Summary

Yorktown Systems Group, Inc. (Yorktown) is a professional services company with more than 750 employees that provides training and education, language and cultural learning, modeling and simulations, management analysis, administrative services, and integrated logistics to help federal and civil organizations. Headquartered in Huntsville, AL, a majority of Yorktown staff are located on-site with customers which provided a challenge to foster collaboration between individuals and teams within the organization. Yorktown desired to use the Office 365 platform to provide better cross team communication and collaboration.

Challenge

Yorktown ran most of its document management and operations within a SharePoint 2010 on-premises environment. This information system was not only limited by capability set, but the on-premises model also complicated Yorktown’s new security and compliance strategy. After years of disparate departments creating silos of information with varying degrees of governance, the organization’s permissions structure was widely inconsistent and difficult to manage. Yorktown’s content structure lacked modern architecture best practices, and employees consistently reported difficulty finding documents or critical information in a timely manner. Lastly, some of Yorktown’s content resided on a third-party hosted server farm, and the internal IT teams did not have access for backend administration.

Strategy

Summit 7 Systems worked in partnership with Yorktown to analyze and document the organization’s SharePoint 2010 environment to understand how the users were using the platform to work between teams. Summit 7 then worked with Yorktown’s stakeholders and leaders from each team within the organization to understand how they were structuring their content within SharePoint 2010 and how this structure enhanced or inhibited their existing business processes. Additionally, Summit 7 provided a detailed breakdown of the existing security architecture for content within the environment.

Using this data, Summit 7 was able to create an information and security architecture design that accounted for all content within Yorktown’s SharePoint 2010 environment. Using the modern experience with SharePoint Online, the information architecture design provided areas for corporate teams to publish relevant content such as news announcements, policies, procedures, travel information, and security forms to the broader Yorktown audience using communication sites. Team sites were used to provide internal teams with the capability to rapidly and effectively collaborate and share content relevant to their team. Hub sites brought the overall design together by providing a hierarchical structure to the content, and the use of site classifications allowed for simple interpretation by end users of the type of content that is stored within the sites and groups. Summit 7 implemented the Yorktown design and initial site structures for each site within the environment using site designs.

With a robust information architecture designed and in place, Summit 7 worked closely with Yorktown IT to perform content migrations in waves to allow for the IT team to ease users into the modern interface, understand where their content was, and how it can be accessed. As a Yorktown team or group had their content migrated from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint Online, Summit 7 would validate it with them, and Yorktown’s IT would work directly with the end users to acclimate them to their new way of working.

For Yorktown, this approach was highly successful and ensured user adoption across the organization. Summit 7 worked closely with Yorktown to ensure IT administrators had a thorough understanding of the Office 365 platform and its full capabilities. Summit 7 provided mentorship to Yorktown IT which allowed them to work closely with users throughout the organization to overcome challenges and further promote the use of the platform. In the end, by working closely with Summit 7, the IT team has become an integral stakeholder in the overall success of the platform within Yorktown Systems Group.

Results

With the support of Summit 7, Yorktown established an easily accessible platform to enhance team collaboration and staff interaction. Organizational data became more accessible for users through SharePoint Search and the use of Microsoft Graph. By identifying and consolidating users into Office 365 Groups based on business structure and internal teams, Yorktown IT administrators saved time with reduced user security management. All of this allowed Yorktown staff to handle their business more efficiently and seamlessly while providing Yorktown leadership with the confidence that corporate data is secure.

Transitioning to Office 365 was a major enhancement to our corporate collaboration; however, it was when we modernized our data structure that we got truly capitalized on our move cloudward."

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Director of IT
Yorktown Systems Group, Inc