Colin Smith of EASY partner Nolan Business Solutions explains the significance to the EDM world of the two companies’ new project with a major sport sector organisation
You may have seen the great news that our primary document management technology partner, EASY Software UK, won a great contract to further help out the English Premier League.
If you didn’t, then the key facts are that the organisation, a private company which functions as the organising body of the Barclays Premier League and which is wholly owned by the 20 member clubs that make up the Premiership at any one time, has been relying on EASY’s solutions since 2005.
That relationship has now been extended, however, with the organisation’s decision to start using the EASY INVOICE system as its new main way of processing the 1,000-plus supplier invoices that its busy Finance Team gets every month.
It’s looking for a new, centralised, paper-less (or certainly ‘paper-lite’) way of working that will boost the team’s efficiency – or as a spokesperson is quoted as saying on the EASY site, ‘We believe that having the EASY INVOICE system in place will not only reduce the workload of our accounts payable department, but will also make the business more productive in the long run.’
Why am I telling you all this? Well, if you don’t mind, I’d like to explain a little about my company first (it is relevant, I promise!). I am a co-founder of an outfit called Nolan Business Solutions. We are company that specialises in delivering business solutions based on the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution Microsoft Dynamics GP, which is very popular with what you might call ‘mid-range’ companies; I am pleased to say that we now have over 1500 such customers globally now, delivering a blend of both bespoke and out of the box ERP software and service solutions. We set up shop in 1988 and have genuinely never looked back. (I should also note that we do work with other technologies, particularly NetSuite, but it’s the ERP side I want to focus on today.)
Off The Paper Invoice – And Right Into The Main Accounts System
So – we’re not an EDM (Enterprise Document Management) company! So why are we on the DMCollaborators’ site, you may ask? Well, the reason (I promised it would be relevant) is that while we aren’t an EDM company, we have been a close tech partner of EASY for quite a while.
And in terms of the service that EASY is performing for the Premier League, that’s quite a crucial partnership – as we worked together to provide an integrated document scanning, storage and retrieval capability for the organisation, which happens to also be a Microsoft Dynamics GP customer. (In fact, we happen to do a lot of business with football clubs, as well as hi-tech distribution and charities, which are all strong verticals for us.)
What precisely did we do to help EASY here? Essentially, we have written the code to help pump the key info from any one of those thousand-odd monthly invoices (usually via OCR, optical character recognition) directly into the Microsoft Dynamics environment.
Why is that a good thing, I hear you ask? Well, it’s the core to the whole proposition, if you think about it: as it delivers the kind of benefits you EDM guys talk about, the ability to move off paper and into a more streamlined electronic/digital world, right into the heart of the Finance Department – the guys running the finance engines that power the company.
In other words, by connecting the data out of the invoice and making it available and visible in the ERP (Microsoft Dynamics) solution itself, we have helped – at a stroke – to get rid of all the inefficiencies associated with routing the paper, keying/re-keying/mis-keying (!) the data and so forth. (When I say ‘data,’ I mean the supplier codes, names, General Ledger identifiers – all the things the Finance function really needs to get the payments job done here.)
Working As A Genuine Team
I say we and I mean ‘we:’ this is very much a joint enterprise between Nolan and EASY, and we’ve really enjoyed the experience, too. And I do also have to say this is early days at the Premier League, by the way: we can see tremendous potential here, but we are all working hard together to bed the system in and make it as transparent and reliable a process as we can for the client. (It’s a good thing EASY support answers the phone quick! No, I am joking – they are very good and the implementation actually went like clockwork, EASY is a very responsive partner.)
I wanted to tell you all this as I wanted to acknowledge the good work we, as an ERP specialist, are doing with a leading EDM company like EASY.
But I also wanted to flag up what I think the wider implications for your sector might be here, too. I think if we can continue to dovetail ERP and EDM closer together like this, we could really help customers achieve much greater efficiency and thus curb their costs right down.
If document management gets embedded in the back office, the ramifications are actually enormous: you are even talking about the need to spend less budget on physical buildings and space to store paper, along with a host of other factors.
I think that could be very good news for both your business and mine – so let’s look for the Premier League to be the first of many such promising joint ERP-EDM ‘tag team’ engagements, what do you think?
The author is co-founder and Chief Technical Officer at Nolan Business Solutions