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LexisNexis Risk Solutions Improves Productivity and Collaboration with Alfresco Content Services

After hitting the wall with SharePoint sprawl, LexisNexis Risk Solutions adopted Alfresco Content Services as its standard collaboration platform—regaining control while unleashing innovation and productivity. 

Information is Indispensable

LexisNexis Risk Solutions (LNRS) has been a trusted source of risk-related information for more than 40 years. With customers that include banks, insurers, retailers and government agencies, the company’s data and advanced analytics play a role in everything from mortgage lending and claims processing to fraud prevention and homeland security.

As a business built on information, LNRS understands the value of keeping content under control and readily accessible. That’s why the company has steadily expanded its use of Alfresco Content Services for document management and collaboration over the past seven years. Each new implementation was a chance to “improve our user experience and make our employees more productive,” says Jerry Jacob, Consulting Software Engineer at LNRS.

Legacy Limitations 

LNRS first adopted Alfresco in 2010 when a legacy enterprise content management (ECM) system, inherited in an acquisition, failed to meet requirements. The proprietary system constrained innovation, racked up downtime and required costly vendor changes to integrate with back office applications. 

LNRS also sought to curtail the spread of content silos. Thousands of standalone SharePoint and consumer file-sharing sites created challenges for document security, employee efficiency and IT management. “We wanted a single, unified platform that would serve our internal customers much better,” says Jacob. An open, easily extensible platform was the right choice for a technology company that prefers to build, not buy, its software. 

Seamless Integration 

After migrating four million documents into Alfresco in less than two years, LNRS completely shut down the legacy ECM system. By 2012, Alfresco was the standard document management solution for back office applications, including Siebel and the billing system. 

The guiding principle when implementing Alfresco as a document repository was “do not create a new user experience.” For example, employees using Siebel to onboard customers can add and retrieve documents in a custom Alfresco view integrated in the familiar application. Jacob credits this seamless integration to Alfresco’s open APIs and single sign-on (SSO) accessibility. 

Marketing Collaboration 

After this initial success, Jacob says “it was an easy decision to start using Alfresco for marketing collaboration.” At the time, Marketing had no centralized content store and no secure way to share files with external partners. Finding and publishing the most up-to-date collateral was a time-consuming, version control nightmare. 

In 2013, LNRS built a Marketing Materials Library based on Alfresco Share. Content automatically synchronizes between internal and external-facing Alfresco instances so marketers, agencies and printers all stay on the same page. The addition of an image library and a custom shopping cart for print-on-demand services “shows how extensible Alfresco is.” 

Sales Productivity 

LNRS’s next move was to use Alfresco to improve sales productivity. In particular, the company wanted to pull the plug on a failing SharePoint site that couldn’t keep pace with a growing Sales team. 

First, LNRS migrated the Sales news publication to Alfresco, streamlining its delivery with the platform’s review-and-approval workflow. Then the technology team developed Sales Desktop. This one-stop shop for sales resources includes industry dashboards that serve up assets relevant to specific business units. The “much-needed cleanup” means reps spend more time selling and less time searching for content. 

SharePoint Sprawl 

The Sales team’s struggles with SharePoint were indicative of a bigger problem. According to an internal survey, 59 percent of employees spent at least 30 minutes a day looking for information. SharePoint sprawl was a major culprit. Content was spread across 3,000 SharePoint sites, many of them redundant, outdated or no longer used. 

In 2014, LNRS put together the business case to migrate all SharePoint sites and content to Alfresco. The corporate intranet was the first site migrated. Risk Insider is now an Alfresco Share site; its default dashboard is packed with custom dashlets that connect LNRS employees to the latest company information and content resources. 

Migration Success 

LNRS has already migrated 1,400 SharePoint sites to Alfresco, including 800 in a two-month period. A key success factor has been the close partnership between the technology team and subject matter experts in the business units who help identify and prioritize migration needs. The company moves only active content into Alfresco (a two-step process that uses OpenMigrate and bulk importing); the rest is archived. 

The technology team also took steps to ensure a positive experience for employees who use and build Alfresco Share sites. Reusable custom dashlets simplify site creation and a custom theme standardizes look and feel. How-to guides and videos get employees up to speed quickly and easily. 

Maximizing Value 

LNRS’s current goal is to make the most of a standard collaboration platform that’s backed by a 10TB store of valuable business content. Jacob points to Knowledge Universities as a recent success. Business units use these Alfresco Share sites to post, assign and track employee training. Managers can keep tabs on new hire training, while employees keep their skills current with consolidated training assets and product documentation. 

A future initiative is context-based content delivery. The plan is to push relevant content to users’ dashboards with analytics powered by the company’s Big Data platform. 

Making an Impact 

LNRS’s seven-year journey with Alfresco has been filled with creative customizations and inventive ideas. (The latest innovation is a custom framework that renders a website from HTML, CSS and JavaScript files stored in a document library.) The technology team brought an unmanageable infrastructure under control, and employees appreciate how easily they can find, share and collaborate on content. Says one user, “Having all documents in one place, and version controlled, is a huge win for the whole business.” 

It’s this kind of feedback that’s especially gratifying to Jacob. “All the work that we do is not worthwhile unless it impacts employees in a positive way,” he says. 

“We wanted a single, unified platform that would serve our internal customers much better.” 

Jerry Jacob, Consulting Software Engineer at LexisNexis Risk Solutions