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Ondeo Industrial Solutions Customer Story

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  • Streamlined document management and storage
  • Document volume control
  • Solution used by all employees of the subsidiary
  • Implementation arouses interest from other Group subsidiaries

Background and key issues

Created in 2002, Ondeo Industrial Solutions, a subsidiary of the SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Group, partners with major industrial players by providing them with a full range of water cycle management services. Ondeo Industrial Solutions offers innovative solutions, tailored to each business sector, to respond to specific industrial problems in relation to water resource management, raw water treatment, supply of process water, wastewater treatment, and the evaluation of slurry, sludge, and by-products.

The business activities of Ondeo IS span a wide range of solutions and technologies, including the design and construction of water treatment plants, plant management and maintenance, the provision of related services, and the supply of equipment.

Ondeo Industrial Solutions is present in France, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, and the Benelux countries, but also operates globally under international contracts, particularly in the Middle East and in South America, to assist its industrial customers in executing their projects.

Ondeo IS France has teams of engineers and industrial waste water treatment specialists located throughout France so they can stay close to their customers and respond quickly and effectively to their various needs. Its expert teams are distributed across 9 branches and 65 operating sites, spread throughout the country.

The French subsidiary conducted an audit of all the documents that are created and shared within the company. They began by identifying the documents:

  • What kind of documents are they?
  • Who issues them?
  • What journey do they take within the company prior to validation?
  • How are they managed?
  • By whom?, etc.

Three “potential solutions” were tested, two of which were already used in the company: Microsoft SharePoint and IBM Lotus Notes. The third solution tested was OpenText Livelink, used by Degrémont, another subsidiary of the SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT Group.

The solution implemented

Analysis of the existing system revealed several dysfunctional areas. Several versions of the same document were stored in different places. The storage location might be on a file server, an email server, or even on the individual hard disk drives of company employees. It was therefore complicated and difficult to locate the most up-to-date, validated, ‘single version of the truth’ for  a document.

Furthermore, the very nature of the company’s business entails a need for regular review of historical documents related to customers, whether this concerns a response to a call for tenders or the signature of a contract. As the management of different documents was not centralized, it could be very difficult to find different items relating to the same customer. There was also a consequent loss of expertise and a lack of consistency among documents of the same kind.

In response to this situation, Ondeo IS decided to study what was on offer in the marketplace in order to find a high-performing data management solution that would enable it to store, securely share and manage all the company’s documents using a single system.

Several proposals studied.

After significant review and study, Ondeo IS selected an Alfresco solution. It provides a comprehensive process-first content management system capable streamlining a massive volume of documents. Alfresco’s proposal did not involve complex integration nor did it come at a high cost.

In order to fully and firmly validate its choice initially, Ondeo IS developed its applications simultaneously using two platforms: SharePoint and Alfresco.

Before long, the decision was taken to switch all their applications to the Alfresco solution.

The introduction of storage and management of office data files, which allowed users to manage their own access, was the first task of the migration project. It involved migrating all office documents to Alfresco while using the native functionalities of the product: document versioning, sharing, and searching.

The second project added the introduction of data entry forms with validation workflow. Ondeo developed its own interfaces using Alfresco to support three applications that had been developed under .Net.

These applications were used to monitor the company’s major accounts and actions directly related to that business, the sales monitoring application (revenue by site, by customer, etc.) and the intranet which allows customers to consult, as and when they wish, to check the status of their projects.

Together, these developments converge towards achieving one of the major objectives of Ondeo IS which is to streamline the volume of documents produced, exchanged, and stored.

All 400+ company employees in France are users of the Alfresco system system.


The Alfresco projects implemented within Ondeo IS generated interest from other subsidiaries of the Group. The Spanish subsidiary, Akbar, adopted solutions from Alfresco. Lyonnaise des Eaux, a subsidiary of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, specialist in the distribution of drinking water and wastewater treatment, also  installed Alfresco platforms.

Finally, with regard to the parent company itself, a Proof of Concept (POC) is to be carried out at SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT. This prototype should enable validation of a possible migration to Alfresco of a document repository currently hosted on Lotus. That migration will also present an opportunity to add tag functionalities, in particular, to replace the conventional tree structure search with a tag search.


Implementation of the Alfresco solution has brought much greater flexibility to task execution.

It has enabled the creation and implementation of modeling tools which have generated increased productivity and improved performance.

It has generated better monitoring of constraints associated with the company’s actual business, particularly where the importance of contractually agreed dates for delivery of documents to customers is concerned, since the delayed delivery of documents can sometimes result in the payment of fines.

“In terms of storage space, Alfresco enables us to confine the disk space required and thereby limit our purchases of this kind of hardware. Furthermore, we consider it an advantage that the Alfresco solution is Open Source, even though we did not specify that requirement. This has turned out to be a real asset. The fact that we have not retained a proprietary system means that we have been able to introduce a solution which meets the specific needs of our business to perfection.”

— Daryoush Mikaili, Head of Information Systems at Ondeo IS Fra