Case Study

UNISON goes mobile with harmon.ie

Industry

Non-Profit

Location

United Kingdom

Size

1300 employees, over one million members

“Our users no longer avoid using SharePoint. Instead, they're now saying they love to use the platform, with the help of harmon.ie.”

Laurence Arterton

Head of Client Support & ICT Services at UNISON

Summary

The mobile experience of using SharePoint with harmon.ie is incredibly popular with UNISON’s employees. When out of the office, they can now instantly access their files, update documents, and upload their changes back into SharePoint from their phones. harmon.ie has transformed SharePoint from a potentially valuable but unpopular IT asset to a hugely successful and vital tool for UNISON’s mobile workforce.

About UNISON

UNISON is the UK’s largest trade union with a membership of 1.3 million workers. The organization’s membership is made up of workers in a wide range of sectors including local government, energy, health care, police, transport, and more. UNISON employs approximately 1300 staff located in 32 offices.

The Challenge

The majority of UNISON employees spend the day visiting the workplaces of its membership. Being mobile, therefore, is a huge advantage. When out of the office, employees have mobile devices to access the tools, apps, and documents they need - many choose to use smartphones.

Mobility is not just about hardware. Email and SharePoint are key. If an employee has many appointments during the day, easy access to email and documents is essential. Also, the team needs to be able to store new content in a secure location as quickly as possible.

Functionality vs. user experience

SharePoint provided several significant benefits to the organization: a single repository for unstructured data, version control, security, and powerful search. However, it was met with resistance from UNISON’s staff due to the user experience, especially on mobile devices.

hadow IT quickly developed, with staff saving documents on memory sticks and emailing them to personal mailboxes. The IT team at UNISON noted that overcoming this resistance would be a challenge but were adamant that the long-term benefits of SharePoint were worth it. So, they started looking for a solution to improve the user experience.

How UNISON found harmon.ie

As UNISON planned to migrate from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2013, the IT team decided to seriously address the challenges of SharePoint adoption. They looked at solutions which allowed them to use SharePoint on smartphones when they came across harmon.ie. When implemented, it helped UNISON set up a proof of concept, which was initially run for several months in the IT team to great success.

When UNISON migrated to SharePoint 2013, harmon.ie became an integral part of the final platform. The improvements were immediately there to see. UNISON’s staff adapted to the new SharePoint immediately. Shadow IT ceased to be an issue. Instead, they embraced the new, easy-to-use SharePoint whole-heartedly, saying in particular that they loved the Outlook sidebar.

The Results

With harmon.ie, UNISON’s employees now find SharePoint much more intuitive to use. They can easily upload, classify, view, edit, and share emails and documents in SharePoint from their Outlook client, making it much easier to update the correct metadata at the point of saving. harmon.ie has transformed SharePoint from a potentially valuable but unpopular IT asset to a hugely successful and vital tool for UNISON’s mobile workforce. The benefits of SharePoint for the organization, with the help of harmon.ie, is that UNISON’s employees can also make the most of SharePoint – especially on mobile.

harmon.ie completes the solution

Employees at UNISON love the new functionality that allows them to drag and drop attachments and emails straight into team sites. Metadata can now be added as soon as an email is ‘dropped’ into a SharePoint library, which makes it much easier to quickly and accurately carry out this once tedious task. What’s more, harmon.ie reduced the number of duplicated emails in SharePoint. When adding attachments to emails, you can send a link rather than replicating the attachment in Exchange. The team found that this greatly improved mailbox management. Some employees at UNISON can now get by with just 500MB mailboxes. This is because harmon.ie makes it possible to function with smaller mailboxes, since they no longer have documents saved as attachments in Exchange.

Mobile working becomes a reality

The mobile experience of using SharePoint with harmon.ie was also incredibly popular with UNISON’s employees. When out of the office, they could now instantly access their files, update documents, and upload their changes back into SharePoint from their phones. This gave the team the power to do everything they needed to do without having to carry a laptop around. What’s more, harmon.ie is secure as well. As Laurence Arterton, UNISON’s Head of Client Support & ICT Services, said: “It’s like having your office computer in your pocket when you are out of the office – and it’s secure. I don’t have to worry about what is going to go wrong if I lose my phone, and who is going to have access to these files.

Making SharePoint user-friendly

harmon.ie helps organizations boost SharePoint adoption by bringing the functionality of SharePoint directly into Outlook. This makes it much easier for users to work on documents and emails and save them in SharePoint with the correct metadata. Making sure everyone can securely access the documents they need – anytime, anywhere, and on any device – is key to business success in the modern world.

Bring Everything Together in SharePoint, Microsoft Teams, and OneDrive

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