Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Cambridge Housing Society adopts SharePoint 2010


SharePoint 2010 rocks!!!
One of the latest SharePoint projects I have done was to build an Intranet based on SharePoint 2010 for Cambridge Housing Society. As there are many companies out there who have used SharePoint 2007 or WSS 3 before, I should say the new edition provides much more functionality and also it is a lot friendlier to the end-user. 


CHS Group, a charitable housing association uses a Microsoft SharePoint 2010 based Intranet to provide integrated document management and collaboration.


SharePoint 2010 provides a solid foundation and platform to continuously improve productivity in CHS Group by enhanced collaboration and more efficient document management. – Michael Cloete ICT Manager with CHS Group.


Overview


Country: United Kingdom
Industry: Charitable and Social Services


Customer Profile


CHS Group, founded in 1927, formerly Cambridge Housing Society, headquartered in Cambridge, is a charitable housing association, covering 6 Local authority areas across Cambridgeshire and North Essex. Providing affordable homes for over 7,000 people and community care services including support and investment to over 2000 people. Using a team of 400 highly motivated and dedicated employees.


Business Situation


CHS was storing over 300 Gb of business documents comprising mainly Word and PDF's,in a hierarchy of folders accessible via folder shares. With a large number of documents and over 400 employees this method was very in-efficient with a significant negative impact on operating efficiency. Due to the time spent searching for data/information/documents, difficulty in collaborating on documents from locking, lack of version control, etc. Also, there were no formal tools or solutions in use to facilitate collaboration & communication across the company.


In summary the company was operating suboptimally and inefficiently without the assistance of collaboration and document management tools /software.


Solution


CHS decided to review solutions that better suited their business requirements in the areas of collaboration and document management. These requirements included the need to provide a formal document management solution; provide collaboration capabilities such as forums, blogs, central news announcements, wikis; low cost and well proven; easy to use; easy to support and maintain.
CHS decided that an Intranet web site would best meet its needs, and identified Microsoft's SharePoint 2010 as best meeting its business requirements, both in the short term and the long term.


SharePoint Foundation 2010 was implemented with an Information Architecture utilising departmental sub sites, that provide 'productivity' aids such as calendars, whereabouts, tasks, project tasks etc.
In addition, Search Server Express 2010 was implemented for a more enhanced and integrated search experience, encompassing SharePoint sites, network folders, web sites etc


Pygmalion designs and implements SharePoint 2010


To assist in the implementation of SharePoint, Pygmalion, a Microsoft Gold Partner was contracted.
Pygmalion provided services to implement a document management and collaboration solution based on SharePoint Foundation 2010.


Activities included:


Planning & Design
Defined and documented the business requirements and further refined the key functionality and features required
Designed Information ArchitectureDesigned templates for web sitesDesigned document libraries and templates for documents.


Develop , Deploy & Test Stage.
Installation and configurationDeveloped the site structure and navigationImplemented web site brandingMigrated data from the existing intranetProvided end-user and system testing
Benefits


Low cost
Using SharePoint Foundation 2010 there is no licence fee (if Windows Server licences are already in-place).


Improved User Productivity
Productivity has been improved due to the reduced time to search and find information and data; ease of saving documents into a structured document library.


Short Implementation time / Rapid deployment
Solution was designed and implemented in a matter of weeks, using a well tried design methodology and standard out of the box components.


Ease of updating content
Using the built-in content management system it is now easy to for non-technical people to update content using familiar word processing type interfaces and templates.


High Availability and Reliability
Solution was built using the well tried and tested SharePoint platform without the need for custom software development.


Easy to use and powerful systems administration
Easy to use administration with a familiar Windows interface


Powerful Document Management
The built-in document management functionality offers a range of powerful features such as:
auto-archiving; check-in /check-out; use of mandatory templates for specific types of documents; ability to implement business processes using work-flow wizards; ability to add meta tags to documents to assist search and categorisation.


