The 2012/04/02 at 08:21
Alexandre T. Analis
Alain Laversanne, 64 years old, having held several company manager positions, has notably worked for the Société de Banque et de Crédit (SBC), the Doumeng group, the Institut Technique de l’Élevage Bovin (ITEB), Tilt (a sportswear manufacturer) and various IT consulting firms, providing him with understanding of the activities of different clients. He has been Sales Manager at SYGED since June 2006.
Michel Vulin, 57 years old, namely worked for the IT departments of Olivetti and Europe Médical before founding, in 1999, SYGED for which he today acts as an Independent Consultant.
Commerce International: How was the company SYGED founded?
Michel Vulin: “After setting up a distributorship for Olivetti’s IT department in the French department of Ain, that I managed for ten years, I began to take on IT management projects on a self-employed basis from 1991 onwards. In all, I must have equipped between 250 and 300 SMEs with IT systems. Eight years later, I founded SYGED, a company specialised exclusively in electronic document management (EDM) at that time. I sold SYGED to two of my employees in 2004, and when Alain Laversanne arrived in 2006, I helped him to accelerate its development as an Independent Consultant specialising in IT.”
How has the electronic document management market evolved in the last twenty years?
M. V.: “Prior to 1999, we dealt a great deal with structured information, that is, we mainly created primary files, for example client files. At that time, over 80 % of French companies were equipped with primary systems. Then I realised in 1999 that companies had a great mass of non-organised documents: faxes, letters, invoices, contracts, parcels, labels, delivery orders… and a company’s savoir-faire is found more in its non-structured than its structured information! Was it at this time that you launched the Sysdoc software?
M. V.: “That's right, I created the Sysdoc software at the end of the 1990s to file non-structured information. Sysdoc's features include, for example, allowing the digitalisation of paper documents (often in PDF format) via a scanner. We were able to integrate, to the Sysdoc EDM system, office documents, emails, etc., hence resulting in a single interface for structured and non-structured information. Our main clients were SMEs, notaries, medical professions… We developed Sysdoc for 5 years via an informal partnership with the NRG group. When I sold SYGED in 2004, we had already equipped around forty businesses.”
How did you come to join SYGED in June 2006?
Alain Laversanne: “At the time, I was using the software of the Quebecois company Procol, allowing us to develop many applications for clients without using codes. Procol then developed Logimage, an EDM software that I also sold in France. When I met Michel Vulin, I had about ten years of experience in EDM, so this brought us together naturally. We decided that I would take care of sales development and rewrite Sysdoc in a compilable language allowing us to lock it, and above all, making it easier to set it up for clients. This was pure electronic document management.”
How has SYGED evolved since then?
A. L.: “In 2007, we developed the new version of Sysdoc V8 and functions for file management and manipulation. We also introduced customised file-processing programmes aimed at integrating files in EDM for clients. In the same year, we set up a digitalisation department offering customised services on client premises or on our own premises. In 2008, we noticed that three out of four clients expressed a need for EDM to offer workflow, that is management of procedures followed by the more complex management of processes. This namely serves to help deal with non-conformity within a company. In this context, we used a product named Logipac (PROCOL). We then developed a new mail arrival software specific to client needs, but it became clear that workflow management needs varied depending on clients. This led us to look at existing solutions offered by major editors to meet the demands of our clients. To sum up, we made a shift from activity as software editors to that of software integrators.”
Who are your partners?
A. L.: “Since April 2011, we have become distributors of ELO Digital Office GmbH, a German editor with a comprehensive range of EDM solutions (ELO Office-ELO Pro and ELO Enterprise) with process management capacities… As well as ELO Digital GmbH, we have historically had many partnerships, with IBM, Microsoft, Symantec, Audiré Caraïbes, Audiré Ouest… and also new partners, in particular Document Média Système (DMS), an IT services company specialising in the issues relating to document processing. Since 2007, DMS has built up a team dedicated to EDM activity, with 10 experienced persons to intervene in every stage of EDM and process modelling projects: auditing, recommendations, accompaniment of solution implementation, training, support. As the historic distributor of the ELO solution in France, DMS has around 200 clients equipped with the solution in all sectors of activity: mass retailing, banks and insurance, town hall offices, industries, public service, medical and legal sectors… We are actively involved in the project to connect the optic fibres of the Ain Energy Syndicate www.reso-liain.fr.”
What are your future development projects?
A. L.: “We are document processing professionals, and we would like to expand while continuing to target the same types of clientele – SMEs-SMIs, notaries, insurance agents, public accountants, prefectural offices, businesses in the construction sector as well as key accounts – with our partner DMS. We already have SYGED partners in Lille, Bordeaux, Perpignan and Lyon, and our main natural sales zones are the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Rhône-Alpes Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions. We would like to continue extending our national coverage with our partner DMS, and to strengthen our activity in the French overseas departments and territories (Guadeloupe and Martinique first). Overseas, we have contacts in Morocco (namely in the notarial world, for French and Moroccan legislation in this sector is extremely similar) with Sud de France, an entity of the CCI of Languedoc-Roussillon. We will be focusing our future growth on the same strengths as today: enormous experience in the management of SMEs and local authorities, and proximity with clients, some of whom have been loyal to us for over 30 years. We have IT-specialised insurance with Hiscox to cover public liability.”