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Case study: Cambridgeshire Constabulary

SharePoint 2013

Published: October 29, 2013

Summary: Learn how Cambridgeshire Constabulary deployed SharePoint Server 2013 to reduce operating costs and enhance policing service delivery.

Applies to:  SharePoint Server 2013 

This case study shows how Cambridgeshire Constabulary deployed SharePoint Server 2013 as an innovative solution to enhance police service delivery by improving collaboration and information sharing. The senior management also saw SharePoint Server 2013 as a strategic investment to reduce operating costs across the constabulary.

In this article:

About Cambridgeshire Constabulary

Cambridgeshire Constabulary provides law enforcement and public safety services in Cambridgeshire, England. There are more than 800,000 people living in the metropolitan and rural areas, which cover a geographic area of 1,308 square miles. The constabulary has about 1,400 police officers and 500 Police Community Support Officers that provide neighborhood policing services to residents in Cambridgeshire. For more information, see Cambridgeshire Constabulary (http://www.cambs.police.uk/).

For more information about the constabulary’s business goals and the anticipated benefits of the SharePoint Server 2013 solution, read the Cambridgeshire Constabulary Solution Case Study (http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=710000001618).

The project team

The core project team that designed, tested and deployed SharePoint Server 2013 at Cambridgeshire Constabulary consisted of the following people.

  • Ian Bell. Head of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Cambridgeshire Constabulary

  • Phil Silvester. ICT Strategy and Program Manager, Cambridgeshire Constabulary

  • Marek Samaj. Senior Consultant, Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS), MCS Solutions Development, UK

Goals and objectives

Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s primary goal was to meet the budget reduction mandated by the UK national government. By 2016 the constabulary is required to trim £20 million (US$32 million) from its budget. In addition to meeting this cost reduction goal, the Chief Constable and his management team wanted a solution that would enable them to maintain the level of public services they provide, and enhance the constabulary’s ability to serve the public.

To meet this goal the senior management team started a multi-year process of transformative change in the constabulary and adopted new approaches to policing such as working collaboratively and sharing operational data with neighboring constabularies.

SharePoint Server 2013 was identified as a strategic and enabling technology for the constabulary.

Senior management identified the following areas where a SharePoint Server 2013 solution would enable them to meet their goals and objectives.

  • Replace IBM Lotus Notes

  • Reduce and manage costs

  • Streamline and transform the organization

  • Empower users

  • Introduce new approaches to policing

Replace IBM Lotus Notes

Although the constabulary used IBM Lotus Notes for several years for internal applications and to manage databases that stored policing information, this product could no longer adequately meet Cambridgeshire’s current and future needs. Other factors included IT management and support overhead, increasing maintenance costs, and integration cost and complexity. The integration issue became more apparent when the constabulary upgraded the IT environment to Office 2010, Exchange Server 2010, and Lync 2010. Finally, the IBM Lotus Notes environment lacked the search capabilities that staff required to do their jobs effectively. The search capability of SharePoint Server 2013 enabled constables and other employees to use a single query to get combined results from content across the Cambridgeshire environment. This includes SharePoint databases, file shares, and IBM Lotus Notes.

Reduce and manage costs

Implementing a solution to support policing activities and promote collaboration will reduce and manage costs if specific criteria are met. These criteria are flexibility and interoperability. The solution should be flexible—easily and quickly customizable to support changing constabulary requirements. The technology must also interoperate with other critical programs at Cambridgeshire and across organizational boundaries. Finally, devices should not constrain the solution, especially devices that police officers use in the field.

Streamline and transform the organization

The constabulary did an in-depth review of every process and every workflow to identify opportunities to increase efficiency by taking advantage of the features in SharePoint Server 2013. Cambridgeshire uses varying degrees of automation, but the management team wanted to make technology an integral and widespread part of daily operations. They wanted to use new technologies to replace computers that generate more paper.

Empower users

By empowering users the constabulary could reduce costs, foster a sense of ownership, and reduce user reliance on the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) team. The constabulary will use SharePoint Server 2013 to let business users improve and maintain their own portals and manage enterprise content without relying on the ICT team. Constabulary employees will be able to use SkyDrive Pro in SharePoint Server 2013 to synchronize documents that are stored on their personal sites offline.

Introduce new approaches to policing

The strategy that introduces new approaches to policing focuses on collaboration and information sharing. SharePoint Server 2013 portals, collaboration environments, and social media tools enable the constabulary to deliver better access to information and intelligence, create efficiencies, avoid duplication of effort, and support more effective collaboration inside the constabulary and with other organizations and jurisdictions.

On the subject of information sharing, Ian Bell, the Head of ICT at Cambridgeshire Constabulary, says:

“With SharePoint 2013, we can input information in one place and then deliver that information to anyone in the organization, anytime, anywhere. People can work together to collect intelligence, complete investigations quickly, and provide effective public services.”

