About Scottish Prison Service
First established in April 1993, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is an executive agency of the Scottish Government. Their principal objective is to contribute to making Scotland Safer and Stronger. The SPS has a duty to protect the public by keeping those who have been sentenced in safe and secure custody.
Challenges facing Scottish Prison Service
The team were using SharePoint 2013 which was rapidly reaching its end-of-life date. This meant that after this time, the system would no longer be supported and would leave the team susceptible to security risks and compliance issues.
With 26 departments all managing their files differently with no consistent folder structure, the team were finding cross-departmental collaboration difficult. They were also looking to modernise the system as they were using files shares that needed to be migrated onto SharePoint and certain SharePoint workflows need to be changed to Power Automate flows.
After a competitive tender process, we were chosen as the SharePoint implementation partner. Our approach was to adhere to a SharePoint Modern flat structure and out of the box elements as much as possible. Using these new standardised SharePoint sites, we planned to move the Scottish Prison Service’ data directly, so they were up and running on modern sites straight away rather than carrying on with their old data structures. Bridgeall has extensive experience in delivering projects using both the Waterfall or Agile/SCRUM methodologies as detailed in our case studies and references. For this project we used an Agile approach utilising the SCRUM methodology.
We engaged with the SPS on a department-by-department basis, reviewing existing SharePoint sites, taking into account new features and methods of working in SharePoint Online. In total, we engaged with approximately 26 departments, building and migrating hundreds of sites and a large volume of documents. We used the following method when completing this project, making sure we were checking in with the team at every step of the process.
- Pre-migration – We engaged with the SPS on a department-by-department basis, reviewing what SharePoint sites they had while considering new features and methods of working in SharePoint Online.
- Discovery -We undertook a series of questionnaires, ran reports and workshops with each department noting their requirements and if they needed tools/workflows specific to their department.
- Cleanup/Get ready –We then created new sites with useful scripts and SharePoint patterns and practices (PNP) to build standardised sites with a flat folder structure. PNP uses script libraries to enact complicated changes with just a few lines of code. Each standard site was built with a simple permission structure of an Owner, Member and Visitor group as SPS had states complicated permission structures as an issue. We transferred heavily used spreadsheets into SharePoint lists to make data easier to manage.
- Migrate – We used ShareGate to move the data from library to library from the SharePoint 2013 server to SharePoint Online. We moved the content over to new sites that we created.
- We used SharePoint site design to help us template new sites. This made it easier for the customer to create new sites in a standardised format.
By the end of the migration the team had an easy to navigate SharePoint intranet structure making it easy for teams to communicate and put them on a good footing for the future.
The project was delivered successfully and within the timescale set, with over 700,000 documents migrated. Bridgeall provided not only the technical advice, services, and support to SPS, but also provided them with additional training for their internal teams on how to design, build and configure SharePoint Online to produce a corporate intranet and to assist them manage this moving forward. Here were some additional benefits the team were able to see moving forward:
- They had a much better user experience, using fast and modern sites.
- Cost savings – The Scottish Prison Service are now able to decommission their on-premises environment making them significant savings.
- Increased security and compliance – Through using Teams permissions structures and having availability to the Office 365 compliance suite, the team have a much more secure infrastructure.
- A unified experience – The team can now realise the benefits of Microsoft 365 including integration with Microsoft Teams and OneDrive making it easier to communicate across the organisation and creating a unified experience.
- Improved navigation – They have a cleaner structure and better search so it’s now easier to find data and communicate across departments.