SharePoint Site and Document Management System

BESSO, with a London-based staff of just over 200, is a medium-sized business who prides themselves on combining traditional values of an established broker, whilst maintaining innovative and personal touches. BESSO has experienced large growth and diversification over the past few years; growing from a mainly North American business. Now BESSO operates worldwide through a number of divisions: Aviation, Energy, Marine, International, Property, Casualty, Reinsurance, Professional and Financial Risks.
BESSO also provides risk transfer services for reinsurance, or alternative financial instruments, through its subsidiary Optex- highly regarded for the quality and experience of its specialist teams, BESSO works primarily with overseas brokers and intermediaries.

The objective for this project was to pursue an innovative, and personalised, Microsoft 365 internal data management library system. To provide comprehensive quantitative data to drive business growth and productivity, while simultaneously increasing profitability for their largest accounts. BESSO requested a SharePoint Modern site layout to support document management regarding their vessels. The new system also had to mirror the desktop functionality, on mobile.

The Solution

We created a fresh, dynamic, and user-friendly Modern SharePoint site. The site was designed to a very precise specification, which also stressed the importance of being mobile-friendly as it was intended to be used both by office staff on desktops as well as ship staff out at sea. All these requirements were met completely.

The main site contained a subsite for each of BESSO’s clients (shipping fleets). The home page featured a client summary section for each client, from this they can select the relevant vessel and its documents. Each client site is composed of two main document libraries, one for fleet-specific documents and the other for vessel-specific documents.

While the primary approach for the vessel library would involve creating a folder (or metadata column) to separate each vessel, BESSO had a particular requirement in that the set of metadata at the library level (for each vessel) was different from that of the documents they contained. This wouldn’t be possible using either of the common methods, as a result we used Document Sets with detailed configuration to enable a different set of metadata for the contents of the Document Set.

A Document Set is similar to a folder, but unlike a folder it also represents a content type. In this case, each Document Set represented a Vessel and its metadata consisted of vessel-specific fields such as name, registration date, and so on. Each Document Set contained documents pertaining to that vessel and had a completely separate set of metadata, such as document type.

While this particular configuration was a challenge to achieve given the configuration complexity and, more importantly, a lack of support for Document Sets in mobile view, we were able to work around this and fulfilled the brief, even down to the detail of keeping the functionality and look and feel similar to BESSO’s old system. This made migration and change an easy pill to swallow for the whole company, and a virtually transparent transition for the end-users.