NZ Ministry takes on cloud ECM

Aiming to transform into paperless organisation by 2020, New Zealand’s Ministry for the Environment (MfE) is deploying OpenText Enterprise Content Management-as-a-Service. Based in Wellington, MfE is the government’s principal adviser on policies, laws and issues affecting the environment. 

With information being mission-critical to the organisation’s overall functionality, MfE was faced with the increasing need to further secure and safeguard critical knowledge and data acquired over the years. The Enterprise Content Management-as-a-Service (ECMaaS) solution was deployed by OpenText Global Services and its partner Techtonics, and supported by Datacom from an infrastructural standpoint, with the aim of augmenting knowledge management for over 300 staff within the Ministry via a robust document support system. 

Neil Hurley, Director, IT and Project Management Office at MfE, said, “The project was primarily commissioned because of the need to safe keep our information, but presented an opportunity for us to unlock the value of our information, a key strategic asset. OpenText’s ECMaaS enables the Ministry to have in place a next-generation, cloud-based knowledge management system.”

The procurement process involved evaluating the trio of vendors on the New Zealand government’s cloud-based enterprise content management-as-a-service panel, to assess if they met the Ministry’s stringent requirements. The all-of-government ECMaaS panel is managed by the Department of Internal affairs on behalf of all government agencies. Paramount to MfE’s choice of OpenText was the high usability offered. 

In order to ensure that the project delivered the knowledge management improvements the Ministry required, change management was key. As part of the deployment process, an internal naming campaign was organised to get staff involved in the project and instil business ownership in the product. The initiative saw a large number of employees participating in naming the new system, which was eventually coined ‘Te Puna’ – or ’the source’ in the Maori language. Fundamentally, it was vital to ensure that staff was engaged in the project so the transition went as smooth as possible.

“The initial implementation process spanned four months and was definitely smooth from a technical implementation perspective. In fact, user adoption rates are very high in the early stages,” said Hurley. “Our investment in time to get our employees’ ready for the new system, has made it easy to motivate usage and get everyone up to speed on how to use the new system. The OpenText solution was extremely scalable and user-friendly – having scored high in terms of usability amongst staff during our evaluation process.” 

OpenText’s ECMaaS manages the flow of information from capture through to archiving and disposition. The solution was able to facilitate an agile information governance strategy for MfE, thereby reducing risk and mitigating the cost of growing volumes of information on the organisation. 

Longer term, MfE is planning to build on the OpenText foundations it has in place. In particular, the Ministry is looking at migrating additional content in to the solution to build a single knowledge repository, further enhancing workflow processes, as well as leveraging the solution to collaborate and exchange information securely with key external stakeholders. Another long-term aim is to digitise as much of its business processes as possible, to become progressively less reliant on paper. In turn, staff can enjoy greater access to information and the ability to retrieve critical information remotely in an accelerated manner, enabling them to tap on knowledge in novel ways. 

“Our information is the second most important asset in our organisation after our people. If we do not treat it with the same care and attention, we will never be an exceptional organisation,” said Hurley. “Going forward, the challenge will lie in scaling the solution to further enhance knowledge management and support the wider ministry.

“Our partnership with OpenText allows us to draw on their extensive experience with similar deployments globally, to effectively help us realise the full value of the information that supports evidence-based policy-making and ultimately, operate more efficiently in a digital world.”