2 page Case Study
Posted: 3/5/2013
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US management consulting firm Management Consulting Firm Builds Improved Knowledge Base to Solve Customer Problems

This US management consulting firm works with customers to establish and benefit from management best practices. To help its 3,000 employees around the world share their experiences and determine the best solutions to customer problems, the firm is upgrading to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013. With it, the company can reduce the time spent finding quality information, better address customer needs, and demonstrate technology leadership.

Business Needs
A large US-based management consulting firm focuses on strategic and operational issues faced by chief executive officers. With thousands of employees working on hundreds of projects, the company is challenged to manage project details and quickly bring together expertise to help customers. It uses Microsoft SharePoint products and technologies to build team knowledge sites and to create employee profiles to help classify internal expertise. At the end of engagements, the firm also creates sites where customers can reference best practices.

The company wanted to continue enhancing its SharePoint sites to help employees discover, share, organize, and manage growing information stores. For example, the firm wanted better project management capabilities to help large teams organize schedules, task assignments, and documents. It also wanted to make information-sharing more social. Younger employees and university students who participated in the company’s student lab projects were accustomed to interacting with one another using a Facebook-type interface. The firm wanted to incorporate such features into its sites and customer sites.

The company also wanted simpler, more powerful search capabilities. Employees sometimes had to search many individual team sites for information, which took time and returned overwhelming amounts of documents with no indication of which were most useful. “We wanted to have more targeted, search-driven sites,” says a senior manager for business technology at the firm. “We wanted to help employees find information faster and find more relevant information. We also wanted to ensure that employees were contributing to these sites. We tracked knowledge contributions using a spreadsheet, but this was time-intensive.”

The firm was eager to explore the enhanced search, social, and business intelligence (BI) features in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013. “Upgrading to SharePoint 2013 was a breeze and significantly faster than previous upgrades—days versus weeks,” says the manager.

* With the improvements in SharePoint 2013, we can identify experts anywhere in the world who are best qualified to meet client expectations. *

Senior Manager
Business Technology, US Management Consulting Firm

During its evaluation, the company focused on using SharePoint 2013 in its student lab sites and in the knowledge site for one of the firms’ business units. In the student lab sites, the firm used the simplified project and task management features in SharePoint 2013 to aggregate calendars, project plans, and tasks into a single view.

A division of the company used SharePoint to build search-driven sites. It can tailor search results according to how content has been flagged in the metadata term store and help employees make better sense of content. Search results are organized according to how employees have rated the content so that the most useful content rises to the top. The company plans to extend SharePoint search to all of its knowledge sites and also to third-party sites, such as YouTube and commercial information providers. “The more sources we can search from one place, the more efficient and effective our staff can be,” says the senior manager.

This consulting firm plans to use the improved BI features in SharePoint 2013 to identify search trends and monitor content contribution. Instead of tracking compliance with spreadsheets, the firm can track it by using scorecards and BI tools, such as Microsoft SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel, which information workers use to analyze massive amounts of data on the desktop.

The company plans to replace its existing employee profile pages with the improved social networking capabilities in SharePoint 2013. Employees can follow, or be notified of, colleague contributions and discussions so that targeted information is pushed to them.

By upgrading to SharePoint 2013, the employees of this US management consulting firm can find quality information sooner, create better solutions for customers, and demonstrate technology leadership.

Find, Share, and Apply Valuable Information Sooner
With more powerful search capabilities and social computing, employees can find and use up-to-date, accurate information to solve specific customer challenges. “Our employees are our most valuable asset, and we want to make the best use of them,” says the manager. “By upgrading to SharePoint 2013, we’re empowering them to apply their knowledge when making decisions and coming up with solutions rather than tracking down information.”

Create Better Solutions for Customers
The company uses its improved knowledge base to create the most beneficial solutions for customers. “With the improvements in SharePoint 2013, we can identify experts anywhere in the world who are best qualified to meet client expectations,” the manager says. “Our workforce is collaborating from all over the world. Knowing the right person is difficult in a global company. Social computing will help us find experts and help our workforce become better acquainted.”

The ability to track content contributions also improves information quality. “Better analytics on content contribution and use helps enhance the quality of our engagements,” says the manager. “If people are not contributing to the system, there’s nothing to share. It ultimately helps us provide better solutions.”

Demonstrate Technology Leadership
Customers look to this firm to instruct them in management best practices, and part of this is learning about technology that supports these best practices. “SharePoint is the ultimate collaboration platform for the enterprise, without a doubt,” says the manager. “Our customers expect us to keep them apprised of the latest technology for information management and collaboration and expect us to use it. So upgrading to the latest version of SharePoint and helping our customers understand how to use it is an absolute competitive advantage for us.”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 3000 employees

Organization Profile

This large US-based management consulting firm has dozens of offices in nearly 40 countries.

Software and Services
  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
  • Microsoft Lync Server 2013

Vertical Industries
Accounting & Consulting

United States

Business Need
  • Mobility
  • Enterprise Project Management
  • Social Intranet