Our customer, a well know European Construction Company, had an existing Office SharePoint Server 2007 Intranet solution that was deployed by a previous SharePoint Partner in 2008.
After purchasing a new Health & Safety system, based on InfoPath Forms Services (SharePoint Server 2010) and board approval for a new more inclusive, interactive and social media IT strategy, it was time for a technology refresh to the latest version, SharePoint Server 2013.
Having parted from their previous SharePoint Partner they were looking for a new SharePoint Partner that could provide end-to-end SharePoint Solutions and Services and that had an attention to detail, a willingness to go the extra mile and provide first class customer service.
They decided to choose Blu-Bench after we completed an initial SharePoint Health Check engagement and demonstrated why ‘We Love SharePoint’ and why we are the best SharePoint practice in the UK.
The key business problems that our customer faced were:
- Search was not performing adequately and not all content was not being indexed. This meant that they were still reliant on Windows Search to find content on Network File Shares. This was slow and placed an additional load on the File Servers and significantly increased Network utilisation.
- The existing User Profile Service was not synchronising with Active Directory Domain Services and even when it did, it was only able to pull information from Active Directory Domain Services, due to the technical limitations of Office SharePoint Server 2007. This meant that is was impossible to create a self-service Staff Directory, which would allow users to maintain their own contact information, if they remained on Office SharePoint Server 2007.
- The Office SharePoint Server 2007 deployment was becoming a legacy platform and as such a new SharePoint Server 2010 / 2013 platform was required to host the bespoke InfoPath Health & Safely solution.
The key business objectives for the project were:
- Improve the overall search experience by including all the required Content Sources within the index to provide an Enterprise Search Solution.
- Enhance the People Search Solution by creating custom people search results pages.
- Linking the SharePoint User Profile Service to Active Directory Domain Services and creating a two way synchronisation connection for key User Profile Property fields.
- Raise SharePoint User Adoption through the creation of a new, modern user interface design that can be automatically applied to every SharePoint Site Collection and Sub Site within an entire SharePoint Web Application.
- Implement a new SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Server 2013 infrastructure based on a Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V platform.
In order to achieve the project objectives Blu-Bench designed and deployed a new SharePoint Infrastructure, consisting of:
- Production Platform
- Staging Platform
- Test Platform
The Production and Staging platforms mirrored each other and included:
- 2x Network Load Balanced SharePoint Web Front End Servers
- 2x SharePoint Application Servers
- 2x SharePoint Database Servers, running SQL Server 2012
Using the out-of-the-box migration tools it was then possible to upgrade the Office SharePoint Server 2007 solutions through SharePoint Server 2010 and onto SharePoint Server 2013. This allowed us to quickly test if the existing SharePoint solutions that were created for Office SharePoint Server 2007 would be compatible with SharePoint Server 2013.
At the same time as deploying the new SharePoint Infrastructure, Blu-Bench’s design and development team created a new look and feel using the a Composed Look in SharePoint 2013.
The SharePoint branding was then applied to every SharePoint Site Collection and Sub Site across multiple SharePoint Web Application using an automated Feature. This brought a consistent look and feel to the whole SharePoint environment and helped users connect with the newly upgraded SharePoint Solutions.
By creating new search result pages it was possible to expose more detailed information from the Staff Directory than you would normally get out-of-the-box. This meant that users didn’t have to click through to the users Profile Page in order to search for and find key contact information.