The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia faced three major challenges.
These were: maintain and support the different infrastructures that exist within the country’s museums; provide employees a means to access and search through documents with ease and finally, digitize and publish manuscripts and works of art that reflect Croatian
heritage and culture.
By implementing FAST Search Server for SharePoint and Hyper-V, the ministry surmounted these challenges as well as increased productivity, and cut costs in the process.
With 220 museums spread across Croatia, the Ministry of Culture experienced considerable challenges. One of which was the inability of the ministry to manage its museums properly because of a lack of a common infrastructure. Although these museums had their
own infrastructure, these were quite inadequate and had very limited technical capability. “Most of our museums don’t have servers or IT support staff and they were really struggling when resolving IT-related problems,” says IT Manager Jasminka Draženović.
“We were getting a lot of official letters from these museums that desperately needed help in managing their IT infrastructure as well as helping them with their support issues. The ministry was solving all of these problems piecemeal. This was not ideal because
it was costing us a lot of money and at that time, there was no long-term goal to resolve these problems.”
||By implementing Microsoft SharePoint for Internet Sites and Microsoft FAST Search Server for SharePoint, we were able to reduce search time by a matter of minutes instead of hours.
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia
It was therefore, critical to find a solution that would connect all of these museums together so that these could be properly managed as well as being able to provide adequate IT support.
One of the challenges that employees also faced at the ministry was the simple matter of finding a document. Considering that there were hundreds of thousands of documents at the ministry, it was not unusual that it would take an employee several hours just
to find a specific file. Furthermore, the ministry often received a lot of inquiries from the public, journalists and politicians requesting access or information regarding a certain document. “Because of the very slow pace in finding a document, it was creating
a lot of frustration for everyone.”
Additionally, one of the goals of the ministry was to be able to digitize manuscripts, pictures and works of art dealing with Croatian heritage and culture found in museums, libraries and archives. The purpose of this endeavor was to make these accessible
to the world as part of an EU project known as “Europeana.” Furthermore, the ministry wanted to preserve Croatia's heritage and culture through digitization. “It was a very ambitious plan, and we started digitizing way back in 2005. Unfortunately, we’ve had
very little success.”
It became clear to everyone at the ministry that something had to be done to resolve all these setbacks once and for all. “We have been struggling with these problems for many years, and we felt it was high time to take action.”
The IT manager started the initiative to find a solution to all of these problems at the ministry. “The ministry had very clear objectives. We wanted a common infrastructure for all our museums, be able to search any document within the ministry quickly
as well as being able to complete our digitizing project. Furthermore, we also wanted to minimize our infrastructure and maintenance costs.”
After having carefully looked at all possible solutions, the IT manager found out that implementing Hyper-V, SharePoint for Internet Sites and FAST Search Server for SharePoint would be the most ideal answer for the ministry.
To ensure the success of the project, the ministry enlisted the help of Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) and two other Microsoft Gold Certified Partners. “We selected eVision for their expertise in implementing SharePoint for Internet Sites and FAST Search
Server for SharePoint to deal with our digitizing and search problems.”
“We realized that we needed to place our infrastructure in the cloud in order to have a common infrastructure that was accessible to all our museums, easy to maintain and cost-effective. In this regard, we found Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) and Recro-net
to be the most suited, based on their considerable experience in implementing Hyper-V Cloud solutions.”
eVision created a single SharePoint portal using FAST technology, where users can search for all available data related to Croatian cultural heritage. Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) and Recro-net also started building a common infrastructure for the
ministry in the cloud.
This project has proven to be a resounding success for the ministry.
Reduce Search Time from Hours to Minutes
“By implementing SharePoint for Internet Sites and FAST Search Server for SharePoint, we are able to reduce the search time by a matter of minutes instead of hours. FAST Search Server allows us to completely search through all sources of our documents and
information from portals that belong to our institutions. Especially when we have documents that are in the hundreds of pages, being able to find specific information quickly is a great time saver and has made our employees very happy.”
Reduced Costs and Increased Efficiency
By implementing Hyper-V, the ministry has been able to streamline their operations and reduced their costs in the process.
“Because of Hyper-V, we don't need to have a physical infrastructure anymore since our infrastructure is located in the cloud. Previously, we used to buy a lot of equipment when we had to do testing or run pilot projects. Now, we can do everything in the
cloud with minimal costs. This has also helped us manage our infrastructure more easily and effectively. Our museums don’t need to wait for very long or write official letters in order to get their IT problems fixed. Furthermore, by implementing the private
cloud solution we have made significant cost savings by almost 30% in maintenance, hardware, software, energy, UPS, etc.”
“Because we don’t have to do as much firefighting as we used to, we can now focus on finding better ways on how the IT department can serve the ministry.”
Making Croatian Heritage and Culture Accessible to the World
One of the key goals of this project has been to successfully digitize manuscripts, works of art and other items pertaining to Croatian heritage and culture and make it available for the world to see.
“By implementing the cloud solution, we now have the tremendous advantage of making Croatia’s cultural heritage accessible to other museums and to the public at large, as well as ensuring that these would be preserved in a digital form in the event of loss
due to a catastrophe.”
The success of this endeavor has sparked considerable interest among the many governmental institutions in Croatia.
“Some of our colleagues from other branches of government have come to our ministry to observe the solution for themselves. They have been quite impressed with what they’ve seen. In fact, the Croatian Information Agency implemented FAST Search Server soon
after they visited our ministry,” says Jasminka proudly.
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