The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), an agency of the European Union, is the centerpiece of the European Union's strategy for aviation safety. Its mission is to promote the highest common standards of safety and environmental protection in civil aviation. The agency develops common safety and environmental rules at the European level. It monitors the implementation of standards through inspections in the member states and provides the necessary technical expertise, training and research. The agency works hand in hand with the national authorities, which continue to carry out many operational tasks, such as certification of individual aircraft, or licensing of pilots.
EASA uses a host of financial documents, technical documents, and planning documents that need to be shared with colleagues within the organization’s headquarters, and with satellite offices.
Originally storing documents on shared drives, EASA identified gaps in document management and retention requirements, and it sought a solution. “EASA decided to centralize knowledge, and move from network drive storage to central storage using SharePoint”, noted a section manager at EASA. “Now, for a lot of people here in the agency, moving to SharePoint, and especially leaving their network drive, and leaving their favorite tool, Outlook, was difficult.”
Once SharePoint was selected as the infrastructure for central storage, EASA started to look for a tool to link Outlook and SharePoint, to make it easier for people to actually start using SharePoint.
But EASA needed help for more than just making it easy to store new documents in SharePoint. “We also had to find a solution for the older documents, which we need to keep mostly for our liability,” observed the records manager. EASA sought a way to enable bulk uploads of existing documents, which would also help bootstrap the migration to SharePoint.
harmon.ie to the Rescue
EASA learned about harmon.ie from other European agencies that were already using harmon.ie. It was simple. According to the section manager, “We tried it out. It worked, so we decided to buy it. Normally, we develop requirements, do a market study, and then select a solution. But with harmon.ie, it was just perfect.”
harmon.ie was selected to simplify the move from drive storage to central storage. The thought was to link SharePoint to Outlook, “which is the natural environment workers are used to working with.” harmon.ie displays the SharePoint structure inside Outlook. “That’s what gave us the entry point, and that’s what we have used to make the switch easier,” added the manager.
“I was the pilot person here,” said another manager. “We added some business people because they were using SharePoint a lot more… then we added people doing invoice tracking. We then added our secretary assistant; she was a bit reluctant in the beginning, but she’s using it very often now. She never goes to SharePoint directly anymore…. that was our test period.”
“We saw harmon.ie as quite a straight forward way to get the documents directly within SharePoint,” said the document and records manager.
Another document and records manager noted, “For certain functionality, such as uploading of multiple documents or other operations on multiple documents, we found the harmon.ie interface nicer than SharePoint’s, and more user friendly.” With this ability of harmon.ie, uploading all old documents was quick and simple.
People who were reluctant at first to move to SharePoint, found that with harmon.ie they rarely needed to go to SharePoint, performing all operations from their harmon.ie add-in inside Outlook.
EASA uses harmon.ie to store emails in SharePoint as well as documents. “We have a lot of audit trails and requirements, so we basically store everything. Now it’s easily and centrally stored, and accessible to other people in the SharePoint environment. We would have made that a requirement, but without harmon.ie, I’m pretty sure it would have cost people a lot more time to properly do this,” noted the section manager.
Training for harmon.ie is minimal – it can be completed in approximately half an hour as part of a two hour training for SharePoint.
The European Aviation Safety Agency is rolling out harmon.ie to the entire agency - more than 800 aviation experts and administrators.