Silversands enhances critical operations for maritime search and rescue service


HM Coastguard (HMCG), which is part of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), provides a 24-hour maritime search and rescue, emergency and response service. The only national 999 emergency service in the UK, the work of HMCG makes a vital difference to hundreds of people every day. As well as preventing loss of life at sea and on the coast, the Agency also produces legislation and guidance on maritime rules, and much more.

Microsoft SharePoint has enabled organisations like the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to provide its people with the ability to effectively collaborate, find information and share knowledge. Silversands is proud to have helped MCA with this important solution delivery.

Project background

When responding to live emergency incidents, time and accuracy can make a real difference and ultimately impact people’s lives. HMCG had some challenges with their SharePoint solution which is used daily by 300 Coastguards and Operations staff across the UK. With this focus, they needed a new Coastguard Information Portal (CIP) to enable its staff to respond more quickly and minimise loading time.

The solution

After winning a tender in December 2020, Silversands first took the time to understand what was important to HMCG and its stakeholders.

The output from this discovery activity enabled us to design a performant and easy-to-use solution based on SharePoint Online, Power Automate and Power BI. When designing and building the new SharePoint solution, we adopted an agile and pragmatic approach; a collaborative process with two-weekly sprints introducing new functionality and change.

This approach proved to be very successful, helped considerably by HMCG’s commitment to embracing this delivery cadence. By using Microsoft Teams, we were able to respond quickly and accelerate the deployment. This enabled Project Managers on both sides to have a more holistic view of the project and de-risk when needed.

A critical success criterion was the ability to migrate some 1,500 pages of content – plus hundreds of other documents and assets – within tight project timescales. This was achieved through good communication, planning, and collaboration; and by keeping the requirement front of mind as we developed the design and formulated the best approach for the project.

The result

Through the project delivery, we built and migrated the new Coastguard Information Portal (CIP). They can now deliver critical lifesaving incident information, news, and manuals to Coastguards in a more efficient and user-friendly way, with management visibility and a dashboard that provides operational guidance to Coastguards in critical situations.

With subject matter experts now able to own and manage pages, documents and data are constantly updated which could help incident response and management. In addition, making changes to SharePoint no longer requires a third-party intervention. HMCG can easily manage this internally, saving time and money with a repeatable solution that’s continually updated by Microsoft.

A new and simple business intelligence interface facilitates enhanced information management, such as what is being read and acknowledged by the Coastguards, removing the need to combine spreadsheets manually.

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