Monday Mar 25, 2013

Waiting on the paperwork...

Last Friday evening, I boarded a connecting flight as I made my way home across the country.  Tired yet relieved to be going home after working at an Oracle-sponsored industry event, I got on board and watched as every last bit of seating and storage space was consumed by fellow travelers.  We were then notified that the plane had a maintenance issue that was being investigated and within seconds, many of us on the plane were automatically notified of the new estimated departure time on our smartphones.  In terms of customer communication, so far so good!  The airline (who will remain unnamed) was informing customers promptly about an unforeseen issue and the customers responded by settling in with whatever reading material they had.

Within a half hour, we were notified that the problem was resolved.  But then, those dreaded words came across the PA system from the Captain. "We are ready to go, but we are waiting on the paper work."

Now the crowd emitted an audible groan.  Why is that?  In my case, when someone tells me that they are "waiting on the paper work", I immediately have an image of a slow, tedious, bureaucratic process requiring a manual approval.  Sure enough, we waited for quite a while as our now perfectly operational aircraft was held on the ground...  by paper.

What struck me as I loitered on the plane with my fellow passengers that night is that there are still, surprisingly, many business processes that rely on physical paper and manual signatures.  It's easy to think in this day and age that everything is now automated.  We live in a world of notifications and alerts, automatic updates, text messages, social collaboration and news feeds.  Yet at the same time, there are a myriad of areas in our personal and professional lives that rely on paper and pen.

In the case of airplane maintenance, procedures must be followed and documented.  There are industry and government mandated regulations that outline exactly how maintenance repairs are performed and formal records must be kept of every repair done on each plane for safety and legal reasons.  And yet with automated imaging, scanning and forms recognition solutions such as those available with Oracle WebCenter, these approved forms could be routed much faster. Management of the records and associated documents would also be more efficient and less prone to human error and possible loss or damage to the paper documents.

If there is room for improvement in business processes that directly impact customers at one of the world's largest airlines, what about your business?  Are you still relying on paper forms and documents in critical or regulated business processes?  How does this effect the customer experience you provide?

Oracle WebCenter provides a plethora of solutions for businesses looking to improve the customer experience. From Self-Service Portals to targeted Web Experience Management to Enterprise Content Management and yes, even Automated Imaging solutions that help you eliminate paper from your processes.  As a reader of this blog, we hope we have already helped you solve some of your business challenges and we look forward to helping you address more in the future as you strive to continuously improve.  Thank you for joining us!

Friday Mar 15, 2013

Making a Real Impact on Your Bottom Line

This week, we've been focusing on how your business can realize significant cost savings by implementing automated capture and imaging solutions within your existing processes.  If you haven't already seen the screencast overview that illustrates the benefits of doing so, please take a look and share it with your colleagues at work.  We think it will be 7 minutes of your time well spent.

To further peak your interest, today we want to highlight a couple of recent customer examples from those that have already started using Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions along with their e-business processes.  The first customer that we will take note of is Texas Industries, or TXI.  As a mid-size company that is a leading supplier of cement, aggregate and consumer product building materials, TXI is very decentralized with 100 plants across 5 states.  Manual processing in many locations was proving very costly, to say nothing of the costs associated with managing, shipping and tracking of invoices and related documents. 

After implementing Oracle WebCenter Imaging, they have reduced the number of invoices that have to be manually verified by over 25%, reduced their invoice cycle time from around 30 days to less than 5 and reduced their shipping and storage costs by 50%.  Significant savings that helped TXI realize a fast return on their investment and fund further innovation.

Another company worth noting is Development Dimensions International, or DDI.  As a leading provider of Talent Management and Learning Systems, DDI works with thousands of customers and individual clients.  Enhancing back-end processes while securing sensitive content in a compliant fashion has paid immediate dividends.  Since implementing Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions in conjunction with their Oracle E-Business Suite, DDI has seen an 80% reduction in the costs associated with technical support and service and reduced reliance on manual, paper-driven processes has helped them save 20% on storage and management costs.

With today’s budgets and expectation to be as efficient as possible, it behooves any size company that relies on back-end e-business systems to evaluate how those processes run today and what can be done to make them more cost-effective.  Oracle WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions offer a powerful way to quickly realize cost savings be enhancing the systems you already rely on to keep your business running.

