“The fact that all products were integrated within one platform meant that we did not need to spend time learning two or three products with different interfaces, which was beneficial for our staff of only three SharePoint administrators.”
-Gary Williams – IT Manager, Alberta Urban Municipalities Union
The Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) was founded in 1905 and represents Alberta’s 272 urban municipalities including cities, towns, villages, summer villages, and specialized municipalities as well as Associate and Affiliate members.
To replace a file management system with a new platform that offered improved features for organization, AUMA implemented Microsoft SharePoint 2010. Approximately 100 knowledge workers utilize the system to store and access their files, whether they are in or out of the office. “By utilizing SharePoint as our file management system, we are able to reduce the duplication of files, improve the ability to find documents with a more intuitive structure, easily access legacy versions of documents with versioning features, and improve the accessibility of content for the web,” said Gary Williams, AUMA IT Manager.
The organization also maintained a separate Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 farm to facilitate collaboration. Approximately 600 users – including staff, corporate partners, AUMA’s board of directors, and committee members – accessed this farm. SharePoint acted as the primary collaboration and information management platform for many integral aspects of the organization, including its benefits and pension programs for employees.
When it came to managing the organization’s SharePoint farms, AUMA administrators eventually ran into challenges around moving and restructuring content throughout the system for end users as well as optimizing storage. “Our expertise on SharePoint was lacking, and the cost of hiring a real high powered expert was prohibitive,” Williams said. “In order to properly manage our system, we needed a proven, flexible, and cost-effective solution.”
AUMA administrators investigated several different solutions, including AvePoint’s DocAve Software Platform – the enterprise-class management platform for SharePoint governance. The administrators sent a request to a consultant that the organization worked with to evaluate DocAve. “The consultant told us it was a very good product and would give us the capabilities we needed and did not have through SharePoint’s out-of-the-box features,” Williams said. “Additionally, we determined the cost of DocAve was approximately 75 percent less than hiring an expert to help with our deployment. The fact that all products were integrated within one platform meant that we did not need to spend time learning two or three products with different interfaces, which was beneficial for our staff of only three SharePoint administrators.”
After installing DocAve, the administrators began to utilize DocAve Content Manager to reorganize content for end users. DocAve comprehensively moves, copies, and restructures SharePoint sites, content, and topology within or across SharePoint environments. Through a centralized, highly intuitive management console, administrators can seamlessly manage and restructure SharePoint content with minimal interruption to business processes, maintaining all content, configuration, security settings, and metadata during content management tasks. “DocAve makes it easy to move a list from one site or site collection to another while keeping workflows and everything else intact,” said Modupe Odedina, SharePoint Administrator/Network Analyst at AUMA. “The tool allowed me to reorganize our benefits system – which included 250 sites that need to be moved – 90 percent faster than I could have manually.”
AUMA administrators also implemented products to optimize storage, including DocAve Storage Manager and DocAve Connector. DocAve Storage Manager enabled the administrators to externalize binary large object (BLOB) based content, including one-third of an 89 gigabyte (GB) site collection, to improve platform performance. DocAve Connector allows AUMA end users to collaborate upon network file shares directly through SharePoint without the need for migration. “With DocAve, our end users can access their personal files from anywhere in the world – even from mobile devices,” Williams said. “Not only are the files available, but all permissions for accessing the content are maintained, applying SharePoint’s superior document management capabilities to content residing in our file shares.”
As SharePoint grows and evolves at AUMA, administrators will continue to utilize DocAve as new projects take shape. This includes utilizing DocAve Administrator to simplify management of end user permissions and DocAve Connector as a part of a records management system, connecting SharePoint to a file share with approximately 900,000 scanned documents. Throughout its use of DocAve, AUMA administrators have also found great benefit in working with AvePoint’s technical support team. “AvePoint’s technical support team has been very helpful,” Odedina said. “They are always friendly, prompt, and answer my questions right on time.”
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