The Teachers’ Union of Ireland is a Trade Union organising teachers and lecturers in Ireland engaged in post-primary, higher and further education. TUI represents over 14,500 members at second and third level in the education service. The Union is made up of 62 Branches in 19 Areas. TUI also offers effective representation on behalf of teachers and lecturers with all managerial bodies including School Boards of Management, Vocational Education Committees, College Authorities, Government Departments the media and general public. TUI offers effective negotiation on behalf of teachers and lecturers to secure increases in salary, improvement and protection of working conditions and job security particularly for part-time and temporary teachers.
Like many other organisations, TUI generates and receives enormous amounts of documentation every year and managing this growing volume of information presents its challenges. Time wasted locating specific documentation was a common problem identified by many TUI users especially when multiple copies of the same document could be circulated among users by email. Making information accessible to users while they were operating remotely could only be achieved using complex VPN connections which proved unreliable and cumbersome for users to manage. Sharing documentation with third parties was also a growing need but how to implement this in a secure manner was a key challenge. In order to identify an appropriate solution TUI consulted with ERS who were the incumbent IT provider to investigate the solutions available on the market and make recommendations to the board at TUI.
ERS had extensive experience in deploying SharePoint for many organisations of similar size to TUI and the recommendation was made to migrate TUI to the Microsoft Office365 platform for the email and document management requirements. A TUI organisational structure was then built on top of SharePoint to function as a company intranet and allow all stakeholders both internal within the organisation along with external parties communicate and collaborate through one central portal.
Document libraries were also deployed to allow users create and store the different types of documentation required within the organisation. Version control is available automatically creating historical copies of any changes made to a document throughout its life-cycle. Documentation is also available immediately to any user with appropriate rights anytime, anywhere and on any device, even mobile phones and a separate area has been created for sharing documents with external partners. The system security is then locked down using permissions which are assigned at a department, site, library or even document level to ensure that information specific to users is visible by them only. Finally, all documents are automatically indexed based on every word within the document name and content making search and retrieval a simple process.
TUI have now successfully deployed SharePoint online and every document is now created and stored online and available immediately anytime, anywhere and on any device. By deploying SharePoint, TUI have been able to increase productivity and ultimately reduce the costs associated with managing the litany of documents that every user generates. TUI have since extended their use of SharePoint by deploying a custom Expenses application that allows all users to submit their expenses online electronically for review and approval.