Canadian Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Reaps the Benefits of SharePoint, Using

October 27, 2020

Canadian Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Reaps the Benefits of SharePoint, Using

The responsibility of feeding the people of Canada rests squarely on the shoulders of the Canadian Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food (AAFC). That is why the policies for governing the production, processing and marketing of all Canadian farm, food, and agri-products are so important. And that is why AAFC relies upon Microsoft SharePoint for managing policy documents and for collaborating with portfolio partners.

Several years ago, SharePoint was tapped to replace an OpenText document management system. The move to SharePoint was part of a larger shift towards a Microsoft infrastructure and ultimately a migration to the Microsoft 365 cloud.

SharePoint is Great, But….

The move to SharePoint was promising, but AAFC still faced the following challenges.

  • Document versioning chaos – too many versions of documents floating around created confusion about what was the latest/authoritative document.
  • Saving emails to SharePoint – there was no easy way to upload important emails to SharePoint. Since many emails are really business documents that need to be retained, this was a big problem.
  • Limited email inbox storage – with only several gigabytes of email storage, workers had to find a centralized location outside of Outlook to store important emails.
  • Accurately tagging content in SharePoint – workers were often not compliant with tagging documents in SharePoint metadata because it was seen as unnecessary overhead.
  • Bulk uploading of content to SharePoint – with many documents to upload, the overhead of tagging each document one by one was unacceptable to the worker community. to the Rescue

AAFC selected to simplify employees’ interaction with SharePoint. solves AAFC’s SharePoint challenges by making it easy for knowledge workers to use SharePoint. Workers simply drag and drop emails and documents to a SharePoint sidebar in their Outlook window, and they are prompted for required metadata. Important emails are stored in a centralized location and tagged so they are available to colleagues. There is always one version of the latest document, and mailboxes are not overflowing.

The Results

The results were spectacular. “We ran a pilot and it was very well received. And then more and more people wanted to get licenses and we just decided to buy for everyone”, says Mario Gaulin, Director of Enterprise Information Solutions at AAFC.

Today, is used extensively by a diverse group of AAFC employees across many departments, to capture and classify documents and emails from Outlook and from Windows Explorer into SharePoint. Links are now routinely sent instead of attachments.

By making it easy to accurately classify content, helps fulfill AAFC’s business objectives; namely, coordinating policy and collaborating internally, with local, provincial, and federal agencies, as well as with partners.

Gaulin sums up AAFC’s experience:

“People are not going to change. If you want them to use SharePoint, you have to make it easy for them to capture, classify, and find emails and documents. is the key.”

Mario Gaulin, Director of Enterprise Information Solutions

The Future

AAFC is rolling out to its entire user community as it migrates to Microsoft 365. This move will further external collaboration with constituents in the Canadian ecosystem. AAFC is particularly keen to explore the ability to auto-tag content using the newly-announced SharePoint Syntex. will be there every step of the way to help AAFC complete its critical mission.

Read the complete case study here:

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