Graphcore Document Management

Graphcore is a Bristol based technology company with fantastic pedigree, unparalleled vision, and "unicorn" status (a start-up valued by investors at more than a billion dollars).

At the forefront of Machine Learning and AI, Graphcore's technology aims to be the engine of AI. The company's Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU) hardware and corresponding Poplar software is created specifically for the kinds of intensive parallel calculations required by AI applications - and is aimed at overcoming some of the hurdles faced by AI innovation.

Since complex, ground-breaking hardware and software requires detailed and commerically sensitive documentation, Graphcore needed a system for the management of such documenation - a bespoke Document Management System. 

At Freshleaf we have a long association with some of the Graphcore team, historically via organisations such as Icera and PicoChip; and we were delighted to be asked to provide custom development for this project.

 

Challenge

There were a number of specific requirements for the governance of Graphcore documentation. It needed to fit around the specifics of the company's workflow, including custom rules around creation, editing, categorisation, versioning, reviewing and publishing of documents. Security was paramount, to enable Graphcore's critically commercially sensitive documents to be trusted to the system. Additionally, the system needed to support organisational separation of access priviliges (a so-called "Chinese wall"). This allowed the company to demonstrate that teams working with different early-adopter clients couldn't access each other's data. Beyond this, the system needed SSO, an API to interface with other platforms, and a powerful search which could index the content of virtually all document types.

Solution

Graphcore was aware from the outset that only a bespoke system could answer all of its document governance requirements. Freshleaf worked closely with the Graphcore Tech Docs team to capture requirements and understand day-to-day document management challenges. Requirements capture was followed by phased development to allow a working system to be released in just a few short months, while further enhancements were developed. The first iteration of the DMS was put into use in November 2018, and new features have been shipped on an ongoing basis since that time.

Outcomes

Graphcore's document management process is encapsulated in a system which is secure, robust and scalable, and built to its specific requirements. Such a system was critical to the organisation to support its engagement with early customers.

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