Tyson Foods has a huge and growing collection of electronic documents that are used to run the food-processing giant’s everyday operations. To increase productivity and make workflows run more smoothly, Tyson deployed KnowledgeLake enterprise content management (ECM) products that work with Microsoft SharePoint. The result is a faster, more reliable ECM system than what the company had in the past, allowing an international workforce to be more productive in their daily tasks.
Tyson Foods is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of processed food products, including chicken, beef, and pork. The Arkansas-based Fortune 500 company has about 115,000 employees working out of more than 300 facilities worldwide.
The Tyson Foods workforce includes approximately 15,000 information workers who deal with a huge and ever-growing repository of documents and data used to develop and market hundreds of products and process millions of transactions annually. A lot of the information they work with began as paper documents that were digitized and ported into Documentum, a document management system from EMC. Over the years, the Documentum platform began losing its value to Tyson Foods.
“We were not happy with our Documentum system due to the amount of time and resources that were required to support it,” says Rebecca Wilson, Project Leader for the Productivity Management Group at Tyson Foods. “There was increasing management overhead, annual maintenance costs, and upgrade difficulties. We also had to develop custom code every time we needed to deliver the Documentum-based solution to a new group within the company, an activity that required the dedicated resources of a specialist, and we did not feel like we had a strong partnership with EMC.”
These issues led to a situation where Tyson Foods could only deploy the Documentum solution to about one-third of the information workers who could benefit from it. The company felt it needed to find a better solution.
Tyson Foods, working with Hitachi Consulting, deployed a new enterprise content management (ECM) solution using KnowledgeLake products. These include KnowledgeLake Imaging for SharePoint, a highly scalable and comprehensive ECM solution that helps Tyson employees to quickly and efficiently search, view, secure, route, and annotate electronic content.
The company is also using KnowledgeLake Capture for SharePoint, which manages the high-volume capture of scanned documents and expedites the delivery of documents that are scanned at remote offices, where Tyson employees may experience limited or unreliable connectivity. Tyson is also using KnowledgeLake Connect, which lets employees save and index content from any desktop software, such as Microsoft Office applications or Adobe Acrobat.
The KnowledgeLake solution works in concert with Microsoft SharePoint, the newest version of the Microsoft enterprise collaboration software. Tyson Foods has used Microsoft SharePoint technologies since the mid-1990s. Based on that experience, the company felt it was an excellent candidate for enterprise-scale document management solution.
“And we felt that KnowledgeLake fit very well into the SharePoint infrastructure,” says Wilson.
Tyson Foods runs SharePointon a cluster of 16 Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard-based servers, five of which are hosting an image database based on Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise and dedicated to content produced by the KnowledgeLake ECM products.
With the KnowledgeLake and SharePoint solution in place, Tyson Foods has a fast, efficient enterprise content management solution that is providing immediate benefits and can serve the company effectively in the future. The solution is cost-effective and takes fewer people to support than the Documentum system. It is highly stable, so employees can access electronic documents whenever they are needed. It is also easier than in the past to deploy custom configurations of the ECM solution to specific groups.
Cost-effective, Easily Supported Solution
The KnowledgeLake ECM solution running on SharePoint has proven to be far more cost-effective and easier to support than the old ECM system.
“With KnowledgeLake and SharePoint, we have an enterprise content management solution that, overall, costs 60 to 70 percent less than our previous solution,” says Wilson. “Plus, running KnowledgeLake on SharePoint requires less support. We now use an equivalent of half a full-time employee, whereas in the past, it took two full-time employees to operate the Documentum system.”
Before deciding to move Image management from Documentum to Microsoft SharePoint Tyson Foods wanted to address some key concerns. These concerns included the way SharePoint handles disaster recovery, it’s ability to scale to manage the rising volume of document images at Tyson Foods, and the products support for close integration with SAP. Tyson Foods uses SAP as it’s corporate enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution and requires interfaces between that products accounting, Human resources, export and manufacturing components and image management.
Stable System, with Documents Always Available
Wilson notes that the KnowledgeLake and SharePoint combination is highly reliable. That’s critical for a very large, international company where people need to access documents around the clock-and where their productivity is impeded when they cannot get to documents needed for their work.
“For the first seven months after initial deployment, we had only one instance of unplanned downtime,” she says. “That compares to the previous solution where we had weekly issues that hampered productivity.”
Custom Configurations Easy to Deploy
In such a large company, various departments and divisions will have different needs for specific ECM features. Wilson says the KnowledgeLake and SharePoint solution is easy to modify.
“With Documentum, coding was required for almost any customization, but with SharePoint and KnowledgeLake, customization is more of a configuration task,” she says. “So it’s easier to respond to users who need tweaking of the input or search function, for example, to help them become more productive.”