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Kodak Alaris Helps SEWA Amp Up Digital Transformation Initiatives

Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority (SEWA), a government organization dedicated to serve the people of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by fulfilling their electricity, water and gas needs, is modernizing its records management system as part of the organization’s digital transformation efforts. With the help of Kodak Alaris scanners, SEWA has digitized massive volumes of documents that have been stored in the organization’s various offices and warehouses over the past few decades. The result has been a significant reduction in information retrieval time, faster decision making, quick and easy sharing of knowledge across the institution, reduced costs for storing and handling physical documents, and the enablement of staff to focus on mission-critical functions.

H.E. Dr. Rashid Alleem, Chairman of SEWA says, “We believe that aligning business and technology is critical to mitigating business risks and maximizing benefits from the technologies. The value proposition of digital transformation is immense. A strong digital workplace is vital to achieving an organization’s goals in the digital economy. SEWA touches the lives of over 1.5 million people in Sharjah, so it’s important to have smart technology to facilitate providing the best services. Our customers and employees are reaping benefits.”

“Our ethos in the organization is collaboration & co-creation and hence we have secured the best technology companies to work with. Among them, we have selected Kodak Alaris for all our scanning requirements. In our earlier IT environment, we had a mix of various brands of scanners and we found Kodak Alaris to be far superior in terms of image quality, reliability, compression capability and speed. So we decided to standardize on Kodak Alaris for all our scanners across the organization.”

When the decision was taken to embark on a digital transformation journey, one of the top priorities for the IT department was to digitize all the documents from the various SEWA offices. It was decided to follow a step by step process for digital transformation starting with digitization of paper documents and then moving things online and trying to get as close as possible to a paperless environment.

SEWA set up a centralized scanning operation at Halwan in Sharjah and deployed a mix of i4250 and i3200 Scanners from Kodak Alaris. Scanning takes place in three shifts, 24x7 which means quality and reliability are of utmost importance.

“The scanners at our centralized scanning location capture millions of documents annually and work around the clock. As a result, they need to be heavy duty, since downtime affects productivity and is not an option. The physical nature of the documents itself makes scanning  a challenge since they are of odd sizes and some of them are nearly 60 years old and are in bad condition,” explains H.E. Dr. Rashid Alleem.

“We have been very impressed with Kodak Alaris’ scanning technology. It has delivered nearly 100 per cent scanning uptime with no major breakdowns.”

Features in Kodak Alaris scanners like Intelligent Document Protection “listen” for a telltale crumpling sound and immediately stops the scanning process to protect paper and the information it contains. This has enabled the scanning of old, brittle documents that would otherwise not have been possible with other scanners. With huge volumes of scanning, speed is another important consideration and again, Kodak Alaris scanners with speeds of up to 110 pages per minute (ppm) have been instrumental in shortening the time required for SEWA’s digitization efforts.

One of the most important scanner features has been Kodak Alaris’ file compression technology which the IT head of SEWA, Mr. Sayed Tousifur Rahman believes is the best in the market because it saves files in less than half the size of competitive offerings and saves up to 50% of the storage costs. He explains, “If you capture an image at a higher file size, storage costs are going to be high. As a policy, we scan all documents in colour. Kodak Alaris scans at 150-200 dpi and compresses the image to a file size between 110kb and 150kb. Other scanner brands would produce much larger file sizes. When scanning volumes are as high as ours, this makes a huge difference in storage costs. It also affects network traffic. When users download an image from the server, if the image size is smaller, then download is quicker and bandwidth usage is less. Kodak Alaris has helped us optimize our server and network resources.”

On average, SEWA has been scanning roughly 500,000 pages (approximately 100,000 documents having multiple pages) per month using Kodak Alaris scanners. Archiving of documents from the various SEWA offices is at various levels of completion.

Citing an example of how Kodak Alaris has helped SEWA streamline its records management system and increase efficiency, H.E. Dr. Rashid Alleem says, “In our Electricity Services Department (ESD), customers used to come to get permission for their new construction site and we were supposed to retrieve their old documents which used to take three to four days. Once we started archiving the documents with the help of Kodak Alaris scanners, it gave us the ability to retrieve the information in seconds.”

SEWA currently has 30 Kodak Alaris scanners in the centralized scanning centre and across the various service centres. Kodak Alaris-backed local service and support, a key component of the Alaris IN2 Ecosystem, is being delivered through Visiontech Systems International LLC for planned maintenance as well as fast break/fix response, when required.

“Kodak Alaris has been a strategic partner for SEWA. As a head of IT, the best proof-point from a technology standpoint is not receiving any end-user complaints or helpdesk requests. With Kodak Alaris, I have absolute peace of mind. I look forward to enlarging the scope of our relationship with Kodak Alaris in the future,” concludes Mr. Sayed Tousifur Rahman.

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