IBM ECM Work for Government Mortgage Agency
- $50,000 to $199,999
- Willing to Refer
"I strongly felt that they added a lot of value because they transferred knowledge to us willingly."
- Ottawa, Ontario
- 5,001-10,000 Employees
- Phone Interview
InfoMedia Systems Group installed a new IBM content management system for the Canadian housing agency. The project’s goals were to facilitate document management and introduce new users to the system.
The team helped ensure that all aspects of the document management system were functional. InfoMedia Systems Group used their contacts within IBM if any issues arose. The team was very knowledgeable and met all project deadlines.
A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.
Could you give me a brief description of your organization?
We are Canada’s national housing agency [Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)].. We do mortgage, insurance approvals and securitization of mortgage loans. We also oversee the provision of government subsidies to the housing sector across Canada. We collect economic data on the housing market. We have some functions that are a little bit like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but we also have some government functions as well.
We are a current corporation fully owned by the federal government. In the mortgage insurance part of our business, we compete with private sector competitors like Genworth Financial and some others. That part of the business operates more on a private sector footing, but still is owned by the government.
What is your role and responsibilities?
My title is sector manager of application development, so I manage 20 application developers. We build, maintain and support applications for a part of CMHC’s business. Currently, my team supports applications for what we call assisted housing, where the government provided subsidies and market analysis. This is the economic part of CMHC within the human resources systems.
OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE
What was the business challenge that you were trying to address?
In the enterprise content management system that we were working on, there were a couple of challenges. One, was that we had a very old legacy system to try to maintain the document management practices in a communication shop that controlled correspondence with our minister, which is our owner, and the board of CMHC and other external stakeholders such as parliament. We had to re-make that application and have it work well, but also meet the needs of a communication shop that had a lot of tight deadlines.
We also had IBM Lotus Notes, and there is a stated desire to move from our Lotus Notes-based systems that has some document management type functions into a true document management system with document management disciplines. That was the other part of the project.
Also, there was an additional client groups introduced on that system as well. Starting with the communication shop, all the senior executives in the corporation were also to be users of this system.
Can you tell me about the scope of just their work?
It was an installation and then also consulting on set up as well as an upgrade. We called it project ECM or enterprise content management. We didn’t have that system at CMHC. The company was engaged as a business partner with IBM. That’s how we did the initial engagement. They provided us the technical expertise on getting the system installed, both on the server and also showing our staff how the installed system gets set up and configured, on the desktop configuration.
We were tasked to do a lot of custom development, so we worked on understanding the APIs of the system. We needed the technical knowledge to make modifications to the system, but also advice on what not to do. So the company provided expertise on all aspects of the setup and functionality and rules. They helped us take full advantage of a document management system from a business standpoint. It’s not just technical advice InfoMedia Systems Group provides, but there is a demonstrated competence in understanding document management.
They did work on installing IBM Records Manager. There was work on Content Manager, which was the foundation product in IBM’s ECM Suites. The company had to do the work on setting up Content Manager, but also making sure that it’s supported in Document Manager.
Can you assess the IBM suite?
InfoMedia Systems Group has contacts within IBM. If we ran into some problems, they can pick up the phone and reach the right people. They also knew the business side of the IBM product so we got maximum benefit.
Wayne King, [the Senior Solutions Architect] at the company would speak very knowledgeably on those topics from a business standpoint. There was a demonstrated technical competency knowledge of IBM. InfoMedia Systems Group answered all of our questions.
They’ve done other work with other organizations. I think they’ve did a lot of work for the Jamaican government and some other work in Canada. They knew their stuff from the business side, too.
When was that work completed?
I think the last of it was in the winter of 2009.
How did you select InfoMedia Systems Group to work with?
It was through IBM. We were working with IBM. IBM had won the RFP to put the system in place and then they had recommended InfoMedia to work with us. That was the initial engagement.
Could you give us a sense of the size of that initiative?
It was a low six-figure project. I forget the exact amount. There was a core team on the project of six people, but there were about 20 people involved in various capacities from half time to fewer hours. It was a good-sized project for our organization.
RESULTS & FEEDBACK
Can you assess their company’s work?
In terms of their company’s work, I strongly felt that they added a lot of value because they transferred knowledge to us willingly. One of the reasons we hired them was their expertise. They willingly provided that.
Also, providing some straight talk about best practices was helpful. So, that also added value, because sometimes we make mistakes with set up. I appreciate all of their advice. That helped us stay out of some rat holes.
Can you assess the IBM platform? Do you think it was the right decision to use IBM?
I was on the committee that selected that. I thought at the time it was the right platform to choose for the application. There is a bit of a perception around here that perhaps the document management product wasn’t the best choice. At the same time, it also did what we had wanted it to do. It wasn’t like the product didn’t perform up to the requirements we had. We never had insurmountable technical difficulties. We were able to overcome all those challenges and find a working solution. I still think it was the right decision.
Do you think there’s anything that InfoMedia Systems Group could improve upon in their work or something you would do differently?
I don’t think that there’s anything because they did everything that we asked them to do in our project. I personally don’t see any areas that I would ask them to improve on.
Service & Deliverables
On time / deadlines
"I can’t think of times when they were off on that. They juggle multiple projects."
Value / within estimates
"They charge per diem, but it’s still a lot of value for money."
Willing to Refer5.0
"I would recommend them without hesitation.