Specialist insurance provider AEGIS moved its document management to Microsoft SharePoint using MacroView DMS Pro.
In this case study, we look at critical aspects of the project and why AEGIS users, management and the IT Department all feel that the move was a success.
Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services Limited (AEGIS) began operations in 1975. Today AEGIS offers a full range of sophisticated insurance and risk management products and services to utility and related energy industry member companies.
AEGIS offers its members general liability, directors and officers liability and property coverage. Headquartered in East Rutherford, NJ, AEGIS also has international capabilities through Syndicate 1225 at Lloyd’s of London. The total user count is approximately 300.
In mid-2011, AEGIS started a project to replace an existing document management system with a solution based on SharePoint. The objective of the project was to reduce IT operational costs by moving to the SharePoint platform.
The legacy system provided several features that were popular with users. One such feature was the ability to drag and drop to save emails and attachments while working in Microsoft Outlook®. Another was the ability to associate each document with several related Policies and Claims. The legacy system was also integrated with existing Line-of-Business systems and managed a reasonably large volume of documents.
The project was led by Himanshu Pandya, Senior Manager, Office of the CIO, who states:
“From the outset, we were conscious that a new SharePoint-based solution for document management would need to provide our users with an experience that was at least equivalent to that they were familiar with from the legacy system.”
The Project Team identified numerous critical weaknesses with the OOB DM capabilities of SharePoint, so they started looking for add-on software to address these weaknesses. The first add-on they installed fell well short, resulting in the project being in a critical state until they found MacroView DMS Pro. Himanshu Pandya again:
“We determined that MacroView DMS Pro was the only SharePoint add-on that could provide the usability, functionality and volume handling that we required. In the end, by combining SharePoint with MacroView DMS Pro and our own integrations, we were able to provide our users with a number of additional features compared to the legacy system.”
Himanshu Pandya lists the following key value adds of MacroView DMS Pro:
AEGIS designed a site/library /folder structure broadly similar to the structure available in the legacy system. They built an integration with the AEGIS Next Generation Policy and Claims administration systems so that corresponding sites, document libraries and folders were automatically provisioned in SharePoint as new Members, Policies and Claims were registered in those systems. AEGIS IT also worked closely with MacroView to develop several customisations to MacroView DMS Pro software and the SharePoint environment. These customisations included:
Shadow Documents – as a document was saved or deleted, Link-To-Document type entries were automatically created in the folders corresponding to related claims – thereby retaining a key feature of the legacy system for AEGIS users.
Metadata-based security – custom event receivers were used to set document-level permissions based on the value of metadata columns.
Sticky Views – MacroView DMS Pro already remembered the library view you used most recently in Microsoft Outlook. AEGIS had this extended to other applications.
The IT department staged the migration. AEGIS used a combination of third-party and in-house code to perform an initial bulk migration, followed by a period of parallel operation, with subsequent migration of deltas. In all, around 800GB of documents and metadata was migrated. A significant aspect of this migration was mapping the legacy system’s metadata to the metadata supported by SharePoint. Folder-level defaults were used extensively to implement automatic metadata.
Reaction from AEGIS users to the new SharePoint + MacroView DMS Pro document management solution has been positive. The new solution continues providing the DM functionality and security features they relied on in the previous DM environment. Notably, the new SharePoint-based solution has good performance – on average less than two seconds to perform a search or to save a document. And thanks to MacroView DMS Pro , business users can still save, search for and retrieve documents and emails while they work in familiar applications such as Outlook, Word and Excel.
Users particularly like the Favourites feature of MacroView DMS Pro . This enables one-click navigation to frequently-used areas of the SharePoint environment. For example, a user can drag and drop to a Favourite folder to save emails or attachments for a Policy or Claim they are administering. AEGIS commissioned MacroView to configure the Push Favourites mechanism of MacroView DMS Pro , which automatically creates Favourites for each user based on the Policies and Claims that they (or their selected colleagues) are associated with in the line-of-business Policy and Claims administration systems.
Another popular aspect of the new solution is how a user can click on a hyperlink in the Claims system and be jumped into MacroView DMS Pro, located on the document library corresponding to the Claim. They can then drag and drop to that library to save emails and attachments from Outlook, or to upload files from any Windows folder.
From the perspective of AEGIS Management, the move to SharePoint-based document management has been a real success. The project enabled the retirement of an old platform and reduced the number of applications, providing a major saving in software license fees and operational costs.
In addition, the staged migration to the new DM facilities went smoothly – there was minimal disruption to ongoing business operations. The way the new solution maintained functionality and provided a broadly similar look and feel were vital in this regard because they minimized the required user re-training.
Best of all, the project to move DM to SharePoint was completed on schedule and ahead of budget.
AEGIS IT is also pleased with how the new SharePoint-based document management solution runs. The move to SharePoint has made document management available to a much broader range of users within AEGIS. Where previously DM was rolled out to only a handful of divisions, it is now being used by several additional divisions. As Himanshu Pandya notes:
“While there are plenty of challenges associated with using SharePoint for serious-scale document management, our experience shows that with the right add-on software like MacroView DMS Pro you certainly can achieve a very satisfactory result.”