SharePoint applications

The Cambridgeshire team identified three custom applications that would be used to demonstrate and validate SharePoint Server 2013 capabilities, test new features, and enable staff to test improvements to support daily operations. The following applications were picked for the new farm:

  • Operation Orders. This application will display information about current and historic Operation Orders performed by Cambridgeshire Constabulary. This data is stored in a IBM Lotus Notes database and the purpose of the application is to validate data access and migration from IBM Lotus Notes to SharePoint Server 2013.

    note Note:

    The team decided that instead of undertaking a costly and time-consuming data migration, the best strategy was to only migrate IBM Lotus Notes data that police and support staff needed to do their job.

  • Health and Safety Risk Assessments. This application will display information that is currently stored in a IBM Lotus Notes database. This data is about current and historic Risk Assessments performed by Cambridgeshire Constabulary and can be edited and read.

  • Policy Libraries. This application will combine and present information that is contained in document libraries or on file shares. These policies are common to several constabularies and the application will show how information can be shared to reduce costs and promote effective collaboration.

In addition, the project team decided to create the ICT Microsite, as information site that would be used to showcase SharePoint Web Content Management capabilities to other departments at Cambridgeshire. This team site enables employees to add and edit case records to provide information such as contact name and case type, by using data that the site can provide from other data sources.

Logical architecture

MCS worked with the Cambridgeshire Constabulary team and identified the SharePoint farm requirements to create a logical architecture.

The requirements enabled the project team to specify the number of web applications, the site architecture, the required service applications, and the zones for the farm. The next illustration shows the logical architecture for the SharePoint farm.

Service applications are Metadata and Content types, Search, User profiles, State service, Distributed cache, and App management. The Apps web application hosts site collections. The intranet has the microsite. The My Sites web application hosts My Sites.

Site collection architecture

After the team created the high level conceptual view of the farm, it created the site collection architecture shown in the next illustration. This architecture identifies the site collections, web applications, and application pools that would be used.

The site collection architecture of the SharePoint 2013 production farm for Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

The project team used the following worksheet to document their site collection requirements and configurations.

Site title

MicroSites

My Sites

Policy Libraries

Operation Orders

Health and Safety

Site URL

http://MicTemp

http://MyTemp

http://PolTemp/apps/pl

http://OpTemp/apps/oo

http://HSTemp/apps/hs

Purpose

Entry point for the published MicroSites content. Site collections below the top-level URL for each department.

Site that has a site collection per individual and provides a personal area for users to share information.

Site collection that hosts Policy Libraries Application migrated from IBM Lotus Notes platform.

Site collection that hosts Operation Orders Application migrated from IBM Lotus Notes platform.

Health and safety documents for Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Primary audience

Employees

Employees

Employees

Employees

Employees

Internal access

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

External access

No

No

Yes (future with partner constabularies)

No

No

Anonymous access

No

No

No

No

No

Include in search results

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Self-service site creation

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Site template

Publishing portal

My Site host

Document center

Document center

Document center

Parent site

None

None

None

None

None

Child sites

http://<TBD>/ict

None

None

None

None

Site owner

ICT

ICT

ICT

ICT

ICT

Include in Quick Launch

Yes

No

No

No

No

Include in top link bar navigation

Yes

No

No

No

No

Tree view

No

No

No

No

No

Language

English

English

English

English

English

Locale

English-UK

English-UK

English-UK

English-UK

English-UK

Site permissions

All authenticated users

All authenticated users

All authenticated users

All authenticated users

Page inventory for this site

ICT Microsite

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

List inventory for this site

News, contact list

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Not applicable

Number of users

12,000

5,000

12,000

5,000

5,000

Peak usage time

To be determined, requires shift review

To be determined, requires shift review

To be determined, requires shift review

To be determined, requires shift review

To be determined, requires shift review

Low usage time

To be determined, requires shift review

To be determined, requires shift review

To be determined, requires shift review

To be determined, requires shift review

To be determined, requires shift review

Physical architecture for production farm

The SharePoint Server 2013 production farm was designed to support immediate and future workloads at the constabulary. Based on historical data, the team determined that the following information:

  • The farm would have to support up to 12,000 users (with 7% concurrency) under typical user load for daily operations.

  • Farm content was not expected to exceed 500 GB.

The Cambridgeshire team did not expect to exceed the previous thresholds in the next two or three years. If required, server scale up or farm scale up were both acceptable scaling options.

For the purpose of the Rapid Deployment Program (RDP) engagement the team estimated that content database sizes would fall within the ranges shown in the following table. At the end of the engagement they would use benchmark data to update these estimates.

note Note:

The purpose of Microsoft's Rapid Deployment Program (RDP) to get early feedback on new products and give customers a heads-up on what the company is doing in their areas of interest.

RDPs occur later in the product development cycle and are primarily meant to provide a set of reference customers and installations that will help Microsoft launch the product. These deployments may begin at the last beta or release candidate stage, and Microsoft's goal is to have RDP systems in full production when the product is released to manufacturing.

