Case Study

BAUER Group Unifies Information Management with harmon.ie

Industry

Construction

Location

Germany

Size

10,000 plus employees

"For construction projects it's important to have all the information - which primarily resides in documents, contracts, and emails - stored in a central location. Because of this, harmon.ie is a business necessity for BAUER Group."

Michaela Meissner

ECM Consultant, BAUER Group

Summary

BAUER Group provides services, equipment, and products for construction and machinery manufacturing.

BAUER Group’s IT department is split across many different locations, with central IT located in Germany and regional departments across the world, including Singapore, India, and the United States. For BAUER Group, centralizing the IT infrastructure and information in dispersed locations was a key challenge that harmon.ie helped overcome.

About BAUER Group

BAUER Group provides services, equipment, and products for construction and machinery manufacturing. The company is split into three segments:

  • Construction, which caries out foundational engineering projects independently with its own machinery.
  • Machinery, which supplies the construction equipment - a market leader in the development and manufacturing of specialist foundational engineering equipment.
  • Resources, which focuses on products and services around water treatment, biotechnology, environmental remediation, waste management, and desalination to support project execution.

The Challenge

Complex information management practices

  • As the central system for storing documents and information, SharePoint is the cornerstone of BAUER Group’s IT infrastructure. It is difficult to consistently manage onpremises SharePoint instances when they are based in different parts of the world.
  • BAUER also created SharePoint sites on a project-by-project basis, leaving a basic concept for storing information in SharePoint sites, but no formal guidelines.
  • BAUER Group employees uploaded information from a variety of sources—network drives, shared drives, and personal hard drives—making information management more complex than it needed to be.

Why document management in construction and engineering?

  • Electronic document management solutions are more mobile, accurate, secure, and collaborative than paper-based documents, making them ideal for on-site workers.
  • Compliance requirements and general document governance would normally slow down construction workers. Document management reduces the risks of non-compliance and removes the administrative burden for employees.
  • Construction and engineering companies that can access their documents faster can improve project delivery time and quality, ensuring better client relations.

The Solution

A consistent and standardized approach

  • Establish a consistent, defined practice for information management (including email) that can be followed by all of BAUER Group’s employees.
  • Manage emails the same way documents are managed, as a large number of business and project-critical information resides in emails and email attachments.
  • Use SharePoint as a single repository for information and create create standardized metadata practices so that information is easier to find when needed.

Why harmon.ie?

Taking email management to the next level

  • harmon.ie works within the user’s email inbox, letting them drag email attachments from Outlook to SharePoint and treat emails like other documents of record.
  • harmon.ie automates the process of adding metadata when emails and documents are added to SharePoint.

The Results

With harmon.ie, BAUER Group can better manage emails and documents in their existing SharePoint infrastructure, from capturing to classifying, to making them easy to discover.

Cementing effective email management practices

BAUER Group was able to witness first-hand how harmon.ie improves information management by focusing on the end-user. As Michaela explains: “With harmon.ie, it’s really easy not only to store emails in SharePoint and share them with colleagues, but it also automatically prompts you to add metadata. This has naturally created a routine metadata practice, so when someone needs to access information they know how and where to look for it. That’s something all our workers have appreciated.

Information management, from paper to SharePoint

SharePoint is essential to the IT that keeps BAUER Group running, but this wasn’t always the case. A foreman working on site would often be given paper-based documents like instructions, plans, and contracts. This created more risk of documents being lost or destroyed. So, BAUER Group moved everything online, where a foreman could find the latest construction plan in SharePoint. Creating a single, organized structure for information had the potential to revolutionize how BAUER Group conducts construction projects. But only if done right. All sectors, particularly BAUER Resources, needed to collate information from their branches around the world to effectively manage projects and operations. While the benefits were known, the challenge was around implementing the right solution, as Michaela Meissner, ECM Consultant, explains:

"The central IT department at BAUER is built on SharePoint Server 2013. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, but the fact that document management functioned on an ad hoc, project-by-project basis made it more difficult to store and organize information."

Uploading information from disparate sources

In the past, project information was stored in a combination of shared network drives, personal hard drives, and portable drives. This, combined with the individual nature of project-specific team sites, made establishing a uniform process for information management difficult—creating inefficiencies at almost every stage of the project.

How Bauer Group uses harmon.ie

BAUER Group looked to harmon.ie to standardize their information management process. Through harmon.ie’s technology, BAUER Group merged employee’s Outlook inboxes, and the information within them, with SharePoint. This helped them improve the entire information management process, from capturing information in Outlook to classifying through metadata to aid discovery.

For BAUER Group, it was essential to include email in this approach, as Michaela says:

It’s really important to have all information regarding a project stored in a central place—not just contracts or blueprints, but most of all emails. Most of our important information regarding timelines, resources, etc. is stored in emails, and because of that harmon.ie’s integration with Outlook is huge for us”.

The Future

BAUER Group now hope to move their entire IT infrastructure to the cloud, navigating the complex move to SharePoint 2016, and implementing the harmon.ie mobile app to further help their remote and on-site workers.

Bring Everything Together in SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive

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