“Today, in order to support our major real estate construction project, we have a clear way to monitor the approval cycle of different documents and we are using Alfresco for our day-to-day collaboration. What I really like about Alfresco is that the repository is straightforward. It’s simple but robust compared to other solutions.”
BNP Paribas Fortis, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, is the largest international bank in Belgium, providing a full range of financial services to private and corporate clients, companies, and public and financial institutions. The bank provides retail, corporate, public and private banking and investment solutions to clients all over the globe.
Alfresco and Xenit interviewed Paul Janssen, Performance Manager Project MdP, and Christine Merckx, Document Manager Project MdP at BNP Paribas Fortis.
At a Glance
Engineering and Constructions
- Alfred Hosting
- Collaborating on a complex set of engineering documents, involving coordination of multiple contractors.
- The Alfresco platform, which is hosted on a private cloud by managed services provider Xenit Solutions, includes disaster recovery implementation with data stored in two separate data centers in Germany
- Full clarity on current and up to date documentation and full support for continuous and complex collaboration.
When BNP Paribas Fortis began building its 100,000 square foot headquarters in Brussels under the project name, Montagne du Parc (MdP), it needed a document management solution to manage all of the technical and design documents from the architect and contractor and approval processes associated with such a major construction project.
“We are dealing with contractual documents, with strictly assigned access right, allowing the project to be designed and build. Means that every drawing or document that is published by the architect or contractor has to be formal submitted for approval,” said Paul Janssen. “Based on my past experience as architect and contractor, we were looking for a system that could support both informal collaboration and formal approval workflows in order to track and monitor the status of every document.”
The solution also needed to be open source so that it could be quickly customized to run outside of the bank environment, as embedding a platform within the bank would have required the banks strict security requirements, complicating the exchange with external, non-bank related, organizations.
“We needed a quick solution – an easy tool that we could develop while we were running the project”, Paul Janssen said.
After evaluating several solutions, BNP Paribas Fortis chose Alfresco Content Services as its enterprise content management solution and document repository for the project. Alfresco replaced the former document management system, which served as a more classical filing system. With Alfresco, said Paul Janssen, it is now much easier to manage all of the different metadata, versions, access rights, and approval status of documents and drawings as defined in the Operation Manual of the project.
“Alfresco was able to respond to the “typical” versioning issue on construction projects, as information is being created by many different organizations, all of which are publishing different versions adapted to their internal quality system”, Paul Janssen said. “Now, all contractual documents are updated, published, and exchanged in Alfresco as PDFs every day. The most important part of Alfresco is that we have a clear repository of approved documents – and the approval cycle that we put in place is contractually binding so we have, to a certain extent, developed a specific approval process for construction.”
The Alfresco platform, which is hosted on a private cloud by managed services provider Xenit Solutions, includes disaster recovery implementation with data stored in two separate data centers in Germany. Xenit Solutions is also providing managed services support, covered by an SLA (Service Level Agreement). Continuous monitoring and proactive maintenance guarantee the target availability for this business-critical system.
BNP Paribas Fortis chose Xenit as its integration partner because of their experience working with Alfresco and their ability to offer pragmatic solutions with the perfect balance of frugality and quality of work that was not focused on customizing the platform so much that it was difficult to maintain.
“Xenit had the mindset to understand our operational issues and developed a real partnership with us to create something that was a win-win”, said Paul Janssen.
Since implementing Alfresco, BNP Paribas Fortis now has over 200 internal and external users on the Alfresco platform and more than 10,000 construction documents in the system’s approval process. All documents and approvals are now published in the Alfresco repository.
Though Alfresco was implemented as a standalone solution for the building project in Brussels, because of the platform’s ability to bring more visibility and access to documents and the status of the approval process, there are plans to extend the solution to manage future large construction projects.
“Today, we have a clear way to monitor the approval cycle of different documents and we are using Alfresco for our day-to-day collaboration”, said Paul Janssen. “For the moment, this is a standalone solution, but based on our experience, we have the ambition to expand the solution to other projects. What I really like about Alfresco is that the repository is straightforward. It’s simple compared to other solutions.”