Cumbria County Council

Physical mail digitisation

Background

Cumbria County Council wished to take advantage of a move to new premises by digitising physical mail received by the Council. By ascertaining which departments receive the most mail, the metrics would enable the Council to help digitise public services, resulting in more efficient and cost effective Council services.

After initial engagement with a number of possible suppliers, Bridgeall were chosen for the "clarity and detail of their submission and ability to deliver within challenging timescales.’" (Paul Stafford, ICT Programme Manager, CCC).

Solution

There were three parts to the Digital Mail Room (DMR) Project; Digital Capture, Digital Delivery System and Validation Consistency System. Bridgeall was responsible for delivering the Digital Delivery System solution that would receive scanned physical mail, convert it into an electronic format then distribute it to the relevant department or individual.

Based on our extensive experience of building SharePoint solutions for other public sector organisations, Bridgeall utilised the Council’s existing on-premise SharePoint 2013 Enterprise Farm, delivering a solution which combined out-of-the-box (OOTB) SharePoint components with custom development covering more complex requirements.

The basis of the solution was the formation of a new Site Collection containing a drop off library and several document libraries and lists. On top of this, Bridgeall created custom Workflows and Remote Event Receivers to carry out the business logic required.

Due to very tight project timescales, an Agile development approach was adopted to maintain a quick and efficient feedback loop through requirements, development and testing. The development was carried out in two Sprints of 10 days’ duration each; with a Sprint Planning session upfront and a Sprint Retrospective session at the end of each Sprint.

A client workshop was set up with the offices of Cumbria County Council to record user requirements and better understand the landscape of the project. This allowed us to quickly develop the Outline Architecture for the solution, moving quickly to the development phase.

User Stories were created and ranked to produce a Product Backlog that the Product Owner could maintain. These were then scheduled into the first sprint and delivered with additional user stories added to the backlog as the sprint progressed.

SCRUM calls were planned daily to enable the Bridgeall project team to communicate and plan with the Cumbria County Technical Lead to deliver a clear and well understood solution.

Testimonial

The Agile approach adopted resulted in the solution going live early, which in turn helped the Council to meet the tight timescales for the Office move.

Paul Stafford, ICT Programme Manager, Cumbria County Council said:

“I have been really impressed with Bridgeall, from the initial onsite workshop through to completion of the project and beyond. They made sure they understood our requirements right at the outset and were willing to challenge and provide input into the system design which was really valued. The agile project approach ensured that we were always up to date with exactly where the implementation was up to. As it was a bespoke design with complex elements, the inevitable issues that came up were dealt with in a really effective and innovative manner. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with Bridgeall again in the future and am looking forward to engaging them in the further enhancement of our new Digital Mail Room system.”