PRP is a long-established architectural firm with over 100 awards to its name. Mike Harvey, a trained architect changed roles to become IT director in 1985. When his role first began he used an IBM PC for word processing—and that was it. Since then, IT has become central to how PRP Architects operates. The company wanted to draw up a blueprint for the future based on Microsoft SharePoint.
With the company’s quality assurance system, every e-mail and document was printed out and filed. The frustrations this caused led to the need to upgrade from a paper-based system to a digital one. The big challenge with a large, multi-office company is to avoid reinventing the wheel, so part of the brief was to help people find out if something had been done before.
PRP Architects identified SharePoint as the right solution after evaluating other solutions and seeing a demo of the product. The first stage of the project involved using SharePoint to index and search PRP’s Knowledge Net—the company’s intranet—which serves as a repository for files.
The new SharePoint intranet gives every member of staff a company home page. From there, they can access company news and popular architectural Web sites. Core built an add-on for Microsoft Office Outlook that lets staff tag files and e-mails with customer information and store them for quality assurance purposes.
An important business benefit is that SharePoint is widely supported and flexible. It isn’t dependent on a single firm to implement or maintain and doesn’t require in-house technical expertise. The biggest benefit comes from putting information at everyone’s fingertips. As the practice adds documents to its database, search becomes increasingly valuable. Employees can easily and quickly find information for and about clients to enhance customer service
Users that have been able to test the service are ecstatic. “They think it is absolutely wonderful that they don’t have to print documents and can easily find what they need.” (Mike Harvey, IT Director)