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Cochlear refines digital roadmap

Shahida Sweeney | March 2, 2015
Australian hearing implant company, Cochlear, is refining its digital roadmap with investments in enterprise content management (ECM) system across core lines of business.

Australian hearing implant company, Cochlear, is refining its digital roadmap with investments in an enterprise content management (ECM) system across core lines of business.

The company is investing in ECM to share knowledge digitally, streamline operations, and manage the cost of information storage across 100 countries and has partnered with OpenText to roll out the solution.

Dr Mark Cotterell, Cochlear's information architect, told CIO this digital initiative involves taking a closer look at how information is stored, shared and managed in a highly-dispersed business, medical and research environment.

Strategic considerations

The initial investment involves migrating business process documents into digital format, covering company-wide operations. "We've had to stand back and take a more strategic look at how enterprise information is managed, especially as we're a global company," Cotterell said.

"The evolution and thinking is around information management that adapts to dynamic business needs, especially in a digital economy."

Over three decades, Cochlear has spearheaded hearing implant innovation, while offering relief to hundreds and thousands of affected people worldwide.

The company's runaway success is marked by technology innovation and delivering products, from bench to business, in a fiercely competitive and highly-regulated market.

Disparate systems

"We've relied on disparate content repositories, and email to collaborate across lines of business," Cotterell recalled. "This was a major impediment to operational efficiencies. There were barriers to going digital, without a rethink about how information is managed and shared."

The challenge for Cochlear was its reliance on disparate content repositories, and email as a collaboration tool. Investing in the more intuitive ECM platform helps manage the lifecycle of corporate and medical knowledge.

Digital on-boarding

Success lies in being able to capture, classify, manage, retain, or delete content, as and where needed. "We work in a complex, highly-regulated and dynamic environment," Cotterell said.

This digital "on-boarding" involves transforming paper-based processes into digital based processes. "A centralised repository makes it easier for work areas to share ideas and improve collaboration," he said.

"The aim is ensuring globally-dispersed staff, or partners stay connected. This is about improving the flow of information, and innovating as a business."

Beyond the technology, one challenge lies in changing the cultural mind-set about information or knowledge sharing. "Moreover, digital is not just about scanning and storing a piece of paper," added Cotterell.

"It's a total change in mind-set, involving 21st century information needs," he said.

With headquarters in Sydney, twenty regional offices, and more than 2,700 staff, Cochlear faces challenges with managing reams of information, in different formats, and dispersed business groups.

"We've had an exponential growth in data," added Cotterell. "There's the cost to store, backup and find information. A tailored enterprise management system enables us to tackle storage and management cost."

 

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