Ondeo Industrial Solutions
- Streamlined document management and storage
- Document volume control
- Solution used by all employees of the subsidiary
- Implementation arouses interest from other Group subsidiaries
Background and key issues
Created in 2002, Ondeo Industrial Solutions, a subsidiary of the SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Group, partners major industrial players by providing a full range of water cycle management services. Ondeo Industrial Solutions offers innovative solutions, tailored to each business sector, to respond to specific industrial needs in relation to water resource management, raw water treatment, supply of process water, waste water treatment, and evaluation of slurry, sludge, and by-products.
The business activities of Ondeo IS span a wide range of solutions and technologies, including the design and construction of water treatment plants, plant management and maintenance, the provision of related services, and the supply of equipment.
Ondeo Industrial Solutions is present in France, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, and the Benelux countries, but also operates globally under international contracts, particularly in the Middle East and in South America, to assist its industrial customers in executing their projects.
Ondeo IS France has teams of engineers and industrial waste water treatment specialists positioned throughout France so they can stay close to their customers and respond quickly and effectively to their various needs. Its expert teams are distributed across 9 branches and 65 operating sites, spread throughout the country.
In 2007, the French subsidiary conducted an audit of all the documents that are created and shared within the company. They began by identifying the documents:
What kind of documents are they? Who issues them? What journey do they take within the company prior to validation? How are they managed? By whom?, etc.
Three “products” were tested, two of which were already used in the company: Microsoft SharePoint and IBM Lotus Notes. The third solution tested was OpenText Livelink, used by Degrémont, another subsidiary of the SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Group.
The solution implemented
Analysis of the existing system revealed several dysfunctional areas. Several versions of the same document were stored in different places. The storage location might be on a file server, a mail server, or even on the individual hard disk drives of company employees. It could therefore be complicated and bothersome to locate the final, validated version of a document. Furthermore, the very nature of the company’s business entails a need for regular review of historical documents related to customers, whether this concerns a response to a call for tenders or the signature of a contract. As the management of different documents was not centralized, it could be very difficult to find different items relating to the same customer. There was also a consequent loss of expertise and a lack of consistency among documents of the same kind.
In response to this situation, Ondeo IS decided to study what was on offer in the marketplace in order to find a high-performing data management solution that would enable it to store, securely share and manage all the company’s documents using a single system.
Several proposals were studied.
In 2008, the Alfresco solution was retained. It constitutes a comprehensive solution capable of processing and streamlining a sizeable volume of documents. The functional depth of the proposal did not involve a complex integration procedure nor did it come at a high cost.
In order to fully and firmly validate its choice, in the first instance, Ondeo IS developed its applications simultaneously using two platforms: SharePoint and Alfresco.
At the end of 2009, the decision was taken to switch all applications over to Alfresco. Once again, the market leader in Open Source solutions for content management corroborated the relevance and functional depth of its products.
The introduction of storage and management of office data files, allowing users to manage their own access, was the first project concerned by the migration. It involved migrating all office documents to Alfresco and using the native functionalities of the product: document versioning, sharing, and searching.
The second project concerned the introduction of data entry forms with validation workflow.
Presently, the company develops its own interfaces using Alfresco version 3.4. While awaiting the arrival of version 4, three new developments are planned.
These involve switching three applications developed under .Net to Alfresco, namely: the application used to monitor the company’s major accounts and actions directly related to that business, the sales monitoring application (revenue by site, by customer, etc.) and the intranet which allows customers to consult, as and when they wish, the progress status of their projects.
Together, these developments converge towards achieving one of the major objectives of Ondeo IS which is to streamline the volume of documents produced, exchanged, and stored.
All the company’s employees in France, that is some 400 people, are users of these systems.
The Alfresco projects implemented within Ondeo IS have generated interest from other subsidiaries of the Group. The Spanish subsidiary, Akbar, has adopted solutions from the Open Source market leader. Lyonnaise des Eaux, a subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, specialist in the distribution of drinking water and waste water treatment, is starting to install Alfresco platforms. Finally, with regard to the parent company itself, a Proof of Concept (POC) is to be carried out at SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT. This prototype should enable validation of a possible migration to Alfresco of a document repository currently hosted on Lotus. That migration will also present an opportunity to add tag functionalities, in particular, to replace the conventional tree structure search with a tag search.
- Implementation of the Alfresco solution has brought much greater flexibility to task execution.
- It has enabled the creation and implementation of modeling tools which have generated increased productivity and improved performance.
- It has generated better monitoring of constraints associated with the company’s actual business, particularly where the importance of contractually agreed dates for delivery of documents to customers is concerned, since the delayed delivery of documents can sometimes result in the payment of fines.