In the wake of a fundamental reorganization, a Swiss Federal Government unit had to merge the data from three line of business systems into one. A new SharePoint-based ECM platform was implemented, in order to support this move by not only merging the databases, but also the unstructured data, mainly documents.
The challenge was to design a SharePoint architecture supporting the creation and management of several hundred thousand new SharePoint sites each year. Even though the best practice guidelines provided by Microsoft suggested a solution that would have worked from a pure performance perspective, it soon became clear that the management overhead would have been disproportional, since the solution had to be spread over tens of thousands of site collections.
The decision to use MatchPoint was mainly due to its massive facilitation in managing this huge number of SharePoint sites. Being one of the first ever built high-volume MatchPoint applications, it featured a leading architecture for future reference.
New ways in electronic business administration
As part of the merging of three federal administration agencies, three independent
software solutions for electronic business administration were to be replaced by a scalable and easy-to-use SharePoint solution. The solution needed to be flexible and extendable, since the migration of further specialist applications (silo solutions) onto this SharePoint platform were planned. The migration of data from the old applications and the high number of dossiers presented a particular challenge. The new agency chose MatchPoint.
After analyzing the customer’s needs, MatchPoint integration partner itsystems developed a collaboration platform, which is used as a central business management system. Thanks to the MatchPoint tagging function, all documents are automatically tagged when saved in the SharePoint document store. This automatic allocation of metadata allows users to search for documents quickly and easily by topic, delivering relevant results. The new solution makes it a great deal easier to find information spread throughout the system. Thanks to the combination of metadata, content and time frame in a search query, the information and documents required are shown efficiently in a complete list.
Self-servcie workspace collaboration
The agency wanted to make it possible for their staff to manage documents, exchange information and maintain task lists across divisions and departments. Above all, the necessity of sending documents back and forth by e-mail and thus producing an unmanageable number of versions was to be eliminated. In addition, the staff should be able to create, administrate and tag their dossiers independently. A third party system automatically sets up the basic structure (approx. 25,000 site collection workspaces) and MatchPoint tags are generated. The main dossiers are distributed across various databases. The dossiers and subdossiers can be created, administrated and tagged by the users themselves. Relations can be created between individual dossiers, creating the option of deep linking. Alongside the document store and a task list, a workspace consists of a form with which the metadata can be managed independently by the members of the workspace. Tagging with MatchPoint tags allows the content to be personalized for employees and shown independently of the effective storage location. In addition, the MatchPoint role model allows system users to manage authorizations for the workspace conveniently as they please.
This technical consolidation not only allows for savings in financial and staffing resources, but relieves pressure on the entire IT infrastructure. The workspaces make the organisation of cooperation between and within departments and divisions easier and more efficient.
One concept, many applications
The most recent documents and information can be accessed at any time, so that time is no longer wasted asking for the latest version. The concepts are used in various environments. In addition to the customer and partner workspaces, workspaces for special projects or requirements are provided and can be administrated separately. Thanks to the rich index created by the metadata across all workspace types, all relevant content can be extracted and aggregated based on search and is displayed in a personalized way on the portal homepage. Employees can gain an overview of the tasks personally allocated to them at any time. In addition, all relevant information regarding the appropriate dossiers, subdossiers and documents is displayed. At the same time, users and administrators can be notified about any changes to existing information by way of automatically generated e-mails.
Outlook: composite content applications
The flexible MatchPoint framework allows for the easy integration of document or workspace-centred applications into business administration. One example that was implemented was an integrated scheduling solution. Depending on the workspace type, the corresponding scheduling process with the appropriate attributes is selected automatically and can then be evaluated centrally. The schedule configurations are produced automatically and administrated in a simple Excel file. This enabled the agency to expand their SharePoint workspaces to include additional flexible attributes and thus provide further benefits with the self-service workspaces.