Tuesday Jul 16, 2013

Cats, Bacon and the Bottom Line

Recently I came across an Infographic illustrating the popularity of cats and bacon within web searches. The results are somewhat startling and as a marketing professional, it immediately had me wondering about how we could utilize this knowledge here on the Oracle WebCenter team.  

Well, the fact of the matter is that we are almost certainly NOT going to have a cat, bacon or any combination as a mascot or emblem anytime soon, even if it is a cat as cute as mine, seen here loitering in a box. What we are going to do is continue to focus on real business challenges that are vexing our customers today and help them find new ways to save money, increase efficiency and drive increased profitability.

One of the ways Oracle WebCenter is helping customers is via the automation of essential business processes like Accounts Payable invoicing.  While perhaps it is not as exciting as a kitten or a piece of bacon to some people, to those responsible for improving the bottom line, it's extremely important.  In a recent survey, 69% of accounts payable professionals surveyed chose reducing the cost of invoice processing as their top priority as they address the cost of doing business.

If this is important to you, we invite you to learn more about how WebCenter Imaging can automate your invoicing processes and be used across multiple transactional processes to lower costs, reduce errors and radically improve operating efficiency.  Be sure to check out our introductory video on the topic as well as our PDF booklet of customer successes in this area.  We hope we can assist you with the same type of improvements.  At the very least, you'll have more time to do those searches for kittens and bacon!  :)

And OK, after you have researched the ways Oracle WebCenter Imaging can help you run a more profitable business, you might want to see the aforementioned infographic. Given these numbers, you just might want to make your corporate mascot a kitten (or bacon). :)

Source: Marketo, July 2013

Thursday Aug 16, 2012

Webinar: WebCenter Imaging and Process Management for Accounts Payable

Oracle WebCenter Webinar Series

E-Business Suite Customers

You're Invited to join Oracle’s WebCenter Product Management Team and Sena Systems in an
Exclusive Webinar for E-Business Suite Customers


WebCenter Imaging and Process Management for
Accounts Payable


Learn how Oracle E-Business Suite customers achieve the following with WebCenter Imaging for Accounts Payable:

  • Eliminate the need for paper processing and storage
  • Speed up Accounts Payable processing
  • Reduce Accounts Payable operational costs


Please join Oracle’s WebCenter Product Management team and partner Sena Systems for an overview of the solution, a review of previous customer success, and a product demonstration.

Thursday, August 30, 2012
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. PST

Kindly RSVP to this event by contacting Justine Eller via email at justine.eller@oracle.com or by telephone at: (650) 633-6635.

Webinar details will be distributed upon registration.

Thank you for your support of Oracle solutions!

Friday Dec 16, 2011

Automating Invoice Processing With Oracle WebCenter - Webcast Recap

Yesterday on our webcast, Optimize Accounts Payable Through Automated Invoice Processing we had over 120 questions from a very engaged and enthusiastic audience! Today Jamie Rancourt and I want to address a number of the questions that were asked.

Does the invoice have to have a particular template to be able to capture & extract?

Throughout yesterday's webcast, we mentioned how data from invoices can be extracted using Oracle WebCenter to help automate your invoice processing flows.  Let's dig a litter deeper into that today's post.  

Unlike many other products available today, WebCenter Forms Recognition is not a template based solution. It works much in the same way as the human brain does. Imagine you are looking at an invoice.  You've seen enough invoices to know where the header information is, where the line items are, what the line item values, total value, and tax information is.  You don't need to be told the vendor information is in the upper left corner, and the invoice total in the bottom right corner.  WebCenter Forms Recognition, the component of our Automated Invoice Processing solution that performs the extraction, works in the same way.  When installed, it already knows what an "Invoice" is.  It knows this because we've taught it what an "Invoice" looks like by feeding it a variety of real invoices while it is in learning mode.  This way, it knows what the different components that make up an invoice are, and doesn't care where they are actually located on the page.  This is how WebCenter can handle 1000's of invoices from 1000's of vendors with very little effort, and most importantly very little administration.  Typically our customers realize a successful extraction rate of over 80%, significantly reducing the number of invoices their AP clerks need to process on a daily basis, and therefore significantly reducing the cost to process those invoices.  Additionally, WebCenter Forms Recognition can learn about other types of forms, whether that is benefit enrollment forms, medical forms, tax forms, or any other form that you may process on a regular basis, either within your financial operations or outside.

So the image scanning could be used to extract and store information from non-financial documents as well?

Yes. The system can be taught about other types of documents and can be used beyond AP processes. Oracle WebCenter provides a best-of-breed enterprise content management (ECM) system, so your AP solution built on WebCenter can be expanded to address any content management use case your organization has. You can see an example of this in the Embry Riddle ROI Study – Oracle WebCenter was implemented to address accounts payable, but since then has been expanded to handle student admissions.

