MMG drills deep into Document Management
How does a global organisation with more than 9000 employees deal with document management, especially as it’s not regarded as a particularly cool topic. When staff at Head Office alone are generating more than a million documents a year, the challenge is formidable, and the idea of a solution becomes more attractive. For growing mining company MMG the response was to integrate OpenText Content Server and SharePoint with the aim of achieving an integrated search, collaboration and information lifecycle management solution.
Operating across the globe with active or scheduled mining operations in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas, MMG is headquartered in Melbourne and listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited. MMG’s major shareholder is China Minmetals Non-ferrous Metals Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of China Minmetals Corporation, one of China’s major multinational state owned enterprises.
David Bough, MMG Group Manager IT Strategy, said there were a number of critical issues driving the implementation of a collaboration and information management solution for more than 3000 knowledge workers.
“A huge amount of time is spent in re-creating, finding and dealing with out-of-date information often stored as multiple copies.
“Staff requirements to collaborate with staff in other areas, remote staff and external parties is increasing.
“There are also risks associated with over-retention of information.”
These include the risks of vital documents being lost, duplication of information and work, problems in compliance with industry standards, no integrated document repository and poor information discovery.
In an industrial context, the risk becomes more meaningful, as safety can be seriously impacted by someone failing to access the latest version of machine operating instructions.
Beginning in 2012, MMG moved to address these issues by developing an Information Management strategy and roadmap that included a redeveloped new architecture based on integration of OpenText Content Server 10 and SharePoint 2010.
Adding to the challenge was a simultaneous rollout of SAP for all core business processes.
Content Server was deployed in Stage 1 as a repository for the MMG library of controlled documents, those identified as high risk with high or long term vale. Some examples of document types include contracts and engineering drawings
These all require significant controls and are strictly managed by applying a Retention and Disposal schedule. The MMG Library is predominantly utilised by staff at Mine Sites and some specific areas of head office
Implemented in tandem, SharePoint 2010 was deployed to provide an Intranet and a collaboration platform known as MMG Workspaces, where low risk short term value documents are stored. This is primarily a Head Office tool that applies a common retention and disposal schedule. SharePoint also provides the platform for MMG’s intranet and Enterprise Search, acting as a portal to all MMG Web-Based Systems.
Meanwhile a set of rules was developed for retention and disposal for documents stored in the MMG Library.
The team is currently working on defining rules that relate to retention and disposal of documents in workspaces as well as email in exchange. This includes rules around the Email Journals.
The current thinking is to retain content for a short-medium term and provide users the ability to file into the MMG Library if the document/email is of long term business value. Automated rules will move some document types to the MMG Library automatically.
These rules are set to be deployed in the next 12-18 months and over time relevant content from network file shares will be migrated to MMG Workspaces. There is a range of tools available to assist with this task, which MMG is beginning to evaluate with plans for a pilot data migration project in 2015 to test suitability.
Another important component of the architecture at MMG is the integration between the MMG Library and SAP. Staff can generate Maintenance Work Orders from SAP and have the associated work instruction documents included from the MMG Library.
One of the benefits of rearchitecting an enterprise information management platform is the ability to do away with multiple overlapping systems. In MMGs case it was able to reduce the number of intranet platforms from four to one and halve the number of document control systems.
MMG is also hoping the introduction of an authorised and managed collaboration tool will bring back users who have defaulted to Dropbox and any number of other cloud-based platforms.
A team of ECM consultants assembled to assist with the rollout included the firms CGI and Astral. A lot of time was spent considering various archiving models, with the conclusion to archive Project sites from SharePoint to Content Server on completion.
“This was less of a technology project than a business change project. A significant proportion of the budget was devoted to training and changing the way people work. A multilingual workforce added to this challenge,” said Georgia Cronin, MMG IM Architect.
Georgia Cronin, MMG IM Architect and David Bough, MMG Group Manager IT Strategy.
Once a migration from SharePoint 2010 to 2013 is completed in 2015, MMG expects to deploy the integrated FAST enterprise search platform and. This utilises an Open Text solution to enable Content Server documents to be indexed and their metadata available in SharePoint.
“We want one interface that will search across all our repositories, including the intranet, SharePoint Workspaces, the controlled document library, newsfeeds and archives. Eventually this will also include selected file shares that don’t need read/write capability,” said Cronin.
Some major lessons have already been learned as the process of planning an enterprise search rollout has been underway:
• Mapping relevant Content Server attributes to SharePoint Managed Properties is very important if you want to use combined metadata refiners
• Adjusting the ranking mechanism for Crawled Properties within a Managed Property is also very important – particularly for Titles where the SharePoint approach is very different to the approach Content Server uses
• De-duplication of results is important to watch
• Email is a challenge due to the fact that Content Server doesn’t keep email properties as actual attributes and therefore these are not exposed to SharePoint, instead you are having to use FAST metadata extraction
• Displaying relevant sets of documents on intranet pages requires custom display templates
• Search apps are worth doing – basic web forms that allow users to select sets of metadata and from these form a URL string.