Council currently uses a corporate electronic document and records management system (EDRMS) to manage its information. This system has been in use within Council since 2002, and is integrated with Council’s property and customer service systems.
A gap analysis identified that this EDRMS implementation was no longer meeting Council’s business requirements. Council decided to test whether SharePoint 2010 could meet Council’s document and records management needs as well as introduce improvements to Council’s information management practices.
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The pilot project commenced in April 2012 and ran for six months. The project involved 40+ key users from different business units. Council engaged Aten Systems to develop and supply the pilot.
The project implemented SharePoint 2010 with:
- i5 (for records management)
- FileTrail (for physical file management)
- EzeScan (for scanning)
- OnePlaceMail (for email management)
- Nintex (for workflow management).
To determine whether SharePoint 2010 could meet Council’s document and records management needs, the project involved:
- defining the business processes that were to be included in the pilot
- mapping the defined business processes with pilot participants
- developing SharePoint information management processes with Aten Systems
- proving integration with and migration from critical business systems
- training pilot participants
- surveying participants on their use of SharePoint.
Defining business processes
The project team took a process-based approach and looked at document and records management across a number of processes rather than separate functions. The team identified the different types of records generated by different business units at different points in a particular process (e.g. documents, videos, audio recordings etc.)
The project looked at a range of processes:
- managing dumped rubbish investigations
- managing Subdivision Applications (including integration with Council’s land information system, Pathway)
- managing electronic personnel files (to test the security capabilities of SharePoint)
- event planning
- records management (i.e. physical file management, appraisal and disposal, and batch scanning)
- cross functional processes (general document and records management).
Mapping business processes
The project team mapped current business processes with key stakeholders.
The team then reviewed each process and identified areas for improvement. The team also identified the associated recordkeeping processes and requirements, e.g. the types of records that need to be created in support or as evidence of a process, how and when these records should be captured, how long they need to be kept, which employees within the organisation should have access to them, what metadata do they need to ensure they remain understandable and useful over time, opportunities for workflow etc.
The team wanted to replace paper-based processes with digital processes where possible. Business process re-engineering formed part of the project, with the team introducing digital processes to replace paper-based processes where possible.
Developing SharePoint information management processes
The re-engineered processes were confirmed with stakeholders and the project team collaborated with the developer for setup and configuration in SharePoint.
The project team decided to utilise Document Sets to automate the creation and classification of records as much as possible.
Document Sets were configured to be populated with templates specific to the particular process. For example, the tendering process was configured so that each time a user started a tender process, a Document Set would be created containing all relevant templates. These templates would inherit appropriate metadata from the Document Set, e.g. tender number, type of tender etc.
Proving integration with and migration from critical business systems
The project investigated integrating two critical business systems, Pathway and Merit CR, with SharePoint.
The project team discovered that integration is dependent on the integration protocol that the vendor of the software uses, e.g. point to point, web services, application programming interface (API) etc.
Pathway is Council’s land information system.
Pathway uses a standard API that the developer was able to utilise to integrate Pathway with SharePoint. As a result, the developer did not need to know the Pathway system.
Pathway and SharePoint were integrated so that when a document is generated through Pathway it is automatically registered in SharePoint into a Document Set with the appropriate metadata fields. The document inherits all of the metadata from the Document Set. Pathway remains the owner/controller of the document.
Merit CR is Council’s customer request system.
Merit requires the use of point to point integration, which made Council dependent on the Merit vendor. This was a timing, resource and budgetary constraint. As this was a pilot project, Council decided not to integrate SharePoint with Merit due to the short timeframe and expected costs. The developer was, however, able to demonstrate querying the Merit database and bringing this information into SharePoint.
The project also looked at migrating records from Council’s EDRMS and network drives to SharePoint:
- A number of different options were investigated for migrating records from Council's EDRMS, including third party software. The developer found the most cost effective and time efficient approach was to develop its own program to perform the migration. Third party software was only able to perform part of the migration (from a network drive to SharePoint); therefore a program needed to be developed to migrate from Council’s EDRMS to a network drive. Instead, the vendor successfully developed a program to migrate records and associated metadata from Council’s EDRMS directly to SharePoint.
- The project team decided not to bulk migrate records from network drives. Instead, the network drives were made searchable via SharePoint, therefore not requiring migration. Users will be able to capture individual records from network drives into SharePoint as needed.
Training pilot participants
Training was performed in-house by the project team.
The team developed a brief course and documentation for each process. All pilot participants had one training session, usually around two hours in duration, which was enough to allow the users to test the system back at their desk. The pilot participants were also given a testing checklist to allow them to record the results of their functionality testing.
The project team surveyed the users involved in the project about their experiences with using SharePoint. The team received an 80% response to the survey.
The overall impressions of SharePoint were positive, with 84% of respondents saying that they would recommend the solution to their supervisor.
- Sentencing on creation
- Automated classification where possible
- Drag and drop functionality for emails
- Auto population of metadata where possible
- Document Sets
- Network drives locked down and made read only (ability to search across network drives and SharePoint from within SharePoint)
- Migration plan with costings for migrating records from Council’s current EDRMS to SharePoint
As well as determining that SharePoint 2010 could meet Council’s document and records management needs, the process analysis undertaken during the pilot project achieved a number of broader benefits for Council:
- Greater visibility and accessibility of corporate information
- Reduction in duplication and double handling of information
- Increased flexibility in restricting access to information
- Streamlined work processes
- Improved efficiencies
- Implementing SharePoint, records management component, FileTrail, EzeScan, OnePlaceMail, Nintex and Simpana
- Integrating SharePoint with Council’s business systems
- Migrating existing documents and records from Council’s EDRMS
- Acquiring a SharePoint resource in the Information Management Unit
- Developing a change management and training program
The project team reported on the project to the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and recommended that ELT approve the replacement of Council’s EDRMS with SharePoint 2010 and the add-on products tested during the project.
In principle, Council’s Executive has approved the implementation of SharePoint.
Published December 2012