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Le Crossing – a Data Management Case Study

February 27, 2011

ProcessFlows Data Extraction Services help extract, transform and transfer data from legacy systems like eCabinet into SharePoint.

Le Crossing (now Dartford Tunnel Management) had corrupt data locked in eCabinet –

Le Crossing Company Limited was responsible for managing the M25 traffic between Dartford and Thurrock, a stretch of the M25 which includes the Dartford Crossing, its associated traffic management systems and the pre-payment Dart Tag scheme.

Up until September 2009, Le Crossing was managed jointly by a private sector consortium comprising Cofiroute, Ringway and Jacobs Babtie. It is now managed by Connect Plus (M25) Limited (Balfour Beatty, Skanska, Atkins and Egis Road Operation UK).

It is an impressive operation, all geared to ensuring the safe and efficient flow of traffic through the Dartford Crossing, which includes two tunnels and the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. The total volume of crossing traffic exceeds 50 million vehicles annually.

Centralising management, operations and financing

The Highways Agency made the decision to centralise the management, operations, future financing and design and building (an additional 63 miles of carriageway is planned) for the whole of the M25. Connect Plus (M25) Limited was awarded the £6.2 billion, 30 year contract – making them responsible for Le Crossing and other disparate operational sites along the 250 mile motorway.

Connect Plus plan to centralise all data from the eight disparate operational sites along the M25, which includes all data held by the Dartford Crossing operations, into SharePoint. From SharePoint data can then be migrated to ConnectPlus’ preferred document management system.

Le Crossing used Ricoh’s eCabinet to manage all documents. eCabinet is a network office appliance that automatically captures documents from a variety of sources – email, fax, printouts and paper documents – and stores and retrieves them. Captured documents are then held in an external storage device.

Data was locked in eCabinet

Jorge Maximo, IT Manager at Le Crossing was faced with the challenge of exporting the data held within eCabinet.

eCabinet is a dead document management solution as there is no longer any support available from Ricoh, but the system has been retained for look-up.

It was even more of a challenge because the data was also corrupted – image files (scanned files) and metadata had become separated – so documents could not be opened/viewed and made sense of.

An extensive Google search to find a supplier who was able to extract and convert the data was not fruitful and time was running out. Jorge eventually spoke to ProcessFlows with just two weeks to go to his deadline.

Extracting and transferring the data

ProcessFlows data extraction services was able to extract and capture at source the corrupted image files and the metadata created by eCabinet, utilising Open Text Alchemy software to extract the data and the Alchemy DataGrabber Module as a ‘convertor tool’.

The files were then recombined and imported directly into the Alchemy data repository so they could once again be opened, viewed and understood.

Before transforming the data, Accounts data and Dart Tag data held within eCabinet was separated – as it had to go to different destinations.

All accounts data would be held by Le Crossing residual. All Dart Tag operational data would be managed by Connect Plus. Custom report templates were created within DataGrabber Module so the data source could be easily identified – Accounts or Dart Tag.

From SharePoint to the content management system

“What ProcessFlows achieved in such a short time frame was fantastic. We met our deadline and are now in a position to seamlessly transfer the data from SharePoint to ConnectPlus’ content management system.”
Jorge Maximo.

eCabinet is a dead and unsupported document management solution. Business users are therefore looking to transfer their data to a supported document management platform. It is something that Le Crossing would have needed to address in the near future and it ended up being done in just 2 weeks.

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