Particularly due to increasing complexity, the SharePoint search function had become insufficient over the years. BMD was looking for an external partner that would support it during the technically challenging implementation of the search function as well as during the upgrade to the more powerful SharePoint Server 2016.

We now have a central knowledge database that allows for faster and more efficient searching while significantly facilitating the editing of content. In the end, this is a great benefit for our customers whose support requests are now dealt with more quickly.

Clemens Buchwiser, BMD

The way to intelligent knowledge management

BMD needed an upgrade
When it came to knowledge management in the Support Department, BMD had previously used Microsoft SharePoint 2007 as well as the “Clientsinfo” customer portal and the “M.A.I.S.” Employee Information System. Among other things, software documentation, support cases and video recordings of training courses were managed with these. Customers primarily use the help function on BMD solutions, but also instruction videos, release notes, sample and import files, and short-term up-to-date information. “SharePoint already offered us search capability, a scalable quantity structure and flexibility,” Buchwiser reports. Over the years – due to increasing complexity – SharePoint 2007's search function, in particular, become insufficient. “We therefore started looking for an external IT partner to support us with this technically demanding task as well as with the upgrade to the more powerful SharePoint Server 2016,” Buchwiser describes the development.

To implementation on a straight path
In the search for a suitable service provider, BMD obtained quotes from three Microsoft-certified providers that offered a completed set of specifications. “In addition to technical expertise, it was also important for us to find a regional partner. That's why we commissioned DCCS with the implementation,” Buchwiser reports. At the beginning of the project, the project team – consisting of Ingrid Winter and Clemens Buchwiser from BMD and Gerald Fessl (DCCS) – discussed the requirements or possible solutions in the framework of two workshops with pilot groups from the departments. Tasks were then prioritised and assigned, and content editors were defined who were involved in the implementation. “The first step was about knowledge sharing in the Support & Training Department. It was important to have an authorisation system so that all employees would be able to read the information relevant to them, but can only write within their own department.”​​​

Newly configured structure and search function
​​​​​​​In the first step, DCCS created a portal architecture based on the existing requirements and the expected quantity structure. A particular challenge was to set up the information structure from scratch in order to be able to manage and roll out settings such as meta data, changed selection of library folders or views in the portal as automatically as possible. Setting up the intelligent search function was another complex task. The search function preconfigured in SharePoint had to be adapted and refined so that BMD support staff could use filter functions to find the content they needed even more easily and quickly than before. For this purpose, DCCS configured the search engine of the information portal in such a way that the search now works in a very short time and extremely precisely. Furthermore, the filing structure was designed in such a way that users can file their content with as few steps as possible. DCCS also set up the authorisation system for the employees and took care of the security certification in accordance with the ISO standard. In parallel with the configurations, BMD transferred the content from the legacy systems to the new SharePoint portal. “Our own colleagues actively supported us in this,” says Buchwiser.

Intelligent SharePoint search
The new SharePoint portal makes the daily work of BMD Support staff easier. From product documentation to training videos to customer-specific documents: Thanks to the new information portal, content is easier to find and display than before due to the powerful, optimised SharePoint search function. The search result itself can be refined as needed thanks to filters and predefined search criteria (for example, categories such as “CRM” or “instruction video”). “We now have a central knowledge database that allows for faster and more efficient searching while significantly facilitating the editing of content. For example, we can now revise articles more easily in SharePoint and also add images. At the same time, the Microsoft Office Online Server portal makes it much easier to edit Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents. Ultimately, this benefits our customers, whose support requests can now be dealt with more quickly," Buchwiser is pleased to report.

Next step customer portal
The next project step is already in the works. The previous customer information platform, which had run on a Typo 3 system and is currently being operated in parallel with SharePoint, is to be completely transferred to the new portal by the end of the year. “The customer portal is very important because it’s a central point for all customers with maintenance contracts to access information such as instruction videos and help articles. This relieves the burden on telephone support and thus creates valuable benefit," says Buchwiser. Technically, the customer portal will run on a completely independent SharePoint platform, and customer and partner access to the information will be controlled according to the users’ authorisation level. “Of course, the new portal is also compatible with mobile devices,” Buchwiser notes. As the project progresses, data from the remaining BMD departments, such as Engineering and Development, will also be transferred to the new platform. “In the process, we continue to rely on DCCS’s competent and solution-oriented support,” Buchwiser summarises.

BMD knowledge management upgrade: How it all began
BMD is Austria's market leader in the area of tax consultant software, but also offers solutions for SMEs on the topics of accounting, enterprise resource planning, production planning, CRM and payroll accounting, among others. As the company is constantly growing, the amount of information about products, customers, support and training is also constantly increasing. Previously, this data was stored in various systems such as the CRM and SharePoint Server 2007, as well as the employee information system, which resulted in a relatively high maintenance effort and made it difficult to retrieve the required information. “We therefore wanted to centralise all the knowledge and make relevant information available – first to all employees and in the future, to customers as well,” explains Clemens Buchwiser, Head of Quality Assurance at BMD Systemhaus GmbH.

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