We hope you find this information informative as you look to improve the way your organization handles internal and external business processes. Thanks for visiting our blog and we hope to see you again soon!


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Thursday Mar 14, 2013

Show Me the Savings! The Value of Radically Cutting Internal e-Biz Processing Costs

Lately a lot has been written about the opportunity available to companies that can take advantage of dynamic discounting when dealing with partners and suppliers.  But how can you get your organization to the point where you can also take advantage?  It can seem daunting but if you already are using Oracle e-business suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, JD Edwards or Siebel CRM, you are already halfway there!

Simply put, dynamic discounting allows you to negotiate favorable pricing when you have the ability to pay your suppliers very quickly.  Initially it might seem counter-intuitive that you can improve cash flow by paying suppliers early, but the numbers tell the story.   For example, if you can negotiate a 2% discount with your suppliers by promising to pay them in 10 days instead of the traditional 30, the return on capital is 2% in 20 days, or 36% annually.  That kind of return is certainly more than the interest earned by delaying your payments.

That's all fine and nice if you can actually guarantee quick payments with confidence.  But for many companies, the processing of documents, faxes, scanned images and other content is not anywhere near as efficient as their transactional processes.  WebCenter Content and Imaging solutions fill that gap and provide the automated capture, scanning and intelligent routing needed to accelerate invoice processing along with lots of other internal processes.

This week, we posted a new screencast that quickly illustrates how processes can be improved using WebCenter Imaging from Oracle.  You can view it here.  We believe you will find it insightful and that you can use it to get your company thinking about ways to further automate systems that can make a real impact on the bottom line.  For further details, please be sure to view one of our recent webcasts on how to optimize your e-business systems.

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Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

WebCenter Customer Spotlight: DDI

Author: Peter Reiser - Social Business Evangelist, Oracle WebCenter

 Solution Summary

Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI) has been helping hundreds of organizations around the world―including half of the Fortune 500 companies―close the gap between where their businesses need to go and the talent they must have to take them there. With associates in 42 offices in 26 countries, the company’s expertise includes designing and implementing employee selection systems and identifying and developing talent, from front-line workers to executive leadership.

As DDI continued to grow, it experienced escalating costs associated with searching, storing, and recreating critical, expense-related documents for its operations around the globe.

They  implemented Oracle Internet Expenses and integrated  a new document-capture solution based on Oracle WebCenter Imaging,  that enabled the company to overcome the limitations of its legacy system with an open, enterprise architecture that facilitates a flexible deployment.

DDI cut administrative costs associated with managing paper-based transactions, as well as operational costs associated with photocopying, faxing, and couriering documents and decreased its physical storage requirements & costs.  DDI estimates that it is saving the equivalent of one full-time staff member in IT management.  In addition, the company gained the ability to track, access, and manage information more efficiently to assist with regulatory compliance related to information protection and privacy.


www.ddiworld.com

Company Overview

Since 1970, Development Dimensions International, Inc. (DDI) has been helping hundreds of organizations around the world―including half of the Fortune 500 companies―close the gap between where their businesses need to go and the talent they must have to take them there. With associates in 42 offices in 26 countries, the company’s expertise includes designing and implementing employee selection systems and identifying and developing talent, from front-line workers to executive leadership.

Business Challenges

The company previously used a third-party system to manage employee expenses, a solution that was extremely complex to maintain, as it was not built on a standards-based architecture.  As DDI continued to grow, it experienced escalating costs associated with searching, storing, and recreating critical, expense-related documents for its operations around the globe. Every year, employees spent thousands of hours and the company expended significant financial resources distributing client-billable expense receipts across several departments globally. This largely manual system delayed employee reimbursement and client billing and prohibited the rollout of shared services centers, designed to elevate efficiency and customer service.

