To provide a solution that integrates into Microsoft SharePoint and enables the legal teams in the UK and US to share and approve documents quicker, increase staff productivity and efficiency, and ensure the elimination of sensitive internal hidden data i
Elimination of sensitive metadata Reduction of manual tasks Easy deployment into Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server Policy-based management has increased user confidence in document security and accuracy
National Grid is a leading international energy infrastructure business and the largest utility in the UK. The company also operates the high-voltage electricity transmission network across Great Britain and owns the 7,500 km high-voltage electricity transmission network in England and Wales. Additionally, National Grid owns and operates Britain’s 6,800 kilometer, high-pressure transmission pipeline network and the country’s largest network of lower-pressure distribution gas mains, covering the North West, the Midlands, East Anglia and North London. At 132,000 kilometers long, this represents more than half of Britain’s gas distribution network, delivering gas to around 11 million homes, offices and factories.
National Grid’s Solicitors (attorneys) in the UK and US use Workshare Professional to ensure outbound content compliance in combination with Microsoft Office 2003 Professional and Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server.
National Grid has a vision to be the world’s premier utility company. To meet this objective, the entire business must implement best practices company-wide, and the legal department is no exception. Following several mergers and divestments over the last few years, the legal team was looking for a tool that would help the multiple distributed groups to easily work together on legal documents within a secure extranet environment, while automatically managing multiple document versions and changes.
The legal team was an existing Workshare DeltaView customer but saw the benefits of a more complete document integrity solution. National Grid wanted to have the document verification capability of its existing Workshare application with the facility to automatically eliminate any hidden and other confidential information from their documents before being distributed to clients, partners, contractors, or suppliers. By incorporating the ability to cleanse documents of hidden metadata, National Grid’s legal team have improved the security of its legal documents.
National Grid also required an end-to-end solution, with the document management, collaboration, verification and compliance features all designed to work together seamlessly. Workshare Professional tightly integrates with Office 2003 Professional and SharePoint, which met this requirement. It will also assist in the organization’s migration of multiple legacy document repositories to a centralized and leading-edge document management and portal solution.
Adam Davidson, Solicitor, National Grid, said, “As we looked more deeply into our document management processes, we became concerned about the potential risk of hidden or other confidential data in our documents. We learned that, on the surface, documents might appear to be clean but, in fact, have a lot of information that we would not wish to be shared externally. We recognized the need for the more advanced features of Workshare Professional to mitigate the risk of exposing this confidential data.”
The Workshare Solution
Building on its experience with Workshare DeltaView for document comparison, the legal team at National Grid decided to upgrade to Workshare Professional, which includes integration with Microsoft SharePoint. By moving to Workshare’s flagship product, the company is able to maintain document control, provide policy-based security policies to every legal document and gain complete audit visibility.
Workshare Professional provides the fastest, most accurate and secure review and exchange of business critical documents. It eliminates version/master proliferation and confusion when sharing documents across email, portals and document repositories. Importantly for National Grid, Workshare Professional secures document exchange and eliminates content leaks, while providing on-demand and policy-driven PDF conversion and metadata management for around 1,000 documents at any one time.
“Another key element for us was the ability to quickly, easily and cost-effectively deploy a complete solution combining Workshare Professional, Microsoft Office 2003, and Microsoft SharePoint. Workshare Professional has out-of-the-box integration with the Office 2003 Professional and SharePoint, greatly reducing the time to deployment, and long-term maintenance. With so many legacy systems to consolidate, Workshare has quickly become a key part of our document integrity and management strategy,” said Davidson.
The Workshare Professional deployment has generated significant benefits for the legal team. It has made it easier to incorporate or edit changes to documents from the team as well as see the trail of changes that need to be accepted or rejected as part of the document approval process. Furthermore, it has provided National Grid’s legal team with a flexible solution for outbound content compliance, while establishing consistent document security policies for all users.
A further benefit for National Grid has been the rapid validation of the project. By reducing administration, manual tasks, and maintenance of multiple document repositories, the legal department is set to generate a return on investment in just one year.
“In addition to generating significant cost and process benefits, we have seen an increase in user confidence and awareness. The legal team know that by using Workshare their documents will be ‘clean’ and that information remains secure and confidential,” concluded Davidson.
In recognition of the Microsoft and Workshare project, the National Grid legal team won the prestigious award of ‘In-House Legal Department Initiative of the Year’ in 2005 from Legal Technology magazine.