Top UK property developer harnesses SharePoint to secure internal policy enforcement
Enabling good governance (that is enforced!) is challenging for any business – and it was with this in mind when Longhurst approached Business Agility.
Longhurst Group are one of the UK’s leading property developers. With a customer-first ethos and owning and managing over 22,000 homes, Longhurst relies on the provision of exceptional service and communication; policy enforcement being high on its agenda.
Ensuring Longhurst Group’s mandate of looking after and improving its customers’ lives is paramount, and there are several aspects to that. One aspect is by safeguarding the way its employees operate internally and adhere to company policies. Enabling good governance (that is enforced!) is challenging for any business – and it was with this in mind when Longhurst approached Business Agility.
Longhurst’s situation and challenge
Longhurst Group was already using SharePoint 2010 on-premises and had recently acquired Office 365. It used its on-premises SharePoint environment for its intranet and document management; however, it found that in order to maximise exposure of the platforms internally, a policy system was a good way to showcase the platform for internal adoption.
Issues such as – where documents were located, making them difficult to find, impacted Policy Management as a whole. Having acquired Office 365 (and with it, SharePoint Online), Longhurst Group made the decision that this platform should be the first choice to run future business processes within the organisation; and a policy management system was a good place to start.
Wanting to keep all of its information in one place and govern it better (particularly policies), Longhurst Group approached Business Agility for advice.
The policy enforcement solution with Business Agility
When rolled out correctly, SharePoint is a formidable platform with exceptional document management capabilities, out of the box. However, the ability to log and track when a document has been read was outside of SharePoint’s core capabilities. Luckily, Business Agility had the perfect solution for Longhurst Group.
Business Agility’s experienced consultants created a SharePoint add-on for Longhurst’s administrators to verify who’s read a policy and view a log of the time and date the user read it. The end user (reader of the policy) can also view which policies they’ve read and which ones they have not.
The Business Agility team flexibly integrated this Policy Tracking tool to fit within Longhurst’s specific requirements, fostering an improved governance stance. As Longhurst Group already had Office 365, there was no need for additional licencing costs (unlike other third-party tools).
Benefits of the tool for Longhurst Group include:
- A well-defined permissions structure for the policies log
- A central location for the latest version of policies to be stored and managed
- Improved document management methods within SharePoint
- An easy tool for end users to show which policies had been read
- Improved usability of its intranet
- An increased understanding of capabilities within SharePoint and Office 365 for business processes
Sensitive information and policy enforcement
Delicate policies such as whistleblowing and maternity for example were considered as part of Business Agility’s solution. The consultants included a privacy feature, whereby certain policies won’t display the information showing who’s read them and when.
Example: Business Agility’s policy solution meant users could easily see from indicative symbols whether or not they had read a policy or not.
What was improved for Longhurst Group’s policy enforcement?
Longhurst Group benefitted from using a platform it already had but in a much more enhanced way. Policy management is necessary for an organisation to run smoothly; and with everything in one place (and only one true version of the document in existence for employees to access from anywhere) the usability of Longhurst’s Intranet became far easier for its end users.
“Business Agility have helped us hugely with improving the management of our policies. This is a tremendous advantage for not only our internal teams who manage the policies, but for Longhurst Group as a whole. We can now use SharePoint for exactly what we need. Business Agility’s highly flexible solution is a great fit for us; and they’re a pleasure to work with too!” – David Feiven, Business Improvement at Longhurst Group