By Sherief Younis
Rasameel Structured Finance looked for a complete data management system and found that Open Text’s Livelink ECM solution solved the bulk of its information access needs.
|~|Rashed-200.jpg|~|Al-Mekhyal expects to see return on investment by the end of 2007. |~|Established in January 2006 as a Kuwaiti Shareholding Company, Rasameel decided to implement Open Text’s Livelink ECM data management solution to enable the company to organise, manage and index all its internal and external communication.
Specialising in the raising, structuring and distribution of Islamic debt through financial engineering, the organisation of the company’s documents remains integral to operations.
“We implemented the Livelink solution a year back, in June 2006. We wanted to improve our data management system and found that after looking around, Livelink was one of a few good solutions on the market that was also reasonably priced,” Rashed M. Al-Mekhyal, VP head of support services at Rasameel Structured Finance, explains.
“The decision to implement the system was very important because now we are using an electronic archive system. Our fax solution means we can send all our faxes through Livelink and we are implementing the incoming-outgoing mail and we scan them using Livelink image and we also index it,” he continues.
“Our main handling policy does not allow anybody to use the original, so it centralises all the mail. All the incoming mail goes to the mail handling room where they scan it and send it to reception and we have e-mail notification telling you it’s been sent and that you have physical mail. There is a policy to retrieve the original.”
The compatibility of the Livelink solution meant it was easily integrated with the company’s existing IT framework. With a number of applications already operational, trouble free integration of the solution was essential to Rasameel. And this proved to be a major driving factor behind the solution being implemented on schedule.
“We have Microsoft servers with Microsoft exchange and there’s around 20-plus users so it’s a small organisation. For our general ledger we have Open Text’s Livelink solution, we have Cisco IP telephony and Cisco switching for our telephone system and that’s mainly what it’s about.
"For security we have two firewalls and Trend Micro for anti-virus. It took us a good two or three months to implement the solution and there were no problems with integration at all,” he states.
As a relatively small organisation, the cost of the solution was a prevalent factor for the company. With the company just over a year old, Rasameel looked for a solution that would provide value for money and service its niche clientele, with ease of integration and the provision of Arabisation to service its Islamic customers significant factor’s that influenced the selection process.
“One of the reasons was the price. Secondly it provided Arabisation and thirdly, it has a user-friendly interface and integration with the Microsoft Office application - Word, Excel, Outlook - was easy,” he adds.
While integrating the solution posed no problems, regulating access privileges to documents proved to be problematic. While the company wanted improved access to internal and external information for its workforce, it left Al-Mekhyal a little frustrated with the ‘limitation’.
As issues with the access privilege feature became apparent, Rasameel were quick to report back to Open Text and seek advice and assurances.
“There were no problems but there was a slight limitation that we reported back to them [Open Text]. For the e-mail integration and access privileges for the documents, we have to work around the e-mail notification because it doesn’t differentiate between the notified list and the access list.
"Not everyone should have the full access privilege and that was something we thought needed to be addressed. We were promised it would be sorted for the new version,” he stresses.
“They also need to work on the web interface and my suggestion to them is to make web access the main interface. They have a personalised web access client, so the end user only has to learn to use one interface and they can have all the features available within it,” he adds.
While he is quick to dispel any notion that there were any significant ‘problems’ with the solution, he also points out that the solutions restrictions meant the company had to circumvent the privilege conundrum itself.
Despite this, he reiterates the solution met the company’s initial objectives and that Open Text provided enough support and assurance to maintain a working relationship moving forwards.
“The solution is delivering upon our objectives. We were given support and raised the issue in the belief it will be amended and come with the new version. We are currently using version five [of Livelink ECM] but six is coming out. Of course I’m going to use the new version, I’m entitled to the upgrade anyway!” he exclaims.
Despite the flaw, Al-Mekhyal confirms the company has seen a direct improvement in the availability of information. He also says that Rasameel is even enjoying remote benefits where employees can access and retrieve documents with basic internet access.
“We’ve already seen the availability of information for the whole company with the Livelink centralised document retrieval. If anyone needs some documents, they don’t have to call around waste time diging for a document, all they have to do is run the search and everything is at our fingertips.
"We also have remote benefits where someone only needs internet access to receive notification and retrieve their documents which is an added benefit.”
Rasameel has reduced the amount of time spent locating documents, centralised operations through its internal mailroom and economised document location.
As a result, the company believes its improved business efficiency will be reflected over the course of the year and that these improvements will translate into a return on investment by the end of 2007.
“By the end of this year we should see a return on investment. Reducing the amount of time wasted searching for information has saved on manpower and effort because we don’t need people to physically go find things. That of course saves time and money,” Al-Mekhyal explains.
“Open Text helps over 1,000 top financial organisations compete in today’s ever changing economy," Roger Gergi, sales director EMEA Open Text Corporation, said. “We are pleased to have Rasameel Finance, implement our Livelink ECM - eDocs to control all its internal correspondence and streamline its business processes,” Gergi continues.
Al-Mekhyal insists the company was satisfied with the solution and he is quick to confirm that the working relationship between Rasameel will continue to move forwards.
However, he reiterates that the company expects the updated Livelink solution to be an improvement on its predecessor and successfully deliver upon all of the project objectives.
“I’m satisfied but I look forward to the improvement. Open Text provided a good product at a good price but I am expecting more,” he concluded.