Agriculture is a vital component of India’s economy, but production depends on the predictability of monsoon rains for optimal growing conditions.
At the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD), thousands of employees are striving to mitigate climate-related risks by funding initiatives to protect and promote rural prosperity. NABARD helps local communities and non-governmental organizations secure funding for projects to implement climate-resilient agriculture practices, develop robust and sustainable food value chains, promote agricultural mechanization and more.
Mr. R. Sankar, chief general manager in the department of information technology at NABARD, says, “For the past 40 years, NABARD has been building an empowered and financially inclusive rural India by engaging with all aspects of the rural economy: people, planet and profit. Case management is a key element of our work and we process funding applications for community projects across 400 district offices, 31 regional offices and our head office in Mumbai.”
Assessing and approving cases involves a multi-stage review process that includes several departments across NABARD. In the past, the organization relied heavily on paper to manage cases and process documents. Employees mailed records between head office departments, regional offices and training establishments, increasing the overall time to process cases. Physically moving paper between multiple review and approval teams meant there was an ever-present risk of losing important documents.
Ms. Sujatha Sudhindran, general manager in the department of information technology at NABARD, elaborates, “Handling thousands of hardcopy documents each year consumed significant time, effort and storage space. In a paper-based environment, tracking the status of each case across the review and approval lifecycle was difficult. And with the number of paper records growing by the day, physical document storage and management was becoming increasingly challenging.”
To solve these challenges, NABARD embarked on a digital transformation journey. The aim was to accelerate case and document processing by replacing manual, paper-based tasks with efficient digital workflows. Going paperless also promised to shrink the organization’s own environmental footprint by eliminating the need to print, transport and store paper records.
Thanks to our OpenText solutions, NABARD has already significantly reduced its carbon footprint, and our ultimate goal is to become a paperless organization.
One of the key selection criteria for the new ECM platform was multi-language support, which is mandated by Rajbhasha Vibhag, the bank’s department for official language.
Mr. Sankar explains, “As a government organization, we must be able to keep records in both English and Hindi. With the OpenText solution, in addition to being able to input text in Hindi, employees can accurately extract data in English and Hindi via optical character recognition (OCR) technology and search data within documents in either language to find the records they need. The solution even allows us to ‘stamp’ digital documents in Hindi using pre-built templates, which empowers users who are unfamiliar with typing Hindi to review documents with ease.”
To fast-track the rollout of OpenText Documentum and OpenText Intelligent Capture, NABARD engaged Sedin Technologies to deliver consulting and implementation services. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck early in the project, Sedin Technologies helped NABARD accelerate the rollout—allowing its staff to process cases and documents remotely and reduce the disruption caused by social distancing measures.
Ms. Sudhindran says, “Sedin Technologies was selected for their deep technical competencies, proactive engagement in requirements-gathering and strong on- and off-site support services. Sedin Technologies responded rapidly to the challenges of COVID-19 and pulled out all the stops to help us go live a whole month ahead of schedule.”
Working with Sedin Technologies, NABARD deployed the OpenText solutions to support all 28 departments in its head office, regional offices and training establishments. The bank also replicates its data to a disaster recovery site, helping to ensure that important data is protected.
Mr. Sankar says, “Our digital transformation journey is an ongoing process, but we have already learned valuable lessons that are helping us to drive cultural change throughout the organization. For example, by appointing and training digital champions in each department, we’re helping all users to gain the skills to process cases and documents digitally.”
The combination of OpenText Documentum and Intelligent Capture has helped NABARD to greatly improve operational efficiency, which in turn allows agricultural development projects to proceed faster.
By transitioning to intelligent document processing and digital workflows powered by OpenText solutions, NABARD is enhancing its services to rural communities across India.
Ms. Sudhindran continues, “Today, employees can use mobile devices to access cases and funding applications securely from any location. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this flexibility was key to keeping projects moving forward while many of our employees were unable to work in the office. Remote access continues to be extremely valuable, as it allows employees to process cases and documents from anywhere—for example, when travelling on business.”
“We are in the process of building specialized solutions for specific applications, including a new mobile app,” Mr. Sankar adds. “The combination of OpenText Documentum and Intelligent Capture has helped NABARD to greatly improve operational efficiency, which in turn allows agricultural development projects to proceed faster."
NABARD has started converting paper records into digital documents, beginning with in-process applications. To date, the organization has scanned two million pages, with a further nine million pages to follow in the next 12 months.
Ms. Sudhindran comments, “By working on 120,000 cases digitally rather than on paper, we’ve saved around 2.4 million pages of paper, which equates to almost 10 tons in CO2 emissions. Thanks to our OpenText solutions, NABARD has already significantly reduced its carbon footprint, and our ultimate goal is to become a paperless organization. This is a particularly important milestone for us, as NABARD is responsible for disbursing funding for climate-change related projects.”
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