We understand that the Global Social Network Team, situated under the Global Business Planning Division within your company, is leveraging an internal social network service based on Microsoft SharePoint. Could you please provide a summary of the team, as well as the reason you chose SharePoint for the service?
Mr. Mitsuhiro Hatta, Manager of Global Strategy Group, Global Business Planning Division, NEC Corporation:
NEC is currently focusing on expanding overseas businesses, and we all had a sense that we needed to promote our information network between our headquarters in Japan and overseas offices even more to realize this goal. This is why we established the Global Social Network Taskforce two years ago – a company-level taskforce in which members from all departments participate – in order to introduce an internal social network as an informational foundation to promote communication and collaboration with overseas offices. Tasks such as selecting the platform for the network and designing the service were conducted by the Taskforce. Since this Taskforce was a temporary organization, we had to have a permanent organization within the company to ensure its success, and that was the Global Social Network Team.
Mr. Kenji Goto, Assistant Manager Global Strategy Group, Global Business Planning Division, NEC Corporation:
The type of interaction that happens the most between our Japanese headquarters and other overseas offices is file sharing. We chose SharePoint 2010 because it can be used as way to share files within an organization as well as the fact that it is acknowledged as the global standard for enterprise collaboration platforms. Another reason is that we heard from a Microsoft product manager when we were considering implementing the platform that a new version of SharePoint with enhanced social functionality would be coming out within a couple of years. This schedule matched our plan to gradually introduce enterprise social networking to the company, so we decided to implement SharePoint 2010.
How is SharePoint used at NEC Corporation?
There is an internal service based on SharePoint called “nbook” that our department operates. The purpose is to create an environment where key individuals in Japan-based and overseas offices can more easily share information with one another. Additionally, everyone involved from our overseas offices can communicate and collaborate seamlessly, leading to business expansion abroad. Therefore, most of our users are employees in our Japan office who work closely with overseas businesses as well as employees in overseas offices. As of August 2013, approximately 1,300 users from 37 offices in 30 countries are using the environment. There are closed communities for certain businesses which are only accessed by relevant employees and leveraged for sharing various files or co-editing product blueprints.
Our company has a plan for implementing SharePoint’s enterprise social features, so we thought that it would be best to start using the platform for sharing data such as product blueprints on a global scale in order to galvanize interaction between relevant individuals, innovation creation, and new product ideas. The next step will use the shared files as a base to generate engagement such as comments from employees worldwide, adding another element of human interaction to the platform.
We were considering implementing SharePoint 2013 after we installed SharePoint 2010 as a preliminary phase. After using the platform for one year, we had a certain amount of success with users becoming acclimated to communicating and collaborating across different locations and time zones as well as gradually understanding the relationships between different individuals in the organization. SharePoint 2013 has new social features such as a newsfeed as well as the ability to “like” posts and follow other users. We hope that these additional functions in SharePoint 2013 will accelerate communication and collaboration between our Japanese headquarters and other overseas offices.
We understand there were two main reasons you implemented AvePoint's DocAve Software Platform for your SharePoint deployment: To gain a visual understanding of platform usage and to simplify content migration and restructuring. Can you please explain why it was important to get a clear picture of usage in your SharePoint environment?
nbook has 21 communities (site collections) across all divisions, and each one has assigned community administrators. The administrators need to know if information sharing throughout different countries is working, or how the platform is being leveraged by users. That is why I am collecting and analyzing utilization data for each community and providing them with this information. I am also collecting and analyzing the utilization data for the overall nbook environment. However, with the default audit log provided by SharePoint’s native functionality, it is difficult to grasp detailed user actions, and the design only allows me to output audit logs for each site collection separately. Because of this, collecting all of the information is difficult and time consuming.
Please specify the reason you chose DocAve Report Center to fulfill this need.
Firstly we were considering developing our own system to analyze SharePoint utilization, and then our developer advised us that AvePoint’s DocAve Report Center actually satisfies what we needed do. After examining the product further, we were surprised that it not only automatically collects audit logs but also allows the information from Internet Information Services (IIS) to be merged to the audit logs. We appreciated this and knew it would make understanding user activity on the platform much easier, which helped us decide to implement the product. When there is a need to analyze the overall status of our SharePoint service, we use the power pivot function in Microsoft Office to analyze the log data that DocAve collected.
What are you able to do with DocAve specifically regarding understanding the utilization of SharePoint at your organization?
With DocAve, we are now able to automate the collection of information from the audit logs output by all SharePoint site collections, and this is really a great help for us. We are now leveraging Report Center when collecting audit log data in bulk.
Can you explain what your needs were in terms of simplifying content migration and restructuring?
We have communities that are comprised of specific members for each overseas business, and sometimes we receive a request to aggregate or separate site collections according to certain business changes. However, it is very difficult to move folders with all permissions intact using SharePoint’s native functions, so this was an obstacle in the way of responding to our users’ needs.
Why did you choose DocAve Content Manager to solve this challenge?
I had a chance to use the trial version of DocAve Content Manager, and tried using it to extract only one of the two subsites under a working site. As a result, the migration at the folder level was smooth and all permissions were kept intact, which SharePoint’s native function does not allow me to do. Other information such as time stamps or last modifying user were also kept through the migration, which helped me decide to install the product. After installing SharePoint 2013, the need to aggregate or separate communities will increase, as the additional social functions will drive more utilization of the platform. We expect that DocAve Content Manager will help us in these situations as well.
Lastly, would you please explain how you plan on using DocAve for your SharePoint deployment in the future?
In order to help with permissions and information security management, we are also interested in DocAve Administrator. After installing SharePoint 2013, this task will be more complicated with many more sites and interactions with information on the platform. Natively, nbook is a gathering of closed communities, so we have to be very careful with information security on the platform. We are assuming that the need to make bulk changes to permissions will be essential in the future.
In order to carry out these tasks that SharePoint’s native functions cannot do, we will consider AvePoint products, since AvePoint has the most experience in the marketplace.
In order to grow overseas businesses, we think it is necessary to intertwine existing products and services with other solutions to produce something entirely new. This kind of innovation can only be realized at the individual level – not at the organizational level. This means we will need people to join multiple communities at once. With SharePoint 2013, which we are now planning to install, the information on communities that people are a part of can be gathered and shown in a timeline, so it will be a lot easier to manage personal information. We would like to create an environment where nbook can first track related information without any loss of data. Then, we can generate social and interest graphs that will be an output of the enterprise social base utilization – which can be utilized to find new information or locate key individuals to help drive overseas business growth. We hope to use DocAve in order to analyze data from this upgraded environment in order to meet these business goals.