Town of Canmore accelerates SharePoint adoption with OnePlace Solutions
The picturesque town of Canmore sits just west of Calgary in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. Located near the border of Banff National Park, Canmore became a tourist destination after hosting some of the events in the 1988 Winter Olympics. With a population of approximately 14,000, Canmore is the ninth-largest town in Alberta.
Empowering users to embrace SharePoint
As a small government organisation, the Town of Canmore had adopted Microsoft SharePoint to help manage the growing demands of information management, collaboration, and service delivery for its citizens. Legal and compliance requirements also contributed to the decision to implement SharePoint.
However, gaining user adoption of SharePoint can be challenging, especially in an environment where users aren’t familiar with the software. Typically, gaining full adoption takes a significant investment in time and resources. Without full adoption, it is difficult for organisations to get the return on investment that SharePoint can deliver.
Gordon Reid, manager of information technology, Town of Canmore, said, “I had previous experience in deploying SharePoint and the main obstacle was always user adoption. To get users to adopt the platform, it requires close integration with Microsoft Office in general and Microsoft Outlook in particular, since these are the tools that users are most familiar with.”
The Town of Canmore needed a solution that would empower users to embrace SharePoint as quickly as possible. The council wanted a solution that was intuitive and easy to use as well as lightweight, requiring very little in the way of major server upgrades or enhancements. It needed to work seamlessly and be easy to administer.
Previous experience revealed the solution
In a previous role at a large multinational organisation, Gordon Reid had used OnePlace Solutions OnePlaceMail, which connects Microsoft Outlook to SharePoint. It lets users save emails and attachments directly into SharePoint with the touch of a button. Instead of users having to toggle between the two applications, OnePlaceMail creates an add-in that lets users complete their work in SharePoint without ever leaving the Outlook screen.
OnePlaceDocs replicates that functionality in other Office environments such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as Adobe PDFs.
Based on that previous experience, the Town of Canmore chose OnePlace Solutions to provide an integrated solution to help bolster the adoption of SharePoint.
Gordon Reid said, “Having used it before, I knew that OnePlace Solutions offered a robust and functionally rich way to dramatically increase the take-up of SharePoint without causing an undue support burden for the IT team or for end users. After reviewing a number of other solutions, it was clear that OnePlace Solutions was the best choice for the Town of Canmore. It provided the right balance of features and met the budget requirements.
“One of the key differences between OnePlace Solutions and other options was that the other solutions, many of which worked very well, tried to replicate too many of the features of SharePoint. That was unnecessary for an organisation that has already deployed SharePoint and added cost and overhead. By contrast, OnePlace Solutions offered just the right functionality.”
Training was minimal
OnePlace Solutions software offers full functionality out-of-the-box, making the implementation process simple. The team deployed the solution to a small group of pilot users who had already become immersed in the SharePoint environment.
Gordon Reid said, “With minimal training, the team was set loose to use OnePlaceMail and OnePlaceDocs in their daily work for four weeks. We didn’t want to provide too much training to start with because we didn’t want to overburden the team with training on a system that would be relatively intuitive to use.
“During that time, the team worked with them closely to understand any issues or challenges they had. The challenges were all easily addressed, confirming that a wide-scale rollout of the solution was the right approach.
“The first live deployments took place two weeks after that. SharePoint users receive training on how to use the OnePlace Solutions functionality as part of their SharePoint training; they don’t necessarily see it as a separate solution because the integration is so seamless.”
OnePlace Solutions successfully solved the Town of Canmore’s issues
Having OnePlaceDocs and OnePlaceMail in place dramatically reduced the amount of training required from the IT team to get users up to speed with SharePoint and to get them to integrate SharePoint into their daily routines.
Gordon Reid said, “The team had previously deployed groups on SharePoint without OnePlaceMail and OnePlaceDocs in place and the number one issue users experienced was in saving from emails and files. This issue was almost 100 per cent eradicated once the OnePlace Solutions system was in place.
“The IT team estimates that OnePlace Solutions has saved approximately 50 per cent of the time it would have had to otherwise spend on getting users up to speed. That time can now be spent on more valuable activities such as migrating data, users, and departments rather than training.
“Furthermore, the team hasn’t experienced any pushback from users, which means they’re using SharePoint successfully, solving all of the team’s issues.”
In an unexpected benefit, the rollout of the OnePlace Solutions software prompted the Town of Canmore to review some of its business processes around accessing and using boilerplate information. This is a common task for users and, by changing those processes to more closely match the way OnePlaceDocs works, the Town of Canmore streamlined the process, making it faster and easier for users.
Gordon Reid said, “The team also identified that it does a lot of email management but could improve on this area so it plans to revisit this with best practices and better governance. OnePlace Solutions will be core to our strategy of helping users manage their email going forward.”
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- Client: Town of Canmore
- Industry: Government
- Website: www.canmore.ca
- Country: Canada
The Town of Canmore needed a solution that would empower users to embrace SharePoint as quickly as possible.
OnePlace Solutions offered a robust and functionally rich way to dramatically increase the take-up of SharePoint without causing an undue support burden for the IT team or for end users.