Improved and Granular Security
The solution allows for security and access to data and information to be configured in a centralised and formal manner.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Manually Cofigure Mac Apple Mail 4.3 to connect to BPOS Exchange Online

In a recent BPOS project , I had to configure an Apple Mail 4.3 to connect to Exchange Online. It took me a while to figure out the right configuration but at the end I got it to work using below settings:
General:
Mailbox type: Exchange 2007
Internal Server: red002.mail.emea.microsoftonline.com
External Server: -
Outgoing: smtp.mail.emea.microsoftonline.com
Advanced Tab
Internal port: 443     SSL
External port: 80      no SSL

Envy Create adopts BPOS


Customer Solution Case Study
Envy Create a multi-national digital design agency - uses Microsoft BPOS / Business Productivity Online Suite to achieve cost-effective and reliable communications and collaboration.
It’s cloud-based so we can use it everywhere and anywhere around the world. It’s a much
better package than we had before.” Adrian Le Mans, Managing Director, Envy Create
Overview
Country: United Kingdom
Industry: Marketing & Communications
Customer Profile
ENVY is a leading Creative Marketing and Communications Agency with offices in the USA & Europe, but with a reach that extends throughout EMEA and Australasia
Business Situation
ENVY with an international client base, frequently conducts assignments utilising teams comprising employees that are located across its international network of offices. The work requires continuous collaboration and communications between the team members to ensure the client’s solutions are developed effectively within the typical context of a brief and requirements that are constantly changing.
To facilitate collaboration and communications, great dependency was placed on the use of email. Partly as a result of previous company acquisitions, ENVY were using an email solution based on a disperate range of technologies and email clients, including Exchange and POP, etc. giving both an inconsistent end-user experience and range of features.
The email solution was hosted and supported by external IT suppliers, whom did not provide any SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) for guaranteed uptime and service quality. Resulting in poor service levels and slow response times to fix issues. In addition the IT supplier contracts were very expensive and inflexible.

Solution
ENVY decided to rationalise their email solution based on multiple technologies to a single technology platform. They also defined high level business requirements for collaboration and communications in general, not just email. These included: competitive pricing; flexible supplier contracts; guaranteed
high levels of service and uptime; enterprise level features such as calendaring, archiving; ability to provide email clients for PC’s and MAC’s; document management; web /internet conferencing; ability to integrate with a future planned CRM solution; After a review of various supplier offerings and solutions, ENVY identified Microsoft’s BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite).as best meeting its business requirements, both in the short term and the long term. This Cloud services based solution also met one of the company’s strategic objectives of allowing it to focus its management & employee resources, and capital wholly on its core business activities, rather than being distracted trying to operate and finance its own IT.

To assist in the implementation of BPOS, Pygmalion, a Microsoft Gold Partner was contracted.
As a first phase Pygmalion provided services to implement an improved email solution, and these included:

n Provide project plan for migration of employees located in USA, Europe
n Ensure backups of existing and archived emails.
n Migration of emails stored in Exchange, POP servers, and local /PST mail stores to BPOS Online Exchange.
n Migration of user accounts from on-premise to BPOS Active Directory.
n Creation of end-user manuals
n Configuration of email clients for both Windows and MAC based PCs /laptops utilizing remote support tools where necessary.
n Creation of end-user manuals
n Testing and handover. The migration was completed over a weekend to ensure minimal/ no disruption to
the email solution.

A second phase of work will involve migrating the company’s documents stored in a variety of ‘locations’ i.e..file shares distributed across several servers - to a centralized document management system on SharePoint Online.
Benefits
n An enterprise class email solution with a low fixed monthly charge.
n A reduction of at least 70% in the operating cost of providing email services compared to a previous hosting contract.
n Improvement in the uptime of email services to 99.9% compared to the previous situation with frequent downtime and an inconsistent quality of support.
Contacts and More Information
For more information about Pygmalion
solutions and services:
Call Solution Sales on +44 (0)20 7751 8060
Email solutions@pygmalion.com
Visit the Web site at: http://www.pygmalion.com/