Civil Aviation Authority chooses Huddle over Sharepoint for external collaboration

The Civil Aviation Authority plans to adopt more cloud services, after choosing Huddle for external collaboration over Microsoft SharePoint.


The Civil Aviation Authority plans to adopt more cloud services, after choosing Huddle for external collaboration over Microsoft SharePoint.

The airline regulator provides services to a number of customers – from large firms such as British Airways to individual pilots – as well as numerous departments across Whitehall.

In order to improve its ability to communicate and collaborate both internally and with its various customers, the organisation chose to implement software as a service tools from British firm Huddle.

“Huddle has allowed us to put a tool in that collaboration workspace out in the cloud, and has given us great control over who can use it, and what we can make available to both internal and external people,” said Howard Neal, head of web services at the Civil Aviation Authority, speaking at CloudExpo in London last week.

“The great thing is that we can just create a workspace, get people on there as it is very intuitive to use.”

This provided more flexibility over its Microsoft SharePoint implementation, said Neal.

“Internally we use SharePoint, primarily as a collaboration work tool. That has got some benefits in terms of it has some flexibility in terms of what you can put into.

“It has also got some limitations in terms of having to treat a SharePoint development as you would an application development - we have to sit down with users, understand their requirements, turn it on, make sure it works, configure it as workspace.”

“Huddle is a cloud based service, so it does what it does - you can't change it. It comes with services around helping to manage white boards, document management, discussion forum, and typical social tools. The decision is do you turn it on or turn it off - it is as simple as that.”

A number of firms have sought to swap their SharePoint implementation with Huddle in recent years. However the CAA does not plan to totally replace SharePoint however and will believes the two tools can coexist.

"It is working in partnership with SharePoint. I see space for both because they both do different things.”

CAA also plans to introduce more cloud services in future as the organisation seeks to lower operating costs, including a customer portal based on SharePoint 2013, and using Windows Server’s Active Directory Federation Services. CAA also plans to roll out Dynamics CRM in May, replacing a number of in-house built applications.

“We are getting more ambitious moving to the future. We are looking to provide a portal where our customers will register for services: right from the BA's of this world right down to a customer who is interested in getting a private pilot's licence.”

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