How are you calculating cost per invoice?

These are numbers supplied to us by customers. They are predominantly the labor cost to process. And the bulk of that cost is from doing lookups and handling exceptions, hence the automation savings by having the image instantly accessible and lowering errors by automating the data input. We have seen some customers who have average invoice processing costs of $33, and they are able to get the cost below $3 per invoice after implementing Oracle WebCenter.

Where is the ROI which includes the cost of Web center and its implementation costs?

You can see the Nucleus Research Embry Riddle ROI Study to understand a typical return on investment.

Which ERP systems are supported? Can the solution work with non-Oracle ERP systems?

Oracle WebCenter is integrated out-of-the-box with:

  • Oracle E-Business Suite 11.5.10, 12.0, 12.1
  • PeopleSoft 8.9, 9.0, 9.1, PeopleTools up to 8.51
  • JD Edwards Enterprise One 8.11, 8.12, 9.0

Oracle WebCenter is also open and can be integrated with other non-Oracle ERP systems. Our adapter framework can be leveraged for custom integrations to non-Oracle ERP's or other systems.

Does WebCenter support annotations on the electronic image?

Yes. Images can be annotated, commented, and marked up for review purposes. All annotations are stored as individual layers on top of the original image to keep the original image intact.

Will you need special scanners at the remote places or will any desktop scanner or copier/scanner work?

Any TWAIN-compliant desktop scanner or multi-function device is supported for distributed capture.

Can invoices be emailed in as attachments?

Yes. While we've talked about paper-based invoices, invoices already in electronic format can also be injected into this system. This can be done either via email, or a shared network folder.

Can the scanned image be available for review from Oracle AP as attachment to the invoice?

Yes. Once the invoice is scanned into the system, it is linked to your Financial application and is accessible directly from the invoice in your ERP.

Are non-ERP users who use Web Center counted as e-Business Suite users (is Web Center a multiplexor for eBS licensing purposes)?

No. WebCenter users do not necessarily need to be ERP users

What is the impact on the database size or are these images stored in a different server?

Images are stored in WebCenter, not in your ERP. The WebCenter repository is designed to store large amounts of unstructured data, such as images, or other documents. WebCenter provides an enterprise content management solution to do so. You can learn more about WebCenter’s tremendous scalability in this white paper: Extreme Performance, Extreme Scalability (PDF)

We currently have Oracle IPM, is this the same thing?

Yes, Oracle WebCenter is the rebranded name, and it includes the functionality formerly named Oracle IPM.

What product is being used to manage the workflows that are being discussed? Are these workflows setup in Webcenter or EBS?

We leverage the Oracle Fusion Middleware stack for workflows. Oracle's Business Process Management (BPM) Suite is what is used for workflows. The solution extends the workflows defined in your ERP to allow you to include non-ERP users in the approval process if needed. Ultimately you have control where you want to define the workflows, either inside your ERP or outside.

Can we listen to this whole Oracle’s Live Webcast for this session once again? I missed a few pieces here and there.

This webcast will be available on demand by 10 AM PST today. You can also see other AP entries we have posted this week on the blog as well:

For those of you who joined us on the webcast, thanks for your questions. Check back as we will have some additional posts next week. And feel free to add comments below if you have additional questions.

Tuesday Dec 13, 2011

Texas Industries, Inc (TXI), Oracle WebCenter, and AP Automation with Keste

Today we have a guest blog post from Vince Casarez, Sr Vice President of Technology at our partner Keste. This blog post profiles Texas Industries, a company that is using Oracle WebCenter to automate accounts payable processing. If you want to learn more about this process, make sure to register for our webcast taking place this Thursday, December 15th.

Here's a topic that you likely don't think much about but has a very large impact and application within any medium to large size customer. It's around taking accounts payable invoices, pulling them into a managed infrastructure, and reducing the need to manage all kinds of forms and paper documents.

Sexy? Not really. Big business benefit for a reasonable investment? Absolutely.

At Keste, we worked with Texas Industries, Inc during this year to provide a solution in just this space.

Borrowing from TXI's site, they are a leading supplier of cement, aggregate and consumer product building materials. All types of construction - residential, commercial and public works - use these materials. They have 4 Cement plants in TX &CA, 18 Aggregate plants, and over 70 Concrete plants to meet their increasing demand from customers. TXI is the largest, low-cost producer of cement in Texas. When the economy recovers, TXI will enhance its market position when it completes its expansion project to more than double the existing production capacity at our Central Texas cement plant. They have similar expansion plans for their CA plants as well. So needless to say, they aren't the exact profile that you might expect a high tech AP automation process to have a lot of value but they absolutely are a key target area for these types of solutions.

