Ascertus overcomes technical challenges to deliver a successful implementation
Eurotunnel is part of Groupe Eurotunnel and operates the Channel Tunnel, which is a vital connection between the UK and Europe for industry, tourism and culture and generates over £90 billion of trade every year. In 2015 Eurotunnel Le Shuttle transported more than 2.5 million passenger vehicles and almost 1.5 million trucks between the UK and France.
The Group’s Legal Department includes bi-national teams based in France and England. The Department’s remit is broad including activities related to commercial contracts and advice, procurement of goods and services, supply of rail services, legal risk, competition, compliance and staff matters.
The Legal Department was a long-time user of a case management solution, which also doubled up as its document management system. “The functions of our department are split between the UK and France and the legal teams in both jurisdictions share and work on matters together. In our Department, no two days are the same, given the scope and breadth of legal work we do,” explained Mike Murphy, Senior Legal Adviser at Eurotunnel.
To meet its evolved requirements, the Department recognised the need for a best-of-breed document management system; and undertook a fact-finding exercise, both internally to identify the organisation’s requirements as well as externally to create a short-list of solution options available on the market.
The solution and implementation
It soon became evident to the Department that email management functionality featured at the top of the wish list. “We identified file management and search functionalities as critical requirements. Also, we wanted a system that was close enough to the file management structure of our previous solution in terms of its basic usability, so that there wasn’t a huge change for users when moving to the new document management solution,” added Mike Murphy.
Following a meeting with Ascertus, the Department selected iManage Work for its Work Product Management system, the next step in the evolution of document and email management systems. Ascertus had clearly demonstrated the suitability of this solution for the Department’s needs.
The installation of iManage Work within the Eurotunnel environment presented some technical challenges to Ascertus, which the company worked hard to overcome. “We had some constraints emanating from Eurotunnel’s IT security policy,” explained Jon Wainwright, Sales and Marketing Director at Ascertus Limited. “The security policy prevented us from remotely accessing the organisation’s servers. So, we worked around it, implementing the solution via hosted sessions.”
Mike Murphy added, “While this impacted the speed of our implementation and required visits by the Ascertus team to France where Eurotunnel’s servers are hosted, Ascertus continued to support us to ensure that the installation and file migration process was successful for the Legal Department.”
Ascertus was mindful of the Department’s express wish of maintaining the incumbent solution’s file management structure in iManage Work. To this end, Ascertus carefully examined the metadata in the incumbent solution and correctly mapped it into iManage Work. Prior to the final migration, and to ensure that all the peculiarities and characteristics of the way data was stored previously within the old system were retained, Ascertus especially tailored its import tools to pre-empt issues.
One of the greatest challenges was to match documents to their corresponding metadata without using the previous solution’s interface, as the migration was undertaken as a batch process via hosted sessions. To this end, Ascertus used the old case management system’s metadata to simultaneously create workspaces within iManage Work and import the documents in question. This saved the Eurotunnel Legal Department the need to create the matters themselves before the documents were imported. The principal advantage of this approach was that users continued using the incumbent system right up until the final import. Ascertus imported approximately 295,000 documents in less than 24 hours with only 153 failures (i.e. 0.05% failure rate), which were subsequently processed separately.
Mike Murphy commented, “We did at times wonder if the approach would work, but it soon became apparent that the Ascertus team knew what they were doing. The most senior executives in the organisation were involved in the project to make sure that the technical challenges were dealt with quickly.”
Across the offices in the UK and France, there are 12 users of the system who are benefiting from productivity and efficiency gains. The Department opens over 500 matters a year dealing with diverse matters arising from the tunnel, land, buildings and infrastructure that comprises the Channel tunnel rail link for purchasing, marketing, advertising, compliance and so on.
Users are able to search across emails and documents and receive prioritised results based on their individual search patterns. In fact, even scanned documents appear in the search results – in this case contentCrawler, a product developed by DocsCorp, another Ascertus partner, is closely integrated with iManage Work. It transparently applies an optical character recognition (OCR) process to scanned image files, which transforms them into searchable and re-usable texts.
Creating and saving documents, emails and other types of communications is straightforward. iManage Work fully integrates with Microsoft Office and Outlook. Users are able to create, edit, and save documents faster and more intuitively. They are also able to file, manage, search for and retrieve content all from within their email interface. The system automatically analyses email properties and content and then accurately files those emails to the relevant matter. Consequently, users have complete confidence that the emails and documents are saved in the right location.
Sharing of documents is simple. Users are able to share files as secure links directly from within Outlook. Where needed, security is layered onto files to maintain confidentiality of select documents too.
Mike Murphy concluded, “iManage Work saves us time in our day to day activities. It is quick, intuitive and offers excellent functionality.”