SoftwareOne case study

Modernized app promotes productivity

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Colombian utility giant EPM wanted to modernize its on-premises file sharing application by moving it to Microsoft Azure. Plagued by frequent downtime, slow load speeds, poor search functionality, complicated user experience, file errors, and increasing maintenance costs, EPM chose SoftwareOne to modernize the application. The new application, called Enter Online, has increased document response times by 25%, increased productivity by 20%, improved user experience, and has seen a 15% increase in adoption of the file management application across the EPM subsidiaries.

EPM logo
Application Modernization
We have a very productive partnership with SoftwareOne. They are playing a proactive role in our vision and our objectives. They have cross-cutting knowledge and background in many technologies that are our main interest right now.

Yohan Alexander Guisao Baena
Director Digital Solutions, EPM

About the client

With more than 14,000 employees and 10 locations, EPM is the largest multi-utility company in Colombia, providing more than 13.5 million people across the country with electricity, gas, water, sanitation, collection, recovery and disposal of waste, as well as telecommunications.

EPM has successfully partnered with SoftwareOne for the past 10 years, building a partnership of trust that has helped the company manage and modernize its 270+ applications as well as develop new applications. 

I feel like SoftwareOne has become our business ally. They have an in-depth understanding of our business and our challenges.

– says Yohan Alexander Guisao Baena, Director Digital Solutions at EPM.

The challenge

EPM has a strong focus on innovation and digital transformation. Like many others in the energy sector, it wants to adopt new technologies such as the Internet of Things, data science, machine learning, and cloud computing to improve business operations, customer engagement and offer better services.

To achieve this, the company had to optimize a wide range of operational applications, all of which had been on-premises. One of these applications was Enter, a large-scale document management system based on Microsoft SharePoint native technology. The system suffered from errors and frequent downtime. The document management process was also extremely complex for users, which resulted in low productivity, long handling times, and an overall lack of efficiency. For example, the search function was not user-friendly and lacked filter criteria for a more advanced search.

Enter also faced problems with lost documents and files, as well as damaged documents due to the poor connection between Enter and disparate backend-systems. Often, the troubleshooting issues were time-consuming and exhausted many of the EPM IT department’s critical resources, resulting in huge productivity losses.

Additionally, as EPM migrated other apps to the cloud, the native SharePoint technology used to run Enter limited integration between the on-premises app and those already in the cloud.

Enter was also limited in scalability and faced costly licensing administration, with the IT team having to manually adapt the existing SharePoint platform, prepare new servers, purchase or update SharePoint licenses, making it a laborious, time-consuming, and costly task.

All of these challenges made EPM well-aware that the company needed to transform Enter into a web-based application leveraging public cloud technology.

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The solution

SoftwareOne supported EPM to fully modernize the Enter SharePoint-based document management system to an application running on SharePoint Online and Azure.

Thanks to SoftwareOne, we improved our knowledge of application architecture. They provided us with expertise about modern software development practices and much more.
– says Yohan Alexander Guisao Baena.

Powerful front-end with Angular

With SharePoint’s default forms, the front-end of the application was limited in customizability. To create a more tailored and user-friendly front-end for its users, SoftwareOne suggested using Angular as the front-end framework. This resulted in a more intuitive user experience, better navigation, a redesigned search function, and an optimized document upload function. With the metadata management integrated, users are now able to load high volumes of documents through forms. In addition, Angular’s capabilities enabled quick loading of the application which dramatically improved speed and performance.

Better back-end systems integration with Azure Logic Apps

The transformation of its legacy application Enter to Enter Online, also integrated multiple back-end systems for document management. Having used Microsoft Biztalk and Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services, EPM realized a more flexible and broader integration model would be needed. To solve this challenge, SoftwareOne recommended using Azure Logic Apps for seamless scheduling, automation, and orchestration of the application’s workflows with all the back-end systems integrated. For EPM, Azure Logic Apps brought a significant change in administering and operating the workflows, as they could be easily built and customized without coding. Most importantly, Azure Logic Apps provide real-time information on the integration so EPM can quickly troubleshoot problems.

Reliable performance with Azure API Management

SoftwareOne also proposed leveraging Azure API management to monitor and analyze its APIs, configure throttling, and enforce rate limits on each API. With Azure API management, EPM was able to implement strategies to manage its APIs, allowing them to seamlessly and efficiently respond to requested changes.

The result

  • 25% faster response times: Response times for document search requests from internal and external customers improved significantly, saving time and money.
  • 20% increase in productivity and efficiency: EPM improved user experience, productivity, and efficiency thanks to enhanced application features such as redesigned search and optimized document upload functions.
  • 15% company-wide increase in document management: EPM was able to easily scale its app Enter Online from one to all 10 Colombian EPM subsidiaries, without requiring additional configurations, technology or licenses.
  • Reduced security risks: SoftwareOne helped EPM set up restrictions for accessing documents using two-factor authentication and audited the information through the M365 security and compliance center. At a time when threats have become more complex, this added layer of security has truly helped to ease the burden.
  • Simpler administration and faster troubleshooting: Using Azure Logic Apps and Azure API Management, the back-end systems have been much better integrated. As a result, the application is more efficient and reliable, and administrative tasks like troubleshoot system issues became much easier and less time-consuming for the IT team.
  • Improved performance and speed: EPM’s apps are more robust and less prone to failure. The speed and performance of applications have improved significantly with a powerful search engine and optimized document upload function.
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