Trimo, one of the foremost European developers of construction solutions for steel buildings, wanted to boost its competitive advantage by helping its employees work more efficiently. The company upgraded to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 as the foundation for its corporate intranet. Now, employees can find information easily, collaborate with remotely located colleagues, and publicize the company’s customer successes with little assistance from the IT department. The solution has provided a development environment that Trimo uses to rapidly automate manual business processes. This and other efficiencies that the company has gained help both business and IT employees while keeping costs low in a challenging economy. The solution is highly reliable and is centrally administered by the IT department, using the company’s preexisting management software. Situation
Trimo is one of the leading developers of construction solutions for steel buildings in Europe, including roofs, façades, steel constructions, containers, and sound and insulation systems. The company has a 50-year history of innovation in the industry. Its most recent development is a product called Qbiss by trimo, a modular, self-supporting, insulated, and fireproof façade system for commercial buildings, hospitals, and schools. Trimo is a global company, with 1,100 employees and subsidiaries working from 27 countries, and manufacturing facilities in Slovenia, Russia, Serbia, and the United Arab Emirates. Trimo products are marketed in more than 50 countries worldwide.
||Our SharePoint Server 2010-based intranet helps us avoid many annoyances and keep our business running smoothly, at a low cost, which is crucial in this economy.
Research and Development Director and Chief Information Officer, Trimo
From 1961, when the company was founded, until 2007, Trimo grew in size every year. In 2009, as a result of the challenging economic environment which slowed construction worldwide, Trimo was forced to reduce its operations by 20 percent. Denis Stepancic, Research and Development Director and Chief Information Officer at Trimo, says, “But now, we see the light at the end of the tunnel.” To position the company for a healthy rebound, Trimo began to develop new products, such as Qbiss by trimo, and to maximize its opportunities, it forged entry into new markets, beginning to create solutions for the most demanding architectural applications. It also set out to maximize efficiency companywide.
Trimo relied on a corporate intranet, which included a partner extranet, and was built on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. For four years, the company had used its intranet successfully to foster employee collaboration and to disseminate marketing, sales, and technical engineering information, including documents, presentations, videos, and Portable Document Format (PDF) files, to its more than 20 European subsidiaries. “Our subsidiaries need to be able to access all of this information in order to do business with Trimo,” explains Stepancic. “And our employees, who are very dispersed geographically, rely on the intranet to share information that is essential to winning and maintaining customer accounts.”
In addition to sharing documents and information, Trimo had begun to use simple forms enabled by the Microsoft Office InfoPath information-gathering solution. Employees could fill out an intranet-based form and submit it to their help desk to report a technical issue. The company also used a forms-based process to support its culture of innovation, encouraging employees to submit ideas for new products or process improvements. “These forms, though useful, were not automated with workflow,” explains Stepancic. Forms had to be manually routed to technicians in the IT department or to management-level reviewers. “It took a lot of time and effort to see these processes through to completion.”
Customer success stories, or references, are submitted by Trimo employees across Europe, for each completed project. Each reference includes a description of the project, diagrams, architectural drawings, and photographs of the solution. Trimo also relied on a manual process for publishing references to its intranet and Internet site to share with employees, subsidiaries, and potential customers. Stepancic says, “It used to take up to three days to get a reference published. If a sales person wanted to point to a customer success, such as one for Qbiss by trimo, and it wasn’t on the site, it was not good for the sales process. We rely on these references to win new business.”
||We did not have a way to centrally search for information.
IT Project Manager, Trimo
Trimo also wanted to make it easier for employees to find documents and information on the intranet. Some users stored files on local and network file shares, while others stored information on departmental intranet sites. “We did not have a way to centrally search for information,” explains Slavko Kuznik, IT Project Manager at Trimo. Further, Trimo lacked a standardized process for adding descriptive metadata to documents. “People conducted many searches, but without consistent tagging, the results were often unsuccessful.” Trimo also encountered problems when more than one user wanted to work on the same document simultaneously. “Users would be confused when they found a document locked for editing, which resulted in many calls to the help desk,” says Kuznik. Solution
In early 2010, Trimo decided to upgrade its intranet to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010. The company felt it could meet its goal of increasing employee efficiency by taking advantage of the product’s many enhancements, such as improved search, simplified publishing processes, and automated workflow. The transition also presented Trimo with an opportune time to implement server virtualization and to take advantage of its existing management software, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007, to further streamline IT administration. Trimo developers worked with Microsoft Services to implement the new intranet, using Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate and Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010.
The implementation included customizing several business applications. Trimo developers found it easy to create custom workflows for a help-desk application with the enhancements to workflow design capabilities in SharePoint Designer 2010. Now, when an employee uses the web-based form to submit information about a technical problem, the problem is automatically routed to a help-desk team member who helps the employee fix the problem, and then marks the issue as closed. Employees follow a similar process to submit innovative ideas to management. “With SharePoint Server 2010 automated workflow, the right person is alerted and can focus on the matter at hand,” says Stepancic.
Publishing Web Content
Trimo provides employees with a rich editing environment for creating their own content through SharePoint Server 2010, which they can use to edit SharePoint sites as though they were editing a wiki. Trimo employees use this capability to publish customer references, and, with inline editing, users can see a live preview of the changes they make. In addition, it is easy for Trimo users to insert images into the page they are creating.
Finding and Working with Documents
In the new environment, Trimo stores and shares all its documents in SharePoint Server 2010 document libraries, on departmental sites. Trimo employees now find information quickly, the first time, using SharePoint 2010 Search. Particularly helpful to employees are an improved relevancy ranking model, similarity search, and search refinements. (Search refinements are clickable options that sort search results into useful categories such as type of content, location, author, or date last
||With SharePoint 2010 Search, employees can see who authored a document, when it was modified, what the topic is, and much more—at a glance.
