SharePoint Online is a cornerstone of the Microsoft Technology stack. From our very first project on behalf of the Scotch Whisky Asscoiation in 1996 SharePoint has been a key part of our technology services.
With progress SharePoint has been largely replaced by SharePoint Online and we have selected a few of our more recent Success Stories using Microsoft SharePoint Online for you to read.
SharePoint Online Case Studies
International Beverage Holdings (InterBev) is a global drinks manufacturer, marketer and distributor headquartered in Thailand.
InterBev ensures the authenticity of its brands by rooting each one’s global development in its home territory. The UK division produces a number of household-name brands, including Caorunn gin and Old Pulteney Single Malt whisky – named ‘World Whisky of the Year’ in 2012.
An innovative and ambitious business, InterBev is actively investing in its growth around the world.
Developing a product is a complex process which involves as many as eight teams across the business – accounts, production planning, procurement, maturation and blending, quality, marketing, sales and customer services. Each time the process is run it requires the involvement of nine or ten different roles, from a pool of around 35 staff who are available to perform those roles.
InterBev had two systems for New Product Development (NPD) and Existing Product Development (EPD). NPD was used for major changes, such as brand new products, and product line extensions – new products within an existing brand. EPD dealt with smaller changes, such as new label designs and promotional stickers. Despite having similar goals, the two systems were not connected, and didn’t even use the same system – NPD used Lotus Notes workflows, while EPD used Microsoft InfoPath forms.
The systems were very prescriptive and inflexible; it did not allow if a mistake was made, or for the team needed to easilyto go back a step to make simple updates, instead they would often have to cancel the process and start a new requestfrom scratch. This became so frustrating for NPD staff that it led to a lot of the development investigation and planning process taking place entirely ‘offline’ before the details were entered into the system. The NPD and EPD systems were only used once and there was a high chance of the process going through successfully. This meant that, if a new product failed to reach the stage of being added to the system, weeks of research and valuable intelligence were not captured centrally and could be lost.
InterBev sought CompanyNet’s help in designing a system that would enable better visibility of what was happening during the NPD/EPD process, and provide opportunities to identify ways the process could be made more efficient.
Knowing that getting the process right was as important as building a better system, we took the opportunity to work with the NPD teams to imporve this. We facilitated sessions with the business to help them streamline the processes, identifying what steps could be simplified or removed, and combining the NPD and EPD processes. Once the new process was agreed and documented, we started building the solution.
We created a flexible new system built on SharePoint, based on the streamlined process, that would make things more straightforward and satisfying for InterBev staff. The new system now allows users to move backwards in the process any number of steps, or to move ahead – with the appropriate permissions. . For example, if the Finance team rejected a proposed product as unprofitable, the process can be moved back to the packaging stage in order to rethink the specification and to reduce the cost.
The system performs a Critical Path report, which reveals the minimum length of time the process should take, together with an estimated completion date. This is done by combining the length of each task in the process; where multiple tasks can be done in parallel, the system only considers the one that takes the longest. The resultant Critical Path Analysis chart shows the time each task is expected to take, and it can be used to quickly identify steps in the process that are routinely taking too long, or which could be made shorter.
We also provided utilised integration with InterBev’s existing SAP system, which provides supply chain information such as pricing and bills of materials for existing products; this data is combined with informed estimates entered by staff to generate a profitability reports.
Where data generated by the system had previously been very difficult to interpret, as it was in an XML format, we introduced intuitive SharePoint lists that are much easier to query. And, rather than just taking place ‘offline’, ideas and discussion are now captured in a SharePoint collaboration site area. This ensures that previous work is not lost if a new product idea is deemed unfeasible or doesn’t go ahead.
The solution we built for InterBev has had a positive impact across the whole business.
Decisions taken around new products are now better-informed, well-documented and backed up by evidence. The new system provides much better visibility of new products in progress, as well as helping staff identify steps that are proving a challenge, and spot which parts can be made more efficient.
It’s easier for all departments and team members to track what’s going on, giving the business complete oversight of new product development. Elements of the system that improve efficiency mean that the time to market for each product can be reduced significantly. Furthermore because the whole process is easier to visualise and understand, the way products are developed has become far more transparent.
SharePoint Online Case Studies
Edrington is one of the world’s leading whisky manufacturers and distributors, with a brand portfolio including The Famous Grouse, The Macallan and Highland Park.
Our relationship with Edrington was cemented by the successful delivery of their global brands portal.
We were next asked to create a New Product Development system to support the business’s continuous innovation. Their existing system did not fulfil their needs, and they saw the advantages of SharePoint for enabling collaboration across the business.
We developed a system based on Microsofts SharePoint platform which manages the process – from the initial idea, through to the approval of a new product or expression.
The solution’s close integration with the existing Brands Portal created a consistent experience for users, thanks to features such as Active Directory logins and security groups which were already in place.
It also fostered closer collaboration between staff at Edrington’s offices around the world, improving efficiency and driving innovation.
- Solution based on SharePoint 2013 (on-premise)
- Brands Portal to centralise information
- New Product Delivery system to foster collaborative innovation
- Centralised, streamlined information for staff, partners and customers
- Unique brand sites with a consistent underlying structure
- Closer collaboration between staff
- Supported overall business change
SharePoint Online Case Studies
Cairn Energy is one of Europe’s leading independent oil and gas exploration and development companies. A truly multinational company, they have offices and exploration interests across the world.
Cairn engaged CompanyNet to develop an effective global intranet that would be the first port of call for employees searching for information. They wanted a system that would avoid frustrations felt with their existing system, and reinforce the Cairn brand across the company.
We worked closely with Cairn staff to ensure high user adoption of the new intranet, conducting interviews and exercises in order to create an information architecture meaningful to them. We implemented a solution based on our Kira intranet accelerator, with a decentralised authoring model to encourage all staff to share key information. The system also includes an interactive staff directory, which can be searched not only by name and department, but by skills, interests and experience.
Take-up by staff at Cairn Energy was phenomenal, with 70 per cent of users visiting the site every day, and 20 times more pages created in the first month than had been created in the preceding three years.
The system was further integrated with Cairn’s existing electronic document/record management (EDRM) system. The programme of work was later extended, and we went on to replace these systems with a SharePoint-based solution that integrates fully with the intranet.
- SharePoint-based intranet
- Information architecture based on users’ needs
- Initial close integration with third party EDRM
- Programme extended to replace EDRM
- New global intranet
- Huge boost to staff adoption of intranet
- Increased internal knowledge sharing
- Supported business change