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Case Study: Aquaforest for Counterpart International

Illustration: Case Study: Aquaforest for Counterpart International

Improving workflow efficiency and compliance by making PDF content searchable across multiple offices worldwide

The Company

Counterpart International is a U.S.-based non-profit organization working with local groups in 28 countries to design and implement programs for addressing health, peace, security, climate, and social challenges.

The Challenge

Before going digital, the company’s paper-based workflow was highly unproductive:

  • Documents were collected from several sources and archived by field offices in places like Papua New Guinea, Zambia, and El Salvador.

  • Each month, as many as 30 boxes of paper were shipped from the field offices to the U.S. headquarters for archiving.

  • Upon arrival at headquarters, documents had to be classified, boxed, and sent for secure storage at an offsite archive. During specific audits, up to 100 boxes at a time had to be brought out of storage and searched manually.

For a non-profit organization, improving processes and reducing costs is always a high-priority issue. Counterpart was no different, and the company wanted to go digital and address:

  • Storing paper documents

  • Speeding up document routing and approvals

  • Multiple language issues

  • Establishing efficient retention processes

  • Saving employee time and efforts

The Solution

Pablo A. Destéfanis, the Senior Director of Information Technology at Counterpart, arranged for a proof of concept (POC) using a free trial license of Aquaforest Searchlight. The POC included several iterations over the course of two months in an effort to improve the company’s workflow.

The newly introduced workflow was simple to develop and maintain, and it consisted of the following steps:

  1. Field office staff started using scanners to make digital copies of paper documents.

  2. For compliance reasons, all documents had to be transformed into a searchable PDF format, as content searching isn’t possible with image-based PDF documents.

  3. All the documents had to be transferred into the SharePoint instance.

“As soon as users started uploading documents, we were able to stop shipping boxes full of paper across the Atlantic,” Destéfanis said. “The OCR features of Aquaforest Searchlight shone when we had our first audit, and we were able to take tasks that used to take hours, if not days, and cut them down to minutes.”

The Benefits and Results

The combination of Aquaforest Searchlight and SharePoint Online worked exceptionally well for Counterpart. This solution requires very little maintenance, and it’s a “hands-off” operation that has, to date, processed more than 2 million pages.

Searchability Data Loss Prevention Full-Featured Free Trial
Studies show that 20 percent of documents aren’t fully text searchable for an average enterprise. Aquaforest Searchlight audits SharePoint Online in Office 365 and automatically OCRs image PDFs and other image formats so that content is fully indexed by Office 365. Office 365’s automated data loss prevention software needs text to identify personal information, such as credit card numbers, SSNs, and other personally identifiable information. Users will be able to reuse content from searchable PDFs, as they can select and copy a generated text layer. The trial version of Aquaforest Searchlight allows unlimited auditing and determining how many of your PDF files aren’t fully text searchable before signing up. Searchlight can be installed on any server, both on-premises and in the cloud.

Counterpart now has its tagged content online, and users can search for the contents of any document. This is particularly important, as sometimes specific names or monetary amounts aren’t captured as part of the standard metadata.

“Document content is now findable at the click of a button throughout all of Counterpart’s global locations,” Destefanis said.

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