As a leading facility services provider, ABM oversees a large pool of documents relating to its business. The firm has standardized on SharePoint for document management and been very satisfied with its choice. However, when one of its financial institution (FI) customers required ABM to provide near-instant access to ABM’s vendor and subcontractor documents as part of its contract with the firm, ABM Process Manager Carolina Rodriguez and the IT team realized a special solution was needed.
ABM’s FI client wanted reassurance not only that ABM was managing vendor and subcontractor documents efficiently and securely, but also that the firm could produce those documents, via a computerized database, at a moment’s notice. This requirement was global and incorporated certificates of insurance, contracts, and all other documents relating to contractors, suppliers and other outside entities. ABM needed the tool to manage the vendors, crews and vendor on-boarding as well as provide the ability to track which vendors and crews worked at each client location.
At the time of the request ABM’s process analyst stored the targeted documents digitally in folders on the PC Desktop or in SharePoint. Unfortunately the collection wasn’t searchable or linked to any other solution and other personnel did not have access to the folders.
“SharePoint is an important platform for us, and although a lot of our internal documents were already structured in the way our client wanted, we did not have this capacity for outside vendor documents,” says Rodriguez.
Nonetheless, ABM knew the platform was the right choice for the specialized solution, so it turned to SharePoint consultant Abel Solutions to help build the system. Abel Solutions architected the solution with out of the box functionality using linked lists and document sets ultimately creating much more than just a document repository but a total preferred vendor management system.
“Management had an idea for the layout and architecture, but Abel Solutions helped us refine it and simplify the design,” says Rodriguez. “The final product is a really simple interface where we list vendor, employee, client location and clients.”
The initial implementation incorporated documents from 170 vendors working at 1700+ of ABM’s client locations. Abel Solutions helped architect the solution, upload the files and data, and provide training for users on the new features. “Abel Solutions was very communicative and helpful,” says Rodriguez. “They helped us meet the demands of our financial institution client, and they completed the work on a tight deadline.”
Rodriguez also reports that Abel Solutions showed welcome flexibility regarding the working environment. “The consultants worked very independently and were able to work remotely as needed when we encountered technical issues at our site,” she notes. “Our SharePoint team isn’t in the office, and the Abel Solutions consultant was able to communicate with them remotely, as well.”
Rodriguez says ABM is very pleased with the outcome of the project, and that the results have been dramatic. Where previously it took approximately two weeks to collect and confirm the presence of required vendor documents, now the company can retrieve them in a day. Furthermore, the new layout clearly indicates if key details, such as expiration dates, are missing.
“We’re really happy with the solution overall, especially in terms of its simplicity and user friendliness,” says Rodriguez. “Right now, just two of us touch the system, but it’s so user friendly and straightforward that any operator could upload information and collect data on our current and potential vendors.”
“Once we satisfy the client that we have met its requirements, we hope to expand this solution and bring refinements to it. Ideally, we would like to expand it to our other clients, as well,” concludes Rodriguez.