The Shared Service Centre wanted to improve the way that their corporate knowledge was stored and shared, to introduce improved standards and consistency. Selecting SharePoint Online as the most appropriate platform to meet requirements, ABF approached Intelogy to define and implement ‘KIM’, a robust knowledge and information management system.
KIM is a SharePoint Hub, containing an elaborate structure of sites and libraries, complete with elegant navigation to help staff to quickly find content. Content Approval is enabled across KIM, with dozens of different groups of approvers in different parts of the application.
The real beauty of KIM is hidden from many users, in a series of Azure-hosted Web Jobs and Functions, which supplement native SharePoint Online approval processes, to provide ABF with tighter governance. This Azure functionality provides approvers with notifications when content in their area is submitted for publication. It also ensures that appropriate notifications are sent when files are deleted, and even oversees a review process, to make certain that content is reviewed on a regular basis.
Associated British Food’s Shared Service Centre has a reputation for providing excellent IT infrastructure and support services to companies within the group. With hundreds of services provided to multiple clients, the SSC needs to ensure that knowledge is accurately maintained. This has resulted in the need to rely on the accuracy of tens of thousands of documents, from system configurations and technical architectures to collateral provided by vendors.
Prior to the KIM project, the SSC made use of a number of different data repositories to store corporate knowledge, including file servers and SharePoint. The SSC identified that they lacked a standard method for publishing information in a controlled manner, with departments determining their own ways of working. This often resulted in content duplication, and in some cases a lack of trust in the accuracy of the information, which in turn lead to inefficiencies in service delivery.
Some of the files maintained by the SSC are specific to individual clients. Until the launch of KIM, Exchange has been one of the primary tools for facilitating content collaboration between the SSC and other business units; this has tended to exacerbate issues with content duplication and accuracy.
To improve the reliability of the knowledge stored, and in turn the efficiency of the service they provide, the SSC identified the need for a new centralised knowledge and information management system.
As leading providers of content services, Intelogy was approached by ABF to define and implement a controlled knowledge and information management system. The solution required the deployment of an extensive structure of sites, libraries and folders stored within a SharePoint hub site.
The native content approval process provided by SharePoint Online was supplemented with the introduction of a series of Azure-hosted enhancements. This functionality ensures that all mandatory metadata has been applied to files before they can be published. The Azure-hosted logic improves content approval notifications, both through sending emails, and also by creating central lists of current approval, review and deletion tasks.
KIM also boasts an automated content review process, which uses an SPFx web part to display all files that are currently pending review and allow the date of the file’s next scheduled review to become automatically set. The system also sends notifications when content is deleted; maximising the chance for swift restoration of any files that have been sent to the recycle bin unintentionally.
KIM also provides dedicated sites for each of the SSC’s clients. These sites significantly improve collaboration across ABF, providing secured spaces for each business unit to find all of the key information around their service.
The PnP Modern SharePoint Search web parts were used to provide advanced search within KIM.
The Shared Service Centre are delighted with the improved efficiency provided by KIM. Having a single central knowledge area has reduced content duplication, resulting in a noticeable improvement in confidence in the quality and accuracy of the content. The efficiencies and governance delivered by KIM have helped to improve the overall quality and consistency of the service that the SSC is able to provide to other companies within the Associated British Foods group.