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INFOTECH: Make Archiving Pay


Recent Gauteng Business News

Occasionally data runs amuck, slows down your whole system and dramatically impacts overall performance. Then there is the tendency for documents to multiply, disappear and get partially obscured by coffee stains. Simultaneously, regulatory requirements compel information retention and lifecycle management, and your demanding business users want faster, more efficient search and retrieval.

What is the best solution? An IT Briefing produced by entitled “Archiving in the SAP-Enabled Enterprise: Ten Ways to Make It Pay” confirmed that a comprehensive archiving solution for SAP that extends the capability of SAP applications, improves system performance, functions as a long-term repository for regulatory compliance, and helps achieve the enterprise integration that is the goal of your SAP implementation” is what is required.

The report goes on to state that archiving is a critical activity for any enterprise, yet too often it remains a low priority. “The archive can – and should – be an enhancement and extension of the online production system, allowing production applications to execute more efficiently and providing real-time access to data and documents that no longer need to reside in the production system.

“An archive that seamlessly integrates SAP and non-SAP content gives employees, customers and business partners a unified view of business-critical information that enables them to take faster action, make better decisions, collaborate and operate more efficiently. They are able to view, download, and print documents, reports, and images in any format without logging on to a separate application and without leaving the SAP environment. Archiving helps solve vital technical, business and legal issues for the enterprise.”

Bateleur Software’s ASG-Mobius Product Manager, June Julyan agreed. “Archiving has many important benefits for an organisation and having just experienced a difficult financial year, delivering ROI emerged as the most critical factor. Archiving can address issues such as duplication and redundancy, cutting out unnecessary workloads, reducing paper costs – all issues that impact your bottom line.”

Archiving certainly accelerates your return on investment (ROI). Archiving ROI saves both small and large enterprises millions of dollars with savings delivered faster than expected as the process reduces the time and effort required to manage the lifecycle of enterprise content. As part of an overall lifecycle management project, archiving provides efficiencies that would not otherwise be realised. At the same time, archiving content, regardless of type (data, documents, images, print lists, and so on) also improves system availability and performance.

As an example of some these delivered efficiencies, Julyan elaborated: “"An organisation needs to ask themselves: What does it cost to provide a printed report? Working with paper is very labour intensive with labour accounting for up to 80% of a company's operating cost. This is where a sophisticated online 'filing system' like ViewDirect – a highly scalable content repository from ASG-Mobius – can be just the right solution.

"Bank of America with 150 000 users were motivated to stop printing – they now use ViewDirect and they don't print. The solution is flexible and customisable and all available through a user-friendly web-browser interface.”

Fast, secure, Web-based access to an integrated view of archived content leverages the value of the SAP investment by improving productivity and customer service. Archiving facilitates speedy, secure access to your records. When using ViewDirect, the software provides access through a web browser to mission-critical documents, reports and images. Its ability to support high-volume, high-performance, simultaneous-access requirements in distributed environments that range from the desktop to the mainframe has made it the industry leader in content management solutions.

The IT Briefing discusses data and document archiving and the ways it can save time, money, and effort, while helping safeguard the integrity of your information and meeting the requirements of stringent new reporting regulations. Archiving and managing the entire lifecycle of data and documents ensures compliance for legal, regulatory, quality assurance, and disaster recovery purposes.

“The benefits of data archiving are in four primary areas: system availability, storage savings, system performance, and legal and compliance issues,” said Julyan. Notably, when talking storage savings, the report shows how 10 gigabytes of data generates 80 gigabytes of data via mirroring and copies. Through archiving, with a compression rate of 20%, this number can be reduced dramatically.

The right document archive offers powerful capabilities and benefits. It can deliver a common portal to integrated enterprise information. “The ability to capture, store and integrate documents in any format and with browser-based access for online viewing, is a natural choice for building corporate portals. A document archive should enable an organisation to unify the enterprise and provide its employees, partners and customers with a Web- or network-based portal to an integrated archive of SAP documents, reports and production data as well as non-SAP generated content,” the report said.

Other benefits of archiving include: improving your Business Process Management; efficiently organise and easily access documents in multiple formats; make documents from Back-Office Systems available for customers and partners; reduce the expensive and inefficient process of manual paper handling (the paper trail becomes a well-kept document archive instead of an expensive and inefficient liability); and eliminate the risk of misfiled documents.

"Using any format available for successful archiving from Word, Excel, PDF, email, pictures, video, etc, ViewDirect pulls and collates in seconds thousands of pages of information into a spreadsheet which can then be used for analysis and decision making," commented Julyan. “It is a workable, controllable environment to distribute and keep information for customers and internal staff, which eliminates distribution costs including transport, mailing and courier costs, while making the right information available online immediately. And you don't need to change your existing system which makes you more responsible and efficient."

The report continued: “Document archiving is all about helping you become organised. It captures, indexes and stores documents across your entire enterprise. It also provides powerful search capabilities, personalised views of enterprise documents and automated distribution.”

Highlighting best practice Archiving and Information Lifecycle Management (ILM), the report stated that using ViewDirect TCM, a large organisation could archive 10-million document pages per month, and save money by eliminating microfiche and millions of pages of auto-report printing, and disk space. Managing its Data Lifecycle Management, an organisation could archive about 150-million transactions out of SAP R/3 each month.

“ILM is not just archiving and putting data away for a “rainy day;” it is leveraging this information. The ILM platform is part of the information distribution infrastructure of the enterprise.” Archiving enables collaboration and streamlines business processes by having all content available for use in automated workflow solutions.

Efficient archiving is a key enabler of business intelligence by having archived content readily accessible throughout its lifecycle. Archiving also reduces the total cost of ownership of the IT infrastructure. By reducing the amount of content being managed online, you can better manage the costs of servers and storage, as well as associated administration costs, which are typically five to seven times the cost of hardware.

One of the greatest benefits of implementing an archiving and content management solution is the significant improvement in operational efficiency. Speeding access to information regardless of format or source allows users to get their jobs done more quickly and easily.

ViewDirect seamlessly integrates content from both SAP and non-SAP applications and provides access to the content from within SAP or outside of SAP. “ASG, with the ASG-Mobius solutions, is the only company with the experience, leadership and vision to help our customers manage the explosive growth of information and leverage critical information assets to further the goals of the organisation,” Julyan said.

Bateleur's chairman, Sam Selmer-Olsen commented, "If one recalls the old days where we dealt with a thick client server, ASG-Mobius ViewDirect is impressive. It is better than paper because it is value-added. You could use it at an internet cafe in Barcelona with no problem as access is web-enabled and it runs easily from a Windows or UNIX server's laptop to a massive mainframe."

High-volume, rapid-access archiving solutions have been provided to the global business community using ASG-Mobius solutions since 1981. Over 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies are ASG-Mobius customers. ViewDirect TCM is an integrated suite of solutions for total content management. At its heart is the world’s most powerful content repository. Every hour, hundreds of millions of enterprise content pages – in all imaginable formats and coming from every platform – are stored and accessed with ASG-Mobius ViewDirect TCM technology.

ASG-Mobius was the first enterprise content management vendor SAP-certified “Powered by SAP NetWeaver” and is the industry-leading provider of software for high-volume, integrated archiving of diverse content. This ensures that ASG-Mobius’s suite of solutions for total content management integrates seamlessly with the SAP Web Application Server to find related business information in real time, giving employees a unified view of business-critical information that enables them to take faster action, make better decisions, and collaborate and operate more efficiently.


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