Web application Content databases Target size Maximum number of sites Site number warning

Apps

SharePoint_Content_Apps

200 GB

1,000

750

Intranet

SharePoint_Content_Intranet

200 GB

500

450

My Sites

SharePoint_Content_MySites

200 GB

1,500

1,250

The SharePoint Server 2013 environment, shown in the following diagram, consists of two farms deployed on an infrastructure that uses virtual machines and physical computers.

The physical architecture of the SharePoint 2013 production farm for Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

The Cambridgeshire SharePoint farm has eight servers. The front-end web servers (WEB1 and WEB2) and the application servers (APP1-APP4) are virtual machines. The two database servers (SQL1 and SQL2) are physical computers.

The database servers run SQL Server 2012 and are configured as an active-passive failover cluster to provide high availability. Hardware fault tolerance and redundant SharePoint Server 2013 roles are also used to provide high availability. The two Office Web Apps servers (WAC1 and WAC2) are virtual machines running on a dedicated virtualization host server.

The following table summarizes the roles of the farm servers in the previous illustration.

Server name Server role and SharePoint components

WEB1

Web content server, Managed Metadata, Search Index component, Search Query component

WEB2

Web content server, Managed Metadata, Search Index component, Search Query component

APP1

Central Administration, Search (Administration, Crawl, Content, Analytics), User Profile Service, User Profile Synchronization Service

APP2

Central Administration, Search (Administration, Crawl, Content, Analytics), User Profiles

APP3

Distributed Cache

APP4

Distributed Cache

WAC1

Office Web Apps Server –Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote

WAC2

Office Web Apps Server –Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote

SQL1

Database server - all SharePoint databases, (Active role in failover cluster)

SQL2

Database server – Passive role in failover cluster (warm standby)

Farm server configurations

The following table summarizes the hardware and software configurations for the server roles deployed on virtual machines.

Server role Component Specification

Web content server

CPU

8 processors

RAM

8 GB

Storage architecture and disk capacity

C:\120 GB, E:\200 GB

Network adapter (quantity and speed)

1 X 1 Gbps

Operating system

Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition

Application server

CPU

8 processors

RAM

12 GB

Storage architecture and disk capacity

C:\120 GB, E:\200 GB

Network adapter (quantity and speed)

1 X 1 Gbps

Operating system

Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition

Office Web Apps server

CPU

8 processors

RAM

12 GB

Storage architecture and capacity

C:\120 GB, E:\200 GB

Network adapter (quantity and speed)

1 X 1 Gbps

Operating system

Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition

note Note:

System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 SP1 was deployed to manage the virtual environment.

Hyper-V virtualization host server configurations

The Hyper-V host servers for the production environment were configured as shown in the following table.

Component Specification

CPU

2 X 16 core

RAM

192 GB

Storage architecture and disk capacity

4 X 146 GB SAS disk, 4 X 1 TB SAS disk

Network adapter (quantity and speed)

2 X 10 Gbps

Operating system

Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition

After they identified the server roles that were needed for the production farm, the Cambridgeshire team deployed a scaled-down, pre-production farm for quality assurance testing.

Pre-production test farm

A SharePoint Server 2013 pre-production farm was provisioned for testing and quality assurance. Although similar to the production farm, all the roles are hosted on a single server because performance and high availability are not the goals of this farm. This pre-production farm was used primarily for quality assurance. The pre-production environment shown in the next illustration was installed on physical computers.

The physical architecture of the SharePoint 2013 pre-production test farm for Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Physical architecture for developer environment

The developer environment consists of four workstations that have the tools that developers must have to plan, develop, deploy and debug SharePoint solutions and applications. SharePoint Server 2013 and Visual Studio 2012 are installed on each workstation and the developers share a development infrastructure that consists of Active Directory Server, Team Foundation Server 2012, Office Web Apps Server, and SQL Server 2008 R2. Each developer workstation has a dedicated SQL Server instance on the SQL Server database server.

The developer environment shown in the next illustration does not expose the on-premises SharePoint farm to third-party developers. Currently running in a Hyper-V virtual environment, the developer environment will also be able to take advantage of Windows Azure and a Office 365 Developer tenant to develop and test cloud-hosted apps and SharePoint-hosted apps. For more information, see Overview of apps for SharePoint 2013(http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/fp161230.aspx).

The physical architecture of the SharePoint 2013 developer environment for Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Conclusions and recommendations

The Cambridgeshire team evaluated the SharePoint farm and their test applications during all the deployment phases to determine how well SharePoint Server 2013 met the constabulary’s goals and objectives.

The result of their assessment before putting the farm into production is summed up by Phil Silvester, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Strategy and Program Manager at Cambridgeshire Constabulary. He said:

“In the next 12 months, we will create dramatic change for the Cambridgeshire Constabulary. Our Chief Constable, Simon Parr, sees SharePoint 2013 as a key element of everything we do internally to work with other agencies, increase public engagement, and enhance public safety.”
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