The Rising Trend of Enterprise Content Management

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

According to a research, an average office has 25 feet of paper per person[1]. Moreover, 
day-to-day operations create more paper. Ever wondered how companies manage the tons of paper they create? Take the example of a telecom firm. Each day, thousands of SIM cards are bought in every city. This means that a telecom company has more than a hundred thousand forms to process, digitize and store every single day.

What do you think happens to a Customer Identification Form (CIF), for buying a new SIM card, after you’ve filled it? 

This enormous quantity of paperwork is ideally managed using an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) company. These companies collect the documents, verify them, process & digitize the data, barcode and scan the images. All this needs to happen for about three to four hundred thousand forms, every day. Your number is activated in 24 hours, which means that this process ends within that time-frame. In fact SoftAge, which is a leader in this industry, finishes this process within 4 hours. After the scanning, all documents are indexed and stored in massive warehouses. The indexing and warehousing process is so meticulous, that a company like SoftAge can retrieve a stored document within 5 minutes.

SoftAge Information Technology Ltd., now an ECM industry expert and forerunner, started with just 6 people and in a small room in 1994. Its first assignment was application processing for Unit Trust of India (UTI). Vodafone gave it a small assignment, which required only 5 people to complete. Gradually the company grew, and by 2011 it was an ISO certified Limited company with about 7000 employees spread over 100 offices. As inspiring as this growth is, the real story actually truly begins here.

Since Enterprise Content Management didn’t quite exist as a concept in India, no organization really had the capacity to manage documents for a giant like Vodafone, across various States. So Vodafone put forward a challenge to its multiple vendors – to get this huge business for their company, they must open 450 fully-functional offices within one month of signing contract.
SoftAge decided to take the risk, and start scouting for the office locations before it had even signed the contract. Within 10 days of signing the contract, SoftAge had opened 450 offices in 450 districts across the vast landscape of India, each of which were fully equipped with staff and infrastructure.

There was no looking back for the organization after that point. It opened its first international office in that very year in UAE. Only two and a half years since the Vodafone contract, SoftAge has 600+ offices across Asia and Africa.

Both SoftAge’s rapid growth and its immense cache of clients including Airtel, Indigo, Ogilvy, Indian Air Force, Indian Space Research Organization, MTS and Max New York Life Insurance indicate a trend. Enterprise Content Management companies are clearly benefiting their clients and are here to stay.

What do you think? Feel free to leave comments and insights on this page.

[1] Research by Environment Protection agency, Govt of USA.

7 Reasons Your Company Needs End-to-End Document Management

Monday, 9 February 2015
If you are in an organization, you create documents. Whether they are employee records, forms filled by customers, product plans, strategy memos, legal records, or even minutes of meetings. Those documents are valuable to someone somewhere in your organization – be it in terms of decision making or daily operations. But without a secure document management system in place, that value is often diminished due to damage or loss. This is especially true as the organization grows. Business Dictionary defines Document Management System (DMS) as, An electronic system designed to organize and manage documents. These documents are usually organized with software, which provides the user with the ability to access, modify, and centrally store the documents. Document management systems handle tedious tasks such as archiving, distribution, and creation of documents.

