Document Transmittal with SharePoint
“The solution delivered by Business Agility has reduced our workload, improved our accuracy around document control and increased our clients’ satisfaction. It has made our document control process part of the way that we work, not additional overhead that we have to do in addition to our work”. – CIO
Business Agility has just successfully completed a Document transmittal project with a major oil and gas consulting company. The organisation in question supplies services for designing, operating and managing hydrocarbon processing facilities. Through this provision of technical process engineering design in the areas of Refinery Energy Efficiency and Pipeline Simulation it produces high volumes of data and documentation.
Document Transmittal is the dispatching of a package of documents (such as drawings, specs, contracts). The transmittal includes important information about the document collection, such as the version of the document/s, project details and status.
During large projects, our client sends and receives hundreds of these document transmittals daily. This volume of documentation, including, engineering specs, design specs and many more, created certain challenges.
The Company wanted to implement a document transmittal solution that;
- Reduced/removed the manual effort in controlling its documents
- Introduced a greater level of accessibility, but was balanced with enhanced security
- Met compliance standards laid out in various regulatory frameworks
- Enabled full versioning and document control functionality
- Presented ‘one view’ of all project documents
It identified SharePoint as the platform upon which it could configure the desired system.
The benefits of the SharePoint Document Transmittal system
Business Agility, the SharePoint experts, were recommended as the best company to approach. Its SharePoint team has a great deal of document and record management system delivery experience. Coupled with an agile approach it was ideally placed to design and develop the Document Transmittal system.
As a first step, the team created Project sites in SharePoint to ensure documents for transmittal were all kept all in one area. These project sites offered the following functionality and benefits;
- SharePoint libraries. Project members had the freedom to create documents. The document library enabled security, permission-control, versioning, document tracking and simple document recovery
- Permissions. Each project site introduced highly configurable permissions which were easy to establish and maintain for each project manager/Document Controller
- Search. A rich search function was established so Document Controllers didn’t need to hunt down records
- Workflow. A major benefit (and one that brings efficient coordination) was automated workflow functionality. This was used mainly in the document approval processes
To foster better practice for search and document control, the team implemented the automated generation of relevant, trackable information such as, project name and client information. This information was generated to help coordinate the transmittal of documents.
Transmittal Generation Tool
As part of the task to reduce the manual effort involved, the SharePoint solution enabled a high degree of automation. This helped with the following;
- Management of transmittal numbers
- Project site-specific controls, allowing the management of recipients and transmittals at the project level
- Automatic generation of word documents from a recipient-specific template with the transmittal information inserted by using template fields
- Addition of documents from a ‘Controlled document location’ to the transmittal
- Creation of a container holding the transmittal document and automatically copying in the files that are to be sent
Results and future plans
In addition to the SharePoint-based system improving, automating and accelerating the former process, our Client also benefited from the following:
- reduced investment needed for development
- lower support costs
- access to a pool of SharePoint expertise
“The solution delivered by Business Agility has reduced our workload, improved our accuracy around document control and increased our clients’ satisfaction. It has made our document control process part of the way that we work, not additional overhead that we have to do in addition to our work”.