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Customer Stories

ADB’S Office of the General Counsel boosts productivity by 75%

Asian Development Bank saves 1,800 hours per month on filing and searching with iManage Work 10 in the Cloud

The APAC region is home to a significant proportion of the world’s poor, and Asian Development Bank (ADB) is on a mission to eradicate poverty across the Asia-Pacific by funding sustainable projects that benefit society. Lacking a standardized approach to electronic document management, the bank’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) wanted to find a better solution for their document management and retrieval needs. Under OGC’s old systems, staff spent about 2,400 person hours a month — or 14 percent of people’s time — with physical filing, finding information, and printing. With support from iManage partner Business Network Solutions (BNS), the OGC implemented iManage Work 10 in the Cloud, setting up custom workspaces to meet the requirements of seven different teams within OGC. The legal group now spends 75 percent less time on searches and filing with a centralized DMS on the secure, reliable, iManage cloud-native knowledge work platform. As a result, OGC has been able to go paperless, reducing its carbon footprint.

Asian Development Bank — known as ADB — is no ordinary bank. Founded in 1966, it is dedicated to alleviating poverty, driving sustainability, and achieving a resilient, inclusive, and prosperous Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The bank supports 68 member countries all working on projects to grow their economy in responsible and renewable ways.

The business challenge

A fragmented approach to document management

In APAC, more than 1.1 billion people survive on less than $3.20 a day. ADB helps member countries by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.

The OGC is the in-house, 110-person legal department serving the bank, with most people based at ADB’s Manila headquarters. During the COVID-19 pandemic, about half of the OGC’s staff based themselves in their home countries, outside of the Manila headquarters and spread around the globe, and they worked from those locations for nearly two and a half years. Ensuring that staff had secure, reliable access to documents and information was sometimes difficult because the OGC had used primarily physical paper filing and storage of information. The OGC quickly realized that traditional paper filing was no longer a viable long-term option and they needed to find a secure, digital solution.

“We had a very fragmented approach to document management. Documents were filed in physical folders or boxes, with older files stored off-site, some in digital files located on local drives, shared drives, or older digital databases that only a few staff knew how to properly navigate and search on — so sometimes it was hard to know where to look,” explains Colin Gin, one of the Assistant General Counsels in OGC, who also led a team within OGC to procure and implement iManage. “We relied quite heavily on people’s rich institutional knowledge of where to find things. But we knew we needed a standard, centralized approach to document management that didn’t rely on people’s memory.”



Manila, Philippines


Financial Services


iManage Work 10 in the Cloud


  • 75% more efficient
  • Increases data security
  • Supports remote working
  • Reduces complexity

About partner

Business Network Solutions (BNS) specializes in the business verticals of law firms and corporate legal, consulting and accounting firms, and small medium enterprises. Serving the Asia Pacific region with headquarters in Malaysia, BNS has representative offices in Singapore and the Philippines.


We were excited when we discovered iManage. At one of the first demo meetings with the iManage team they showed us a diagram mapping the evolution of knowledge management from paper to modern day. It helped us visualize what we wanted to achieve.

Colin Gin, Assistant General Counsel, Asian Development Bank

The solution

Centralize document and information management

The pandemic accelerated the OGC’s need for a centralized document management solution, where staff could securely locate and access information from anywhere.

“We were excited when we discovered iManage. At one of the first demo meetings with the iManage team they showed us a diagram mapping the evolution of knowledge management from paper to modern day,” says Mr. Gin. “It helped us visualize what we wanted to achieve.”

The OGC and the Information and Technology Department in ADB partnered jointly with Business Network Solutions (BNS) to support the business from negotiation to implementation through aftercare. The service provider carried out due diligence in line with ADB’s strict procurement and digital security processes to ensure iManage met its security and compliance requirements and ran weekly meetings to keep the implementation on track.

In total, ADB migrated 5 TB of data from legacy databases and platforms, shared drives, and other storage locations. For documents accessible outside of OGC (for example to other areas of ADB or external to ADB), the OGC uses SharePoint as its collaboration tool, but iManage Work 10 is the default platform for all email, document, and knowledge storage and retrieval within the OGC. Because iManage has the advantage of integrating seamlessly with Microsoft 365, users receive prompts to save their emails and attachments in iManage.

“The migration was complex because our data was in so many different formats and different locations and databases. BNS worked with our IT team and stakeholders from the OGC to ensure that everything was migrated correctly and was formatted for modern business users,” says Mr. Gin. “Though some of the older documents and databases needed quite a lot of time and care to migrate, the more recent documents could easily be dragged and dropped into iManage.”


Users on the platform


Hours saved per month

5 TB

Of data migrated

Maximize efficiency with custom workspaces

After migration, the OGC team had a secure, cloud-native knowledge work platform with industry-leading geo-isolation capabilities that makes files and emails secure, compliant, and accessible from anywhere and at any time. This is crucial for companies working across multiple time zones and borders.

“We ran some numbers and realized we had been spending 14 percent of our time just filing and looking for things. That is 2,400 personnel hours a month,” says Mr. Gin. “With iManage we reduced that by 75 percent, saving 1,800 hours per month on filing and searching for information. And that is time the legal team can dedicate to more meaningful work.”

Mr. Gin’s team led a change management campaign to help OGC staff adapt to the new ways of working. Staff received regular updates on progress throughout the migration and were informed about how iManage would make life easier for them. They were pleased to learn how much more efficient Work 10 was than the way they’d been working, but the OGC wanted to further optimize the staff experience.

“We had a vision in mind and knew how iManage could help us achieve that outcome. That guided us and made change management easier than previous projects,” Mr. Gin adds.

The OGC adapted workspaces that accommodate each of its seven teams’ specialized needs. The standard legal documents can be saved into the relevant folders and adapted to the unique requirements of each of the OGC teams. This is particularly valuable to staff working on similar projects across multiple countries.

“Essentially it mimics how they were filing things physically, but now it is done digitally,” Mr. Gin notes. “And the search function is great. If someone is working on a matter relating to power transmissions in India, for example, they can enter any of those words as search terms and find all the relevant documents or similar projects.”

Business outcomes

More productive, secure, and sustainable

With a modern knowledge work platform, OGC achieved its vision of securely centralizing legal documents and emails for 110 people. With its impressive 1,800 hours per month time savings, the OGC is not only more productive, it also supports its sustainability goals by moving away from paper filing.

Mr. Gin says standardizing document management has increased data security for the OGC and reduced the risk of human error. “With iManage we can easily control who has read-write access to which documents, giving or removing access at the tap of a button,” he adds.

Having had an overall objective for the office to be more efficient and effective, Mr. Gin confirms that the move to the iManage platform has been transformational for the OGC. The team’s projects, knowledge, and data are all much more secure, accessible, searchable, and much better managed.

“We are very happy with our whole engagement with iManage and BNS. We’ve come a long way since the pandemic hit,” concludes Mr. Gin. “Technology does not magically make things better. It takes a combination of hard work, good people, and a great platform, and that is why our project has been so successful. We are proud of what we’ve achieved so far, and excited to explore how iManage uses artificial intelligence to help customers like us get even smarter about knowledge management in the future.”

Making Knowledge Work

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