Published on 30-Jul-2009
" I was afraid that I would have had a lot of trouble with this important change in the organization but Sowre showed me that simple and rapid integration of Content Management and SAP was possible. " - Andrea Coccia, ITC Manager, Colacem SpA
Enterprise Content Management
IBM Business Partner:
Industry innovator Colacem becomes even more competitive when it gains real-time access to managed data across 30 international locations
Colacem’s SAP implementation exposed major integration issues with its incumbent document management solution
An enterprise content management solution that provides both internal and external users easy access to ERP information and supporting documents
Provided 30 locations with on demand access to documents via a single access point; reduced storage costs; optimized system performance
Colacem SpA, with headquarters in Gubbio, Italy, is an international manufacturer of cement products with more than 30 locations worldwide. In the well-established cement industry Colacem stands out as a leading innovator thanks to its pursuit of both process advancement and issues relating to environmental responsibility. Colacem’s ability to grow and transform rapidly keep it on the cutting edge of new technologies. It is, in fact, always looking for new ways to increase its competitive advantage.
This is reflected in their decision to undertake a complete overhaul of their information systems, starting with the implementation of an SAP infrastructure. This move underlined Colacem’s commitment to enterprise resource planning (ERP), but exposed major integration issues with their incumbent document management solution. The existing systems were separated, forcing users to operate on two different interfaces, thus impacting negatively on resources, time and cost. As well as being highly inefficient, this situation created widespread information mismanagement, exacerbating lost, duplicate and inaccurate data, and extensive personnel dissatisfaction.
A proven information management partner
Colacem understood the intrinsic value of accurate data, and the overwhelming need to have it available, on demand across its global organization. Implementing a new document management system that was 100 percent compatible and integrated into their SAP workflow was paramount. The ability to automatically record, store and retrieve data from a central repository, that would help ensure the free flow of information, was a key factor in their choice of a solution and partner.
Colacem teamed up with IBM Premier Business Partner Sowre whose expertise in the implementation of “on demand” information solutions offered the full breadth of IBM® Information Management software as well as its own CM/R&B (Content Manager/Retrieve and Barcode) data input software. CM/R&B permits the electronic data entry of documents allowing for their subsequent traceability, which can be easily identified and retrieved.
Colacem adopted the solution proposed by Sowre, comprising CM/R&B, based on IBM Content Manager Enterprise Edition 8.3 and integrated with the IBM CommonStore for SAP. The family of CM/R&B products enables the management of electronic documents (insertion and retrieval) in order to view them when needed directly from external applications (ERP) whilst granting numerous document management functions (scanning, indexing, integration with company workflow).
“I was afraid that I would have had a lot of trouble with this important change in the organization but Sowre showed me that simple and rapid integration of Content Management and SAP was possible,” says Andrea Coccia, ITC manager, Colacem SpA
A host of business challenges
Being unable to integrate their new SAP infrastructure with their existing content management system raised short and long-term problems for Colacem. Their key goals were to:
- Integrate 30 global locations
- Generate active documents from SAP
- Scan, index and store passive documents in the document repository, accessible from SAP
- Manage the disk quota of 3GB/month.
- Integrate new document acquisition into existing company processes
- Automate the document indexing workflow, making it available to all ERP users via the SAP interface, and all external (non SAP) users, via the CM client.
Transforming the business
Along with their CM/R&B input software, Sowre selected IBM Content Manager, IBM CommonStore for SAP and IBM Document Manager products. Sowre’s CM/R&B solution scans, indexes and fully integrates all documents into the company’s workflow, maintaining accuracy, and saving time and expense. IBM Content Manager Enterprise Edition 8.3 provides Colacem with a single base for managing and distributing all data to the various company locations. It includes comprehensive integration with the existing SAP infrastructure, full accessibility for ERP users and scalability for future growth. IBM CommonStore for SAP (certified by SAP) provides both highly efficient archiving as well as the management of database growth, backups and recovery. IBM Document Manager offers full document lifecycle management and provides on demand data.
The new system brought instant and dramatic functional improvement to all ERP users. With no service downtime and minimal training the new system granted a single user interface for accessing critical information via the SAP GUI. The new applications are highly intuitive and easy to operate and provide external users with the same real-time access as that granted to Colacem’s internal staff. Previously slow and error-prone, manual data entry is replaced with fast and accurate scanned input via the new system function. By offloading data and trimming the operational database, the IBM CommonStore for SAP application helps to ensure that the 3GB per month quota is respected, and provides superior system performance.
The new solution is a comprehensive service package that allows the SAP platform users to have real-time shared access to all of Colacem’s documents, including accounting documents, delivery notes, statistics and official banking documents. The result is that any user at any given worldwide location can easily locate all documents and information related to any specific transaction directly via the ERP SAP platform or other interfaces. The use of SAP standard functions provided by IBM CommonStore for SAP together with the integration of Sowre’s CMR&B modules, have created the perfect solution granting easy worldwide access to numerous and wide-ranging multilingual documents.
The Sowre and IBM solution has fully integrated into Colacem’s existing SAP infrastructure and offers many business benefits including the following:
- All 30 locations now have on demand access to all company documents.
- Solution supports multi-languages for worldwide use.
- Users have single entry access to entire application via SAP GUI.
- All content is now fully managed and indexed, for accurate search and retrieval.
- The 3GB per month disk quota is respected, reducing storage costs and optimizing system performance.
- The system can expand as Colacem grows.
- IBM’s commitment to SOA will help the company’s future system upgrade plans.
“I’m sure that the competence of SAP, IBM and Sowre will guarantee Colacem in present and future needs,” says Coccia.
Leveraging the potential of information on demand
With a fully integrated ERP and 100 percent SAP-compatible content management system, with unlimited data access across the breadth of the organization, Colacem is now in a position to leverage the full potential of their on demand information. This solution has unleashed the business potential of Colacem’s information, enabling the company to optimize their business processes and achieve higher levels of productivity. These benefits allow for improved decision-making capabilities thus granting Colacem an even higher level of competitive advantage over other companies in the cement industry.
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Products and services used
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