Seeking Alternative for Expensive and Unsecure File Sharing
The organization managed a SharePoint-based intranet which held policy and process documents, as Heather Mitchell, Records Manager for CPS, explains: “We would expose content on the intranet via links from Micro Focus Content Manager, which held our corporate documents. But many of our stakeholders didn’t have access to our network and so we also used a variety of file transfer platforms to send large documents, such as our board pack to board members. This was an expensive solution with a potential security risk too, so we looked for a more efficient way to manage this. At the same time, we wanted to refresh our intranet and saw an opportunity in combining both objectives.”
The team decided on an upgrade to SharePoint Online to redesign their intranet. Content management experts WyldLynx recommended an integration with Content Manager to easily share content and create a secure portal for external shareholders. WyldLynx consultants managed the server-side integration and provided team training and support, while Heather built the refreshed intranet in SharePoint Online, ready to accept Content Manager content. “We tested the concept by exposing content from our training dataset to the new intranet,” comments Heather. “When that worked, WyldLynx connected the integration to our production dataset, and I started exposing the necessary Content Manager documents.”
Successful Content Manager Test with Board Members and CEO
The native integration between SharePoint and Content Manager enables CPS to manage SharePoint content and expose Content Manager content according to established business rules. This process is transparent to the user and all managed content is easily discoverable from SharePoint and Content Manager. “We found an easy and secure method of exposing Content Manager content onto our new Intranet, while allowing external stakeholders relevant access,” says Heather. Board members were given early access to the new solution and were pleased to discover their board packs in just one click, rather than having to download and copy confidential documents via unsecure file sharing links.
Meanwhile, CPS welcomed a new CEO, who came from abroad. Because of COVID-19 restrictions he had to adhere to a 14-day quarantine period when he arrived in Sydney. The CEO was without a corporate laptop or network access, but Heather prepared a secure document library containing a selection of critical company documents for his review. “Our CEO was delighted. These documents are too sensitive to just send by email and Content Manager made it extremely easy for him to be productive as soon as he arrived in Australia,” comments Heather.
Potential for Many More Use Cases and Possible Move to the Cloud
As Heather and the team are discovering additional opportunities with Content Manager, new use cases continue to emerge. Most of CPS’s external stakeholders, such as Brisbane City Council or State Government staff, are a member of a Microsoft tenancy. This means that additional document libraries can be shared, keeping them secure and confined to specific content relevant to the stakeholder. Private companies too can benefit from this. CPS maintain public swimming pools in their parks and constantly monitor water quality. There is an opportunity to allow pool companies direct access to a library with water test results so that they can monitor these real-time and take corrective action quickly.
Currently, when an incident occurs in any of the parks, the responding team completes a Google form which is escalated to the relevant parties via email. Heather is exploring the use of SharePoint in combination with Microsoft Power Automate to have these details automatically logged in Content Manager, with the relevant stakeholders being notified by email of the incident. This same process will be adapted to assist HR in onboarding new team members too.
Content Manager is currently an on-premises implementation for CPS, but the team is looking into a cloud version, as Heather explains: “Running a hybrid environment with SharePoint cloud-based and Content Manager on-premises has worked fine for us. However, we moved to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic and need to access Content Manager via VPN. With a cloud instance of Content Manager, we wouldn’t need the VPN connection which can sometimes be unreliable. Definitely something for us to consider.”
Heather concludes: “WyldLynx provided great support in the integration effort between SharePoint and Content Manager and we have found the Micro Focus user community really helpful too. When quizzing our board members, they report a productivity improvement of 50 percent and I know we also have realized annual operational cost savings as we don’t need to fund file sharing platforms anymore. We are excited about the potential we have for future use cases for Content Manager.”