Use Seminars To Earn New Document Imaging Business
This VAR landed a distributed invoice capture project with an oil production company as a result of a seminar it hosted on document imaging for AP (accounts payable) processes.
While you probably won't generate the large attendance common for a Tony Robbins motivational program, hosting regional, technology- or application-focused seminars are a great way for VARs to develop new business relationships and close sales. IntegriDoc, a San Diego-based document management VAR and scanning service bureau, is a case in point.
"We host an educational seminar once every six months at strategically located hotels around Southern California," says Eric Solberg, principal of IntegriDoc. "We drive attendance to these events by sending out mailers and e-mail blasts to contacts in our database and generally attract about 50 attendees [both existing customers and new prospects] to each session. Our vendor partners also sponsor these events to help alleviate the cost to us. In 2005, there was a lot of interest from our customers on using document management technology to streamline AP processes. We held an educational seminar focused on this specific topic, and that's how we learned about the invoice processing challenges Tidelands Oil Production Company faced."
Tidelands operated three offices scattered throughout Long Beach, CA — a corporate and central purchasing office, a warehouse, and a regional operations office. Each of these offices received vendor invoices, and the manual processes the company used to get these invoices approved and paid were problematic. For example, all invoices had to be physically sent to the Tidelands corporate office for AP approval and payment. Furthermore, invoices of more than $4,000 required approval by executive management, which added another layer to the process. The company was having trouble keeping track of where invoices were in the payment process, especially if they sat on an employee's desk for a long period of time, and vendors were being paid late. The company wanted to implement an electronic document imaging and workflow solution that would enable the remote capture of up to 100 daily invoices and provide better visibility into the payment cycle.
Remote Capture Streamlines Invoice Processes
After attending IntegriDoc's AP seminar, Tidelands asked the VAR to visit all three offices, evaluate the oil producer's existing invoice processes, and recommend a solution. IntegriDoc proposed a system consisting of KODAK i40 workgroup document scanners, PaperFlow electronic workflow software by Digitech Systems, and FileBound ECM (enterprise content management) software. "We demonstrated the capture process and workflow of our proposed solution using Tidelands' own documents," says Solberg. "This helped them see the solution in action before they purchased it and convinced them that the capabilities of the solution were just what the company was looking for."
With IntegriDoc's solution, finance personnel at each Tidelands facility now image documents using a single KODAK i40 scanner located at each office. Images are manually indexed based on approximately 10 different data fields including purchase order number, invoice date, invoice number, vendor name, etc. The document images and the indexes are then integrated to link to the corresponding vendor entries in Tidelands' Oracle database and Excalibur accounting system. This integration allows document images to be accessed directly from within these applications. The invoice images are then ultimately stored in the FileBound ECM repository for continued access and retrieval purposes.
The document imaging solution IntegriDoc developed allowed Tidelands to better serve vendors by paying their invoices in a timely manner. The system's integration with Tidelands' Oracle and Excalibur line-of-business applications also eliminated the need for employees to repeatedly key in vendor information to index documents or access image files. Tidelands' satisfaction with its invoice processing solution also has led to additional sales opportunities for IntegriDoc. For example, the oil producer contracted the VAR in late 2006 to convert a back-file of 45 boxes of old paper oil well plots to electronic images. In addition, IntegriDoc is currently working with Tidelands to add data extraction software to the oil producer's invoice solution to automate the image indexing process.