IT Project Manager, Trimo
modified.) Now, Trimo employees are getting richer search results and are spending less time combing through documents in SharePoint libraries. “With SharePoint 2010 Search, employees can see who authored a document, when it was modified, what the topic is, and much more—at a glance,” says Kuznik.
After Trimo begins to take advantage of enhanced metadata services in SharePoint Server 2010, search will become even easier for employees. The company plans to create a corporate taxonomy to ensure that content is tagged with keywords that will help users quickly sort results by department, product, author, customer, and more. Trimo is also in the process of deploying Microsoft Office 2010, which will enable users to apply metadata through Microsoft Office 2010 client applications. To ensure that metadata is added to each document, the functionality for uploading a document to a SharePoint site will only become available to the user when the metadata step is completed.
Trimo uses coauthoring in SharePoint Server 2010 and Office 2010, so that multiple users can collaborate on documents, no matter where they are located. They can edit technical documents, add to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations for sales meetings, and enter information in Microsoft Excel worksheets for sales reporting, all at the same time. Weekly Reporting
Trimo uses SharePoint Server 2010 to automatically produce weekly performance reports, which used to be compiled by hand and delivered through email, for the Trimo Board of Directors. At the end of each week, the sales staff enters planning numbers for the upcoming week into a SharePoint list. Using SharePoint Designer 2010, Trimo aggregates all of the planning information from each division of the company into a unified report. The planning information is then combined, through the use of a custom-developed application based on the Microsoft .NET Framework, with actual sales data from the SAP business management software at Trimo. Trimo can then produce a combined view of actual and projected sales figures as an Excel PivotTable, and use Microsoft Office Web Apps, the lightweight online versions of Office 2010 applications, to view it in the SharePoint Server 2010 environment.
Deployment and Management
Trimo will continue to use its Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 software in the new environment, having implemented the Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Management Pack for System Center Operations Manager 2007. “Trimo has a small IT team, so we need management tools that helps us monitor our systems proactively and which minimize our operational overhead. Adding SharePoint Server farms to be monitored through System Center Operations Manager 2007 is a standard task, so we could see the results immediately. We used the management pack to compile our farm’s solution design, including all dependencies,” says Kuznik.
Trimo has deployed the new intranet solution to all of its employees and subsidiaries across Europe, and has already started to deploy Microsoft Office 2010 to its employees.Benefits
Trimo is boosting its efficiency and is operating more successfully. Using SharePoint Server 2010, Trimo has implemented an intranet solution that helps employees publish web content more easily, find information faster, collaborate more efficiently, and take advantage of automated workflow, to ensure that stakeholders can access data and deliver information to customers seamlessly. The new intranet capabilities will make the company even more competitive by reducing administrative chores for the IT department, and by improving business process efficiency overall.
Greater Employee Efficiency
Business users now find the process of creating and publishing customer references much more straightforward. Employees also find information and documents quickly with the solution’s enterprise search features, so that teams can produce proposals faster and respond quickly to customers. Trimo anticipates that this will help keep the company’s overall service ratings and deal closure rates high. Trimo has measured the efficacy of searches on the new platform, and reports that the number of searches performed daily has doubled. It also has found that the click-through rate for searches, which indicates that an employee finds the information he or she was searching for, has increased by 30 percent.
Other features, such as coauthoring, boost efficiency through improved collaboration. Stepancic says, “With the coauthoring features of SharePoint Server 2010 and Microsoft Office 2010, we no longer check documents in and out or spend time sending versions back and forth. Many employees can work on a document at once, no matter where they are located, which means that we can produce proposals and contracts 20 percent faster.”
IT Resources More Available
Coauthoring also frees up significant time for the small IT team at Trimo. Users no longer call the help desk for help opening a document that is locked for editing. “With SharePoint Server 2010, the help-desk staff can focus on more strategic issues,” says Matjaz Vidovic, System Analyst at Trimo. The same is true for publishing customer references. “With wiki page editing in SharePoint Server 2010, our business users can create and edit pages easily, find and upload images, and publish immediately.” Trimo estimates that the publishing process for references is 20 percent faster now. “With SharePoint Server 2010, sales people can point to customer successes much faster, and the IT department spends 20 percent less time on content updates,” says Vidovic.
With SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Designer 2010, along with Visual Studio 2010, Trimo can develop new applications for the business very quickly. “Visual Studio 2010 and SharePoint Designer 2010 provide us with an integrated application development platform for building applications with automated workflow,” says Vidovic. “Now, we can work within a single environment so we can package and deploy new code very quickly.”
Trimo has constructed a highly reliable, low-cost collaboration and content management solution using Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 to monitor its SharePoint Server 2010 environment, and with server virtualization in place. “Intranet outages can interfere with weekly reporting, and users immediately begin to call the help desk when they can’t access our extensive stores of technical documents, product information, and marketing material. The calls become a huge burden on IT,” says Stepancic. “With System Center Operations Manager 2007, we are alerted in advance of potential issues with the network or with our SharePoint sites. Our SharePoint Server 2010-based intranet helps us avoid many annoyances and keep business running smoothly, at a low cost, which is crucial in this economy.”
Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010 gives your people powerful, timesaving tools to do their best work from more places. With new capabilities and insightful updates to Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Outlook, Office 2010 offers the complete package—with familiar, intuitive tools. Now you can express ideas, solve problems, connect with people, and create amazing results—in the office, at home, or on the go.
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Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 is the business collaboration platform for the Enterprise and the Internet.
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