An end-to-end document management solution , such as one provided by SoftAge, includes a sophisticated DMS, along with value added services such as collection of the document from the company’s local offices/distribution points, verification of the document according to company parameters and warehousing of the physical document.
Here are 7 reasons your company should adopt an End-to-End Document Management System:
  1. Saves Money Both Directly and Indirectly: The time and money spent searching for paper files is significant. A study conducted by International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that an enterprise with 1,000 workers wastes between $2.5 and $3.5 million a year searching for important documents. In addition to this reduction in operational costs, storage costs are reduced because you don’t need to rent your own warehouses, you can simply scan and digitize everything or leverage off your DMS provider’s warehouse infrastructure. 
  2.  Greater Speed of Document Retrieval: Not only is money wasted in document retrieval, by an extension, so is time. IDC uncovered that staff spends around 20% of their working hours searching for information in files, although they only ever find half of what they are looking for. A DMS ensures that documents are indexed in several different ways simultaneously, and archived systematically. This ensures that the digital copy and the physical document can be searched & retrieved within a few minutes.
  3.  Controlled and Improved Document Distribution: A DMS acts as a centralizing force for all your information, ensuring control over document access and preserving intellectual capital & organizational knowledge. The locality of information is not locked away in the 'heads' of specific individuals who might leave, and can be easily shared across departments and physical locations, increasing the value of that information to the organization. This means that important operational data becomes portable and is easily accessible, whereas confidential information & sensitive documents are kept secure. An efficient DMS provider also ensures security for your documents through biometrics, state-of-art alarm systems and security personnel. 
  4.  Reduce Scope of Human Error:  There is often time lost in a manual system due to human error. A user may have stored a document in the wrong place by accident, indexed incorrectly, forgotten what the document was named etc. According to IDC and a PWC study, in an average office, one in 20 documents is lost for good. Lost documents can be expensive and time-consuming to replace. When stored in a central repository, documents remain centrally archived while being viewed or used, so that none are misplaced.
  5. Legal Benefits:  Organizations often find themselves dealing with legal proceedings. These might be small concerns such as fees & fines or larger disputes which involve court cases. Valid long-term records and documents are required and extremely helpful in such cases. Also, most industries have regulatory compliances and standards.  The risk of non-conformance leads to fines, license withdrawal, or in certain circumstances custodial sentences. An End-to-End DMS ensures that your organization is thoroughly prepared in such circumstances through a combination of systematically maintained records, security control, audit trails and archiving. 
  6.  Improved customer service and satisfaction: Efficient Document Management means reduced response times and a more accurate response. More controlled processes mean that the time spent on 'manually' ensuring customer satisfaction is reduced, and the process becomes more efficient. Also, the turn around time in delivering your product or service to the customer reduces, as the document-based process becomes more efficient.
  7. Increased Operational Efficiency: All of the above points imply or lead to increased operational efficiency. Also, using a DMS firm means that the organization can allocate resources to other core business activities. In addition to this, DMS has other operational benefits such as an improved cash flow. Increased productivity in accessing and processing invoices, debt collection and other "cash critical" business documents, ensures that the flow of cash can be controlled centrally and that all documentation required to make cash flow decisions can be accessed immediately

Global Document Management Conclave

Tuesday, 20 January 2015
Unarguably, SoftAge has emerged strongly as a key player in the DMS industry, with cutting edge technology and a team of over 10,700 employees. In fact, 2014 marks 20 years in this field and the company organized SoftAge Global Document Conclave to commemorate this achievement. 
According to the Indian national newspaper, The Daily Pioneer, "The event saw experts and professionals from across the globe and a variety of sectors talk about the right knowledge". Indeed, the conclave saw 120 diverse delegates and speakers from across 3 continents, was applauded in over 22 media appearances and brought together the 640+ offices of the organization. There was representation from a plethora of industries such as healthcare, telecom, education, insurance, consultancy, IT, charted accountancy, logistics and manufacture.
“Even as Document Management is deep rooted in our history, it is all the more important in today’s Digital Age. With the great influx of information in our organizations, DMS is what keeps us efficient, streamlined, process-oriented and fast-paced”, Mr Ozair Yasin, MD, in his opening address of the Global Document Management Conclave organized by SoftAge Information Technology limited.
The event began with the SoftAge I innovate awards, an initiative to facilitate ideas generated within the organization that aim to improve the DMS experience of its clients and prospects. The awardees were deeply honored as Dr Ishitiaq, Vice Chancellor, Magadh University and Mr Ram Mudaqavi, Head Customer Service from Vodafone presented the awards. 
This was followed by ExpertSpeak, a session which provided the delegates with an informed and holistic perspective on the field of Document Management and Enterprise Content Management. The first speaker, Mr Fredrick Giron, is an analyst from Forrester Research, a global research and advisory firm with intensive expertise in technology and change management. He spoke of the origins of the field and share insights regarding relevance in the present and the future, in both the Indian and the global context. The next speaker, Mr Sanad Al Meqbali, brought to the table the Middle East perspective, from UAE’s cutting-edge e-governance initiative to how the companies in the region are turning to sophisticated DMS technology to stream-line their processes. The next speaker was Mr Vivek Naidu, Vice President - Document Imaging (India Cluster) at Kodak Alaris India Pvt.Ltd. A man with over 27 years of experience in the field of IT and ITeS, Mr Naidu explored the symbiotic relationship between hardware and software in the context of DMS. 
The focus returned on innovation in the next segment, which showcased technologies, products and software aimed at making information management simpler, faster and more cost-effective. This was followed by a panel discussion, moderated by the company’s Global IT Head, Ms Ananya Das. The illustrious panel included Mr Suchitto K Das (Chief Commercial Manager, South Eastern Railway), Mr Shailesh Upadhyay (Head, Customer Service, Vodafone India), Ms Diana Muthee-Gitiba (CEO, Adept Technologies, Africa), Mr Mustafa Naqwi (CEO, DNA, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and Murtuza Kachwala (Director, Protiviti Global). 
A surfeit of important insights emerged from this discussion. "We face difficulties on a daily basis to retrieve documents. This kind of technology, once we go in we should be able to store, retrieve and search documents in a much more efficient way," said Mr Suchitto Das in reference to the Indian Railways, as quoted by Business Standard and Economic Times. The panel went on to explore the current scenario in the field of document management, emerging trends and how DMS strategy would look like in the future, with focus on organizational bottom-line. 
It would suffice to say that the conclave succeeded in facilitation of learning, networking and innovation within the field. We hope to continue doing so through similar events, activities and forums in the future. Do keep an eye on this space for updates on this front!

