Going Digital for Document Management

The Problem


Our client, an important fiduciary in Luxembourg with over 250 clients, dealing every week with hundreds of documents on paper and via email (Word, Excel and PDF documents).

The pain points and risks can be summarized as follows:

  • Collaboration over documents is offline and mostly via email or phone calls back and forth which is not efficient and very time consuming
  • Documents are stored on a file server in a folder-based structure which can go deep in levels and becomes unreadable
  • Naming convention exists but not enforced on the file servers which makes any search of documents very hard to find
  • No versioning of documents to know which is the latest version and who made what changes
  • Documents exchanged with clients get lost in different inboxes or on paper, so no record tracking
  • No real security policy implemented which is a high risk of internal or external data leak or theft
  • No back-up policy implemented on the file servers which is a high-risk of documents loss, clients’ departure, and deterred reputation
  • Interaction with clients comes via different channels such as phone, Webex, Skype, Zoom and so on, requiring installation of different software that always comes with a risk
  • Issue in managing clients’ requests when appointed employee is on holidays as no access to her or his inbox

The administration of over 2 million of documents is very costly, risky, and not any more manageable. Additionally, if we take into consideration the fiduciary strategic expansion in the next 3 years, the as-is situation would not be viable.

The solution

We did an analysis of the current situation, then created a to-be process, got approval from the client, and then implemented the solution in several iterations.

There was no reason to reinvent the wheel when a great solution existed at hand. We opted for Microsoft365 together with a few add-ons and custom development. In short, this is what we implemented:

  • We used SharePoint on Azure Cloud as an Extranet to manage all documents, versioning, and workflows (approval, move…)
  • We used Active Directory to manage users and groups for permissions
  • Groups were used on SharePoint libraries to provide permissions to employees, clients (administrators and employees who require access)
  • Clients can simply drag and drop any document in a dedicated folder in their library
  • Notifications were set on each library for both clients and fiduciary employees when a document is dropped
  • Easy-to-use search engine to find documents using name, author, keywords, date, type…
  • The extranet was linked to other tools via APIs to extract documents and an add-on was used to dispatch documents to the correct clients’ document libraries and folders. For example, a tax document goes to a tax folder in the client library, a payment goes to a payment folder etc…
  • A fiduciary employee and a client can collaborate via TEAMS or in sync over any document in the client’s library.

The implementation was fast and resulted in all documents going into 1 single place, no more sharing via mails, naming convention enforced, one collaboration tool, clients just drag and drop their files in their dedicated library, and access rights and permissions are properly managed. As for back-up, this is managed by Microsoft Azure cloud, however, we also allowed automated second backup on local server via OneDrive.