information provided in the infopath form being populated by external customers would be a secure server procedure whereas under OLSB it was not.  I have been using the Enterprise version of Office 2003 and Office 2007 for about 4 years so I already knew about data collection using email.  My confusion issues were the terms "users" etc.  Of course, with a large enterprise, I would have internal Office 365 licensed users and external non-office 365 users.  I think I am going to opt for the e3 plan; about same price I was paying for OLSB, except for the annual domain fee I now have to pay Melbourne IT plus get the benefit of having the latest version of Office on my pc.  

    Thank you again....and thanks to everyone in this forum taking time to glide me on a smooth path. <g>

    Larry

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  • The tutorials are helpful, but I respectfully submit, they are poor quality.  I watched several video's and the speakers would turn their head away from the microphone or slur their speech or use various cryptic "labels" when discussing certain features or howto's.  I searched Amazon and there is not much published.  I was an old Rbase for DOS user many years ago and migrated to Foxpro.  Foxpro came with a complete set of manuals and I became proficient using Foxpro for DOS and Windows.  I am surprised MS continued with Foxpro for as long as they did....but ultimately Access has become the predominate DB for small time users.  Years ago, Foxpro was being implemented with web type services....kinda hate to see it wither, nevertheless $$ prevail.

    If you know of any good books to try, please post the title.  I just hope Office 365/Sharepoint is still not a beta as I believe OLSB started.  

    Thanks again,

    Larry

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  • Hi Larry,

    I think going with an E3 is a smart move, you get far more in Office 365, with the included services, plus the local copy of Office Pro Plus, which means soon you will be getting Office 15.

    As for Books, there are so many it is hard to say, also it depends on your level with SharePoint. If you think of yourself as a beginner, then one set that is good is the Step by Step, there are two books SbS Sharepoint Foundation, and Sbs Sharepoint Designer 2010, if you buy them as a set, you save alot. I also have found a few good books on Workflows for Sharepoint 2010, which can come in handy for the sort of things this thread started with, data collection. One thing I look for in books, is that the source of the code in the book is either on CD, or can be downloaded, I find being able to look at it and modify it, helps to learn the material.

    Hope this helps

     

    Robert

     

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  • Larry,

    Just a thought but it's possible to deploy a form based on a list on an anonymous 365 page (though not on the default "public" site). You can see a simple example and the associated published list here:

    http://wb2-web.sharepoint.com/SitePages/Publish%20a%20form.aspx 

    I can't for the life of me get it to connect to Access though - the "open in Access" is grayed out and using Access, lists don't appear in the "open" dialog box - everything else in the site does. This functionality was so easy in OLSB but has been made strangely difficult in 365 - it's things like this that force me to suggest using another service.

    webbrewers | Easy to use sites | Low/no cost hosting
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