REVIEWER: Richard "Chester" Holleran, senior engineering manager for Agfa's Electronic PrePress Systems division.
BACKGROUND: Agfa Corp. is the U.S.-based division of Belgium's Agfa-Gevaert Group, which produces and distributes an extensive range of analog and digital imaging systems, services and products, mainly for the graphics industry, the healthcare sector, photography, non-destructive testing of materials and industrial imaging.
PLATFORMS: Agfa runs the Stellent Content Management system on Dell servers using Microsoft's Windows 2000 server software.
PROBLEM SOLVED: In 1996, Agfa decided to institute a more efficient, Web-based process for managing ISO 9001-related content for our electronic prepress systems (EPS) product development group. At that time, our productivity was hindered as we plodded through information stored in binders and electronic files identified by cryptic, eight-character UNIX filenames. We also needed a more effective way to share information across Agfa's departments and with partners. To address these challenges, we implemented Stellent Content Management to more efficiently manage all of our critical ISO 9001 documentation and improve communication and information-sharing processes among Agfa employees, across company departments and with Agfa partners. The system manages ISO 9001 procedures, records and work instructions, human resources (HR) content and forms for Agfa's intranet, and product and materials information for Agfa's partner extranet. Other business units across Agfa in the NAFTA region were managing ISO 9001 documentation through inefficient, paper-based systems. After seeing Stellent technology in action and the business benefits it generates, the central quality department decided it was the perfect company-wide solution, and it was deployed across all business units in the NAFTA region.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Stellent has revolutionized the way we conduct business. The system has become the central repository for much of Agfa's critical business content. More than 700 Agfa employees contribute content to the Stellent system using their Web browsers. Content is saved in its native format, enabling authors to easily update the information. Once submitted, Stellent automatically converts Agfa's content to PDF files, which are automatically published to the intranet and, where appropriate, the extranet. Nearly 5,000 employees regularly access the Stellent system through the intranet, which provides secure access to ISO 9001 documentation. Agfa employees and partners utilize the extranet to exchange product drawings, specifications and engineering change orders. By making business information readily available on our intranet and extranet, we are reducing costs, increasing employee productivity, bringing products to market faster and gaining other competitive advantages. We eliminated an $80,000 yearly cost for producing a CD-ROM containing information that had been sent to equipment dealers and suppliers on a quarterly basis. Now, Agfa's dealers and suppliers access that information on the extranet. Development teams use the intranet to quickly share information and collaborate on content, giving Agfa an advantage over competitors and enabling us to get our products to market faster.
STRENGTHS: Stellent Content Management is easy to use. By storing content in native formats, Stellent enables employees to work in the applications with which they are most comfortable, which greatly minimizes the amount of training required and accelerates user adoption. Stellent's search functionality is also a key strength, which has increased employee productivity by making information easy to find.
WEAKNESSES: We have used the software in situations outside its intended scope. In these situations, we have found that while Stellent Content Management is largely open to support customer-developed customizations, certain modules are unable to be modified by anyone except Stellent.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Through extensive market research, we quickly determined Stellent Content Management offers the most easy-to-use, Web-based content management solution on the market at a very attractive price.
DELIVERABLES: Stellent Content Management enables us to make critical business content quickly and easily accessible 24 hours a day on Agfa's intranet and extranet.
VENDOR SUPPORT: Other than a demonstration of the product, no pre-implementation support was required. The first of five instances of Stellent software was installed and fully configured by Agfa, without assistance from Stellent, in less than one day. Post-implementation telephone support (under our maintenance agreement) has been excellent. The best aspect of working with Stellent has been their attentiveness to our opinions and ideas, many of which have been reflected in the product as it has evolved.
DOCUMENTATION: The documentation appears to be comprehensive, although Agfa's personnel did not need to use it in order to install and configure the software. For advanced topics and developer/ customization information, the documentation has almost always produced the answer in a direct fashion.
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