CHH links DM, CRM systems

U-Bix Document Solutions and Carter Holt Harvey have worked closely to manage the latter's intellectual property and ideas through its new document management solution.

U-Bix Document Solutions and Carter Holt Harvey have worked closely to manage the latter’s intellectual property and ideas through its new document management solution.

The rollout was to complement the Carter Holt Harvey Ideas to Business (i2b) programme. In its second year, the programme invites staff and selected business partners to submit innovative business ideas.

“Our view was we saw the scope of what they wanted to do which was to manage knowledge information about people, places and information needed for faxes, email etc,” says U-Bix corporate division head Roy Godwin. “It was basically to [manage] all the documents created — electronic or paper-based. They needed to record that and have access to that information at a moment’s notice. Their overall concept was a knowledge-type thing.”

CHH new ventures manager Andy Blackburn says the division needed a simple robust system that would do one thing “damn well”.

“We also needed system we could develop further ourselves.”

Because CHH had already been looking at customer relationship management (CRM) packages, U-Bix suggested that rather than looking at a new system entirely for document management, it provide the back-end solution. A document database for managing all unstructured data, Alchemy, was selected for this function.

“We agreed that if they had a CRM package to manage their contacts and with Alchemy being extremely good at managing all the documents, we’d build a link between the two,” says Godwin. The project went live in April.

Creating this link, called iFish, between the two products — the CRM product Goldmine and Alchemy — presented the biggest challenge. The top priorities behind the project were ease of use and good turnaround time for recovery of information.

Both Godwin and Blackburn realised that with growing interest in the programme the department would have struggled to keep on top of things. “[Last year] we received more than 500 ideas and went through a manual sorting process. We’ve launched one new venture and our i2b Incubation team are in the process of launching a further five businesses.

“This time around we’re inviting ideas … and we’re up to 700 so far. I think we’ll get more than 1000. So we needed a system for the care and handling of ideas. Getting ideas is one thing but making them happen is another,” says Blackburn.

For now, only the new venture’s team and chief executives have access to the database. “In a capability sense I’d love to throw it on to our intranet site. We’ve got 11,000 staff with open access which is easy and cheap to do,” says Blackburn. “From a confidentiality point of view, we’re just feeling our way through these issues now. But on the other hand you cannot destroy your intellectual property. I err on the side of sharing ideas … we’re moving that way pretty quickly,” he says.

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