SoftAge at CeBIT India 2014

Saturday, 10 January 2015
SoftAge Information Technology Limited, one of the leading firms providing solutions and services in Document Management participated in world’s leading B2B Business IT and ICT Exhibition in Bengaluru from 12th – 14th November 2014. The theme for CeBIT India 2014 was “New perspectives in IT Business”.

After various successful exhibitions across the globe, this was the first time CeBIT came to India. CeBIT India 2014 was designed to assist attendees steer the fast-changing technology background by putting the spotlight on innovative trends and current developments in the ICT industries.

SoftAge focused on New Perspectives in IT Business catering to the Indian market and to meet the objective of tapping sustainable growth in the IT industry and lead generation of new and national and international business opportunities.

 Indian IT Industry needs wide-ranging coverage in the following topic/sector clusters: Enterprise Content Management, ERP & Data Analysis, Research & Innovations, IT infrastructure and Data Centers, Security, Communication & Networks, and IT Services. CeBIT generated vital content on the following topics and boosted the Indian IT Companies.

 " As a key player in the Indian IT Industry, we need to be updated with the current trends and developments and this will be the platform where we will be able to grasp the current happenings the best move taken by our company. CeBIT India will focus on 4 key trends impacting the IT industry- Cloud, Social Media, Enterprise Mobility and Big Data. CeBIT India will act as an enabler and catalyst for growth in our Business IT and ICT market." said Ms. Fahmida Ozair CEO, SoftAge.

The show generated vital content on a range of topics around key technology trends – four forces that are changing the way the world does business today – Enterprise Mobility, Social, Big Data & Cloud Computing.

 Indian IT Industry is rapidly expanding at a fast pace and ha s a great scope for moving altogether too new heights. This event will not only be a ladder in the success but also will introduce trend changing things. Thus the event provides the participating Indian ICT companies opportunities for exploring the four forces that are changing the way the world does business today – Enterprise Mobility, Social, Big Data & Cloud Computing.

