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Syngenta ECMS: Transformation of document management system

Learn how Syngenta has revolutionised its document management system.

Syngenta logo
  • about customer icon About the customer

    With almost 50 thousand people spread across the globe, Syngenta is a powerhouse in the agrochemical space, leading the field in most of its applications worldwide.

  • headquarters icon Headquarters

    European Economic Area

  • industry icon Industry

    Agricultural sector

  • company size icon Company size


  • quick metrics icon Quick metrics
    • » More than 2.6 million documents migrated
    • » Integration with 15 downstream applications
    • » More than 5k users across globe
  • technology used icon Technology used
    • AWS
    • Nuxeo
    • REST API Proxy Layer
    • Elastic Search
  • solutions offered icon Solutions offered
    • Data governance
    • Data management
    • Cloud services
  • use cases icon Use cases
    • Knowledge management
    • Cognitive search
    • Semantic data

Full case study



Transformation of document management system 

Syngenta, a leading name in the agricultural sector, faced significant challenges with its Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS), particularly with the outdated SmartDoc platform. Despite being widely utilised across the organisation, SmartDoc was plagued with performance issues, cumbersome functionality, and a convoluted folder structure, making document management a tedious task.  

The system's slow performance was evident in the lengthy document upload times and inefficient document retrieval processes. Users often found it challenging to navigate the complex folder structure, leading to confusion about where to store and locate documents. 

The access model presented another layer of complexity, with permissions being difficult to manage. This complexity was further compounded by a user-unfriendly search function that negatively affected overall system performance. Moreover, the lack of adequate governance and guidance on document management practices led to inconsistent handling of documents across the organisation. 

In an attempt to circumvent these issues, some teams resorted to purchasing their own documentation platforms, leading to operational silos. This fragmentation introduced additional challenges, such as increased costs for maintaining multiple systems and inconsistencies in document management practices across different teams. 

Syngenta's journey toward transforming its Enterprise Content Management System aimed to address these pain points. The goal was to streamline document management, enhance system performance, and unify document management practices across the organisation, thereby reducing operational costs and improving efficiency. 



Cloud-based enhancement for document management 

The remedy to Syngenta's document management hurdles came in the form of a cloud-based solution, designed to simplify the process while significantly boosting performance and user experience. This strategic upgrade involved a migration to Amazon Web Services (AWS), a move that promised to revolutionise how documents were managed, shared, and retrieved within the organisation. 

Streamlining document management with AWS 

The key focus of the AWS migration was to address the critical questions that hampered the old system: 

  • Enhanced performance: Transitioning to cloud storage meant that uploading documents could shift from being a minutes-long process to a matter of seconds, fundamentally changing the user's interaction with the system. 
  • Folder structure simplification: The need to simplify or even eliminate the complex folder structure was recognized as a priority. The cloud-based solution aimed to introduce innovative search strategies that would allow users to find documents easily without navigating through a complicated folder hierarchy. 
  • Process improvement: The migration provided an opportunity to refine and solidify Syngenta's document management processes, ensuring a more structured and efficient approach to managing critical information. 
  • Unified platform view: A single, consolidated view of all platforms used within the business was proposed to eliminate the siloed approach to document management, fostering better integration and accessibility. 
  • Innovative search and sharing: The heart of the new document management solution was the development of advanced search strategies, enabling users to add, locate, and retrieve documents effortlessly. Coupled with robust sharing capabilities, this approach ensured that while information could be easily shared, Syngenta's crucial know-how was protected for the future. 

This cloud-based solution was not just about technological upgrade; it was a strategic shift towards a more dynamic, efficient, and user-friendly document management system that aligns with Syngenta's future goals and operational needs. 

Efficient Document Management and Enhanced User Experience 

The implementation of the cloud-based solution has dramatically transformed Syngenta's document management system, aligning it with the company's R&D digital content strategy and leading to significant improvements in performance, usability, and collaboration. This strategic move has not only simplified the management and sharing of documents but also enhanced the overall user experience. 

Key achievements of the cloud-based solution: 

  • Faster, more intuitive system: The document management lifecycle and access model management have been streamlined, making the solution faster, simpler, and more intuitive for users. This ease of use extends across all R&D functions, facilitating quicker access to documents and content. 
  • Simplified landscape: By cleaning up individual stores, removing legacy systems, and simplifying the ecosystem, Syngenta has managed to make its digital environment easier to manage and use. This consolidation has also led to significant cost savings. 
  • Enhanced access rights management: The approach to managing access rights has been simplified, making it easier for users to collaborate and share documents securely. 
  • Advanced search capabilities: The introduction of semantic/cognitive search functionalities has revolutionised how users find documents, enabling more accurate and contextually relevant search results. 
  • Seamless integration: The solution's API proxy layer facilitates smooth integration with a variety of applications, further enhancing the system's flexibility and usability. Additionally, integration with the organisation's authorization and authentication system ensures secure access. 
  • Cost-effective storage solutions: By utilizing AWS S3 for storage and archival, along with open-source technologies, Syngenta has achieved a more cost-effective and scalable document management solution. 
  • Alignment with digital strategy: The new system meshes well with the broader R&D digital and content digitization strategy, ensuring that document management practices support the company's long-term goals. 

Impact on the organisation: 

With more than 2.6 million documents migrated and integration with 15 downstream applications, the solution has successfully catered to the needs of over 5,000 users globally. This extensive reach and the system's enhanced capabilities have led to: 

  • Improved document access and management: Users across the globe can now easily access, manage, and share documents, significantly improving operational efficiency and productivity. 
  • Cost savings: The streamlined landscape and use of open-source technologies have led to considerable cost savings for Syngenta. 
  • Increased collaboration: Enhanced collaboration tools and simplified access rights have fostered a more collaborative environment, facilitating innovation and knowledge sharing across teams. 
  • Alignment with strategic Goals: The new document management system is perfectly aligned with Syngenta's strategic goals, supporting its digital transformation journey and ensuring the company remains at the forefront of R&D innovation. 

This comprehensive transformation of Syngenta's document management system has not only improved the day-to-day operations of the company but also positioned it for future growth and success in the digital age. 



The transformation of Syngenta's document management system was achieved through a strategic partnership between Datavid and Hyland, utilising the Nuxeo Platform—a cloud-native, low-code content management platform renowned for its ability to streamline the creation and deployment of intelligent applications and workflows.  

This transformation capitalised on several advanced technologies to enhance accessibility, integration, and search functionality.  

  • The implementation of Azure Single Sign-On for authentication and authorisation simplified user access across the ecosystem, allowing seamless navigation without the need for multiple logins.  
  • A REST API Proxy Layer was ingeniously constructed to ensure robust integration with 15 distinct applications, further augmenting the system's coherence and operational fluidity. 
  • Elastic Search was employed to revolutionize the search experience, enabling swift and relevant access to millions of documents and their metadata, thus significantly enhancing user satisfaction.  
  • The migration process saw millions of documents and folders transitioned from an outdated management tool to Nuxeo, with Amazon S3 serving as the backbone for secure and scalable storage. To address the demands of high performance and speed, the system was designed across multiple AWS EC2 instances, achieving optimal load balancing and system responsiveness. 

One of the standout features of adopting Nuxeo is its open-source nature, which provided Syngenta with unparalleled flexibility for customization. This aspect was not just about tailoring the platform to meet specific needs but also about ensuring cost-effectiveness, proving to be a strategic move that allowed Syngenta to refine its document management system to a fine art, paving the way for a more integrated, accessible, and efficient digital working environment. 

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