Hosted SharePoint & Exchange Server Case Study
Gupton Marrs International
Strengthening communication for clients & employees
Part I: SOX Compliance
In 2004, Gupton Marrs International (GMI) was working with one of the largest marketing/advertising organizations in the world. This organization had grown through acquisition to encompass over 1,200 agencies in 130 countries. GMI’s task was to help this company define, implement, and roll-out a comprehensive Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance program in under six months that would support worldwide testing of financial reporting internal controls at over 800 locations.
GMI quickly decided that Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) v3 would be used as the collaborative document repository for the SOX testing documents. Using SharePoint as the core platform, GMI added customized capabilities such as robust check-in / check-out, workflow, signoff and management reporting. Approximately 20,000 testing documents were created by a population of 1,000 users. Fpweb.net provided the dedicated WSS environment with 24x7 availability during the crucial three month SOX testing window.
”SharePoint is a great tool, but it has some weaknesses out of the box.”
Mordechai Beizer, Managing Director at GMI
“Fpweb.net’s dedicated WSS environment allowed us to customize the application through the use of our own technologies. Fpweb.net’s experience managing SharePoint systems was a big plus.”
As with any custom product, there are always a few wrinkles to iron out.
“Out of the gate, we experienced some potential show stoppers, but Fpweb.net was very helpful in solving the problems. I could reach a live support person at any time, which was key in making sure little problems didn’t become big problems,”
Part II: Knowledge Management & IT Infrastructure
Due to the number of projects with staff at the client location or on-the-road, GMI needed a way for consultants to share project information anytime, anywhere.
The company also needed a way to capture, organize and manage its intellectual capital, as well as to deploy critical applications, such as time tracking and source code control.
GMI set up another dedicated server at Fpweb.net to run its own company intranet. The dedicated server provides a collaborative infrastructure using out-of-the-box Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. To best leverage the collaborative features of WSS, GMI upgraded all employees to Microsoft Office 2007. The server contains GMI’s SharePoint site, as well as team work sites created for specific client engagements. In addition, the dedicate server runs Wiki software, a time tracking application, and the company source code control system.
Through dedicated WSS team work sites, GMI employees can access a shared repository for team documents from any location. Customer projects are easily organized through SharePoint sub sites. All relevant client information can now be found in one easy-to-access location, increasing business efficiency.
“We absolutely depend on our Fpweb.net server for our business,” said Beizer “As a measure of our confidence in them, we have no hesitation in recommending Fpweb.net to our clients as an outsourced alternative.”
Part III: Protecting Client Confidentiality
Due to the confidential nature of GMI’s work, the company wanted to ensure that it could comply with any client requirements for secure encrypted email communication. In discussing this need with their existing hosted email provider, GMI learned that, while the provider did support secure client to server connections, it could not support secure mail-server to mail-server communication. To best ensure client confidentiality, GMI wanted to find a hosted e-mail environment that could support complete end-to-end email encryption.
GMI contacted Fpweb.net to discuss its dedicated Exchange Server hosting offer. In discussions with Fpweb.net’s Exchange specialists, GMI learned that Fpweb.net could configure a dedicated Exchange Server 2007 to support secure mail-server to mail-server communications. GMI immediately began working with Fpweb.net to migrate from its current e-mail provider to a dedicated Exchange Server at Fpweb.net.
With a product such as Exchange 2007, there is a learning curve in order to fully understand its capabilities.
“When we needed an Exchange server configured with an advanced Exchange capability, Fpweb.net was very helpful in getting it done,” said Beizer.
Configuring this feature required Fpweb.net’s support team do research through Microsoft in order to set up the server to GMI’s guidelines.
“The bottom line is that they didn’t hesitate even though it was a new feature for them. They just went to work and got it done,”noted Beizer.