SoftAge at Gitex 2014

Tuesday, 2 December 2014
12th to 16th October 2014 marked one of the most noteworthy convergence points for the leaders and members of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry around the world. This was when the 34th GITEX Technology Week was held, in the Dubai World Trade centre.
Launched in 1981, GITEX is considered the business gateway to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia Region by ICT industry experts. The event offers a unique for international entities to come together under one roof and strike long-term alliances which foster innovation, drive revenues and heighten consumer engagement, said Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice-president, exhibitions and events management, Dubai World Trade Centre.
The themes of GITEX 2014 were Cloud, Big Data, Real-time Mobile and Smart Destinations. These indeed are the current global ICT trends, and since SoftAge Information Technology Limited believes in constant innovation, its products & services aligned seamlessly with these themes. SoftAge therefore participated in the forum in order to showcase, partner, learn and contribute in terms of expertise.
The key aim remained to stay relevant, to garner knowledge and alliances which would help provide the best possible services and the most sophisticated technology to organizations across the globe.
The focal service was SoftAge’s unique End-to-End Document Management Service. This is a complete basket of products and services which includes all logistics, software, IT support, expertise and infrastructure which an organization requires in order organize and manage its paper documents and digital information effectively. This includes document pickup, digitization, data processing, image scanning, warehousing and secure shredding. This is accompanied by an eDMS software with a convenient UI for hierarchy-based information access as well as a swift retrieval facility for the physical document.
In the gamut of ICT products and IT enabled services showcased at GITEX, this services stood out as a holistic solution of organizations’ document management needs.
As the curtains came down on the 34th Gitex Technology Week 2014, exhibitors, organizers and visitors hailed the event for its inclusive insights into the latest issues and trends in the ICT industry. SoftAge has striven to bring these valuable insights into the organization, with the fortitude to constantly evolve its products and services.

Social Initiatives

Monday, 13 October 2014
SoftAge Foundation
The idea behind the creation of the SoftAge foundation has always been to provide all the
possible help to those juveniles who have been the fatal heirs of mentally deranging diseases. The foundation is willing to help anyone and everyone, and is at present focusing on the children and the relatives of the employees. One paisa per processed form is contributed to the foundation and medical and financial aid is provided wherever required.
In an earnest endeavour to abate differences and the feeling of being unfortunate, the foundation is ready to put in endless efforts to make it happen. As it has been rightly said, “Charity sees the need, not the cause”, SoftAge foundation also provides financial aid for the education of children, especially the girl child. With these initiatives the foundation hopes to extend a helping hand to the society and contribute to the county’s overall development.
Rural  Employment

In our populous India, a ballpark figure, 60% of the population belongs to the rural part of the country. Out of this huge chunk of countryside dwellers, 10.1% are still unemployed. As an attempt to lessen this unemployment, SoftAge seeks to generate employment in rural India, through the document Verification – Digitization - Archival - Retrieval process. This is done by providing employment in the home town itself, so that it doesn’t lead to migration of village folks to metropolises. An idea that promotes modernization without urbanization, and also doesn’t leave rural areas deserted. In this way, the people don’t have to leave their native towns and can be employed while staying with their families.
And as a future strategy, we have in mind the idea of establishing rural BPO and institutions where document management courses could be conducted. This would serve the purpose of creating employment on an even larger scale while developing finer human resource for the organization. 
Environmental Awareness

As the father of our nation had stated, “The Earth provides for every man’s need, not every
man’s greed”, SoftAge makes serious efforts to maintain the piousness of our environment. Following the three R’s; Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, as the judicious use of environment’s resources is extremely crucial, our family hopes to spread this message of taking care of our planet far and wide.
As a Document Management Company, in our process, we use recyclable cardboard cartons to store documents in our warehouses and paper envelopes. We also discourage the use of plastic and other non-biodegradable materials. 

Our Services

Tuesday, 30 September 2014
Document Collection: Documents can be collected from client site or client point of sale from the remotest of locations across length and breadth of India through a highly experienced team of document collection professionals. Our complete document data collection services include service customization to client’s specific needs which helps your business deliver better performance. High-volume document data collection can be availed 24 x 7.

Document Verification: The collected documents go through a rigorous audit process and are verified as per the respective client's norms by the company's specially trained verification executives. The entire verification process involves reviewing, inspecting, and testing to establish that the document meets the regulatory standards or respective norms as specified by the client. Audit and verification processes emphasize on giving the clients complete information, genuineness and reliability of documents. 
Today's growing population supplemented by huge migrations has led to identity related issues. SoftAge plays an active role in resolving such issues by providing address verification services through Address verification agents by visiting even the remotest locations in the country.

