Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira is the go-to-firm for all legal matters in Spain and Portugal. They have 25 offices in Europe, America, Asia, and Africa, where they advise on Spanish, Portuguese, French, Moroccan, and European Union law. The firm has a well-earned reputation for its work in the Iberian, Latin American, and African legal services markets. The firm represents over 70% of Spain’s largest listed companies (Ibex 35), over 70% of Portugal’s (PSI20) and many companies on the Euro Stoxx 50 index.
The business challenge
Three years ago Cuatrecasas launched an ambitious Paperless Project. The firm wanted to drastically reduce the use of paper at the firm. This would see paper files removed from common areas and work desks. Also, the firm wanted to reduce the volume of documents stored at internal and external archive services.
The Paperless Project started with a pilot program in one of the firm’s medium-sized satellite offices in Girona (Spain). The plan was to digitize thousands of documents, which would be profiled into the firm’s OpenText eDOCS document management system.
The firm was fully aware that there was a significant amount of non-searchable content in its document management system since its Multi-Function Devices (MFDs) did not have OCR’ing capability to convert the scanned images to text-searchable documents. “This had the potential to be a huge problem going forward as the Paperless Project expanded,” recalls Pascual Boil, Applications Director at Cuatrecasas, Gonçalves Pereira. So, the firm invested in some high-powered scanners with OCR’ing capability.
However, this brought with it a new set of problems. Staff in the scanning department had to be trained to save documents into the OpenText eDOCS document management system. Also, documents were sent to the scanning room without separators and so everything got scanned, which resulted in extremely large files. “It was at this point that we realized our approach was wrong,” explains Pascual.
Cuatrecasas changed tact and started to look at the problem from the backend rather than from the front, i.e. convert the documents to text-searchable documents in the OpenText eDOCS libraries once they had been profiled. This would require a solution that could handle and process legacy as well as newly profiled documents. The firm considered two possible solutions: contentCrawler from DocsCorp and OCR Server from Workshare.
The firm had a clear idea what it wanted—a fully automated solution that required little or no intervention by staff. Image documents would be assessed, converted to image-based PDFs and re-profiled back into the document management system as new documents. The original files profiled by the lawyers would be maintained in the system. In the end, “we decided to go with contentCrawler as it was the only solution to tick all the boxes,” recalls Pascual.
In order to determine the scale of the problem, the firm ran the contentCrawler audit tool across a portion of the document management system, finding that more than 17% of documents were non-searchable and therefore “invisible” to index and search technology. Moreover, this number was expected to grow as the Paperless Project expanded to other offices.
The next stage was to convert and OCR the legacy documents in the KM and DM libraries, which totaled over 8 million documents. contentCrawler can work in one of two, or both modes—Backlog mode and Active Monitoring mode. Cuatrecasas decided to break this out into two phases. Once the backlog had been reduced, contentCrawler would monitor the OpenText libraries for recently profiled image-based documents, which would be converted to text-searchable PDFs and profiled as a new version of the document. All of this happened in the background with no staff intervention.
It is hard to imagine how the Paperless Project could have been a success without contentCrawler. It resolved the major stumbling blocks that were impeding the project’s expansion, i.e. relying on successfully OCR’ing documents at every entry point in the system and relying on staff to follow 100% of the processes 100% of the time.
The fact that the solution was completely automated meant that it could run 24/7 without staff intervention. It also meant that there was no need for any other OCR’ing hardware or software. By performing the conversion process at the backend, it had no impact on staff workflows or processes. They could continue to profile documents into the document management system without worrying about OCR as a process or a workflow.
Spanish law firm Cuatrecasas embarked on an ambitious project to reduce paper files across its many firms—Paperless Project. The firm deployed contentCrawler as an end-to-end automated solution to ensure that all the scanned documents in its OpenText eDOCS document management system were truly text-searchable. The contentCrawler solution eliminated the need for other OCR hardware and software as well as trying to get staff to follow processes 100% of the time.
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