Driving cost-cutting efficiencies through governance and SAP-interoperability with SharePoint

Working closely with one of the world’s largest energy companies, Gimmal had been tasked with defining and implementing an end-to-end information management and governance solution. The company’s rapid content growth and some issues with human error, resulted in wasted time, inefficient processes and escalating costs. 

More specifically, there were terabytes of information spread across a vast collection of File Shares all sitting relatively unmanaged and growing daily. There was also the compounding situation of having even more valuable and business critical content sitting, again unmanaged, in employee email inboxes. In this highly regulated industry, content was living outside any real control, and this was adding to the overall organizational risk profile and creating costly delays due to associated productivity challenges.

In order to mitigate the risk of expensive legal actions due to non-compliance and create an environment of improved efficiency and productivity, the customer set out to update their information management environment. At the outset they were looking for a governance solution that would help manage content against corporate policy and mandated industry regulations. Additionally, and wherever applicable, this solution needed to automate as much of the governance process as possible to reduce the already-present issue of human error, but where people would be involved there needed to be a simple and easy-to-use experience. 

The customer examined many of the traditional Enterprise Content Management (ECM) vendors to resolve their challenges and support their corporate decision to standardize on the Microsoft SharePoint platform. Not wanting to invest in a duplicative set of technologies, they decided to leverage the Gimmal Information Governance Suite (iGs). By choosing iGs the customer was able to save on the extensive license charges and costly integrations with more traditional records solutions that could only run if attached to their parent ECM platform. iGs runs directly within SharePoint and both leverages and extends SharePoint’s native records capabilities and does not force the use of any separate repository for the storage of the content itself – everything lives and executes from within SharePoint.

The customer has also been leveraging SAP for a number of years as its ERP system and has decided to integrate it with SharePoint as the user experience to execute SAP transactions. They are extending this connection between SAP and SharePoint to include functions such as accounts payable and invoice processing, as well as master data management. As part of their overall governance plan, the customer wants to make sure that SAP, and the additional business critical content and records it creates, could be managed along-side their SharePoint deployment. To fulfill these requirements the customer is leveraging Gimmal ERP-Link to create a true bi-directional connection between SharePoint and SAP. There are also future plans to include support for integrated SAP-managed plant maintenance activities with documentation synchronization in a SharePoint-SAP interoperability scenario - again with ERP-Link. 

The anticipated results of Gimmal’s work with the customer have been exceptional and include: the reduction of the overall storage footprint by more than one-third while ensuring a continued reduction in the rate of storage growth, pushing out capital purchases for storage; avoidance of fines for non-compliance that result in savings of millions of dollars annually; more productive users due to a simplified experience that is integrated with SAP and ability to execute on rapid search and discovery of business critical content; and, reduced capital project cycle times due to elimination of rework and ambiguity surrounding documents.

Dave Martin is vice president of Product Marketing at Gimmal.