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SEWA blazes digital trail with Kodak Alaris

SEWA digitises large volumes of documents stored in various offices and warehouses

SEWA blazes digital trail with Kodak Alaris
Dr Alleem: "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."

Retrieval of documentation for authorising new construction projects by Sharjah Electricity & Water Authority (SEWA) has been reduced from three to four days to mere seconds.

This is one of the major benefits SEWA is reaping after embarking on a wide scale modernisation of its records management system, with the help of Kodak Alaris scanning systems.

SEWA is the utility responsible for providing electricity, water and gas in the northern Emirate.

As part of SEWA’s digital transformation strategy, large volumes of documents that have been stored in the organisations various offices and warehouses over the past few decades have now been digitised.

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 describes the value proposition of digital transformation as immense. “A strong digital workplace is vital to achieving an organisation’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 the benefits,” Dr Alleem adds.

When the decision was taken to embark on a digital transformation journey, one of the top priorities for the IT department was to digitise all the documents from the various SEWA offices and try to get as close as possible to a paperless environment.

Dr Alleem says the first step was to secure the best technology companies to work with. “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 organisation,” he adds.

SEWA set up a centralised 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.

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 digitisation efforts.

Sayed Tousifur Rahman, IT head of SEWA, says one of the most important features of the scanners is Kodak Alaris’ file compression technology which saves files in less than half the size of competitive offerings, saving up to 50% of storage costs. Kodak Alaris scans at 150-200 dpi and compresses the image to a file size between 110kb and 150kb.

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.

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 for planned maintenance as well as fast break/fix response, when required.

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