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Issue of November 2006 
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Tackling the paper pile

Hexaware uses an ECM solution to manage its documents. Rishiraj Verma reports


Janaki
Narasimhan

Hexaware Technologies found that documents on IT consulting were dispersed across its offices across the globe. The company’s pre-sales team was finding it difficult to record and find information from physical documents which had proliferated beyond the point where they could keep track of them.

The sales team had to co-ordinate with many customer-facing as well as pre-sales teams located across these global offices, with a correspondingly large number of documents. “The need for a responsive process-centric system was felt,” says Janaki Narasimhan, Vice-president, Global Competency Unit, Hexaware.

The company has 16 offices across the world in India, USA, Canada, Britain and the rest of Europe, and the APAC region. It was getting difficult to manage these documents which could have been in the hands of different individuals at different times. Narasimhan says that this consumed a lot of time, so the need for a system that would permit the central storage of these documents was felt.

Even when it came to digitised documents (or documents originating digitally), different versions of the same document were being created by individuals across the globe. This again underscored the need for a system that would allow users to access only a single version of a file, as determined by the author or administrator.

Narasimhan explains, “We were also looking for a solution that would provide easy and powerful search of data, and enable use to respond faster to our clients’ needs. Security was a primary concern for us.” The organisation was also clear that it did not want to deploy a solution that would confuse its users with a complex interface.

Scalability and post-implementation support were other concerns. The amount to be spent was a key factor as the deal swung on that. In the end, Xerox was chosen by Hexaware to be its implementation partner. Narasimhan tells why: “We chose Xerox because they fulfilled our criteria of high-end hardware, system software, and most important of all, security.” According to her, Xerox also accommodated the time-zone challenges that Hexaware had.

Problem solver

The solution provided by Xerox was the Xerox DocuShare Enterprise Content Management solution. Narasimhan says that this solution also features a search and index application that has helped the organisation. This solution is hosted on a four-way server (Intel Xeon 3.66 GHz processor-based) at Chennai, which has Hexaware’s primary site in India). To avoid downtime, the organisation also has a secondary server hosting the application.

The image capture application lets them capture paper documents as bitmaps. The solution works on various platforms. “If we decide to shift to another operating system, we wouldn’t have to go through much trouble,” says Narasimhan.

A firewall is in place to stop security threats, both to the server and to the documents stored on it. Most documents are locally shared over the Intranet. The creator of the document gets to control access. Thus, Hexaware has tried to make sure that while the time consumed in creating the documents and making them available to users is reduced, the security factor is not neglected.

What they got
The solution has helped Hexaware drastically reduce the use of disc space. Earlier, the company had the same documents stored on multiple machines. This collectively occupied more space than one version on a server. DocuShare provided a single repository for their documents and hence saved space on individual machines. Narasimhan specifically points out the centralised knowledge base that has been made possible only after this implementation. She says, "Now documents are stored centrally. This has cut down on major confusion related to which user has which document, and so on."

She says that the number of SOS calls from the pre-sales and sales teams has gone down. The solution also supports multiple formats; this reduces the time consumed for conversion to compatible formats. What Narasimhan thinks of as one of the greatest benefits of the implementation is its ability to archive each incoming and outgoing document.

A fast implementation

Narasimhan says that the implementation started in the first week of August 2005 and was completed in about three weeks. The solution is currently being extended to other departments in the organisation.

 
     
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