the barrage of papers, emails, and other forms of content circulated daily," says John Gonzalez, director, product management and business development, Xerox DocuShare. "An ECM solution enables employees to combat the ongoing drudge of documents by taking paper out of the process in exchange for easy-to-manage digital files," he adds.
A reduced investment in labor, materials, and file cabinet storage factor into the benefits of ECM. Gonzalez tells us that DocuShare helped CA’s Manteca Unified School District eliminate 200 filing cabinets with digital storage. The school district freed up classroom space while saving an estimated $300,000 in storage and $60,000 in distribution of board agendas.
ECM in the Banking World
Peoples Bank of East Tennessee is a locally owned and operated community bank, which was established in 1997. The bank has nine locations including its home office in Madisonville, TN. Recently, the bank’s management team realized its storage space and document efficiency challenges needed to be addressed.
"The two biggest problems were physical storage and a desire to become more efficient," says Dustin Atkins, data security officer, Peoples Bank of East Tennessee.
The bank’s main office, built in 1997, holds three vaults for document storage. "We have a credit vault, a bookkeeping vault, and mass storage vault. We were running out of room," says Atkins. Additionally, "if people at our branches needed to look at files in our loan department, the deposit department, or anywhere else, they had to come over and ask somebody to pull it out of the vault and send it to them," explained Atkins. The solution was to make the documents available electronically. "Now they are able to just pull it up on the screen," he adds.
The bank uses software from Jack Henry & Associates for its core operations, but selected a different vendor, Clearview, for its ECM functions to avoid being locked into one vendor for all functions.
Throughout the process of finding an ECM provider, Atkins noticed that many secondary vendors charged a fee anytime they wanted to interface with the core vendor. "Something like $15 or $20 thousand dollars to get it to work seamlessly. With Clearview’s IRISS, it is basically transparent to any application. It doesn’t matter what you are running," he says.
Clearview’s IRISS Desktop Gadget is a mini-application that allows workers to search for documents and SharePoint content through drag-and-drop technology. "If you can highlight and copy/paste text, you can click, or drag it to the IRISS and it immediately begins to search what you are looking for," says Atkins. That functionality was a big factor in the bank’s decision to choose Clearview. "They use Microsoft SharePoint on the backend for greater flexibility. I can store an electronic document of a policy, keep revisions of it in Clearview, and edit that."
Implementation is often an overwhelming process. Clearview offers a professional services and implementation plan. "I had some vendors tell me, ‘we’ll come in and get this set up, and boom, we’ll be ready to go.’ I knew better than that," says Atkins. "To get things done where you don’t have to have a lot of human intervention, you have to put in a sample of every document in the system. Loans can have more than 180 different document types," he explains.
Atkins says although Clearview has a history working with other banks, but they were also willing to listen. "We’ve done it differently than most. They were able to guide us, and most of that was done on the front end. They added a lot of our documents so we didn’t get bogged down during implementation."
Peoples Bank of East Tennessee began a phased approach with its implementation, starting with its Human Resources and Deposits departments. The goal was to fix the bugs in the smaller departments before they implemented it in loans, which is the biggest department. "It was a lot of work, but I think we’ve done it right, I’d rather put a lot more work in on the front end and get it right, than having bad data going in. Otherwise it’s garbage in, garbage out."
With a portion of the bank’s branches online, about 50 employees currently use the Clearview system. Atkins says that number continues to grow.
Managing the DocumentsThe Rogers Group provides crushed stone, sand, gravel, and asphalt materials in five states throughout the Southeastern U.S. The company operates sixty aggregate and asphalt plant locations. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, the company operates with 1,500 throughout the entire organization. Mollie Bowman, accounting manger, Rogers Group, says that the company decided to look for a document management solution to replace microfiche reports and to move accounts payable invoices from paper to online.
Jack Henry’s Synergy document management solution was the answer. Ease of use and functions like smart indexes, custom views for reports, and the ability to retrieve documents in original form despite later versions, were all features that made Synergy ideal. In addition, Synergy offers extensive security and audit features, which are scalable to facilitate future expansion.
"We started in April of 1998 with accounts payable. Since then we’ve added accounts receivable, fixed assets, capital projects, payroll, compensation and benefits, and risk management to the group departments using the system," says Bowman. The company has one full-time and two part-time employees dedicated to scanning. Bowman says about 20 people use the system directly while about 80 people link in through the integration module.
"We gained efficiency with instant access to data for answering requests from both internal and external sources," says Bowman. She adds that integration into the company’s Oracle financial system was huge for them in the areas of fixed assets, capital projects, accounts payable, and accounts receivable. Rogers Group’s IT system administrator used the integration module to develop links between the Oracle financial modules and the imaging system. "All that is required to see the documents is a click and it’s presented without leaving the screen you are viewing," explains Bowman. "Assigning a dollar value to the elimination of time spent searching paper files for information may not be easy to do, but it makes a significant impact when time is critical," she concludes.
More on ECMStay tuned for next week as we complete our online ECM series with a sampling of products available today. Look for a full feature article in the July/August 2009 issue of DPS magazine