Microsoft SharePoint is a strategic solution for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (LBBD), already supporting the public website and a number of internal pilot sites, e.g. a portal for HR staff.
The SharePoint solutions in use within the Council were well received and adding value. For example, it became possible to manage all employee records electronically rather than with paper files as had previously been the case. This made it easier and more efficient to find and share information securely.
These solutions were used by a small number of specific teams meaning their potential benefit was not available to all. This also meant that a consistent approach to how they were being used could not be guaranteed, which could mean that corporate or legal needs may not be met by the way information was being managed.
What Was The Challenge?
LBBD was keen to increase the use of SharePoint to support its information strategy and extend the benefits seen by those who were already using SharePoint sites. To do this, access to SharePoint solutions needed to be made more widely available to a greater number of staff and across all departments.
The previousIntranet site was on unsupported technology and identified as a risk in technical web penetration testing, so had to be replaced.
A lack of support for corporate and legislative requirements for document and records management meant that LBBD was at increased risk to the reliability and security of its information.
The majority of staff, however, did not have an understanding of what SharePoint could do and could not know how it might be used to support their needs. This meant that detailed requirements could not be confirmed at the start of the project.
The lack of detailed requirements at the start of the project had to be resolved to ensure successful progress. By using a phased approach to the project and adopting Agile project management the Elevate Project Team supported LBBD in developing its requirements while products were delivered.
The project was selected as a member of the national Socitm Agile Pathfinder Programme providing additional specialised consultancy to Elevate and LBBD and providing assurance of Elevate’s successful use of Agile.
Key to Agile delivery was a high level of business involvement throughout the project and cycles of development and testing. The Elevate Project Team established a process of regular meetings with a cross-council Business User Group to present completed products, receive feedback and review development priorities in light of this. This meant corporate solutions were ensured with the flexibility to meet individual team’s needs.
Thanks to this approach it was possible for the LBBD Business User Group to identify the following high level requirements:
• New Intranet homepage providing an access point to all information required by staff, including Intranet, Internet and staff search.
• New Intranet Content Management System
• Workspaces for teams to collaborate and share information
• Workspaces to support collaboration across departments
• Support for and automation of Document and Records Management.
These have been delivered through multiple phases of the project, with each phase providing further development increasing the Business User Group’s understanding of SharePoint, the products being delivered and how these can be used within the business.
The first phase delivered template SharePoint sites for each of the requirements allowing business users to review how these could be adopted. The second phase completed the support processes, such as a training package, necessary to provide access to large numbers of teams and staff, additional functionality for each requirement and roll out planning. Phase 3 (due to complete Autumn 2012) is currently setting up those sites for the first set of teams, providing extra functionality and migrating content from the current to the new Intranet site. Phase 4 will close the rollout ensuring both team sites and intranet migration are completed accross the business.
Elevate has provided LBBD with a platform to deliver efficiencies through better management and availability of its information. The SharePoint solutions that have been delivered achieve this by:
• Enabling staff to find information quickly and easily
• Reducing costs by driving self service
• Increasing business ownership of Intranet content
• Improving Records Management
• Encouraging working together
• Improving staff communication and engagement
• Better use technical resources, including removal of dependency on unsupported technology.
Elevate is helping LBBD to truly transform the way it manages and shares its information, while also ensuring compliance with relevant legislation and information security policies through automated support for Document and Records Management (DRM).