Knowledge base implementation for SharePoint Online in Západoslovenská energetika

About the customer

Západoslovenská energetika, together with its subsidiary companies Západoslovenská distribuční and ZSE Energia, is one of the largest electricity and gas distributors and suppliers in Slovakia. Both companies are part of the German energy concern E.ON. They operate mainly in western Slovakia, but they also provide their services outside this region. They have been in business for 95 years and their services are used by million customers every day.

Initial situation

In Západoslovenská energetika they shared information by means of the knowledge base in SharePoint 2013. At that time the customer used the “on premise” form, which meant buying of the hardware in the company assets and its own management. Within the scope of this solution, the employees had to connect only through the internal network and company computers.

At the end of 2017 the company decided to transfer to SharePoint Online. Now the employees (mainly the external ones) can access the company network from anywhere (home or abroad) and from any device (also from their private computers or mobile phones). 

About the solution

The supply by IXTENT company resulted in the knowledge base on the SharePoint Online for both subsidiary companies (Západoslovenská distribučná and ZSE Energia). These companies work with different data and different configurations. ZSE Energia ensures business activities, operates the call centres and has about 30 teams.

Západoslovenská distribučná provides electricity distribution and employs about 17 teams. Team members can search for and read all the content from the knowledge base and every article in the knowledge base can be addressed only to some teams. A higher-level role in the solution belongs to the “author/contributor” in charge of preparation and editing of articles, their publication and distribution to the teams by means of so-called journal. The highest role is the “administrator” with all the rights for administration of the solution.

Products used

IXTENT implemented the above described solution by means of Microsoft SharePoint Online and Nintex Workflow for Office 365.

What are the advantages of Microsoft SharePoint? SharePoint is a solution bringing improvement of in-company cooperation, sharing of documents and communication but it is also a platform for the document flow management, workflow implementation and searching. The basic functionalities include a possibility of information categorisation by means of metadata, creation of document or web templates, possibility of data structuring, sensitive authorisation management, storage of historic data, approval solutions and content publishing.

As the main benefits we can mention an extensive configurability of the solution, information sharing, extensive search possibilities, unified look similar to Office, integration with Office applications or business applications and integration with the cloud storage.

As regards the tailor-made solutions based on the SharePoint, a lot can be achieved by clean configuration. If it is not sufficient, it is possible to develop a required functionality according to the needs of the particular client. Within the development it is possible to extend the solutions in various ways, e.g. by means of Office 365 services, through third party applications available in the Office Store but also by means of extensive modifications through programming or web services.

Why was the Nintex Workflow for Office 365 used? This software provides a user-friendly extension of the standard SharePoint workflow, decreases the labour intensity of the implementation and maintenance of work processes for administrators. If an administrator has authorisation to adjust the workflow, they are usually able to achieve the required result without a software developer. The administrator is thus able to change the body or addressees of an e-mail notification without any problems.

Solution benefits

The new solution brought to the customer a more effective commenting and approving process which is based partially on the Word Online application in cloud (service for data storage in the online environment) and sends its users notifications of changes within the approving/commenting process. It enables access of external workers from anywhere and from any device. Západoslovenská energetika has the application under its control and uses the tools for administration provided by Office 365.

Time line

The knowledge base for SharePoint Online project lasted almost one year (from the initial offer to its handover to the users). The service has been used for 4 months and the customer and supplier are still in contact to solve possible questions concerning its functionality.