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External Access Management

Migrating an Partner Extranet to SharePoint Online

Background

Trillium Flow Technologies (Trillium) is a leading provider of speciality pumps and valves that keep the energy, industrial, and chemical sectors flowing smoothly. With a reputation for durability and customisability, Trillium products are sold worldwide through a vast network of authorised resellers and distributors.

Providing this network with access to up-to-date technical specifications is critical to avoiding damage, leaks, or failure and to complying with industry standards and regulations.  

Previously, Trillium had relied on a locally hosted, public facing extranet to provide technical specifications to its customers. The site required HTML authoring skills to maintain and lacked access control.

The Solution:

Use Modern SharePoint to Deliver a Customer Extranet

As part of a digital transformation Allan Wilson, Technical Lead, Modern Workplace at Trillium was eager to remove legacy on-premises platforms and accelerate the shift to Microsoft 365 and Azure to deliver increased reliability.

Moreover, Wilson was keen to leverage their existing SharePoint skills and use Modern SharePoint as the new platform for hosting and managing pump specification documents.

Delegate Guest Access Management to Customer Managers.

Secure access for a large number of resellers and distributors (customers) was vital, especially given that the new extranet would be hosted on Trillium’s Microsoft tenant. 

Although Trillium’s IT team would assume responsibility for the security settings, the day-to-day management customers that who have access to the portal was something Wilson was keen to hand over to the customer management team.

Having previously been in discussion with Essential on various projects, Wilson approached Microsoft experts, Essential to deliver two components:

  • The migration of its legacy extranet contents into a modern SharePoint site
  • A partner portal that would build on the Microsoft security stack and allow easy administration for Trillium customer managers.

Steps to solution delivery:

Migrate the Legacy Extranet to Modern SharePoint

In migrating the existing extranet site pages into SharePoint Online, Essential proposed that Trillium used SharePoint’s document management capabilities to store and categorise the documentation for its large pump range going forward.

Given the existing site did not use an underlying database, the migration involved a meticulous inspection and gathering exercise against each HTML page to capture all the individual pump models, sub-models and various documents they linked to.

This was recorded in an Excel spreadsheet and formed the basis of a categorisation methodology that would allow the programmatic upload into SharePoint document libraries. 

Essential configured a series of lists and views that would enable partners to quickly find the relevant models and documents.

A new site called Trillium Connect was created, featuring a simple yet effective SharePoint design that would make it easy for customers to locate the relevant pump models and documents they needed.

Create a Portal and Portal Administration Console

To deliver the customer portal component, Essential worked with its technology partner, Extranet User Manager (EUM).

The EUM Team proposed Trillium adopted their User Manager and EUM Portal to provide streamlined guest access to the SharePoint extranet.

  • The User Manager provides an administrative console via which managers within Trillium can govern customer access without relying on the IT team.
  • The EUM Portal, meanwhile, provided the central landing place for customers to login to the new Trillium Connect site.

The Outcomes:

Easy Onboarding for Trillium Customers

A branded self-registration portal was developed to give new customers an easy way to request access to the Trillium Connect site.

Following completion of a short registration form, access requests automatically go to Trillium’s customer membership manager for approval, who in turn uses the EUM Admin interface to approve access requests.

This approval automatically creates a Guest account in Entra ID, and then sends a personalised welcome email with a direct link to the Trillium Connect site.

Given that most of the customers would already be authenticated to their own Microsoft or Google domain, support for single sign on (SSO) enables fast and convenient access to the portal. EUM also offers options for one-time passcode and SMS-based login and authentication where needed.

Enhanced Customer Record Management

As a further layer to the solution, EUM implemented a custom Logic App that seamlessly integrates partner information collected in the registration process with Trillium’s customer relationship management system (CRM).

Now, whenever a new EUM user is approved, the App triggers a process that communicates with the CRM to create or update the relevant customer record. This helps improve accuracy and eases CRM administration.

A Great Customer Experience

Through collaboration with Essential and EUM, Trillium has been able to build on its Microsoft SharePoint investment to give customers secure and streamlined access to product documentation resources.

The ability to shift responsibility for customer access management to the relevant business managers is removing significant administrative overheads from the IT team.

Meanwhile being able to automatically capture portal registration information into its CRM and create a slick, Trillium-branded experience throughout is helping the company reinforce its customer relationships.

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