Secure and fast access to documents and resources
Located 50 km north-east of Gothenburg in western Sweden, the municipal government of Alingsås is responsible for the commissioning and delivery of a large proportion of local services to around 38,000 citizens. Its wide ranging duties extend from the provision of schools and emergency services, through to social, welfare and health services as well as the management of urban planning, the transport infrastructure and environmental issues. Together with 12 other municipalities, Alingsås forms part of the Gothenburg greater metropolitan area.
To enable local authority personnel to perform more effectively and efficiently, Alingsås wanted to eliminate the complexity surrounding universal employee access of its electronic information resources.
Local government has a long tradition in Sweden. The Country’s municipalities are responsible for providing a significant proportion of public services. Forward thinking and highly progressive, Alingsås wanted to maximise the workplace productivity of its employees. This would be dependent on eliminating the barriers that made it difficult for compartmentalised agencies and departments to access and view common information resources such as policy guidelines, procedural or technical documentation.
“We wanted to create a single repository that would make it easy for any employee to find the information they needed – fast,” explains Goran Westerlund, IT Chief at Alingsås Municipality. “But with information held on multiple network drives in a variety of locations, navigating our information resources took a lot of time and effort.”
As a first step, Alingsås set out to replace its outdated legacy document management system and introduce a new Intranet to improve information access for employees. This would be the perfect opportunity to initiate a new ECM system and create a unified repository of content that was open to all.
Longer term, the vision was to utilise the new technology platform to enable project teams to collaborate and share work with ease.
Initially the Municipality wanted an open standards document management solution that could seamlessly support information exchange between a number of different systems and deliver a highly effective collaborative environment.
Longer term, however, the requirement was for a platform capable of supporting the authority as it journeyed towards a fuller implementation of ECM in the future – enabling the initiation of archiving, records management and digital asset management, for example.
Alingsås first reviewed and then rejected Platina from FormPipe Software on the grounds that the ECM system required significant investment in additional supporting products. It finally selected Alfresco as the solution on the market that best met its varied criteria.
“Alongside extensive functionality, Alfresco also fulfilled a crucial additional requirement – it’s a system that’s easy for users to work with, even those who are technology averse,” says Westerlund.
Implementation of the new ECM system was undertaken by Alfresco’s integration partner Redpill Linpro who took just three months to migrate the authority’s documents into Alfresco and complete full integration with Drupal.
The new integrated ECM system has transformed document access for employees, providing powerful capabilities related to search, find and content linking.
Today 2,500 users have access to 40,000 documents and the local authority is able to categorise and organise its documents, using a common structure that is transparent to all.
“We now have one place to find everything,” comments Goran Westerlund. “People have been very positive about Alfresco and find it very easy to use. Anyone using our Intranet can access any document, regardless of the department or service they work within – it’s just there.”
The cost savings realised include those arising from increased employee efficiency, thanks to fast information access and the elimination of the need to ask colleagues to assist in tracking down and emailing documentation individual users previously found hard to locate.
In addition to the streamlined management of information access, around 200 employees are now benefiting from powerful collaboration capabilities that make team and project working simpler and more consistent. Project sites go well beyond being just a document library – enabling users to share ideas, manage project items and questions as well as sharing useful external resources.
“We are only just beginning to tap into the improved collaboration potential Alfresco offers,” confirms Westerlund. “We’ve experienced considerable user demand from teams for new project spaces and Alfresco will play a growing role in boosting the working capabilities of our personnel.”
For the future Alingsås Municipality is exploring how to extend information access and collaboration beyond the enterprise to selected external stakeholders. For example, it is currently exploring using Alfresco in conjunction with Google to give students and teachers in schools the opportunity to share resources and documents.