John Hunter, CIO of the Council of Europe, is extremely proud of the IT career for its work in the course of the pandemic, and of the organisation for which he works.
Indeed, the demonstration of the worth of IT is among the many few upsides he’s ready to establish from the Covid-19 pandemic. “There’s not that much in the way of upside,” he says. “But it has helped IT departments show to the business how hugely important what we do is. And it has also helped us to push our IT strategy. One of the big success stories was that the business switched over overnight to everybody working from home.”
And Hunter is proud to work for the Council of Europe.
Founded in 1949, the council includes 47 member states, 28 of that are members of the European Union. It promotes human rights, democracy and the rule of regulation by means of worldwide conventions and makes suggestions by means of impartial professional monitoring our bodies. Its main our bodies embody the Committee of Ministers, Parliamentary Assembly, European Court of Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.
To handle and retailer its wealth of paperwork, the council had been utilizing Microsoft Public folders, shared drives and SharePoint.
Hunter recounts how this created safety and compliance points as paperwork have been being storied in 9 totally different repositories. It was additionally extraordinarily tough for workers to discover out the place the ultimate variations of paperwork have been positioned.
He says it grew to become their intention “to store all working documents in a single, shareable DMS [document management system] that can be directly managed in terms of security, access and folder structure by the different departments within the organisation”, including: “Having a central DMS to store documents means we will be able adopt common working methods and best practice.”
“Having a central DMS to store documents means we will be able adopt common working methods and best practice”
John Hunter, Council of Europe
Since March 2020, the organisation has been utilizing a cloud-based DMS, NetDocuments, to allow paperwork to be found, accessed and shared remotely from workplaces in additional than 23 nations and by over 6,000 exterior customers. The plan is to have all of the customers on the system by June 2021.
NetDocuments has migrated up to 40 million paperwork to the brand new system. As half of this course of, it has helped the council transfer its knowledge exterior the UK and into a brand new datacentre in Germany.
Hunter says: “Brexit meant that our knowledge was going to be saved within the UK, and so exterior the EU, and we obtained barely involved about knowledge safety points.
“NetDocuments accelerated the process of rolling out [the system] from their German datacentre. We waited six months for that to get up and running, but I think we made the right choice at the time. For me, as IT director, I was a bit concerned that maybe the British government would change their data protection [regime], and we just felt it was much safer to store our data here [in the EU], after some legal advice.”
Democracy, human rights, rule of regulation
The Council of Europe’s important belongings are its data and experience within the domains of democracy, human rights and the rule of regulation in its member states, says Hunter.
“It’s a fancy organisation. We have directorates and much of sub-entities. For instance, there’s the CPT, the committee for the prevention of torture and degrading therapy. And they will go and go to any individual in any of the 47 member states at any time to investigate cross-check them. We’ve obtained loads of different monitoring mechanisms, resembling GRETA, which is about motion towards human trafficking.
“It’s a really multicultural, multifunctional organisation. We’ve obtained 47 totally different nationalities. We’ve obtained Russians, Irish, British, French, Polish, Ukrainian, Azerbaijanis, and so forth.
“I would say that human rights and the rule of law is extremely important in our society, especially after Donald Trump. There are a lot of bridges to be built, there’s a lot of bad stuff going on in the world.”
The Council of Europe’s important working processes all contain producing paperwork, e mail management and collaborating with each inner and exterior events. At the top of this course of, a remaining document is produced – a report, advice, examine or judgement. The paperwork are, by their nature, extremely delicate, containing important info on human rights subjects. They additionally want to be accessed remotely from workplaces in over 23 nations and by greater than 6,000 exterior customers.
The council had been utilizing Microsoft Public folders, shared drives and SharePoint to handle and retailer paperwork, which resulted in paperwork being saved in 9 totally different repositories, which offered safety and compliance points. Also, some of the council’s area workplaces weren’t instantly linked to the organisation’s important repositories, which meant information have been being saved on native servers.
This resulted in an absence of model management, which made it tough for workers to seek for and decide the place the ultimate model of a document was positioned. Also, having a number of disparate documentation methods made it very laborious for the organisation’s infrastructure and safety groups to assure a full and complete knowledge backup.
The remaining three candidates for Hunter and his crew have been iManage, edocs and NetDocuments. “We chose NetDocuments because we just felt they had the most advanced plan for us, in terms of their current technologies,” he says. “But were very careful to ensure that our users were involved in the choice because in the implementation of IT systems, the whole change management aspect is so crucial. It is so damn crucial.”
They spent at the least a 12 months researching the know-how alternative, and obtained the shortlisted suppliers to current to “over 60” customers in addition to the IT crew. They then proceeded to a proof-of-concept stage with the potential suppliers. “It was a tough decision,” says Hunter.
“When I came to the council, I introduced the idea of proof of concept. You cannot make a decision until you actually try the system out. You also have to talk to other customers. I’ve rung customers in the past who’ve said: ‘don’t touch this’. It might look good on paper, but until you’ve trialled it with the users, and sold it to them, it is just that.”
Hunter’s crew chosen Tikit because the implementation companion for the mission. “The level of expertise and support demonstrated by NetDocuments and Tikit really stood out during the tender process,” he says. “At a product level, NetDocuments’ heritage in cloud and security was very convincing.”
Tikit is claimed to have labored carefully with NetDocuments on a phased implementation that may see 35-40 million paperwork migrated to the brand new cloud-based DMS, which incorporates the headache of mapping an enormous quantity of unstructured knowledge.
The first part of the implementation noticed NetDocuments rolled out to 1,400 customers comprising the eight main administrative entities, for instance the Parliamentary Assembly, Directorate General I and Directorate General II.
And this occurred in the course of the pandemic. Tikit tailored its common on-site “floor walking” coaching programme to present professional digital assist to the Council of Europe’s IT division change management crew. The council’s IT division additionally supplied intensive change management, assist and common communication to its consumer base.
“After extensive testing, we successfully deployed NetDocuments to over 1,500 under exceptional circumstances where 90% of staff members were teleworking due to the coronavirus crisis,” says Hunter.
“NetDocuments will ensure every document we manage, store and share are fully protected and secure. The platform will become one of the main pillars of our IT system, helping to enhance productivity and ultimately contributing to the aim to enhancing human rights across Europe.”