Image Processing: SoftAge offers a comprehensive document scanning service which encompasses all major formats such as TIFF, PDF, PDF searchable and OCR to Word format. The initial stage comprises of preparing files for scanning and unitization by removal of unwanted materials such as staples, pins etc to ensure that every image/document is processed correctly and accurately. Scanning of documents is carried out on one of the high speed scanners using the latest technology which ensures best possible image capturing facilities. Image enhancements such as cropping, deskew and despeckle is done to further ensure the best possible result.

Files are converted into the required file format and processed to achieve the highest quality, accuracy and validation. Scanned images are then systematically tagged so they can be easily searched and retrieved in a timely manner. After this all scanned images are transferred to suitable storage medium such as DVD, hard disk, or uploading to FTP servers for immediate access. Quality check & review for each functional area is conducted to ensure that all project requirements are met and that no variation is introduced to the process.

Data Processing: The activity involves data conversion into electronic format. It is characterized by accuracy, cost effectiveness and timely record creation in terms of volume and project size. The company offers the flexibility of processing the documents for manual or online data entry from any format – hand written originals, typed copy, online sources or scanned images. Data coding of collated information by experienced data entry operators is conducted in a customized database followed by thorough quality checks to ensure first stage data entry is 99% accurate. The data is provided to the clients in specific formats. 
The following forms may require manual data entry at some point, often in large numbers: 
Feedback forms

Customer application forms
Job application forms
Personnel forms
Company details
Warranty cards
Student enrolment forms
Online data capture services
Data entry from images
Data entry from product catalogs to web based systems
Data entry from hard/soft copy to any database format

Storage: SoftAge has ideally designed its Document Warehouse secure storage system to store highly confidential documents requiring long term preservation. When a file box comes to our facility it is entered into our state of the art tracking system containing a bar coded box number. Archive containers are tracked by means of bar codes. Documents are indexed to File or Box level and can be tracked, retrieved by means of a secure web based system. Our document storage services enable you to store your company's critical records offsite with peace of mind. Our state of the art complex ensures you the highest level of protection to ensure the records are there when you need them. Access to our records management system which is well connected with internet is possible 24/7 via the web. The system can be customized to meet any company's needs. Our storage facility is monitored by security CCTV video recording, 24/7/365 security guards, burglar and fire alarm systems, and various fire suppression systems and water sprinklers to ensure documents and records are stored safely. The entire complex is temperature controlled. If a box or file is needed simply call, fax, or e-mail us and our staff will be able to get what you need. We can deliver electronically within minutes, or place the actual file in your hand within hours to ensure you get the document when you need the most.

The data storage devices are used for backup and archiving of data. We offer a number of different data storage solutions to store the electronic versions of our clients paper files and database, our solutions will vary depending on the volume of paperwork and the security required. Below are some of our most popular options:

  • Magnetic media (hard drives)
  • Magneto –Optical storage
  • Compact discs, CD–ROM
  • DVDs
  • WORM (Write Once , Read Many)
  • USB data stick
  • Passport hard drive

Search and Retrieval: SoftAge complete document management solution (DMS) process helps to quickly search through thousands of documents in order to pinpoint the information they need. Indexing of every word in document and keywords allows users to quickly sort large volumes of data to find the right document in the shortest time possible. The computer–aided retrieval system ensures quick access to stored documents. With multiple methods of indexing, retrieval of relevant documents becomes fast, easy and efficient ensuring optimum time and cost efficiency. The entire DMS process has strong software support to back up our services.

IT Support: We provide customized software for the managing the whole life cycle of document. Various MIS are also provided as per requirement for reporting, analyzing and surveying purposes. Some of the major services delivered are:
Server monitoring
On-site technical consultancy
Network/server support
Software/Hardware procurement
Data backup and recovery
Permanent on-site personnel or teams
HR Support: Trained human resource is provided at any level of the document management process. We provide manpower if required by client throughout the document management process for data entry, scanning, auditing / complete life cycle. We help our clients save costs with our managed service programs.