Systems integrator Sinax in Brazil is exploring a lot of innovative uses of the Nuxeo Platform, and developing some cool new features along the way. I caught up with Klyff Harley, General Manager of IT Development, to find out more about the content management carnival in Brazil.
Tell me about Sinax and your position there.
We develop solutions to improve the ways our clients manage information and business processes. We are also working on projects with the government to help them improve their transparency and open communication with the people they represent.
Why did you choose Nuxeo as your content management platform?
We started looking for a new solution in 2010. We were looking for a solution that is extensible, easy for customers to adopt, cost effective, and easy to deploy.
We chose Nuxeo because it’s open source and has an active community, the platform is extensible, and Nuxeo has successful use cases in government agencies. It was also easy to talk to someone at Nuxeo; they were very responsive.
You have two projects with 2 different city governments in Brazil. Can you tell me about them?
We developed applications for the São José dos Pinhais City Hall, in Paraná, Brazil, and the Cabo de Santo Agostinho City Hall, in Pernambuco, Brazil. In both projects, we developed a portal to serve the citizens of each town, using Nuxeo as a backend. This portals manage information about everything that happens in the city, including interactions with the public. The Nuxeo Platform serves as the content repository for all documents generated by the city government.
These are both high volume systems. The larger deployment, for the São José dos Pinhais City Hall, serves 300,000 users, including citizens. The directory has 6,000 users. There were over 4 million legacy paper documents to scan and put in Nuxeo. We built a custom capture solution in java that handles bar codes and OCR and places the content in the appropriate folder in Nuxeo.
I understand that you’ve developed a feature to use SMS text messages in Nuxeo. How is this feature used?
In Brazil, there are more than 2 mobile phones per person, so text messages are very much a part of our daily life.
We have developed a protocol to automate the process of communication between citizens and City Hall. For example, suppose a resident wants to make a request to cut down a tree on their street. There are a number of ways for the citizen to open that request - with a phone call, an email, going to City Hall in person, and now by text message. The request will be managed in the same way, regardless of the input channel. So a text message is managed in Nuxeo like any other type of content.
This request would initiate a protocol in Nuxeo that then flows through the system, through an automated workflow validation process, until it has been resolved. In the example above, someone needs to determine if it is appropriate to cut down that tree, the cost will be analyzed, and if the request is validated, there will be scheduling and follow up. For each step of the workflow, the request document is updated with a comment or annotation, and the system sends a status update to the person who made the request.
By including text message input in the city hall information management system, we are making it easier for citizens to communicate with the local government using familiar, and easily accessible, channels.
What can you say about the results of these 2 city government projects, now that they are in production?
We can truly say that we have achieved transparency for the local government with respect to the people they are representing. We are seeing more city government leaders in Brazil wanting to adopt this kind of solution, to increase the transparency of their work, but also to determine where the bottlenecks lie, and which areas may need more attention and resources.
Another positive outcome is that citizens can really participate in the local government using this solution. They know what is happening, what they need to do, and what is involved in the processes.
In your experience, what are some common traits of the most successful content management projects?
The most important part of these projects is not the tool, and not the information to be managed, but it’s how the people work every day with our content management solutions.
When I start a project, I take my developers to go sit with the people who will be using the system and watch how they work. It’s people that give meaning to the information and content. If we can engage people with our solution, then we are successful. Understanding this is the key to the project.
Whenever I see how our content management solutions make people’s lives easier, I get so much satisfaction. People are very grateful to us, when they lose a document, and they can just go into our system, and in 2 clicks they find the document. I just think -- I am helping somebody, and it’s magic.