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Modernizing Business Processes and Enhancing Governance


Pension Provider



  • Zia ECM Strategy Assessment
  • ECM/BPM Modernization Services
  • Enterprise-Wide Paperless Initiative


  • Virtually eliminated ECM system downtime
  • Substantially enhanced performance of business processes
  • Digitized decades worth of paper records
  • Established paperless workflows
  • Replaced spreadsheets with enterprise RM system for off-site paper records

The Company

Provider of health and life insurance benefits and retirement services.

The Situation

This partnership started around a need to make the ECM system at their company work better for the organization. Their Alfresco solution was not running effectively, performance was subpar, and the system was down multiple times per week.

More broadly, the company wanted to modernize their business processes across departments and improve overall governance including more than 100 years’ worth of paper records.

Zia was engaged and started with a pilot project to deliver a support tool for the customer service team. After a successful partnership was proven with the launch of this tool, Zia performed a strategic ECM assessment, including a full code review, to develop a roadmap of projects that would improve the stability of the Alfresco system and launch a cross-department ECM modernization effort as well as conversion of the paper documents.

A collaborative process was used for the strategic assessment, including working closely with end users to identify and prioritize their future requirements for enhancements of the system. Ongoing training and knowledge transfer was provided throughout the engagement to the existing business content team so they could assume ownership of the production support tasks and ultimately take responsibility in order to extend functionality.

The Solution

Modernization: Enhancing and Extending

Zia took over production support for the existing implementation and was then engaged to complete projects to help extend functionality to business units across the organization. At the time, their search functionality was not comprehensive and users never knew if they were getting all the proper results. There was also a need to put an electronic signature solution in place in order to expedite the account reconciliation process.

These updates simplified the complexity of the custom code and improved the overall maintainability of the system—which significantly decreased the amount of system downtime—while enhancing and expediting business processes.

As a first step, outdated code was removed or simplified wherever possible and code silos were removed to reach the goal of making the code configurable and nimble. This was followed by enhancements including:

Enterprise Profiling

  • Before: The company had multiple profiling applications with siloed code bases which made maintenance challenging.
  • After: A single enterprise profiler, configurable by business unit, provides the same functionality across the business while a single code base results in easier maintenance and functionality additions, along with simplified permissions.

Universal Search

  • Before: Multiple advanced search forms with silos existed and permissions on documents were not correctly set. Search functioned within a single taxonomy only, meaning users couldn’t see all the documents related to a client across business units (pensions, life, etc.), so users were unsure if results were complete.
  • After: A single, enterprise advanced search, which is configurable by the business units, allows for search across multiple taxonomies as well as allowing users to search by metadata fields.

Automated Reconciliation and Electronic Signatures

  • Before: This monthly process manually reconciled accounts and then sent to authorized individuals for signatures.
  • After: Users upload reconciliation form and supporting documents allowing relevant information to be automatically extracted from spreadsheets and populated as metadata (allows for reports, search, etc). A workflow task is created for approval and, once approved, a reconciliation spreadsheet form is converted to a pdf and an electronic signature is appended.

Governance: Digitization, Paperless, and Paper

Back-File Conversion

Like many financial services organizations that have existed for decades, they had developed a process for the storage of paper records. Many of these records were stored in a location in central Manhattan, to provide access as needed.

Over time, the cost of storing these records became more and more prohibitive, leading to a desire for a “back-file conversion” solution.

Working with Zia, the company’s internal team outlined a process to review more than 100 years of paper records, converting those that continued to have a useful life and disposing of those that could be removed. Following the conversion, paper records are now available electronically to anyone who needs them and the company saved millions by substantially reducing paper storage in New York City.

 Managing Electronic Documents

Simultaneous to the back-file conversion process, the company also wanted to make sure this situation didn’t recur. To do so, the company worked with Zia to set-up a process to ensure they could become virtually paperless across the enterprise—partnering together to automate almost every document process in the company. As documents arrive via paper, they are scanned, classified, and intelligently routed, along with electronic documents. As a result, document processing occurs more quickly and with lower error rates than ever before.

 Managing Remaining Paper Records

While the vast majority of paper records were converted, the company still needed a way to manage and track legacy paper records stored offsite. They partnered with Zia to create and implement Alfresco Records Management to track these boxes of records through their lifecycle and apply basic RM principles such as disposition schedules and legal holds.  By digitizing the box inventory sheets and applying disposition schedules to each, the company is now able to accurately locate items subject to holds via a full text search and to ensure that eligible records are properly disposed of at the end of their lifecycle.

The Results

Across both the business process modernization effort as well as the governance enhancements, the benefits to the company are substantial. Within a short amount of time, the Alfresco system was highly stable and downtime has been nearly eliminated—two Alfresco upgrades helped in this progress as well. With the existing code base streamlined, maintenance is much simpler allowing them to be more self-sufficient. The additional business process enhancements substantially aid in the performance of document systems across the organizations.

On the governance side, the enhancements provided:

  • Millions of dollars in savings from the digitization of decades’ worth of paper documents.
  • Time and cost benefits and reduced errors from the establishment of the paperless process for documents in the future.
  • Synchronized enterprise-wide ability to manage and search reports by replacing spreadsheets with electronic RM system for off-site paper records.

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