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JSC System Capital Management Ltd or SCM (wikipedia) is a holding company that manages tens of billions in industrial holdings and production assets that are SCM Holdings’ investee companies. When looking for a simple, secure and well designed messenger platform that could be hosted on-premises, they chose Nextcloud. A Professional Services project from Nextcloud GmbH provided several features SCM required and today, the legal, human resource, financial and PR experts of SCM can easily communicate and collaborate during their business trips.
We spoke with Andriy Sofinskiy, manager of the Department for Digital Technologies and Information Security at SCM. He, and his manager, Department Director Fedir Korobeynikov, are big believers in the open source model.
“Just like the Department Director Fedir Korobeynikov, I support open-source solutions and believe they are a more secure and effective solution for the business community. Our company, as a customer and everyone who uses this product can benefit from our contribution to the open source code of this product, just like we benefit from contributions from other enterprises.”
The biggest industrial holdings operated by SCM LIMITED include Metinvest, DTEK, FUIB, Media Group Ukraine, Lemtrans, and others. Most businesses run by SCM LIMITED are based in Ukraine. However, their portfolio also includes production assets operating in Europe and North America including Italy, the UK, Switzerland, Bulgaria and the United States. Overall, about 200,000 people work at the industrial holdings and production assets operated by SCM LIMITED.
We needed a simple, secure and universal messenger with a great design
The IT and Information Security department of SCM has made a strategic decision to deploy open source solutions. Andriy notes that open source solutions are “protected and supported better, grow faster and are updated more often. Open source code allows audits and identifying software bugs and information security vulnerabilities.”
SCM employs a large number of experts in finance, legal matters an human resources as well as IT and public relations to support and expand its holdings. Frequent travel and remote work are crucial for the productivity of the teams.
Andriy: “Our employees go on business trips in Ukraine and abroad. These trips help them deal with their current tasks as they participate in industry-specific conferences and exchange professional experience. We provide our employees with corporate smartphones and laptops.”
The IT department identified a need for “a simple, secure and universal messenger with a great design.” Andriy: “Our team requires fast and effective communication via a secure corporate messenger as we exchange information, files, voice and text messages. Also, the public conversation function helps us engage our external partners in conferences or correspondence as well as keep history and files on our corporate secure servers.”
In Nextcloud Talk, the team has found “a good design with a responsive interface, the ability to send files from personal cloud to chat as well as thousands of positive reviews that give us confidence that we have a product which fully meets our expectations.”
Andriy notes that “Nextcloud has a big community, and more than 500 individuals and organizations participate in its development.” The large and active development community played an important role in the decision to choose Nextcloud over other solutions.
During the testing of Nextcloud Talk, SCM team members identified a feature they considered would improve productivity noticeably.
key requirement was an independent open-source platform with an on-premise server
Andriy: “Going by experience of our department, we can say that sending attached documents by email is not the most efficient way to communicate and is not the best way to store documents. Thus, we decided to replace this part of function with Talk because it is messengers that help quickly resolve issues or agree about a call if needed. It is really worthwhile to sharing a working paper that is stored in a secure corporate cloud with your colleagues and receive feedback immediately.”
SCM decided to work with Nextcloud to improve Talk, to give it the ability to easily share files between participants in a conversation. Moreover, when users tap to view this file, the Nextcloud app or Nextcloud web interface should open and show them the file. This provides an integrated solution for communication and collaboration. Andriy explains how the end result works for SCM: “Our employees can exchange instant messages including files stored on our secure Nextcloud server. Also, they can solve operational issues using encrypted audio and video conferences and be aware of any important document changes via a mobile phone with Talk application or any popular browser. This is a big advantage from a cross-platform perspective.
It is very important for our company to transfer files and documents at any time and from any place, even when the access to corporate mail or internet is limited. Our employees need this function for sharing and accessing files on their mobile phones and thus, they install Talk messenger. The files are cached in the Nextcloud mobile application, which is very convenient.”
The implementation satisfied the needs of the team and resulted in happy users. “We’d like to express our sincere gratitude and respect for the quality and timely work that was done under the SCM/Nextcloud project. We appreciate it that our investments will help ensure the development of Nextcloud and its community, in particular Talk as a means of communication, transfer and share files in a secure corporate environment.”
Given the positive experience, there might be future work done together. “This is the first time we’ve cooperated with Nextcloud and we look forward to a deeper partnership in the future. For example, we’d like to have an opportunity to manage chats and messages in Talk such as deleting and editing messages, temporary messages, hidden chats, etc.”