The Central Bank of Egypt has digitised 100 million documents using scanners from Alaris and aims to scan another 500 million documents over the next five years.
The Central Bank of Egypt had 500 million documents which were retained as paper records. Retention of these records needs to be achieved in accordance with the relevant legislation.
Storing these documents in paper format was very expensive and there was also risk of damage and loss as well as unsecured paper handling. Under the old system retrieving documents was difficult and time-consuming.
Although the task is huge the bank’s goal was simple: to dramatically reduce the cost of document storage and make the task of retrieving documents easier, more efficient and cost effective.
A total of 100 million documents have been scanned in two years using 20 scanners from Alaris. The second phase of the project is to scan another 500 million documents over the next five years by increasing the number of scanner units.
At the same time an enterprise content management system (ECM) will also be implemented in order to improve efficiency of operations, enhance security of information and allow for easy retrieval of information.
The digitisation of documents has resulted in huge cost savings in terms of storage space.
The Central Bank of Egypt is an autonomous regulatory body responsible for different roles that contribute directly to the enhancement of the Egyptian economy, mainly: insuring a strong, safe and sound banking system through its regulatory and supervisory role; managing the monetary policy of the Egyptian economic system; the country foreign exchange reserves; and the issuance of banknotes.
As an institution that sets the standard for other banks and financial institutions in the country, Central Bank of Egypt decided two years ago to embark on its Digital Transformation journey.
Digitisation of documents was given topmost priority in order to meet regulation, security and compliance demands, reduce costs and to enhance productivity and efficiency.
Kassem Mohamed, Head of Business Technology Development at Central Bank of Egypt, said: “In today’s mobile-first era, paper-based processes are no longer viable, and as a forward-thinking organisation, we needed to digitally transform our information management strategies to improve operational efficiency and ensure profitable growth.
“We had over 500 million documents, that were stored in three warehouses, that had to be retained as per regulatory requirements. Not only was there a huge storage cost, but these documents were at risk of damage and loss.
“There was a lot of sensitive and confidential information within those documents and the paper handling process itself was unsecure, which threw up cybersecurity challenges.
“Finally, it was a very difficult and time-consuming process trying to retrieve a particular document. Digitising these documents and implementing an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system was imperative.
“Electronic storage is a lot faster, easier, cheaper and more reliable. If you have a warehouse fire, your documents are gone. But if you have files on a server that is backed-up, you can’t lose them.”
Kassem and his team reached out to Microfilm Egypt Co, an Alaris partner and a leading IT solutions company specialising in document management, archival and business process management solutions.
The project would be completed in two phases. The first phase would involve backlog scanning of 100 million documents, followed by another 500 million documents in the next phase as well as the implementation of an ECM solution.
Based on the high volume of the scanning job as well as the emphasis on productivity and accuracy, 20 scanners were used in the first phase of the project. An archive writer was used simultaneously to convert the digital images to microfilm to be stored for the long term.
The digitised files are stored in an Oracle database. The scanning and capture solution integrates with other business systems and all the data stored is encrypted and digitally signed.
The first phase of the project has been completed with 100 million documents scanned and digitised in a period of two years.
Ms. Hend Salah, Area Manager, Foreign Relation Department at Microfilm Egypt Co, said: “We chose the scanners from Alaris because it combines simple operation and time-saving features in a remarkably small and powerful form factor.
“The scanner’s super-sharp image quality makes it easy to capture information accurately and the durability of the scanner is unparalleled in the market.
“We were using each machine to scan around 15,000 pages per day. Despite running non-stop along with the archive writer for two years, the scanners worked flawlessly, with zero downtime and with a very high scan quality. This is a tremendous achievement, that allowed us to deliver the first phase of the project to Central Bank of Egypt on time.”
The digitisation of documents has resulted in huge cost savings in terms of storage space. Document retrieval now takes just a few clicks. Processes that once took weeks are now completed in a few minutes.
Having successfully completed the first phase of the project, Microfilm Egypt Co will now start work on digitising 500 million documents over the next five years. Considering the mammoth task, the company has recommended that more units of Alaris scanners be commissioned.
The next stage will also involve the implementation of an ECM solution including designing workflows and applying business analytics and intelligence to the data. This will enhance efficiency of operations and aid quick e-retrieval of documents, thus saving precious time and energy manually sifting through stacks of papers.
Kassem Mohamed added: “I commend Alaris and Microfilm Egypt Co on the fantastic job done so far in helping our bank realise our Digital Transformation aspirations. Alaris’ market leading scanning technology combined with the highest quality of consultancy, service and support from Microfilm Egypt Co deliver outstanding results.
“We highly recommend that other banks and financial institutions in the country follow our example and utilise their services in order to truly transform their operations. We now look forward to embarking on the second part of our digitisation journey with the help of Alaris and Microfilm Egypt Co.”