Small Company, Big Challenges
One beautiful day, we were contacted by a not-so-big yet highly important company in the Norwegian renewable energy industry. Like many others, they struggled with outdated systems for managing and governing their information. There was a pressing need to update their old systems, which were collecting dust due to poor usage, and align them with the innovation of their field. Since we at Infotechtion are passionate about information management and governance, and we love helping companies, we embarked on a collaborative journey with them.
Setting the Goals
Automated, simple, and user-friendly – this was our guiding principle for the project. During our comprehensive analysis, we engaged with stakeholders, employees in each department and delved into the documentation of the old systems to best grasp their requirements and needs. Collaborating closely with the company’s team, we defined our primary objectives and set out on a journey to achieve them.
Our main goal was to migrate all administrative documents form the old system over to the new SharePoint site which we divided in to two main sections. One section was a repository for old documents, while the other consisted of libraries for various components of administrative operations for newly generated documents. The site was tailored to fit the needs of the employees that were utilizing the system. Our implementations included features such as metadata with content types, access control, and automated labeling with retention labels.
Innovating for Excellence
Given the innovative nature of the company’s work, their administrative document management system had to match that spirit. During our analysis, we identified a significant need for efficient case management and that’s where Infotechtion’s “Case Management Solution Lite” was born. To add an extra layer of innovation, we integrated it with Microsoft Syntex, aligning with our project’s automation theme.
Case Management Solution Lite
The solution had a straightforward purpose – to provide employees with a unified platform to store all correspondence and documents related to individual cases. While simplicity was a priority, we had several criteria to fulfil, including:
- Being able to use the search engine to find cases and their associated documents.
- Assigning a unique Document-ID number to each case, inherited by all documents within the case.
- Allowing the application of metadata like “topic,” “responsible person,” or “response deadline” when creating a case, alongside other corporate metadata values inherited by documents.
- Automation reminders to the case’s responsible person.
- Automation around email correspondence being added to the site/case.
- Possibility of changing metadata as needed.
Having all the necessary criteria we got to work, maintaining close collaboration with the company’s project team to ensure alignment and accommodate potential changes.
A standard SharePoint folder wouldn’t suffice; therefore, we opted for a document set, which resembles a folder but offers more customization options. To meet metadata criteria, we designed a document set content type, encompassing contextual metadata required for all cases and documents. Additionally, this content type inherited corporate metadata from the company’s main content type. Document sets allowed us to select precisely which metadata values the case should propagate to documents within it. We utilized workflows to fulfil the reminder automation criterion for case owners. Upon opening a document set, a comprehensive view displayed all supplementary metadata applied to the documents. One challenge remained – simple yet tricky to solve – the automation of email correspondence.
Our customer wished for the capability to effortlessly drag and drop emails from Outlook to SharePoint for storage within the relevant cases. While this feature is available out of the box, we required the system to extract information from within the emails – a task not so simple to accomplish.
For this task we employed Microsoft Syntex, a content understanding and processing solution that uses intelligent document processing, content artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced machine learning to automatically find, organize, and classify documents or the information within them. Syntex also seamlessly aligned with the project’s innovative theme.
Our Syntex model focused on extracting essential email details such as sending date, sender, and receiver which would later be used as metadata values on the email file – and all that without a single worry on the employee side. All they had to do was to drag-and-drop the mail in a correct case and the Syntex model would do the rest for them – all that free from charge.
After numerous collaborative efforts, workshops, and meetings, we went live. All system users received invitations to a training session where we demonstrated the system’s functionality. In addition to that we provided them with “How-to” guides in the forms of One Pagers and videos to facilitate self-help when required. A few weeks following the launch, we had a workshop with the group using the system daily to assess its performance and gather feedback. As one employee eloquently put it, “Compared to the previous solution, I’m in seventh heaven using the new one.” – which we thought was a good thing.
The Case Management Solution Lite was a small seed planted, that later grew into our own Infotechtion Case Management solution which you can read more about here.