Expand ERP Sales With High-Volume Scanners
This VAR’s successful ERP (enterprise resource planning) installation for the Hawaii Department of Taxation led to a document scanning installation.
Virginia-based CGI-AMS, the eighth largest IT consulting firm in the world, focuses on ERP software for government tax collection agencies. It recently expanded on an ERP project for the Hawaii Department of Taxation by implementing a high-volume scanning solution to speed the processing of the agency’s tax paperwork. The scanning system is part of an ECM (enterprise content management) solution that the VAR suggested the agency add at the completion of the ERP project. “One of the greatest challenges facing the State of Hawaii’s Department of Taxation [DOTAX] was the volume of paper,” says Bob Tross, senior consultant for CGI-AMS. “We spent five years redesigning the entire tax system for DOTAX. During the installation of our Advantage Revenue ERP system, we identified a need to start reducing the volume of paper.”
Prior to adopting the ECM system, DOTAX handled all paper manually. Each document received was sorted, manually keyed into computers twice, and saved in a paper-storage warehouse. Retrieval of a document from the warehouse sometimes took up to a week, depending upon the location of the document. “We suggested an ECM solution to more efficiently handle all the paper,” says Tross. “DOTAX recognized that the solution would not only benefit the taxpayers, it would provide numerous internal efficiencies as well.” As the integrator for the original ERP project, CGI-AMS held a distinct advantage over other VARs when the agency looked at proposals for the ECM solution. “DOTAX performed its due diligence, and we were awarded the contract,” explains Tross. “We demonstrated our competence by referencing five successful ECM implementations in other states.” In addition, the VAR leveraged its previous ECM installation experience to provide the DOTAX solution at a competitive cost.
Uptime, Support Are Key Scanner Considerations
At the heart of CGI-AMS’ imaging solution, which it calls IIS, are three Imaging Business Machines, LLC (IBML) ImageTrac III document scanning systems. “The IBML scanner has the capability to process all types and sizes of paper,” explains Tross. “We measured the IBML scanners at an uptime of 82% without jams during a period from August through October of 2005. The scanner also performs outsorting of documents, which is critical in tax-processing environments.” In addition to uptime, CGI-AMS compared vendors based on a number of criteria, including vendor support. “When evaluating vendors for a project of this magnitude, cost is not the only consideration,” explains Tross. “Support is a major issue — more so when the customer is located 5 hours west of the eastern time zone.”
The IBML document scanning systems are combined with Datacap data capture software and FileNet ECM to comprise the complete DOTAX IIS system. The new solution provides most employees with access to any piece of information with a single click of a mouse. DOTAX expects to reduce physical storage needs by more than 50%. In addition, workflow and productivity will improve because employees won’t have to put projects on hold while waiting for paper documents to be retrieved. Temporary labor costs will also be reduced due to the 24/7 nature of IIS. A less obvious benefit for DOTAX is that all data, both paper and electronic, will be backed up. Prior to IIS, there were potential gaps in formal backup procedures that could have jeopardized many of DOTAX’s documents.
One of the biggest challenges CGI-AMS faced was how to size the IIS system — especially considering the irregular ebb and flow of the tax-processing year. The company designed the system to handle the extreme demands of the peak tax season. During the off-peak season, the system will operate 8 to 10 hours per day. During the three months of peak tax season, many of the components will run 24/7 to keep up with the heavy load. If more processing power is needed, the system can be expanded by adding more servers. Tross says he plans to return to his previous ECM customers and convince them to add high-volume scanning solutions by demonstrating the efficiencies gained at DOTAX. CGI-AMS will most likely generate more business in Hawaii as well. According to Tross, it is common practice for government agencies to share successes — and vendors.