G&S Engineering Services Creates an Efficient Information Platform for both Local and Remote Workers with Microsoft® SharePoint® and DocAve®
- Complex content replications required between headquarters and multiple geographically dispersed offices and sites: scheduled and real-time as well as one- and two-way
- Control of bandwidth and network traffic used by replications over satellite connections
- Full fidelity backup and granular restoration of SharePoint content
- Ensure compliance with legislation by providing local offices and project sites access to the latest procedures, work health and safety requirements, and project templates
- Increase employee collaboration and facilitate project control by bi-directional replication of critical, up-to-date project information across headquarters, local offices, and project sites in real time
- Optimise use of bandwidth during content replication, with data compression, advanced network control capabilities, and monitoring of network connections performance
- Reduce IT efforts with automated backup of content and restoration taking only one third of the time required by native functionality
AvePoint has enabled G&S to secure and extend our SharePoint content.
A project-oriented organisation, G&S uses Microsoft SharePoint as its intranet and document management platform. The organisation has approximately 450 users accessing the environment, with the primary farm located on premises in the company’s headquarters in Mackay, Queensland and two local farms in offices in Brisbane, Queensland and Karratha, Western Australia.
In addition, G&S plans to extend SharePoint to project sites in regional and remote locations. Project workers need to be able to access the latest information on the company’s intranet, as well as create project documents to collaborate upon with colleagues in Mackay, Brisbane, or Karratha.
G&S needed a solution that could replicate content between the geographically distributed farms and work with the technical constraints of the project sites. “We needed a tool that could deal with the added complexity of the high latency and low bandwidth of our satellite and 3G connections,” said Andrew McCulloch, IM Technical Lead at G&S.
The AvePoint Solution
After researching solutions, G&S chose to implement AvePoint’s DocAve Software Platform. “Though replication was our foremost need, we were facing other challenges as well,” McCulloch said. “DocAve offered the broadest toolset in order to meet our SharePoint infrastructure management requirements.”
DocAve Replicator allows organisations to ensure optimal SharePoint performance and content availability with real-time and scheduled publication and synchronisation. “Our workers at local offices and project sites need access to various controlled documents from our intranet, such as forms, templates, and procedures,” McCulloch said. “We schedule one-way replication of these documents from our primary farm to our site farms to take place over night.”
G&S employees at remote sites use templates from the intranet such as the Job Safety and Environmental Analysis (JSEA) template, and create project-specific documents which they can collaborate on with colleagues at the G&S headquarters and local offices. With DocAve, G&S administrators were able to set up live, real-time replications of the content whenever items were updated, ensuring employees were collaborating on the current versions of documents no matter where they were accessed. “By ensuring certain information is available to key individuals at all times, DocAve helps facilitate business-critical collaboration across headquarters, offices, and sites,” McCulloch said. “It is important to ensure the latest information out on project sites is available to project controllers and Health Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ) advisors in Mackay.”
DocAve also allows G&S to monitor the performance and quality of its replication operations with its Health Analyser feature. G&S administrators can control performance and network traffic over its satellite connections with DocAve’s data compression and advanced network control capabilities. “With DocAve, we have the ability to make sure we only use one third of the bandwidth when replications take place over night,” McCulloch said.
DocAve Backup and Restore gives G&S business-aware and comprehensive protection of its SharePoint environment by backing up its SharePoint content, customisations, and applications with full fidelity. Using DocAve, G&S schedules a full backup of its primary farm outside of business hours every day. DocAve also enabled G&S to quickly recover critical documents, sites, or subsites granularly and directly to the original media and limit business disruption. “DocAve’s granular restoration capabilities allow us to recover site collections in one third of the time it would take with SharePoint’s native functionality,” McCulloch said.
Throughout its use of DocAve, G&S administrators always relied upon AvePoint’s live, 24/7 technical support team and the account management team. “AvePoint’s support team has been fantastic. They’re quick to respond and always help solve any issues we encounter,” McCulloch said. “AvePoint’s account executive was supportive in providing flexible licensing that suits our unique requirements with the project sites.”
The Bottom Line
AvePoint enabled G&S IT to build an efficient information platform on Microsoft SharePoint, despite geographical and connectivity constraints. In the future, AvePoint will help G&S as it looks to align its Office 365 extranet with its intranet and document management platform. “AvePoint has enabled G&S to secure and extend its SharePoint content,” said Stuart Hildred, CIO at G&S. “The presentation and use of content to owners and end users is one of simplicity and consistency – a hallmark of a well architected, robust and mature infrastructure application. AvePoint features as an important supporting toolset to the realisation of the G&S Information Management Strategy.”
About G and S Engineering Services
The principle activities of G&S Engineering Services include manufacturing, construction, electrical, and maintenance work on both fixed plant and mobile equipment, primarily in the mining, energy, and infrastructure sectors.