Reducing operating cost is one of the main reasons to initiate this project because if look at the Elements of a Typical AP cost from the chart below, you can see that the labor cost is by far the largest cost in the invoice processing cycle.


So in order to reduce the cost of labor, it requires an understanding of the elements that contribute to the total cost. For TXI, the main cost areas were manual data entry, approval routing and manual approvals. The best way to eliminate this manual process is through automation.

Invoices were mailed to virtually all plant/office locations. Each location has resource(s) dedicated to handling AP invoices and TXI had over 50 people involved in the process. At each plant location from opening the mail, to identifying the approval hierarchy, through routing the invoice for approval, took nearly 30 days. Some of the plants are located very close to each other and have shared management resources, but these were still very laborious and very expensive processes.

So the overall goals were simple: 1. Minimize manual data entry 2. Eliminate manual paper handling processes 3. Reduce employee resources involved in AP invoice processing

Our specific target was to get all invoices into the AP system in less than 5 days (compared to ranging from 1 day to 2 weeks or longer). This would enable three changes to the business: 1. Allow for additional earned discounts 2. We can identify liabilities much faster 3. We could better assess the daily cash needs

Now lets talk about how TXI's new invoice process works. The diagram below also illustrates this. Invoices are no longer processed at the field office/plant locations, they are all sent to central processing center. This immediately reduces the need for an AP Processor in each field office. For TXI, the AP processor total headcount was reduced by a total of 47 people. These 47 people were then able to spend more time helping the field offices serve customers or retrained in other parts of the business.

WebCenter Capture, which starts the process by scanning documents such as invoices and receipts, and then capturing important data from them for indexing before committing them to WebCenter Imaging.

There is 1 person that is performing invoice scanning through the use of Oracle WebCenter Forms Recognition. This allows us to achieve over 75% of scanned invoices to be entered into the system without any exceptions. This means that the 3 other AP processors handle the exceptions. Their job focus shifts from data entry to data review, editing, & workflow monitoring. A much more efficient use of their time and much more valuable to the overall business.

In addition, Oracle WebCenter Imaging was used for coding and handling the different validation errors in combination with Oracle eBusiness Suite as the AP system source of record.

WebCenter Content is the storage and content lifecycle management system for all financial documents. It ensures that no more costly shipping, handling and retention of paper is required, as documents such as invoices can be imaged at the front end of the process, and then effectively managed throughout the various stages of business operations until they need to be archived for safekeeping and data offload. Secondly, it allows for imaged invoices to be attached to workflows, and be retrieved through E-Business Suite interfaces for processing, such as the Payables UI. So, this implementation cut down on processing times by ensuring that AP Processors never have to leave their environment to accomplish tasks like key from image or P.O. matching.

Leveraging the power of Oracle BPEL Process Manager workflow engine included with the Oracle Business Process Management Suite, TXI implemented advance exception handling capabilities for routing and delegation to handle tasks. The Business Activity Monitoring component provides a customizable dashboard view of key metrics, enabling the A/P Manager to gain the insight into any process bottlenecks before they become an issue.

And the actual goals have been reached and exceeded to the extent that invoices without any exceptions are in the system on the same day. At worst case for the exceptions, invoices are in the system in less than 5 days, always!

For the future, TXI plans to leverage this solution as a foundation for automating other operations such as expense management, contracts or receivables, and various HR processes.

All of this was kicked off by a discovery workshop run by Keste to nail down the specific business requirements and put a phased delivery plan in place. Anyone at Keste can provide you more specifics!

Thursday Mar 17, 2011

Webcast: Optimize Accounts Payable Through Automated Invoice Processing


Is your accounts payable process still very labor-intensive? Then discover how Oracle can help you eliminate paper, automate data entry and reduce costs by up to 90% - while saving valuable time through fewer errors and faster lookups.

Join us on Tuesday, March 22 at 10 a.m. PT for this informative Webcast where Jamie Rancourt and Brian Dirking will show how you can easily integrate capture, forms recognition and content management into your PeopleSoft and Oracle E-Business Suite accounts payable systems. You will also see how The Home Depot, Costco and American Express have achieved tremendous savings and productivity gains by switching to automated solutions.

Learn how you can automate invoice scanning, indexing and data extraction to:
  • Improve speed and reduce errors
  • Eliminate time-consuming searches
  • Utilize vendor discounts through faster processing
  • Improve visibility and ensure compliance
  • Save costs in accounts payable and other business processes
Register today!


About

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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