Sho-Me Power

Utility Delivers More Power To Document Management System With Knowledgelake

Sho-Me Power, an electric utility that serves the citizens of Missouri, had an aging and cumbersome document management system. To improve internal processes, the utility deployed a KnowledgeLake enterprise content management solution that runs with the organization’s Microsoft SharePoint intranet. Now documents are quickly loaded into the intranet for fast search and retrieval. The utility also benefits from KnowledgeLake Unify for SharePoint, which embeds KnowledgeLake functionality into commonly used applications, including the utility’s Microsoft Dynamics SL project management and accounting software.

BUSINESS NEEDS

The Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative is a public utility in Missouri that provides wholesale electric service to nine member distribution cooperatives as well as retail electric service to communities throughout the state. It operates 148 electricity distribution and transmission substations that provide service to 130 member delivery points.

sho-me-power-150x150

Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative is a utility that distributes wholesale power and retail electrical service to customers throughout the state of Missouri. It is headquartered in Marshfield, Missouri.

www.shomepower.com

Marshfield, Missouri, USA

Utilities

The utility has been using Microsoft SharePoint technologies for collaboration and document storage and exchange since the mid-2000s. However, the document management system was not particularly effective or reliable, says Jeff Rhein, Director of Information Technologies.

“We wanted to find a more stable and user-friendly solution to replace our existing unreliable system,” he says. “Some end users simply stopped using the electronic content management system and went back to looking through file cabinets for paper copies of documents. We also wanted to find a solution that would allow us to file documents electronically to minimize printing, which would cut down on the costs associated with printing documents that were then rescanned to be saved in the document management system.”

The utility’s management wanted other features as well. They felt it was important to establish a central document repository to enable document retention policies for supporting corporate compliance policies. Additionally, they wanted a document management system that would integrate with an existing installation of the Microsoft Dynamics SL project management and accounting software.

"The KnowledgeLake products working in tandem with Microsoft SharePoint have helped us improve internal processes and overall productivity.”

-Jeff Rhein, Director of Information Technologies, Sho-Me Power Electric Cooperative

SOLUTION

Sho-Me Power evaluated a number of possible solutions, and also considered building its own solution. Ultimately, the utility decided to deploy a KnowledgeLake enterprise content management (ECM) solution that integrates with Microsoft SharePoint.

“Simplicity was a key factor behind our choice to go with the KnowledgeLake solution,” says Rhein. “Some of the other solutions seemed cumbersome to install and configure. We felt that with KnowledgeLake running with our existing SharePoint corporate intranet, end user training would be quite simple and straightforward. Plus our experience configuring and maintaining SharePoint eased our concerns about potential maintenance costs and system level support.”

Sho-Me Power deployed KnowledgeLake Imaging for SharePoint, which is used for searching, viewing, and annotating documents. It uses KnowledgeLake Capture for batch processing and indexing documents, and KnowledgeLake Connect, which ShoMe Power employees use to convert electronic documents to Adobe Acrobat PDFs before uploading to the intranet.

The organization also uses KnowledgeLake Unify for SharePoint, which provides document search and retrieve functionality for users inside commonly used business applications, including Sho-Me’s Microsoft Dynamics SL system.

“Installation was largely completed in two days with a small amount of KnowledgeLake intervention required after the fact,” says Rhein. “Any lingering setup and configuration questions or issues were resolved during a brief telephone conversation. Overall the installation was hassle free.”

BENEFITS

The KnowledgeLake ECM deployment quickly began delivering benefits to Sho-Me Power. Ease of use is encouraging rapid adoption among employees, document storage is easier, and the solution is helping streamline business processes. “The KnowledgeLake products working in tandem with Microsoft SharePoint have helped us improve internal processes and overall productivity,” says Rhein.

Employees Benefit from Ease of Use

Rhein says the KnowledgeLake ECM solution has eliminated the problem of complexity that drove users away from the prior document management solution. “Instead of users leaving the system to go back to filing cabinets, we’re getting many requests for access to the system as word gets out on how easy it is to use,” he says. “We have had a number of employees comment on how easy it is to use the new system when searching for or scanning new documents.”

More Online Documents Encourage More Usage

Storing documents is also much easier and efficient than in the past, which will encourage more and more users to turn to the system for document sharing and collaboration. “With the KnowledgeLake solution and SharePoint, we’re already seeing increased document storage,” says Rhein. “That, in turn, will boost usage of the portal. Users will become more familiar with the environment, which will allow us to add more features that will accelerate usage and acceptance of the technology.”

Better Stability, Tight System Integration

Rhein says the KnowledgeLake solution is reliable and stabile—and a big improvement over the prior document management system. “A few weeks after the upgrade an external audit was performed, and our controller reported that the auditors were very pleased with the new system,” he says. “That bolsters our decision to integrate the solution with Dynamics SL using KnowledgeLake Unify for SharePoint. Our finance and accounting department has been really excited by the capabilities that are provided with the new solution.”

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