Farm Credit Midsouth has been in business for nearly a century, providing financial services such as loans and insurance to farmers and other eligible borrowers. Part of the national Farm Credit System, Farm Credit Midsouth is a farmer-owned cooperative with more than 2,000 members in eastern Arkansas and southeastern Missouri. It has eight locations and manages loans totaling about $800 million.
Like many other financial institutions, Farm Credit Midsouth built its business on paper documentation—but wanted to move away from paper-based loan processes. The paper files were vulnerable to theft and susceptible to loss from fire, floods, and other disasters. And paper-based processes were inefficient, with single copies of loan documents available only to branch employees unless the files were physically transported to other locations.
The deployment of a Microsoft SharePoint intranet launched a search in the IT department for a solution that could leverage SharePoint as the foundation for an enterprise content management (ECM) system.
“SharePoint’s capabilities aligned with our goal of using the intranet as a central repository for information,” says Marc Miles, Information Systems Manager for Farm Credit Midsouth. “We needed a cost-effective way to manage our loan files while delivering better security, redundancy, and accessibility than we had with our paper-based system.”
Several important factors went into evaluating possible ECM systems. “The solution had to leverage our investment in SharePoint while minimizing administration by the IT department,” says Miles. “It also had to provide strong search and retrieval functions while helping us enhance security and redundancy. Plus it needed to integrate tightly with and enhance SharePoint instead of being a standalone product.”