Westdeutsche Lotterie Moves, Backs up, and Granularly Recovers Microsoft® SharePoint® Content with DocAve®

Success Highlights

Restored SharePoint at the item level in just five minutes – 99 percent faster than with native capabilities
Scheduled automatic platform and incremental backup jobs to run according to a custom plan
Easily move SharePoint content – including workflows – from a test environment to production with full fidelity
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West Lotto Logo

Customer Location Münster, Germany

Industry Public Sector

Platform SharePoint 2013

Critical Needs

  • Point-in-time item-level restore
  • Platform and granular backup
  • Quickly move content from test environment to production

The Challenge

To facilitate collaboration and information sharing for its 365 users, Westlotto decided to implement SharePoint. With SharePoint, employees have centralized access to documents, and IT is able to create terminals for field branches – all enabling people to work more productively.

In the course of working with SharePoint, the organization soon saw that native SharePoint backup and restore capabilities weren’t enough for its needs. As a state lottery, the organization needs to be able to back up its content according to specific compliance regulations. “Due to the nature of our organization, we have specific backup requirements for compliance,” said Holger Engeln, IT Services Applications Manager at Westlotto. “We needed a more flexible backup solution that would allow us to retain backups for 90 days. We in IT also found it frustrating not to be able to do granular restores. So, if someone accidentally deletes a document, we would have to restore at the content database level.”

The organization also experienced headaches when developing Nintex workflows. As heavy users of workflows to replace traditional paper processes, IT wanted to be able to develop new ones and quickly implement them in production. However, this was not so easy out of the box. “In order to move content from our test environment to production, we would have to restart our system, which could disrupt users during working hours,” Engeln said. “PowerShell was certainly an option, but it takes a lot of effort to write those scripts. We knew there had to be a tool out there that could help us do this more smoothly.”

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If you want to improve how you manage SharePoint, there’s no better way than with DocAve.
Holger Engeln
IT Services Applications Manager, Westlotto

The AvePoint Solution

Following a recommendation from IT services company Amexus Informationstechnik, Westlotto evaluated and ultimately implemented DocAve Software, AvePoint’s fully integrated platform for SharePoint management. “In our selection process, DocAve was especially appealing because we saw that we could manage multiple parts of SharePoint from one platform,” Engeln said. “DocAve is a very good, reliable solution for our needs.”

The biggest of those needs was SharePoint backup and restore. With DocAve, Westlotto’s IT admins can create a more flexible backup strategy. Once they implemented DocAve, they scheduled automatic backup jobs, running full backups daily and incremental backups every hour to meet compliance policies. “It is very easy to set up our automatic backup jobs,” Engeln said. “We’ve also set up retention policies with DocAve so that our backups are stored for 90 days then deleted. I don’t ever have to think about manually running scripts or backups taking up too much space because it’s all been automated.”

Having set up an automatic backup schedule that works for its needs, IT also now has the ability to perform granular restores from those backups. Where SharePoint out of the box only allows data recovery at the content database level, DocAve allows admins to restore at the item level – while retaining all metadata. “I was once working on a survey project when a web part became corrupted,” Engeln said. “Because we had DocAve, I was able to restore it from a backup taken a few hours prior, which only took five minutes. Thanks to DocAve, I only had to rebuild two questions instead of the entire survey. If I didn’t have DocAve, it would have taken more than a day to fix, and it would have been a much lengthier process.”

Another area where Westlotto saw improvement was content management and movement within SharePoint. As IT developed more workflows to replace paper processes and forms, the team desired a solution that would allow them to move content from testing to production more quickly. “To make it easier for our users to request services or equipment, we created flows in a test environment,” Engeln said. “With DocAve, we can very easily and smoothly move content from one environment to the other. Because DocAve allows us to move and copy content with full fidelity, we are confident that all of our work gets moved to production and employees can take advantage of the new workflows. For example, we can onboard new employees with the correct SharePoint permissions without human resources needing to rely on developer support. That team was able to quickly take advantage of that workflow and save time doing their jobs.”

As a fully integrated software platform, DocAve allows Westlotto’s administrators to manage SharePoint backup and content management from a central place – no need to implement and learn multiple tools. “It’s great to have multiple functionalities in a single platform,” Engeln said. “We have one license key and one point of contact for everything. It’s really an all-in-one package.”

The Road Ahead

By implementing DocAve, Westlotto’s IT admins were able to overcome SharePoint native limitations around content management, backup, and restore. DocAve has significantly reduced the time it takes to manage backup, restore individual items, and move workflows into production. “We have saved a lot of time, resources, and therefore costs related to how our IT department operates by using DocAve,” Engeln said. “Capabilities such as granular backup and restore just weren’t possible without it. If you want to improve how you manage SharePoint, there’s no better way than with DocAve.”

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