Getting knowledge into the right hands, at the right time with SharePoint 2013.

The situation

Since its establishment in 1984 Paymark has grown to process over 75% of New Zealand’s electronic point of sale transactions, and has become critical to the day-to-day operations of most retailers.

To support its clients, the company operates a large call centre that fields numerous queries every day. Having quick access to correct, up to date, customer-specific information when a call comes in is essential.  On top of that, the nature of its business – payments processing – means Paymark must operate according to stringent protocols. That means staff also need access to a comprehensive, up to date knowledge base when handling customer issues.

Christmas 2012, which saw a record number of transactions, made it clear that Paymark’s existing content management system was reaching the limits of its capability.

At the same time, Paymark was looking to transform itself, having operated as a typical large business, with HR, finance, marketing, sales and customer service departments each a discrete unit. While that structure had served the business well, it, too, had reached the end of its useful life. It was time to create a team culture, free from “borders”.

We are starting to link other systems to The Hub, aggregating the information into a company-wide, all-staff-access data source, hugely streamlining relationships with customers across the board.

Damon Cowley
Infrastructure and Security Manager Paymark Business

The pain

The knowledge and content management systems Paymark was using had been created at a time when each division of the company each had its own, specific customer database. Consequently, customer information was split across up to eight locations, making it hard to find the right information quickly.

Moreover, using the knowledge database was not straightforward. As a result, certain policies and procedures were well understood by some staff members, but not all, knowledge was fragmented, and company policies were not always applied consistently.

One impact was delays in customer service as staff sourced the information needed to manage a customer query. A second impact was on the company culture and morale, as staff tended to operate in silos, with a limited sense of team across the whole business.

Damon Cowley, Paymark Infrastructure and Security Manager Business, says that in order to future-proof Paymark’s business: 

  • The information to answer customer service queries needed to be accessible – quickly and reliably.
  • To keep staff trained and up-to-date, Paymark’s Knowledge Base (and access to it) had to transform.
  • For Paymark to maintain its position as the market leader all information needed to be current and accurate.

The technology

SharePoint 2013 allowed Paymark and Intergen to build The Hub, a new intranet to not only house Paymark’s knowledge base and customer databases; but also to deliver a revised, updated (and easily updated in future) knowledge base accessible to all staff (not just those in the call centre); and to create a revised document management system for managing procedures, technical design, letters and the myriad other documents that would normally go on a file server.

The delivery

Once Microsoft SharePoint 2013 had been selected as the technology solution, the major selling point for Paymark was Intergen’s flexibility. “They could do whole thing [solutions architecture, design and implementation], but were willing for us to lead and run it with our knowledge team,” says Damon. “That was valuable to us, because we understand the product and what it can do.”

The architecture was therefore developed as an iterative process: “Two weeks with the developers on site, then we’d play with it for a week, and they’d come back, and we’d say we’d like to try this. As the project progressed, more and more ideas came forward.”

The project is being implemented in four stages: Infrastructure (completed August 2013), the intranet (which went live in September 2013), the development and populating of the all-important Paymark Knowledge Base (currently under way), and, finally, document management systems, scheduled for autumn 2014.

“It’s a two-year process,” says Damon. “It took a long time to get the business aligned, and it’s important not to be driven just by technology. We had to train people to stop using the technology they were used to. We’ve created a governance team that makes decisions about what information gets saved and what doesn’t. That’s the most important piece of any SharePoint 2013 implementation, as it stops it becoming big and unwieldy.”

“Intergen provided input there as well. We knew we needed to do this work; Intergen gave us content that helped us work through what we needed to define.”

The gain

“Information is becoming more accessible,” says Damon. “Previously, our call centre had to follow a structured menu to find information relevant to a customer call. Now they enter keywords and search queries, and get taken straight to what they’re after.

“That’s already changing how we work. People are going to the intranet for information, because they know they’ll be able to find it quickly. It’s important, therefore, that we keep the intranet current, and also include a news carousel and events calendar to encourage people to keep coming back.

“That, in turn, has reduced the number of internal emails. Rather than information being sent that way, people are using the intranet.”

Paymark is now migrating information from its old knowledge management system to a wiki-style knowledge base and “making it the way we want it,” says Damon.

“So if a customer calls in and asks about a particular terminal, we can search quickly and find info about that terminal; for example, what the error message they’re getting means. That transaction feeds back to the technical teams, so if we need to escalate the issue up a level, that happens quickly.”

The business case

For Paymark’s interactions to be effective, information must flow easily to where it’s needed – whether to someone in the call centre, to a technician solving a customer problem, to management, or to anyone else within the company.

The Hub allows staff to find information reliably and quickly, creating confidence that information uploaded to the intranet is safe, secure and readily accessible – removing any temptation for individual staff members to keep information on their personal computer or simply in their head.

The business value

  • A new level of visibility and accessibility of information
  • A marked rise in the ability to deliver exceptional customer service
  • A more knowledgeable workforce
  • The breaking down of departmental silos
  • A collaborative work environment
  • More confidence among staff that they are getting the support needed to do their job


Enterprise Content Management

Today work can happen from anywhere, and you need to empower your staff to perform their roles and to collaborate, wherever they may be.


Microsoft SharePoint

SharePoint is a powerful and versatile business platform for content management and collaboration, both inside and outside your organisation.



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