Increasingly, document management (DM) is coming to be not a ‘nice to have’, but a ‘must have’ for the majority of the customers we’re helping here at Nolan Business Solutions. What’s going on here, you might ask?
To answer that, I probably need to back up a little and explain who we are and what kind of market we’re involved in. For over 25 years now, we’ve been specialising in the development and support of business software for clients, mainly in the field of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning).
In practical terms, that means we help implement ways for our clients to do better financial management, distribution, sales and purchase processing, stock management, even some bits of manufacturing. We’re very strong, as a result, in high-tech manufacturing.
About a year or two back, these kinds of companies that we help, started to want to get a lot more out of their software. They really started to want to get greater visibility, for instance, into their documentation – to make their documents and paper work a lot harder, in effect.
The way they most commonly wanted to start doing that was have the business documents they were working with snap right into the workflow and business process. They wanted details and data off those documents to go right into the ERP system; they wanted staff to be able to view and share that data off a central repository; they wanted a seamless routing of information right along the chain, in other words.
Soon, we knew that only a really good DM system could do that. We chose to work with EASY Software, and it was a good decision. With its high levels of capability and great APIs, EASY is a great fit for that kind of requirement.
Pleasing the customer
Let me give you an example of a case in point about how great DM can help you. We’ve got a software company client that pushes out a lot of inventory. Using EASY, we are now helping the team there take electronic data right into the system as before, but now we can scan/OCR paper, too.
That means we can associate all the data with the ERP process, which saves a huge amount of time entering data into more than one system, which is what the guys had to do previously. Transactions and paper are now linked and pushed right into the business system in a way that they weren’t before, which is really good for productivity as well as information visibility.
Embedding DM technology like this also means we have been able to start offering some nice services off the back of it to the customer. One that’s really going down well is the ability to scoop off data and enable a smart system that triggers an automatic reminder, just off the scanned or collected invoice data, for when a renewal is due – a process that would have had to have been done manually before.
The customer’s really pleased. Lots of processes have been automated, there’s much greater efficiency, cash control and budgeting is getting easier. And these days, companies want flexible and responsive systems, just like this. They want to be able to query an invoice on the train after work if they want to use that time, not be tied to the 9 to 5 and rooting around in filing cabinets (and probably losing things)!
So whenever one of our clients says they want to be able to do more with their paper and embed it better into their core processes – I just tell them about EASY Software. It’s becoming more and more part of our sales process, to be honest with you.
A final thought, if I may. They talk about the UK productivity gap, don’t they? I wonder if more use of top-end DM systems like this might really not be a good way of starting to save a lot of business time, making improved productivity a lot more achievable as a goal – don’t you?
The author is Technical Director at Nolan Business Solutions, an international solution provider who has helped thousands of companies solve their business problems by implementing leading mid-market business software solutions and custom developed software applications