Municipality expects US$3.16 million in savings with Microsoft SharePoint 2013

This post is one of a series spotlighting success stories from SharePoint 2013 early adopters.

Early adopter pilots enterprise content management and business intelligence solutions

Headquartered in Thorold, Ontario, the Regional Municipality of Niagara, which has 3,500 employees, provides governance and services for citizens of the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario. As government budgets tightened, Niagara wanted tools to better track and evaluate how it spends time and money, and to more efficiently manage information.

Niagara became an early adopter of Microsoft SharePoint 2013 with two pilot projects-one for enterprise content management (ECM) and one for business intelligence (BI). “Our employees spend most of their day working with Microsoft Office 2010, so extending that familiar environment increases adoption and eliminates the need to learn a new system,” says Paul Di Felice, Associate Director for Consulting and Analysis for the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

Employees had already been using Microsoft SharePoint, and Niagara wanted to use the latest solution to better organize data, make information easier to find, automate records management processes, and reduce paper usage in line with the organization’s “Keen on Green” environmental initiative.

For the ECM pilot project, NetDexterity, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, developed a document and records management solution in SharePoint 2013 for the legal department. The site holds all documents related to each legal matter, along with all pertinent email messages. “Site creation is automated, and we assign metadata at the site level, rather than the document level, so it’s easier to use,” says Steve Folkerts, Project Manager for ECM for the Regional Municipality of Niagara. “The system integrates with our records management workflows, so documents are automatically retained and disposed of according to mandated schedules.”

The BI pilot project focused on project management and time-tracking data within the IT group. Employees have always tracked their time, but they didn’t have good tools to analyze the data. “Because of integration with Microsoft Excel, we can now take data stored in a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 database and display the data and key metrics in filterable, interactive dashboards within SharePoint 2013,” says Di Felice. “Power View allows executives and employees to look at their data from almost any angle at varying levels of granularity. Employees can use scorecards to easily track both time and performance metrics to be more effective in their jobs.”

The ECM and BI functionality in SharePoint 2013 will ultimately be used by 1,500 employees. By moving from paper-based records to flexible and automated electronic systems, Niagara has streamlined information access and management and is reducing costs. As the organization expands its ECM project to cover the entire municipal government, it has set an estimate of CAD$3.1 million (US$3.16 million) in cost savings over two years.

To learn more about how the Municipality of Niagara is reducing costs with SharePoint 2013, read the complete case study.