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Industry: AEC      Locations: 25      Employees: 2,000

Founded in 1920, for 95 years Bird has been a leading general contractor in Canada with offices coast to coast for Industrial Building and Structure Construction. Bird's clients include leading firms in the commercial, institutional, multi-tenant residential, industrial, mining, energy and civil sectors.

The Challenge

No formal document management policy existed at Bird, and there was no one standard method for document tagging or file organization which made project documents hard to find. Each project site was set up somewhat differently, and security took a large amount of time for setup and permissioning of subsites and libraries. There also was no secure external access for clients and staff.

What We Did

We first remediated some existing issues on their 2010 farm related to databases and their information architecture. We then installed a new development farm and began to focus on project management solutions. We created project prototype wireframes, with mockups on our network, and when they were deemed ready, moved the beta project system to Bird's on-prem farm. The next step was taxonomy and we focused on what's called "harvesting implicit taxonomies" which means finding the commonalities of how documents are currently being filed. This process begins sifting through the many terms and moving towards a standard taxonomy of centrally managed terms. Our project manager, Manny Machado, organized workshops with strategic staff for brainstorming what types of systems might work and would be adaptable to the project managers. These workshops were repeated several times as our design moved along iteratively through several phases.

We jointly created a standard taxonomy and content types for document management. A SharePoint Content Hub was set up to facilitate term store and content type management across the farm for easy management and updating of content types across the farm.

    • Document roll-up to make it easier to see new relevant documents
    • We collaboratively defined document management process (and electronic storage framework) that ensures consistency across projects, security of confidential information, and the ability to share and manage documents with external business partners
    • Confirmed and established a standard, secure, and company-wide approach to document management (including collaboration with external partners), saving future non-productive hours searching for documents (through all project phases) distributed throughout the company. Reduces project team start-up time, as project structure is consistent across all projects.
    • PowerShell scripting of new site provisioning including setting up permissions
    • Color coded calendars for easy event management
    • Documents are auto-tagged based on library and folder that they are uploaded to ease
    • Customized search pages with custom refinement panels

The Result

While the collaborative process ran longer than expected it was a success thanks to a patient teamwork. As is typical, our client's resources were squeezing this work around their real jobs so excellent communication and diligent use of our project diary helped keep all players in sync. Working with Bird we established a configurable and scalable foundation for Bird's envisioned growth, facilitating the integration of future acquisitions into the standard structure and repository

    • Document management templates were created, which now allow for quick creation of a standard project SharePoint website. These are based on the folder structure that we jointly defined.
    • Project templates were built which now provide an improved and consistent user interface. This facilitates easy navigation to project documentation.
    • We reduced project team start-up time from hours to minutes and also made it possible for project structures to be consistent across all projects. A side benefit is that it encourages further standardization and centralized storage (and backup) of critical job site data. Issues that are currently being experienced because project files are scattered and stored on various media (i.e. laptops, flash drives, file servers, websites, etc.) will be significantly reduced.  E-mail storage will also be reduced, as large files will not need to be sent to multiple stakeholders.
    • Improved support for audit and legal documentation requirements through centralization and improved searching ability. Inherent document version management should also further facilitate these processes

SharePoint has been a critical tool for our multiple locations and time zone firm to act as a cohesive organization. SimpleSharepoint has been the most critical factor in making our intranet a success. They consistently apply a level of professionalism, creativity, and responsiveness to every challenge we present to them. Best of all, they teach us how to address the challenge ourselves. - Jordan A. Spergel, Project Coordinator



If you're wondering how to get more out of SharePoint than a good first step is to reach out to an experienced Microsoft SharePoint consulting firm. We have worked with SharePoint since its first version and will be very happy to show you some examples of our work and provide ideas for how you can use it better within your company so contact us today!

Construction (AEC)


Branding Content Management Solution Extranet Portal Intranet Portal Project Management Solution SharePoint Upgrade

Technology Stack

SharePoint 2010


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