With global economic volatility and uncertainty increasing every year, the public is constantly demanding more effective government programs, and more accountability from these critical programs. This is especially true when broad-reaching fiscal policy is involved, with stringent regulations governing treasury departments worldwide - from the U.S., and Canada, to Australia.
With operations that began in the early 1900s, this national treasury agency has evolved from its early days as a five-person department into five distinct branches – Fiscal, Macroeconomic, Revenue, Markets and Corporate Strategy/Services – serving the entire country. Today, citizens look to this central economic policy agency to anticipate and analyze the nation’s rapidly-evolving macroeconomic circumstances and set microeconomic reform, tax policy and international agreements.
Similar to the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) in the U.S., which contains hundreds of codes that regulate industry, this country has its own strict regulations based on numerous legislative mandates. These regulations include comprehensive information compliance requirements, to which the Treasury needs to adhere. This translates into an ever-expanding need for the department to capture and retain considerable repositories of information – a difficult enough task with documents, made even more challenging by the information governance and compliance stipulations which requires the safe capture, classification and storage of email communications and documents shared as attachments.
“All our emails that show deliberation on business decisions need to be captured, without exception,” shares the SharePoint Information Manager at the Treasury.
The Treasury’s records management practices also need to address the proper handling of sensitive data – not only when capturing, classifying and storing emails and documents attached to email, but also when sharing information with users outside of the Treasury’s chosen information management system of record, SharePoint 2013. As an organization that participates in a shared services model, the transfer of sensitive data to other government organizations poses a major information governance concern for the Treasury.
“The complex requirements for records management we are facing are very similar to those faced by other governments,” reported the Manager of the Information Management Unit at the Treasury. “The government is operating under a shared services model, where there’s a consolidation of people and government organizations that provide services to other government departments – and the Treasury is one of those organizations.”
SharePoint provided the Treasury with strong document management and collaboration capabilities, allowing the department to move employees to the SharePoint 2013 intranet and Team Sites instead of the previously-used shared drives. It also empowers the department to move from construction repositories to richer, more collaborative environments. However, two challenges remained.
First, the Treasury’s employees had no way to reliably transfer email content into SharePoint, leaving email siloed in Microsoft Outlook, where it could not be searched or catalogued in a single repository alongside documents. Second, as a primarily policy-based department, the Treasury relied on its employees to adhere to information governance requirements. If those employees couldn’t easily use SharePoint and adopt the system according to policy, not all critical information would make it into SharePoint with accurate, detailed metadata.
The team sought out a solution to create a single repository for email communications and documents, and make it easier to get documents into the system with all appropriate metadata. The Treasury performed a market survey and road-tested several products before selecting harmon.ie, and according to the Team Leader for the Treasury’s Desktop team, “What we identified in some of the early pilots was that we were missing a step between having content in Outlook and being able to migrate that content both in and out of SharePoint.”
harmon.ie provided the Treasury with that missing step, allowing users to seamlessly drag-and-drop emails and content from within emails into SharePoint – with email headers automatically mapped to SharePoint metadata – directly from the Outlook window, where they spend their time. harmon.ie made the easy thing to do, the right thing to do, and because it fits seamlessly into workers’ daily lives via its integration with Outlook, the solution has quickly seen adoption by Treasury employees.
The harmon.ie Experience
With harmon.ie, documents and emails live in the same SharePoint repository, and critical metadata is automatically added. From email headers and general name and date data, to specific business content and its context, harmon.ie automatically indexes documents of record to greatly improve the Treasury’s information governance.
harmon.ie users also follow the Treasury’s policy without any effort or formal training beyond self-help guides – they may not even know they’re storing the data they need to keep compliant. By bringing harmon.ie to the user in their Outlook inbox and automating metadata capture, harmon.ie eliminates any complexity experienced by the end user, ultimately boosting adoption of the SharePoint platform and ensuring all important information is recorded and easily accessible.
“We have it built into our standard operating environment, so it loads as an add-in for Outlook for each and every user every day,” noted the Team Leader.
“Their favorites in harmon.ie would be their major team sites, project sites and activity sites. We already have those set up in the front end, and users navigate through the harmon.ie pane to those particular sites,” continued the Information Management Unit Manager.
In addition to Microsoft Outlook, harmon.ie has been able to integrate with the Treasury’s back-end record-keeping solution, RecordPoint – a third-party product. harmon.ie’s alignment between SharePoint and RecordPoint allows for improved business process alignment, an area in which the Treasury is happy to take advantage.
The Treasury’s future plans for the solution continue to grow as the department progresses in their familiarity and utilization of the product. Going forward, the Treasury will continue to monitor harmon.ie usage among employees to understand additional ways the solution can increase productivity. They plan to gain an understanding of how employees “utilize a window into their main productivity tool, Outlook, and share and exchange information using that versus their use of the web-based SharePoint portal to access the information.”
Part of the Treasury’s unique set of requirements is the need for their information to remain on-premises. They have been happy to learn about harmon.ie’s hybrid environment capabilities, which allow users to work in either a cloud-based or an on-premises setup – and to have access to both types of data in a single experience in their Outlook window. The Treasury has been able to successfully utilize the many capabilities of harmon.ie to solve the distinctive compliance and collaboration challenges they are subject to through country law, all while allowing its employees to continue serving the people with no disruption to their workflow.
“What we are interested in over the next few months is actually building a roadmap which would include harmon.ie to better leverage investments and support business in a richer way,” said the Information Management Unit Manager.