“AvePoint acted as a trusted advisor throughout the entire process of our SharePoint migration.”
-Bryon Catlin, Information Services Manager, Charlotte County Government
Charlotte County is a county located in the state of Florida. The county comprises the Punta Gorda, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the North Port-Sarasota, FL Combined Statistical Area.
Serving more than 150,000 Floridians, Charlotte County Government depends on Microsoft SharePoint as both an internal and external-facing resource. In addition to utilizing the platform for business process automation and document storage for its 1,100 employees, the county also relies on SharePoint as the technology behind its public website. “We put a lot of emphasis on process automation, and SharePoint is the engine behind that at our organization,” said Bryon Catlin, Information Services Manager at Charlotte County Government. “It reduced the time required for invoice and administrative approval tasks.”
In order to be on the latest version of SharePoint, the county decided to migrate from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013. However, while its website and internal SharePoint environment were both hosted on premises, the organization wanted to move its website to the cloud. “We wanted to leverage an outside entity in case a catastrophic event ever took our data center offline,” Catlin said. “It helps us better maintain availability in non-catastrophic events as well, since we always had to take our website offline during SharePoint maintenance windows.”
In order to ensure the complex migration to a hybrid SharePoint 2013 environment was carried out correctly, the county knew it would need some help. “We wanted people who knew SharePoint 2013 well and had the expertise to help us do the migration right the first time,” Catlin said.
The county chose to bring in AvePoint to carry out the migration to the new environment due to the company’s depth of experience with SharePoint. “We were excited by the deep relationship AvePoint has with Microsoft,” Catlin said. “We knew that as SharePoint evolved, AvePoint would help us stay on top of those changes.”
The county engaged AvePoint Client Services (ACS) to carry out its white glove SharePoint migration service. ACS performed a health check of the county’s existing environment and gave recommendations on the best approach for migrating. “It was nice having someone outside of our organization to bounce ideas off of and help us with our planning,” Catlin said. “AvePoint acted as a trusted advisor throughout the entire process of our SharePoint migration.”
At that point, the ACS team designed and built the new hybrid SharePoint 2013 environment. In the process of creating the new environment, Microsoft announced it was deprecating the public-facing websites feature in Office 365 – SharePoint Online, where the county originally planned to host its website. In order to stay on course and ensure the county’s website could live in the cloud, the ACS team opted to move the website content to a SharePoint 2013 environment hosted by cloud provider Fpweb.net. “Microsoft’s feature deprecation was a change we hadn’t anticipated, but AvePoint rose to the challenge to keep our project on track,” Catlin said.
The ACS team then carried out the migration using DocAve Migrator, which is part of AvePoint’s DocAve Software Platform for SharePoint management. With DocAve, ACS was able to migrate according to the county’s operational needs – reducing any negative impact on its production environment – with full fidelity content migration jobs taking place outside of business hours. “DocAve ensured there was little downtime throughout our migration,” Catlin said. “All departments had access to their SharePoint sites when they needed them.”
Now that the entire 300 GB of content is migrated to the new hybrid environment, the county is able to rely on other functions of DocAve for SharePoint management. In order to ensure content submitted for publication on its website is vetted by the Public Information Office (PIO), the county keeps an instance of the website on premises where changes are made. When any changes or additions are made by content managers, the PIO is able to review and then DocAve performs an event-driven, one-way replication to carry over changes to the cloud-hosted environment. “DocAve is working really well for replications between our on-premises and cloud SharePoint environments,” Catlin said.
The county also uses DocAve to protect its SharePoint content. DocAve provides full-fidelity backup and recovery – from individual items to entire SharePoint environments – maintaining all metadata, security settings, and version histories. “Having item-level granular recovery through DocAve is a major time saver for us,” Catlin said. “With SharePoint’s native functionality, it would take us days to restore a document from a large site – DocAve takes minutes.”
In the future, the county will also utilize DocAve Governance Automation to simplify SharePoint site provisioning – giving users what they need faster, reducing the burden on IT, and staying within company policy. AvePoint Compliance Guardian will enable the organization to proactively monitor for and take action on sensitive content in the environment that violates privacy, security, and compliance rules. “DocAve Governance Automation and AvePoint Compliance Guardian will help us take advantage of SharePoint to the fullest while taking tasks off our support team’s plate – which is huge,” Catlin said.
By engaging AvePoint, the county was able to rely on the company’s full migration service and integrated technology to ensure it was set up for success on its hybrid SharePoint 2013 environment. “The customer service AvePoint gave us was great,” Catlin said. “A measure of a good company is how they handle adversity, and AvePoint continually worked with us to make sure things were right throughout the project.”
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