The greater Montpellier urban area (agglomeration) turned to Bull to develop a general-purpose, scalable document management platform: a successful project that initiated a true partnership.
With 31 towns and villages and almost 400,000 inhabitants, the greater Montpellier urban area has put digital development at the heart of its future planning. Its information systems master plan defines the main lines of this strategy, in which electronic document management (EDM) plays a central role. “By facilitating the collection, management and transmission of information, EDM and computerization make a major contribution to the council’s modernization and efficiency,” stresses Christel Célié, Director of the Resources and Means center at the Montpellier urban authority.
Choosing Open Source
Having established the essential technical foundations, the Computing Resources Directorate (CRD) set about shaping its future EDM solution. The aim was to build a general-purpose application and document management platform which would subsequently allow the Directorate to gradually computerize the business processes that rely in exchanges of documents. “We were looking for a solution that covered the entire document lifecycle, and was capable of supporting the use of document management over the long term in all the council’s departments,” explains Philippe Gippet, Manager of the Analysis Department in the CRD. A totally Web-based Open Source platform, Alfresco, was chosen as it offered the general purpose qualities the council was looking for. “Open Source gives us guaranteed independence, durability, scalability and interoperability, because it adheres to industry standards.”
What’s more, the Alfresco solution is supported by a strong community and a number of powerful players including Bull, which was appointed at the end of 2010 to simultaneously develop the platform and the first two business applications. “As well as its technical and business skills, Bull has fully adhered to the continuous integration approach that rapidly delivers tangible results without losing sight of long-term goals,” confirms Philippe Gippet.
In June 2011 Bull delivered the EDM platform, along with the process for its industrialization – including the descriptions and methods that would guarantee consistent and rapid future developments – to a nevertheless tight deadline. The two pilot projects used to validate the chosen options are also fully up and running. The first enables files relating to invitations to tender put out by the agglomeration to be published on the intranet, and to be subsequently forwarded to the municipal treasury via the Helios exchange protocol. The second allows the Human Resources department to create templates for administrative documents and to make parts of them available to remote users via the intranet.
Bull: from supplier to partner
Rapidly adopted by users, who especially like their user-friendliness, both applications provide a taste of the numerous different ways that the document management platform will be used in the future. The next steps may involve developing an on-line map library for civil servants, integrating collaborative working functions, or making reference documents available on the intranet. And for all these projects – due to follow in the coming months – the CRD wanted to call on a trusted partner; therefore following on from their first joint success, the Directorate has chosen to form a two-year partnership with Bull.