To address these challenges, DDI defined following business objectives:

  • Advance DDI’s global, shared services strategy to help it to reduce costs, improve administrative efficiency, and expand its ability to deliver world-class talent acquisition and development services
  • Enable the company to more efficiently capture and process employee expenses, eliminating manual processes and accelerating reimbursement, as well as customer billing
  • Reduce IT complexity and management costs by eliminating custom integrations between the company’s business-critical applications and systems
Solution Deployed

DDI implemented Oracle Internet Expenses to accelerate expense report submission, approval, processing, and payment, and control expenses with flexible audit tools. The solution automated the approval workflow and accelerated and ensured accurate expense attribution in client invoices.
At the same time, DDI implemented  a new document-capture solution. It deployed Oracle WebCenter Imaging, a solution that enabled the company to overcome the limitations of its legacy system with an open, enterprise architecture that facilitates a flexible deployment. As part of the rollout, it integrated Oracle WebCenter Imaging with Oracle Internet Expenses. Oracle WebCenter Imaging operates as an infrastructure-supporting solution, as opposed to an application unto itself—so the company can leverage it as a shared service that extends wherever imaging is required throughout the enterprise. 

Business Results
DDI cut administrative costs associated with managing paper-based transactions, as well as operational costs associated with photocopying, faxing, and couriering documents. Further, the company decreased its physical storage requirements and costs.  DDI estimates that it is saving the equivalent of one full-time staff member in IT management. The team can now apply time it previously spent managing and maintaining custom interfaces to more strategic initiatives. In addition, the company gained the ability to track, access, and manage information more efficiently to assist with regulatory compliance related to information protection and privacy.

We are very pleased with the way Oracle WebCenter Imaging enabled us to achieve process efficiencies by capturing receipt images up front and making them accessible to managers and other approvers all along the workflow. We also like that we can retrieve images not only from Oracle Internet Expenses, but also from Oracle Payables, as well as within Oracle WebCenter Imaging itself.

Mike Fieldhammer, Corporate Controller, Development Dimensions International


Additional Information

Monday Mar 11, 2013

The Attractiveness of Automated Capture, Scanning and Imaging for Your E-Business Applications

Ok, let's face it.  When we bring up a topic like automated capture, scanning and imaging, it might not make your heart flutter.  And when we see a blog post about automating processes like Accounts Payable Invoice Processing, I doubt your pulse quickens.  But maybe it should!  Let me explain...

Today, we have posted a new "screencast" that walks you through a short before and after scenario showcasing how the use of Oracle WebCenter Imaging can slash the costs associated with AP invoicing.  It's about 7 minutes long and the perfect thing to watch before you head off to your next meeting.  While many companies use Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise or JD Edwards to optimize how business transactions are handled, the handling and management of associated documents and other files are often disconnected.  Fixing this problem and driving further efficiencies is certainly a great way to become bit more popular around the office.

Here's how.  Many companies are still relying on paper forms, faxes, letters, scanned images and digital content as key elements within business processes.  These items should ideally be easily referenced, stored and managed within the scope of the process, but when it is a piece of paper or a fax, that can get very tricky.  That invoice might be in a stack of papers on a specialist’s desk over at headquarters.  Or maybe that fax with the new contract terms got routed to a clerk’s e-mail but he is on vacation for the next 10 days.  You get the picture; the information is in the company...somewhere.   But when paper or disconnected and unmanaged files are involved, everything becomes a manual process which of course means it is error prone, slow and likely under a poor level of governance.

That's where Oracle WebCenter Imaging Solutions come in.  With native integrations for Oracle E-Business applications, you can automate the capture of documents, images and forms and automatically detect the type of form or document, retrieve line item information right off the document and route it into the appropriate process.  And that is where the appeal comes in.  When you bring in WebCenter and start improving first one, and then multiple processes, you will start seeing immediate results that drive significant cost savings.  Having that sort of vision and eye for strategic business improvement drives recognition and visibility within any company.  And who knows what might happen next with your newfound recognition?  Perhaps your boss sees your value and gives you that big salary increase you now so clearly deserve.  Upper management hears about the difference you are making in your part of the organization and invites you to present your ideas at the next leadership meeting.  The next thing you know you are having cocktails with the CEO's daughter on the porch of their summer house in St. Tropez. 

Admittedly, your scenario might be somewhat different from this one but when it comes to making significant improvements to the company’s bottom line by optimizing back-end processes like AP Invoicing, the results are proven and tangible.  Learning more about how your organization can save money and be more efficient is certainly time well-spent, and just might pay some personal dividends.  Check out the screencast to learn more and check back on this blog throughout the week for more information.  You may not end up in St. Tropez, but no matter where you work, being smart and saving money is always sexy.

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Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.

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