The University of the West of England are using the Lightning Conductor Web Part to roll up information across Project and Research sites across multiple Site Collections.
The University of the West of England (UWE) has been using SharePoint for five years. People use it for a wide range of reasons across the whole organisation. One important area that continues to expand is using SharePoint in conjunction with other academic and commercial organisations from all over the world. The ability to share information within SharePoint rather than by email or even snail mail has been a Godsend for the partner organisations, improving the efficiency of research and collaborative projects.
Alistair Sandford says “We increasingly find that SharePoint is a fantastic tool for providing tailored web based solutions. By using much of the out-of-the-box functionality within SharePoint, we can rapidly build complex solutions which, with minimal training, the users can use and expand. Where we reach the limits of SharePoint, we then look to 3rd parties for SharePoint add-ons or as a last resort develop the functionality in-house. As an example, a project manager had heard that SharePoint is a good facility for light touch Project Management (PM) and requested a suitably configured PM site. The project team loved it and the news quickly spread to other project managers who also wanted PM sites. Overtime, it became clear that it would be beneficial to have a high level overview of the various projects for reporting purposes. The issue is that SharePoint inherently lacks a powerful roll up capability, which is where we looked to Lightning Tools”.
The Lightning Conductor Web Part allows UWE to aggregate data from Lists and Libraries throughout the current Site Collection, and across Multiple Site Collections. As a result, users can see all their tasks, status reports, etc. in one Web Part, instead of navigating to lots of different sites to view the information.
Sandford says, “The major benefit for us is the Lightning Conductor’s versatility. It’s given us the flexibility to do things that would have previously consumed significant development resource or that we’d have avoided doing altogether. We are now better equipped to respond to the needs of the organisation, which is vital as the use of SharePoint at UWE continues to escalate”.