Posts Tagged 'ministry of finance'

Where do I vote?

With all that’s going on in Israel in the past week, people forgot (or not) that the elections are coming up, in just over 2 months (Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009). The Israeli Government Portal,, offers a new service, that allows every citizen to check where he/she are registered to vote. Just fill you ID#, security code and hit ‘Search’. This new service is actually a Domino application, developed by Sharon Ben-Haim, the CIO of The Ministry of Finance, whom I sure you know by now.
If you’re not sure where you’re registered to vote, head over to and check it out (homepage, scroll till mid-page).

Ministry of Finance – lesspaper office

Last week, just before Yom Kipur, I drove up to Jerusalem to visit Sharon Ben-Haim (pictured to the left), the CTO of the Ministry of Finance. No, I wasn’t there to discuss the credit crisis, or meet the minister himself, but to have a private, one-on-four customer visit – between Sharon and Taro Pharmaceuticals, another Lotus customer.

Sharon’s lecture at our Lotus event back in September got great feedback from participants, and Taro, which were unable to attend, asked for a private visit – and Sharon was happy to showcase his work, again.

There are no screenshots that I can share (will ask Sharon to send me some), but basically we went over four areas of interest:
Document collaboration (that leads to) better inbox management
Fax servers (incoming/outgoing) and SMS integration
Notes/Domino 8 including Lotus Traveler
Open discussion

The highlight of the ministry’s use of Lotus Notes/Domino as a messaging platform has to be its document repository, which combines capabilities of Quickr and Quickplace.
A scenario we went over: a user wants to create a new document (text, spreadsheet, presentation, fax, etc) he/she goes to the department’s repository. There he chooses the template, recipients (to/cc/bcc), subject, authoring access and hit ‘Edit’. Based on the doc type he wants, the proper application opens up, already filled with the inserted information (to, subject, cc, date, doc #). Just create and save (on the DB). Now you have a single copy of that doc, which you can attach to an email. Ah, but here’s the killer feature (in my opinion) – the DB ‘knows’ who your recipient is, and sends the doc in the proper format: if the recipient is an employee – Lotus link and Lotus url (for web access); if the recipient is external – file attachment; if the recipient is a fax user – a fax cover letter will be added to the doc. Brilliant. And saves on paper, which is the important thing.

The ministry, like any other business in Israel, receives a lot of data as email attachments – analyst reports, media coverage, agreements, spreadsheets, presentations, you name it. The problems begins when you need to share that data with other people in your team/department, and hit ‘Forward’, adds 10-15 names, and hit ‘Send’. Now the messaging system holds multiple copies of the same document, overloading the e-mail system and filling up the storage. Sharon has built another DB, that detaches the document from the original email (similar to Lotus Quickr), and places a link instead. Now, there’s a single copy of that document, and you can share it with your team/colleagues, without putting to much pressure on your e-mail system.

Sharon has something like 9 or 10 different tabs in his workspace, with >12 applications in each tab – so I’ll stop here. But I’ll definitely ask Sharon for some screenshots to spread the word around.

Magic over Lotus – The Ministry of Finance

Spend couple of hours this morning at The Ministry of Finance (MOF), a veteran Lotus customer, with some 1,200 employees spread out mostly in Israel and some in locations worldwide.

Lotus was introduced to the MOF back in 1997 (!), with Lotus Notes 4.5. Since then, dozens of applications were developed, including SMS (text messages), fax server, document manager, scanner, meeting rooms reservation, car pool and many more. Particularly I liked the SMS application: open up a new email, and instead of inserting an email address in the ‘To’ field, you write ‘mobilenumber@SMS’, and Lotus Notes identify the ‘@SMS’ and changes the ‘Text’ field into SMS template. Brilliant !

The MOF is also a green business, paperless office. Their internal document management repository was developed back in 2002, and currently holds over 15GB of data – documents, spreadsheets, presentations, faxes, scanned newspapers and more. Nothing is printed, everything is saved in a Lotus Notes DB and the users can share content easily, across the network.

Brilliant usage of Lotus Notes and Domino. I was trully surprised of what they did.

While on the matter of customer successes, here’s an event worth writing down.
Mark your calendars for Monday, September 8th: KM and Collaboration User Forum, where IBM customers will present some of the work they’re doing over our Software solutions. The IT manager of MOF is already in the speakers list.

Ministry of Finance, Israel
IBM Software for a Greener World
KM and Collaboration User Forum – Monday, Sep. 8th, IBM Israel HQ

Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at]



This is my personal blog. The postings here do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my past employers or of my clients. It is solely my opinion.