Perenti is a diversified mining services company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Since the company’s formation in Kalgoorlie in 1987, Perenti has grown significantly and the Perenti group of companies now has operations and offices across 12 countries and is involved in some of the world’s largest surface and underground mining projects. The Group has a global workforce of approximately 8,000 people focused on creating enduring value and certainty for its stakeholders.
Perenti, the parent company of Ausdrill and Barminco, has engaged Connected Systems to migrate their quality system, the Ausdrill Document Management Control System (DMC) from a highly customised on-premises SharePoint 2010 solution to Office 365, SharePoint Online with various Microsoft Azure Application Services supporting its unique requirements.
The Document Management Centre (DMC) is the primary quality system for Perenti. The system re-brands quality documentation for business unit consumption by distributing these documents into a simple and easy to use consumer library (with folders based on metadata categories).
The following benefits were realised:
- A modern and easy to use SharePoint Online replacement for the SharePoint 2010 on premises DMC system.
- All content migrated to SharePoint Online. This included 14,000+ documents having 60,000+ versions. Library and site flattening and consolidation to streamline site and library hierarchy. Flattening of the complex structure facilitates taking key documentation offline using OneDrive.
- A new and modern document Workflow Approval Process (WAP) form that supports mobile devices (tablet devices and mobile phones).
- Branding of documents with business unit logo replacement.
- Document conversion to PDFs when approved and published to business unit sites.
- A bespoke document auto-numbering system.
- Document review date notification system.
- Business unit site provisioning feature to create new SharePoint site collections and set up all related lists to support the DMC processes.
- Inclusion of Live Metadata, an Office add-in to support real-time metadata editing within Microsoft Word and Excel documents (akin to SharePoint Property Panel).
Connected Systems have helped us transition to a new and improved Electronic Document Management System. The team at Connected Systems are extremely knowledgeable, experienced, and reliable and their customer service has always been fantastic.
– Katrina Collins
Quality Co-ordinator, Perenti
There are three main sections within the DMC:
- The “Unpublished” area. This is where draft documents are curated before being sent off for approval, eventually ending up in the Effective and Consumer areas for consumption.
- The “Effective” area. This is the source of truth for published documents. It is from this approved location that quality documents are re-branded and distributed to business unit consumer portals.
- The “Consumer” portals. These host the re-branded published quality documents for each business unit and support their need to take the documents offline using OneDrive.
There are several levels of categorisation:
- Core Function – this is metadata and helps structure the folders within the consumer libraries. Each has an acronym. E.g. HRM = Human Resources
- Document Type – this is a metadata column on each document and helps structure the document number reference. E.g. Verification of Competency = VOC.
Roles and scenarios
The DMC supports the following roles:
- Consumer – these are standard users of the documentation with a focus on business areas.
- Players – these are content contributors and may own or be delegated with maintaining the content.
- Approvers – Managers that approve all new documents and change requests.
DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT CENTRE
This is the core system; the DMC is where the document lifecycle is managed and distributed to business units for consumption.
DMC dashboard page
The DMC dashboard is the entry point to the DMC and from here users can navigate the various quality repositories and consumer sites. The dashboard also lists the tasks the user is involved in when approving documents and lists the current documents they are working through the draft and review phases. The DMC dashboard page will have links to the following areas:
- DMC management libraries,
- The WAP form and supporting information
- Other document libraries
- Assigned tasks web part to display the currently assigned activities and all activities.
- Unpublished document library
- Submitted WAP requests
Workflow Approval Process (WAP) – change initiation form
The WAP is the request form to initiate formal change of a quality document. It defines and manages the process of approving a quality document.
Once the WAP form is submitted, it initiates the workflow process to approve the request. The workflow approval process was migrated to SharePoint Online and uses Nintex Online. This state-based Nintex workflow supports the following states of the approval life-cycle.
- Quality Assurance
- Final Approver
- QA Publication
The rejection of a step is also managed within the workflow. If rejection occurs, notifications are sent to the WAP initiator and document author. Each step in the process runs through a similar process that can be outlined in the following high-level steps.
- Reminders and escalation periods are calculated
- Set document status
- Email stakeholders
- After approval, check for approve or reject status and action accordingly.
- Check if escalation is required due to reminder period expiration.
- Log each step of the workflow to capture workflow history.
The approval workflow process ensures it is reviewed and signed off by the appropriate stakeholders before being published as a new version across the appropriate business unit areas. Logos within the header of the document are replaced to support the business unit and copied to their areas within the DMC. All existing documents replaced are archived to a separate archive location to preserve all versions.
Please note the workflow does not perform any of the document functions (e.g. PDF conversion, logo substitution or copying to business units sub-sites). All document functions were implemented as event receivers installed into the various document libraries or by SharePoint on premise features like Word Automation Services. The replacement for the event receiver code is covered in the section labelled web hooks.
This diagram summarises the high-level activities related to the features and technology platforms. Each horizontal technology stream works together to deliver an easy-to-use, feature-rich quality document management system for Perenti.
Document Review Process
As part of good governance and ISO compliance, documents within the DMC system are reviewed. The frequency and the period of review is different for different content. The process of reviewing content can either be driven through policies (recurring periods) relating to the content or on individual document needs.
Document owners are responsible for ensuring that the review process is seen through to completion. The system will notify the document owner when a review is to happen.
The document owner responds by opening the document and marking up the changes. Once completed, the changes are accepted and the process of publishing the document starts.
The workflow process sends an email to the initiator and the document owner informing them that the review approval process has kicked off.
