INPEX Created and Maintains Custom Microsoft SharePoint Portal for 3,000 Global Users with AvePoint Services and Solutions

Success Highlights

Deployed customized SharePoint portal to provide easy, centralized access to company information and facilitate communication between more than 3,000 users worldwide
Developed user-friendly functions – such as the ability to switch between Japanese and English as well as improved employee searches – to promote wide usage
Implemented integrated software solutions from AvePoint to strengthen SharePoint management and protection
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Customer Location Japan

Industry Energy/Utilities

Platform SharePoint Server 2013

Critical Needs

  • Implementation of a global portal for sharing information and communicating between employees in various locations
  • Simplified management and protection of portal

The Challenge

As a global enterprise, INPEX wanted to revitalize communication throughout offices and operational locations in Japan and around the world. However, the company did not have a unified technology platform to promote information sharing among employees in different countries, as each local office had different software in place. “The CEO messages were issued by email and therefore difficult to archive, and there was no place where information from our various locations could be aggregated and accessed,” said Mr. Tsuneo Tatsumi, Manager of the IT Strategy & Planning Group at INPEX. “This made it difficult for us to disseminate real-time information and updates to our employees around the world.”

In order to solve this issue, INPEX decided to build a new internal global portal that everyone could access, regardless of location. The company decided to also build a new internal portal for its employees in Japan to enable seamless access to global information. For both portals, INPEX selected Microsoft SharePoint. In the process of setting up the platforms, however, the company encountered several challenges.

First, INPEX needed to migrate specific functions of existing internal network software products, such as bulletin boards and file management systems, to SharePoint. The company also needed to customize the environment, because SharePoint’s out-of-the-box functionality and design templates did not meet all of its expectations.

Additionally, to accommodate employees with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, both the internal global and Japan portals had to be able to handle both English and Japanese. Since INPEX was not able to overcome these challenges with SharePoint out of the box, the company decided to look externally for solutions.

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It was a great benefit having a global team of SharePoint experts assigned to this project.
Mr. Tsuneo Tatsumi
Manager, IT Strategy & Planning Group, INPEX

The AvePoint Solution

To solve its challenges, INPEX chose to partner with AvePoint Client Services (ACS). “When I saw the demo, I felt ACS could help put SharePoint’s functionality to practical use while enhancing the platform’s overall design,” said Kenjiro Hirota of the IT Strategy & Planning Group at INPEX. “AvePoint is a global enterprise possessing cutting-edge technology through its headquarters in the US, and I believed that by tapping its expertise in SharePoint, we could solve our problems and build exceptional portals.”

Since user experience was of utmost importance for the portal, INPEX conducted a survey to understand what kind of information users wanted to see on both the internal global and Japan portals. The company also worked with AvePoint to locate any issues in the Japan portal and to determine how they could be resolved in SharePoint.

AvePoint took INPEX's requirements and began working to fulfil them. In order to overcome language and cultural differences between the various global offices, AvePoint helped to implement customizations throughout the SharePoint environments. For instance, using a drop down menu, employees could easily select between Japanese and English to view the contents of the portal. The portal was also designed to present relevant information to the global employee base – with sections dedicated to company and industry news as well as project updates that different teams could update. AvePoint also introduced functions that would help employees find important posts on bulletin boards and search for colleagues by name, title, or department.

Using flexible development techniques, AvePoint completed INPEX’s customized portal environments within six months and the company went live with both. "We established a system in which we could send out real-time company information to employees around the world,” Mr. Tatsumi says. "Everyone can now easily access key corporate information such as our medium- to long-term vision, INPEX Values, and operational documents from anywhere in the world.”

To monitor usage of its portals, INPEX uses DocAve Report Center – a part of AvePoint’s DocAve Software Platform. Utilizing insights gained through DocAve and from users, INPEX began to work with internal stakeholders and AvePoint to strategize for the next phase of its SharePoint deployment focused on collaboration and information sharing among offices. As the amount of information in SharePoint will increase significantly during this phase, INPEX is planning to utilize AvePoint Compliance Guardian to classify and tag information based on its contents and save it according to rules, to make it easier for employees to locate specific information on the portal.

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The Road Ahead

With help from AvePoint, INPEX was able to lay out SharePoint as a platform on which to share information with a global employee base and eventually evolve the environment to facilitate collaboration. As the platform grows and more information is stored on it, AvePoint is able to support the management of INPEX’s environment through enterprise-class SharePoint management and protection solutions. “We rarely heard AvePoint say ‘we can’t do it,’” Mr. Tatsumi said. “They always presented us with options and tips to fulfil our requirements on SharePoint. It was a great benefit having a global team of SharePoint experts assigned to this project.”

“With AvePoint, we worked as project partners rather than as a customer assigning work to a vendor,” added Mr. Hirota.

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