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BNPPF Builds Excellence With Hyland’s Open, Intuitive Alfresco Platform


BNP Paribas Fortis is a Belgian branch of the global banking giant BNP Paribas. Ten years ago, the bank decided to construct a new headquarters in the Montagne du Parc district of Brussels. This new head office was necessary because the previous office no longer complied with modern energy or ergonomic standards. The construction of a new head office of this size requires the coordination of activities of all the contractors and subcontractors.

entrance of the new BNPPF HQ

“We are dealing with contractual documents and strictly assigned access rights. Every drawing or document that is published by the architect or contractor has to be formally submitted for approval,” said Paul Janssen, program development manager at BNP Paribas Fortis. 

“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 to track and monitor the status of every document.”

Additionally, the ideal solution would be open source to enable quick customization to run outside of the bank environment for exchange with external, non-bank-related organizations.


The bank chose Hyland’s Alfresco platform to manage the documentation, communication and information for the large-scale construction project. The system’s purpose was to avail updated and approved versions of documents to everyone involved in the project. However, the platform had some limitations in terms of working copies, which could block parallelism of processes. The implementation team solved this problem by customizing the system for the bank’s specific needs.

When a document was revised, a new version was created, and the different parties communicated through observation notes between them. Observation notes were created to control the flows of revisions, and attachments could be added if necessary. To meet the company’s need for efficient information coordination and quick response times, the team tailored the Alfresco platform to handle complex processes such as action, review and approval processes, which coordinated the change of state in the document.

Further, the team created daily technical reports to give a clear picture of which documents were current and which were approved at the moment. The project management office, headed by Janssen and Christine Merckx, used these reports to manage all the documents. The customized platform enabled creating multiple versions and revisions of a document at the same time, with index and date versions to maintain visibility and control of all revisions.

The solution was a success, and it demonstrated the effectiveness of the platform in managing document flows and coordinating large-scale construction projects.


Effortless, efficient collaboration

With features such as observation notes and customized workflows, the Alfresco platform enabled streamlined communication and coordination between all parties involved in the project. The customized system provided the necessary tools for managing complex processes, and the daily technical reports helped the project managers keep track of the progress of the construction. 

“Today, we have a clear way to monitor the approval cycle of different documents and we are using Alfresco platform for our day-to-day collaboration,” said Janssen. 

Scalability for long-term success

The platform was implemented as a stand-alone solution for the building project in Brussels, but because of the platform’s ability to bring more visibility and access to documents and the status of the approval process, Janssen said BNP Paribas Fortis plans to extend the solution to manage future large construction projects. 

By extending the Alfresco solution to future large-scale construction projects, BNP Paribas Fortis aims to achieve greater visibility and control over document flows and approval processes.

What’s next?

For now, BNP Paribas Fortis is working on modernizing its user interface with Alfred Finder. Excel files are currently being used to keep track of the status of various workflows. These files contain links to the workflows and documents in Share that users need to click to access. BNP is replacing these files with the Finder interface, enabling the team to see all live results that match what they normally see in Excel based on bookmarked search queries. In Finder, users will have an overview of the metadata of each document along with a preview. They can also filter further — for example by documents in certain subprojects. Each document will have a link to Share that they can click to view and work on the associated workflow.

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