Once the review is approved, the new document is automatically published (logos and PDFs generated) to the DMC system (and business unit areas).
This library is used to edit and store new documents uploaded as part of the WAP initiation form and when scheduled/unscheduled reviews of document in the Effective Library are required.
The current landing page for the Unpublished Library resembles a SharePoint List view.
To standardise the look-and-feel of the new DMC libraries (including the Unpublished Library) we adopted the Modern UI list view. Custom filters will be added to the filter pane making it easy to filter the view of the Unpublished Library documents to the user’s requirements.
All existing metadata fields were brought across from the legacy DMC Unpublished Library. All Nintex workflows for this library were migrated to Nintex Online.
Effective (Published) Library
The Effective Library is where the current published versions of all documents reside. These include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF documents. The documents in the Effective Library are considered the “source of truth” for quality documents.
During the content migration process, we simplified the structure of the published content from over 40 Core Function libraries and consolidated them into one (1) Effective Library with folders named after each Core Function.
The new consolidated Effective Library stores the current Word versions of the documents that have been published to the Business unit sites before logo substitution and file format conversion (as either Word or PDFs) has occurred.
The current landing page for the Effective Library resembles a SharePoint List view.
To standardise the look-and-feel of the new DMC libraries we adopted the Modern UI list view. Custom filters were added to the filter pane making it easy to filter the view of the Effective Library documents to the user’s requirements. The means that the separate landing pages for Core Functions and Document Types were no longer required as all documents will be in the one library and custom views will perform this feature.
Search is provided through the Modern UI library view and initially an out-of-the-box search control for the new Effective Library was used as a replacement for a custom search facility.
All existing metadata fields will be brought across from the legacy DMC Effective Library.
Many of the on-premise custom actions available per document were supported using the out-of-the-box functionality, this includes:
- Amend Review Date (replaced by Info panel in Modern UI), the system will monitor when this changes and kick off copy to the Unpublished Library using web hooks.
- View Version History (replaced by Info panel in Modern UI)
- View Document Properties (replaced by Info panel in Modern UI)
Administering the DMC
Because many of the document re-branding, PDF conversions and distribution processes were performed by Microsoft Azure services, it was critical to give the document controllers at Perenti Group visibility it what was occurring.
Connected Systems build an administration dashboard to surface logging information during the document distribution and formal review process.
Content migration was a major deliverable of the DMC project. This included the consolidation of sites, libraries, and folders and some 14,000+ documents (including the full version history of 60,000+ versions) from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint Online.
Some of the challenges we overcame with the content migration are summarised in the points below.
- Flatten the structure
- Validation of migrated content (files and metadata)
- Documents with quick parts
- Required fields now that were once set as optional (or did not exist in previous versions)
- Orphaned users
- Issues with managed metadata (disabled terms, invalid values in DOCX files)
- Retaining security
For more information on how we overcame these issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.
KEEPING THE HISTORIC WAP FORMS AND HISTORY
Legacy WAP forms were not able to be migrated in their native format as InfoPath Form Services is depreciated with SharePoint Online. The effect of this is that old WAP forms still needed to be referenced for compliance reasons.
Therefore, we had to ensure that all legacy WAP forms and associated workflow and task history were converted to a viewable format. Modern pages for each InfoPath form, with associated workflow history were created for easy viewing of historical form information.
Perenti Group have now successfully migrated what was a highly customised bespoke on premises SharePoint 2010 solution to Office 365 supporting its unique requirements.
Many benefits have been realised; however, the largest benefit is that Connected Systems delivered a true like-for-like system using the cloud-based infrastructure of SharePoint Online, SPFx components, Nintex Online and Azure App Services.
This has reduced the impact to the user whilst delivering benefits like moving to a more modern user experience with the seamless support of OneDrive and offline quality document management.
PARTNERING WITH US
Connected Systems is a technology consulting organisation who specialises in providing innovative technological solutions to meet the needs of customers both today and into the future. Specialising in Branding, Application Development, .NET bespoke development, SharePoint technologies and BizTalk solutions, we offer our customers tailor-made, easy to use solutions to help increase productivity using the latest Microsoft technology.
We pride ourselves on developing solutions that assist our customers with obtaining rapid return on investment.
Founded in 2006, Connected Systems is an Australian company. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, we are focused on building our solutions on the Microsoft platform, which is the common architectural foundation that allows customers to integrate and share all IT assets and resources. This means customers can not only react to events, but they can also proactively manage their IT environments to pursue new business opportunities quickly and respond to market dynamics more effectively and competitively.
We endeavour to stay at the forefront of the Microsoft technology curve. We are committed to providing our clients with the competitive edge they need to “make the difference” to their business.
Our aim is to provide our customers with fit-for-purpose solutions that clearly add value to their organisation. Connected Systems is dedicated to providing value-added technology consulting and development expertise; this ranges from strategic planning, design, development and testing and commissioning of the system. We also offer support services. We work smart and leverage our depth of expertise in strategic planning, application development and systems integration to ensure the best possible solution outcomes for our customers. We work collaboratively with our clients to either take on the responsibility of the project (through fixed price engagements), and we also work well where there is a sharing of responsibility for the decisions and direction a project may take (time and materials).
As well as our specialist areas of development regarding Microsoft technologies, Connected Systems has extensive experience in many non-developments, consultative based service offerings – for example, ICT Strategic Planning. We offer and have performed strategy consulting, analysis, and governance consulting for some of Australia’s largest private and public sector organisations.