This article was first published in the Summer 2015 issue of OnWindows
John Laing is a leading international infrastructure project investor and manager. The company was one of the first in the industry to host its voice and data in the cloud thanks to Wirebird, a managed service and IT support provider offering solutions such as full infrastructure management and managed hosting.
John Laing adopted Microsoft SharePoint in 2008 with a prime objective of improving communication and collaboration among staff and external partners.
“As an investment company, intellectual intelligence is our capital and in our field we work with a lot of external partners, so sharing intelligence is key both for the bidding process and the project,” says Dylan Jones, John Laing’s IT director. “SharePoint enables us to communicate and share knowledge with external and internal partners instantaneously.”
The projects that John Laing work on can be very lengthy and often involve a large number of external parties. All related communication, such as e-mail conversations and documentation, is collated into a single site in order to ensure all assets relating to a project are in one location and can be accessed and shared easily.
“Before SharePoint, documents and conversations were often stored on peoples’ computers and couldn’t be accessed,” Jones explains. “Now it is stored in SharePoint and anyone can access the information at any time and on any device. This increases efficiency when working and communicating, and also reduces wasted time so we have everything documented and stored, from the conception of a project to the completion.”
Previously, projects were set up using a variety of platforms, some of which were very expensive. With SharePoint, hosted and managed by Wirebird, John Laing has a monthly cost that keeps the bills simple with no surprises. All staff at John Laing use SharePoint to communicate and collaborate via a company-wide newsfeed, whether it is socially to chat or to share intelligence. SharePoint can be accessed on any device and employees communicate via Microsoft Lync instant messenger, which is integrated with SharePoint.
Both John Laing and Wirebird were keen to maximise the use of SharePoint and fully incorporate it into the daily working lives of employees, rather than merely launching a new piece of technology.
“Together with Wirebird, we spent a lot of time ensuring that SharePoint was adopted fully and comprehensively by our staff,” says Jones. “We spent time training them to utilise the technology and tried to ascertain where the pain points are. SharePoint has transformed communication and collaboration at John Laing and is now one of our core tools, used on a daily basis, both internally and externally, around the world.”
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