Building a Custom Document Management System in Office 365
A leading Global Construction company came to us needing a new platform which would be a solution for problems they have faced with their existing document management system. Their solution needed to enable users from all geographical locations within the business, as well as external users, to efficiently access the policies, procedures and standards to perform their day to day tasks whilst meeting compliance requirements.
What were the existing document management system problems?
Initially the company was using a document management system which was a custom-built solution on a platform called Stellent which is a Java Server Application for managing enterprise content.
After the organisation engaged Content and Code, we identified the following key issues:
- The current platform was unreliable and crashes regularly. This lead to users being unable to access the information they needed.
- Users found it very difficult to find the documents they were looking for, as the current system was not intuitive.
- The search functionality often returned too many and irrelevant results.
What was the solution?
The proposed solution was a new document management system called ‘Phoenix’. The new system was built on SharePoint Online and Office 365. With the new system being in the cloud, it meant that users could access the document management system remotely and from any location, on any device.
Project delivery and outputs
- Keeping everything in the one place
The Phoenix solution was implemented to store all policies, procedures, forms, guidelines and standards which are used by the construction company in one central area.
- Allowing external access
The information architecture within the custom SharePoint Online solution enables the company to invite external users and grant access only to a subset of documents. Documents are automatically security trimmed and users can only access documents that they have permissions to view.
- Creating Approval Workflows
Approval workflows were created and implemented. These approval workflows then automated the document approval process. This process ensures the documents are in the correct format and have been reviewed before being published for the wider organisation to see.
- Review Reminder Workflows
To ensure that documents were getting updated as and when required, following compliance requirements, review reminder workflows were implemented.
The solution provides a report of all documents stored in Phoenix daily. This reporting tool gives the owners of the document management system a clear overview of items requiring action.
Benefits of the solution
- User friendly interface
Phoenix not only provides a user-friendly interface, but the solution built in Office 365 is structured in a way which makes it simple for the user to navigate around and find what they are looking for. This more efficient process has now meant that employees have been able to take back valuable productive time they wouldn’t have otherwise had.
- Improved Search
The search functionality has been significantly improved in the new system. Users are presented with Search Tips which advise them on how to perform a search more accurately. In addition, the results have been configured to prioritise matches with certain metadata over others. For example, if a query matches the title of the document or reference number, they will be promoted to the top of the results above matches to the description or content within a document. Refiners were also included in the solution to ensure that users can filter the results and narrow down documents.
- Different ways of navigating
As an alternative, instead of using search, users can navigate to the business unit sites where the documents are stored. They are now able to use the A-Z index to browse for documents that are relevant for the current business unit.
- Useful information and links
The Phoenix home page provides access to useful links, key contacts and user guides. This ensures that users of the system can seek help or access additional information on how to use the document management system if needed.
Does your organisation still use dated on-premises legacy technologies to manage your corporate documentation? Get in touch with Content and Code to see how we can can help you move to the cloud with Office 365.
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