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NRC Group boosts project work with the Solu 365 automation tool

NRC Group Finland made it easier for employees to work with an easy-to-use and mobile-friendly Solu 365 tool that keeps project-specific information, files, Teams discussions, and document templates organized.

NRC Group & Solu Digital

NRC Group updated its old SharePoint-based document management system to the Solu 365 tool which works through Teams, and made project work more efficient.

NRC Group is the leading railway infrastructure company in the Nordic countries, which mainly operates in the rail and light rail construction and maintenance in Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

NRC Group Finland’s business focuses on rail and light rail construction and maintenance in Finland, and the company also supplies materials for rail infrastructure. In 2022, NRC Group Finland employed approximately 1,000 people and had a turnover of 255 million euros.

A mobile-friendly tool to support business

The old document management system based on Microsoft SharePoint was coming to end of life running on old servers and lacking IT security patches so NRC Group’s IT team decided to start a project to find a new solution to serve the needs of the personnel.

The needs survey for the personnel brought a lot of valuable and detailed feedback on what the new solution should be like.

The company has five main offices and regional project offices in a total of 17 locations in Finland. Personnel work scattered all over Finland on different projects, so mobile working is important both in the field and in the office.

“This mobile usability was one of the things that came up in the solution. The old solution did not work on mobile devices so that our field personnel could also read the project’s safety plans and quality plans, and create quality assurance documents,” says Head of Group IT Anu Asikainen.

The documents for each project had to be systematically found in a centralaized place. The employees hoped that the new solution would also be simple and easy to use.

“Cost efficiency and the fact that it’s easy for people to learn and adopt the use when the tool is part of the existing IT environment. If there are too many things or it’s too complicated, then it always easily creates obstacles to its use, or at least you need to practice a lot,” Anu explains the needed features of the new solution.

Easy-to-use Solu 365 makes working with Teams more efficient

The old SharePoint was replaced by the Solu 365 automation tool developed by Solu Digital that NRC employees use to set up new projects as workspaces that can be used via Teams and SharePoint.

“The files and information were in a separate environment, which was a bit more difficult to access since you always had to go there with a browser and log in, so we wanted an easier solution for that. It has been this Teams solution which we use to manage all our data and files,” says Tommi Ilola, who works as a project engineer at NRC.

Workspaces contain all project-specific information, files, and conversations in one place in Teams. Document templates are also conveniently available through the tool and can be updated centrally and automatically for all users.

The new Solu 365 solution was deployed by all NRC Group Finland personnel in spring 2023.

In Tommi’s work, the new Teams-based solution is in use every day: “It’s easy when Teams is already an environment we use anyway. The tool works quite cleverly even on the phone, so that’s a clear benefit. And when it can also be linked to the resource management of an employee’s laptop, it makes things a lot easier,” says Tommi.

The group’s IT Service Manager Ann Heinonen feels that the Solu 365 tool also helps on a larger scale: “The better our people know how to use Teams because of this solution, the more they can use it in their other work. Everything they learn about how they use Teams is always an extra benefit.”

Competitive project work with high-quality and efficient work

After about half a year of use, both the users of the Solu 365 tool and the group’s IT team consider the new solution a successful choice.

“The goal was an easy-to-use and cost-effective tool to support the documentation of our project activities. That goal was achieved,” says Anu.

“We have been really satisfied that we ended up with this tool and that all the requirements were met with Microsoft tools,” she continues.

Ann, who oversaw the implementation project of the new solution, is satisfied with the silence that followed the deployment of the tool. Usually, when we introduce a new solution, a lot of time and effort is used to training our users, writing the instructions and teaching them how to use the new system. This Teams solution was clearly easier for the end users to understand and therefore we didn’t need any long training sessions.

An expert partner for support in the future as well

Anu and Ann both feel that the cooperation with Solu Digital went well from the beginning until the end.

“I personally liked the way of working that you got to know what our real need was through the interviews, that you were patient enough to ask us what the use cases are,” emphasizes Ann.

“Now that we have seen what Solu Digital is capable of, we easily to turn to you, especially when we have something related to SharePoint. It’s always nice to hear if you have any ideas for something particular,” adds Ann.

Anu emphasizes that Solu’s knowledge of SharePoint and Teams brought them a lot of help.

“There will also be a huge number of new features released, so information is needed about them, and I’m certain that you will keep us updated on such things,” states Anu.

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