WorkSite delivers for Karara Mining

Western Australian iron ore company Karara Mining has hit paydirt with the teaming of Autonomy iManage WorkSite and Advantys WorkflowGen to provide a shared environment for storing business content. Documents, records, email messages and other media are consolidated in a central library, making them easier to find, share, and reuse.

Karara Mining is a joint venture between WA’s Gindalbie Metals Ltd and Chinese steel producer AnSteel, currently constructing the Karara Iron Ore Project: the development of the magnetite deposit at Karara. This offers known resources sufficient to support production for more than 30 years.

In early 2009, with some 80 employees already creating and interacting with its information, Karara had no information management strategy whatsoever.
They recognised the opportunity to mould the way their information management and business processes grew with exploration, construction and operations teams over the short and long term.

Karara Mining’s IT & Communications Manager Ross Thorne began working with Office Information Australia on a project that was to span several months.

Ross Thorne was adamant that Karara needed to achieve “one version of the truth”. Hence, version control, automated notifications and advanced search options – simplifying delegation of work among team members – were central to the project.

WorkSite provides shared workspaces and secure document management, giving both local and remote Karara Mining teams instant access to content and collaboration tools.

Seamless integration with Microsoft Outlook allows all staff to file emails and access the electronic matter file via the familiar Outlook interface. Integration with Advantys WorkflowGen enables the automated generation of process-related content, improving efficiency and reducing error.

Centralising all of Karara’s content protects its information against human error such as misfiling, loss or accidental deletion. Emails are stored, with their attachments, alongside related project content, ensuring that they retain their full context and meaning, and are readily available for reference and future use.

Even more importantly, WorkSite also helps an organisation preserve confidentiality, by preventing unauthorised access to information on an individual or departmental basis. This has proved particularly powerful in Karara’s case, enforcing the separation of powers between KML and its contractors, and ensuring access to relevant information.

The Advantys WorkflowGen workflow software is fully integrated with WorkSite to provide comprehensive document-handling and workflow management.

The Karara Mining WorkflowGen portal has been embedded with the user-friendly SharePoint interface to provide easy access to launch new processes or manage ongoing processes and actions via the company’s portal homepage.

Many Karara departments are already asking for more processes to be migrated to WorkflowGen. Software, hardware and new-user requests, receipting and processing of invoices, performance review processes and project change-of-scope notices are already being delivered through the software, allowing users to track the progress of requests quickly and easily online.

Improved cost-consciousness has been an unexpected advantage of the WorkflowGen workflow system. With the costs to the business included on request forms, managers across the organisation are given greater visibility and appreciation of staff-related expenses.

After being in place for three months Karara Mining senior executives began to “see the power of the project,” says Ross Thorne.

Staff from Accounts Payable, IT and Engineering are noticing an improvement in productivity that’s saving up to half a day every week. Integration with email is the key, as staff don’t need to copy and file email content and attachments. Flexible access rights and version control help staff collaborate on documents, better leveraging the organisation’s resources.

Thanks to the easily-understood graphical interface, and a significant training and communications program, users have embraced the system very quickly.

Ross Thorne stresses that a change management strategy is crucial in a project like this. Staff need to clearly see the “burning platform” – the inferiority of the old way of doing things – prior to being encouraged to take up new systems and processes.

The change process was handled at Karara by Knowledge Co-ordinator Jolene Purdie, using communications, training and support. Data migration was also handled by Jolene, whose background as a librarian proved a valuable asset to the team in finding and categorising content.

She ensured that content in the new Worksite system was structured in such a way that users could intuitively locate information after migration. Information from entire departments was migrated in very short periods, again supporting a speedy change program for users across Karara.

OIA’s Information Management team has supported Karara Mining through the design and implementation phases of the project.

“I can’t fault them,” said Purdie. “OIA’s design team were invaluable in constructing the best approach for implementing the solution, and providing support and upgrades. They continue to help Karara develop new workflow processes in WorkflowGen.