Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. is a leading international supplier of railway infrastructure and track maintenance machinery and services. Loram provides ‘maintenance of way’ services to Class I and Short Line railroads, transits, and commuter rails. Loram’s product offerings include: Production and Specialty Rail Grinding, Ditch Cleaning, Shoulder Ballast Cleaning, Undercutting, Spot Undercutting utilizing our Railvac, Rail Handling, Data Services, and Friction Management Services.
The company manufactures large pieces of railway machinery; internally, each machine is considered a project, and as such has its own SharePoint site. In this site, the company records all the project details, including the materials and communications gathered from suppliers, customers, and vendors.
In 2013, Loram identified a need for Records Management, Knowledge Management, SharePoint adoption, and mobile adoption. Loram was using Lotus Notes for email but decided to use Microsoft SharePoint for its collaboration platform. As two disparate communications platforms, Loram realized they needed a way to bridge their SharePoint/Notes environments. Most importantly, they didn’t have a way for employees to move email messages from Notes to SharePoint, so they could become items of record in SharePoint. In addition to email message, there was a need to centrally-store manufacturing and customer documents, such as Excel spreadsheets, site images, and PowerPoint presentations. These documents were intensively circulated internally as part of the company’s regular business processes. In fact, the company found that workers were sending approximately 50 emails daily, with 300MB document attachments; this load was increasi ingly eating away at storage limitations. As such, Loram began to look for a solution that could reduce storage space and improve collaboration. The company also had concerns about their company intranet playing well with any new product to be introduced.
Prior to deploying harmon.ie, Loram Maintenance was making do with their native Microsoft SharePoint infrastructure and Lotus Notes, living as separate entities. However, this arrangement was problematic for several reasons: Specifically, under Microsoft network, users had the ability to freely create network places - leading to taxonomy disorder and the making of accountability more difficult.
When Loram discovered that IBM and Microsoft did not have a solution to their challenges, they began to look for third-party solutions. Members of the investigative team found harmon.ie through an Internet search. The SharePoint consultant on the project was already familiar with harmon.ie so moving forward was a snap. Loram liked harmon.ie’s Notes and SharePoint integration, plus they also liked its flexibility of allowing users to access SharePoint via Outlook email as well. At the time, users were saving emails as eml files, which they then had to convert from Lotus Notes in order to upload to SharePoint. The business analyst and SharePoint consultant decided to move forward with harmon.ie, as it effectively does this process for you, smoothly and without mess – it is effectively a combination of two products. Another factor in the decision-making process, was that harmon.ie guides users to specify metadata, which was useful for records requirements.
There was an immediate 60% adoption, based on demand (Loram purchased 200 licenses, as of now, there are close to 120 people using it). harmon.ie was demoed to various groups to see who wanted it. For example, the Accounting and Engineering departments expressed interest in harmon.ie, so harmon.ie was uploaded to their devices.
In order to ensure success, new users were offered initial and ongoing training from the helpdesk if and when they fealt the need. The company is becoming more aware of harmon.ie; harmon.ie is installed according to need – currently three or four installations per week.
Loram is still developing their SharePoint implementation to support the business. Early on, many employees merely had access to OneDrive for Business (i.e. Mysite), to store documents. As the site developed, additional SharePoint capabilities have been exposed, such as collaboration and taxonomy.
harmon.ie enabled Loram Maintenance to realize significant storage savings.
As users added and stored more documents in SharePoint, it helped Loram meet its corporate records requirements.
Also, the ability to send a link to a document rather than send the document around in the email as well as having the option of sending the document itself, made things very easy for them. Storage did not become an extra stage in the process and documents were up to date.
“We have nothing but positive comments about harmon.ie. Our users are very happy with it.”
Business Analyst, Loram Maintenance of Way
In the future, Loram Maintenance is interested in enabling employees to work remotely, from mobile devices as well as from the desktop. As such, Loram plans to evaluate adding harmon.ie Mobile to its current harmone.ie Email deployment. Loram would like consistent user interface SharePoint from all devices.