Notes on “Deployment of SharePoint 2013 document, records and collaboration solution at AUT” (Alan Marshall, Stephen McWilliams, Shelley Tasele)

Day two of the New Zealand SharePoint Conference is starting. The first session for me today is a case study from AUT University. Some notes:
– Alan is a Senior Consultant at Provoke. Shelley is the Technology & Resources Manager at the Faculty of Business and Law at AUT. Stephen is the Information and Collaboration Architect at AUT.
– AUT is New Zealand’s newest university, with 2000 staff. Four campuses across Auckland. Central services like HR, ICT, and Marketing.
– Drivers for the project – (a) reduce storage costs, (b) drive compliance with the Public Records Act, (c) help with communication across the faculty, and (d) address information overload (732,000 documents, with 68,000 folders, with 18 folders deep).
– … decided on deployment first with Faculty of Business and Law, rather than all of AUT.
– … faculty get news, events, and a shared resource toolkit. Also helps with automated processes, content discovery, and collaboration.
– … divided the approach into four layers – foundation (environment, structure, governance, and policy), information architecture, faculty foundation (general capabilities for all faculties), and business and law (capabilities for a specific faculty). Plus various AUT wide information, events, and processes.
– … … governance included decisions around authentication, integration with other systems at AUT, etc.
– … … using RecordPoint for records management.
– people involved in the project – SharePoint specialists, records management, project management, business group, ICT, subject matter experts (content and process owners), and change management. Quite a few different roles / expertise areas. Mix of internal and external people.
– development process – gathering of requirements (including education of what you can / could do), mockups (showing people what could be delivered out of the box), identifying quick wins, wireframes and information architecture, etc.
– … for change management – had some people internally plus some external consultants. Stephen feels like they have second guessed themselves on adoption, but on engaging with a user adoption consultant (i.e., Michael Sampson) and laying out everything they’ve done, they realised how many different things they have already done.
– what products did we consider and why? Office 2013 and Lync, RecordPoint, Nintex Workflow, Pingar (content analysis and sample taxonomy), and AvePoint (content management, reporting, and security auditing). Also the SharePoint Shepherd’s Guide for End Users 2013.
– how did you balance records management and user experience? Records management often makes things more difficult for end users. However, at AUT the aim was to hide the complexity from end users (rules matching, retention, classification, controlled disposition, etc).
– … this required a lot of work on defining content types and metadata.
– rollout approach – phase 1 (toolkit, discussions, and news and events), phase 2 (collaboration sites), and phase 3 (continuous development and enhancements).
– … ran a rolling one-hour introduction for staff in the faculty on a given day, offered one-to-one coaching for senior staff, did floor walking during the week, etc.
– … currently working on workflows (travel requests), and the design and build of group / department workspaces.
– content migration? The file system / folder structure was tidied up before migration. Documents that are frequently used were / are being migrated first.
– major challenges? (a) no reference points in NZ to work to – within the NZ universities. (b) SharePoint has a different delivery model to other Microsoft products. (c) getting decisions made quickly (have been working on this project for about 3 years currently). (d) no information management policy at AUT. (e) the overall solution was quite complex. (f) meeting expectations.
– some positives that weren’t expected. (a) co-authoring of documents. (b) better findability of documents. (c) easier discussions through discussion forums. (d) good engagement after the launch, and (e) more.
– … some unexpected benefits – (a) Lync for instant messaging, and integration with SharePoint. (b) MySites – huge amount of functionality available; although there are change management aspects.
– top tips?
– … have the records manager involved from the beginning.
– … champion / advocate to drive project from the business.
– … take a long term strategic approach.
– … don’t underestimate the scope.
– … consider the complexity of your environment.
– … prioritize change management.

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