Simple and above all future-proof document management, that was the starting point with which KBC went in search of a new Document Management System. As one of the largest banks in Belgium, KBC is subject to strict regulation, so a new system would have to be subjected to the same tough test. KBC Bank’s project team finally chose the DMS of Epona Legal.
Saskia Mermans, Group General Counsel was involved in the process and laid out the vision: “In the situation before we started working with Epona, we did have a DMS, but it was starting to hit its limits. The functionalities did not match the needs of KBC Bank and the architecture did not match our desired working method. Documents were created and placed in this old DMS, but it was never really embraced by the entire legal department. This created a proliferation of places where file documents were located: one time a file was in the DMS, and another time on a file share. As a result, we sometimes did not have a complete picture of a file. That sometimes made it difficult to properly perform our duties as a legal department.”
Kurt Schrije is a Business Architect at KBC Bank and involved as project leader at the time of the project: “We first started 2.5 years ago with shaping a strategic roadmap for the legal department. From that process, the need to look out for a DMS quickly emerged. Our old DMS, Documentum, as Saskia also describes, was never fully adopted by every user. That proliferation of information sources meant that we were always losing a lot of time searching for information and there was never one complete repository for a file. The tool simply no longer fit how we wanted to proceed.
In March 2021, the green light came to replace Documentum. Kurt: “We then started an RFI / RFP process in which we looked for a new solution. In accordance with the wishes of Saskia’s team, the package had to be very user-friendly in order to get the adoption rate as high as possible. Underlying this had to be a central repository for all relevant file data of the legal department. Only then would all teams be able to work well together on their documents. We have a corporate vision in terms of how we want to organize our IT, and here we often opt for a so-called “cloud first strategy.” Nevertheless, it is true that for this specific legal domain we were really a forerunner within the KBC Group with our choice of a Microsoft 365 cloud-based DMS.”
Bart Buysens was involved in the process as a member of the Team Operational Excellence: “Still, there was an important peculiarity in this project that threatened to make things complex. Ultimately, with Epona’s help, the project went extremely well. KBC’s ICT landscape is a mix of on premises servers and public cloud environments. We were going to do all kinds of migrations between them and make connections. I dare say that what we did there went so well that it is now considered best practice within our group. The great thing is that because of our new chosen architecture, actually a hybrid cloud setup, users don’t notice anything about where their data is.”
The implementation did take some doing, although they were not technical. Kurt: “At the time, of course, we were dealing with the corona pandemic, so everyone had to adapt to that. As a bank, we are strictly regulated and under heavy supervision from the regulator, which means we always have to pay close attention to the impact of these kinds of processes on our compliancy. We can sometimes be a bit of an unwieldy bank, but Epona Legal’s agility and quick turnaround helped us anticipate potential problems quickly. Our project leader Liesbeth van Woerkom from Epona and technical specialists from Epona like João Lopes have been an important part of the success.”
Bart Buysens adds: “The solution-oriented nature of Epona is commendable. They are very goal-oriented and direct, something that sometimes does not always correspond well with our Belgian culture, but fortunately that did not get in the way of the project’s success.”
Bart van Wanroij, Managing Director of Epona Legal noted another important piece of work during the project that should not go unmentioned: “Together with KBC Bank, we had quite a job on the OpenText migration, which was a very special part of the project. It was almost entirely custom-written for the bank. Because the project guidance from KBC Bank was very clear, with clear timelines and milestones, we were able to fit this kind of customization into the project perfectly. The organization has to deal with so-called “Chinese Walls”, departments are simply not allowed to access each other’s files under any circumstances due to regulations. Managing that well during the migration, but also being able to continue to guarantee the long term, was an important part of the project.”
DMSforLegal was selected after a selection process and a POC, and then in January 2022 the package finally went fully live. Now that the system is fully running the users are very satisfied; very soon after launch we already reached a high number of users within the team. Kurt: “The combination of Outlook and Office 365 has made filing and searching documents much easier and above all faster. Because all actions take place within the Microsoft shell that the users are already familiar with, adoption was also arranged very quickly. There was almost no need for additional training focused on the functioning of the software because everything worked as it did with other Microsoft products such as Office. We could therefore focus entirely on teaching any adapted procedures, naming conventions etcetera.”
Bart Buysens: “We now have one system where all data resides, SharePoint Online. As a result, we can now also monitor all operational processes related to this data much better. This gives us better insight into what we are doing and more reporting options. We can now talk about a single source of truth, where before we had to deal with all the scattered silos. Partly because of greatly improved meta data entry, we can now find filmed pieces much better. It’s nice to have a lot of data, but if you can’t find it, it’s not much use. Epona solved that problem for us.
By using Microsoft 365, combined with DMSforOffice, DMSforLegal or DMSforSharepoint, you can use the Microsoft 365 platform as a fully functioning DMS, and use all your DMS data throughout the Microsoft universe. This combination of tools allows you to do more, with less software. You can simplify your IT, cut spending, save time and improve your information management and security capabilities.
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