At Netways we always aim to build vertical and tailored solutions on top of our solution platforms. For this end, we have built an advanced integrated communication environment on top of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 which is the Netways Correspondence Management Center (NCMC).
The main driver behind building such a solution was the fact that the volume of information is growing at a very high rate. The fact is that the annual rate of this growth is 40%. The first thing that comes to mind these days when we talk about information growth relative to correspondences are emails. According to Gartner, the amount of email communication is growing very fast and 98% of these emails are junk while only 2% are important for the business. For this reason, Gartner highly recommends that Enterprises implement a solution to impose disciplines and policies on email communication. Naturally, because of this information growth, information workers will spend a chunk of their time, around 30%, searching for information instead of actually working on it. This high amount of search time is a direct result of the fact that 92% of inquirers expect answers in less than 24 hours. Finally, the fact is that when enterprises look for solutions to address these concerns, the solution must address several other complexities as well, including disconnected information repositories, numerous content types, security, scalability, extensibility, and more.
What is obvious is that because of the presence of a number of disparate communication channels (phone, fax, email, letters…) several correspondences related to the same subject matter will be disconnected. There is no central repository to store all correspondences related to the same issue making it difficult to track communication related to the same project. This becomes extremely evident especially when a group of people are working on the same project. There is usually no way to track the correspondence lifecycle from the time it is received until the appropriate action is taken to address the topic at hand. In addition, there is so standardized methodology to classify correspondences meaning that every person or office may have his or her own classification methodology making the archiving process quite unmanageable and searching for information extremely time consuming. Also, correspondence reporting capabilities are almost inexistent and users do not have a comprehensive idea about what’s going on with respect to correspondences for example regarding the correspondence monthly volume or the read ratio of correspondences.
Netways has built a correspondence management center on top of the latest and state of the art technology, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and made it available for Windowns 7 and Internet Explorer 8 end users that will enjoy the user experience. Our idea of a correspondence management center can be reflected in a three-tier representation. Tier 1 of NCMC is correspondence management where a centralized correspondence repository is provided to allow efficient management of emails, faxes, phone calls, physical correspondences, voice messages, and more. These correspondences can be correlated to each other, tasks, meetings, and projects as well. Tier 2, work management, provides meeting management in terms of meeting workspaces, agendas, and minutes of meeting in addition to task management where tasks can be created, assigned, and prioritized to follow up on correspondences. Finally, Tier 3, project tracking, provides the ability to manage several projects and their related correspondences that are linked to these projects.
Netways Correspondence Management Center is built on top of Office SharePoint 2007 thus all features of SharePoint are inherited by NCMC. Netways built a custom user interface and provided advanced correspondence management features extending the functionality and value of SharePoint. We built an adaptors framework that links the external correspondence channels and funnels correspondences into the correspondence center. An Email Server adaptor, Fax Server adaptor, Scan Server, and IP Phone adaptor have been created and plugged into the adaptors framework. The job of every adaptor is to automatically detect a new correspondence and pull it into the correspondence repository. This adaptors framework is designed in such a way that it is extensible and flexible enough to accommodate any new type of correspondence channel. In case a new system is to be incorporated, an adaptor is created and plugged into the framework with the main system left completely up and running.
Netways Correspondence Management Center is able to create an efficient work environment by bringing together all types of correspondences. Employee productivity is boosted making sure that all correspondences are acted upon in due time and by providing an environment for storing, sharing, and managing documents related to the same project. NCMC provides advanced “drill-down” and “slice and dice” capabilities because it is able to audit and capture actions and store them in history files. Time and costs associated with paper-based environments are dropped. Search times are compressed through Enterprise Search and the correspondence classification methodology BASCS (Business Activity Structure Classification System). And finally, no information loss with respect to correspondences occurs thanks to keeping track and archiving information using the records center.