Weis Builders, a construction company that operates across the United States, wanted to cut costs and streamline content management processes. It deployed a KnowledgeLake solution that helps reduce the resources needed to manage content on Microsoft SharePoint. The solution also gives employees a range of easy-to-use tools that can be deployed based on a user’s needs and technical sophistication.
In 1939, John Weis started a cabinet shop in his home in Rochester, Minnesota, and his reputation for quality workmanship soon turned into a custom-home construction business. More than 70 years later, Weis Builders continues to build on the founder’s reputation. Today Weis Builders is a leading U.S. construction company, operating across the country with regional offices in Minnesota, Illinois, and Texas.
In 2011, the company began looking at potential software solutions that could help make processes in the accounting and finance division more efficient. The company had a Microsoft SharePoint intranet installed, but SharePoint by itself didn’t provide all of the necessary tools for streamlined document management.
“We wanted to reduce costs and use SharePoint more effectively throughout the organization, beginning with the financial department. However, out of the box, SharePoint does not provide adequate document ingestion,” says an IT administrator at the company’s headquarters in Minneapolis. “So we looked to third party partners for solutions.”
The company had been using Application Xtender, an enterprise content management solution from EMC. While this solution worked for Weis business processes, the capital cost and human resources needed to upgrade, install, and maintain it were prohibitive.
For alternatives, the company considered enterprise content management (ECM) that work with SharePoint, and some that don’t. For a variety of reasons, none of the products offered the full range of what Weis Builders wanted, including SharePoint compatibility, cost effectiveness, and rich user features that the company wanted.
After seeing an online demonstration of KnowledgeLake products, Weis Builders decided to deploy a KnowledgeLake ECM solution. The company began its planning processing in 2012, with full deployment expected by the end of the year.
Weis Builders deployed KnowledgeLake Capture for processing scanned documents, as well as KnowledgeLake Connect, which enables uploads of digital documents and communications such as email-and related metadata-directly into SharePoint.
The IT staff member says the majority of the work in creating the new ECM solution involved migrating data from legacy systems. The actual deployment of the KnowledgeLake products took a matter of hours.
“The main advantage of KnowledgeLake that shines through in a deployment is the clean and simple user interface,” he says. “Coupled with the simplicity of design in our SharePoint backend, it provides users with an intuitive solution they can quickly understand and use to its fullest potential.”
By choosing KnowledgeLake products, Weis Builders found an ECM solution that fits both its business and technology needs. Using the KnowledgeLake software with its Microsoft SharePoint system, Weis benefits from more streamlined content management, ease of use for employees, and a feature set that can be scaled based on the technical sophistication of individual employees.
Streamlined Content Management
After evaluating multiple vendors, the IT administrator says it became clear that “KnowledgeLake towers above the crowd” with improved content management and reduced management overhead.
“For example, a change to a content type in SharePoint based on user suggestions or business needs, such as a new required field or an additional dropdown choice, will automatically flow downstream to KnowledgeLake Connect and Capture without any extra effort required of our SharePoint administrators,” he says.
He notes that competitive products require modifications to the software with each change and at each workstation.
“This is time consuming and very inefficient,” he says. “The native interaction that KnowledgeLake has with SharePoint content types is a major advantage of this solution over the competition, with time-saving benefits that are reaped many times over.”
Ease of Use
A common hurdle to quick adoption of new technology by end users is a complex or cluttered software interface. That’s not an issue with the new ECM solution.
“KnowledgeLake’s interface is clean and intuitive,” says the IT employee. “Each button has a clear purpose, and users who are familiar with ECM tools have little trouble discerning how to interact with them. And with KnowledgeLake Connect, the functionality of the Microsoft Office plugins provides a quick and efficient way to push documents to SharePoint on an ad-hoc basis. The familiar ribbon and overall simplicity of the KnowledgeLake software allows it to be quickly adopted by new users.”
Scalable Based on User Knowledge
An advantage of using KnowledgeLake is that it didn’t force Weis Builders into a one-size-fits-all solution.