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Hispasat | Iron Mountain

Digitisation Improves Satellite Operator's Document Management

Iron Mountain helps HISPASAT improve efficiency and productivity and enables a move to city-centre offices in Madrid


Need for major cut in paper document storage to adopt new processes and more efficient document management tools and to enable a move to smaller premises


Full digitisation, with secure destruction of all non-vital paper and removal of the rest to safe storage


Lower costs, more flexible, sustainable and secure document management, and smooth move to new premises along with a 95 per cent cut in paper documents


HISPASAT is a Spanish satellite communications operator and, providing more than 1,250 television and radio channels and Internet access, is a leader in Spanish and Portuguese content distribution. It has a significant presence on the Iberian Peninsula, and is the fourth largest satellite operator in Latin America.


Running satellite operations for more than a quarter of a century, HISPASAT has accumulated a lot of documentation. Technical or bid documents, for example, often ran to hundreds of pages, and in the early years they would be copied many times for review across the organisation.

All this old documentation built up over time because it was not a problem to store it in the ample space available at the company’s Calle Gobelas (Madrid) headquarters.

By 2013, however, the company started introducing improvements to document management, to make it more efficient and sustainable. At the same time it was decided the company would move to the centre of Madrid from its aging offices in the outskirts. To save space the paper records would need to be rationalised.

“We chose Iron Mountain because solving these sorts of problems is their core business. They have more than 60 years of experience and were much more flexible than their competitors.”

Alberto Uttranadhie Martín Documentation Officer HISPASAT


The company embarked on a review and disposed of about 50 per cent of the accumulated documentation, which was no longer up to date or relevant; but that still left some 230 linear metres of filing. Iron Mountain® was invited to join a formal pitch for the job of digitising the remaining documents. Three companies provided proposals.

Alberto Uttranadhie Martín, responsible for documentation in HISPASAT’s Technical Department, says: “We chose Iron Mountain because solving these sorts of problems is their core business. They have more than 60 years of experience and were much more flexible than their competitors.”

The work had to be done quickly, so as soon as the contract was signed the Iron Mountain team moved in and boxed up all the documents so they could be taken off site.

The paperwork was removed to a secure Iron Mountain facility for processing. Then the team had to retrieve paperwork from the HISPASAT control centre in Arganda del Rey, on the other side of Madrid, which was scheduled to undergo major reformation works. “Iron Mountain ended up retrieving more than 830 boxes of documents in little over 20 days,” says Alberto.

This documentation was checked for duplicates and errors then scanned to PDF. The process was complicated by the length and condition of some of the archive items. They included documents that ran to 1,000 pages or more, and folders that had been damaged over time.

In total, Iron Mountain scanned more than 1.9 million images and generated 67,000 PDF files for seven departments. The scans included 31 different types of document, from invoices and tax papers to purchase orders and press releases.

Despite this complexity, HISPASAT still had full access to its documentation. “Some people were nervous about losing sight of the paperwork, but even when the processing had barely started we were able to get documents back within 24 hours,” Alberto says. “It was even possible to retrieve some bills dating back to 1993.”

“Some people were nervous about losing sight of the paperwork, but even when the processing had barely started we were able to retrieve documents within 24 hours. They even provided some bills dating back to 1993.”

Alberto Uttranadhie Martín Documentation Officer HISPASAT


Iron Mountain has digitised practically all its existing documentation. Around 90 per cent of the paperwork sent for digitisation was then securely destroyed. Added to the 50 per cent that had been previously disposed of this means the amount of physical documentation that HISPASAT currently stores has been cut by about 95 per cent.With this reduction, which has been critical in enabling HISPASAT to move to new premises, there is better utilisation of resources since less power and space is devoted to storing paperwork.

At the same time the digitisation programme has become the foundation for document management improvement processes at HISPASAT, a major productivity initiative that will allow all documents to be digitally accessible via Microsoft® SharePoint®.

The document digitisation programme is also helping to reinforce a mindset change promoted by the company’s leadership, whereby HISPASAT employees are encouraged to adopt efficient working practices and clean-desk policies. That’s not just helpful in promoting greater productivity, but is also a prerequisite for achieving corporate goals like ISO accreditation.

HISPASAT is currently implementing the Microsoft® SharePoint® architecture to accommodate the two million or so PDFs involved. In the meantime, Iron Mountain has already improved the searchability of the paperwork by adding document tagging and indexing where needed.

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