In 1994 Bell and Howell manufactured many thousands of microfilm camera and readers. Ten years ago it dropped to hundreds. Today it is only used to access legacy records, newspapers and genealogy – finding what you want is a hit and miss affair. Hyland was at the forefront of digital scanning and archival and it has naturally progressed over the past 24 years to simplify work flows and paper flows – in fact its OnBase ECM software does a lot more.
ECM - enterprise content management - is an umbrella term covering content capture; document management; index; search and retrieval; collaboration; records management; digital asset management; workflow management; and more. ECM is about managing the life-cycle of information from initial publication or creation all the way through archival and eventually disposal. And more recently it is about audit control for taxation reporting for example, version control, and regulatory compliance.
I interviewed Bob Bob Dunn, Country Manager, Australia and was introduced to the exciting topic of document storage and retrieval. You think I am being facetious but it really was interesting.
Bob is a lanky Arizonian – a desert like place boarded by California, Nevada, New Mexico and Sonora. It is hot and dry there so it didn’t take much convincing to come to lush Australia in April, 2015.
Its Australian office employs 21 staff members and he is looking for more to expand into more vertical markets – at the moment it is concentrating on government, finance, insurance, and health but the solution is applicable to anyone with a reasonable paper flow through its back-office.
The rest of the interview is paraphrased to avoid the over use of ‘he said’.
Australian businesses, governments, NGOs and other organisations are losing hundreds of millions of dollars because of ineffective and outdated methods of storing, transferring, and accessing vital information.
OnBase helps organisations to digitise content (any volume or type of content), develop work flows that they understand and can use, and accelerate processes by providing timely and relevant information through ECM – a technology that is largely underutilised in Australia. It is a holistic approach – it is not just about scanning documents.
Ignoring this technology is not an option. OnBase can increase efficiency by 20-30 per cent – that is a huge saving for an organisation – let alone improvements in data accuracy. Gone are the days where problems were fixed by adding more people to complete manual or un non-integrated processes. In the long run this means increased costs, increased opportunities for human error, and its ignoring the root cause of the problem.
We spoke of the health care industry where a number of major hospitals have ‘signed up’ as well as banks and insurance companies.
In the healthcare sector it enables information to be made available across the organisation and within the applications clinicians and staff already know such as EMR applications (electronic medical records). It drives improvements in patient care and services through one patient record, and can be linked to invoicing and payment – even HR systems.
In the finance sector, users can manage content electronically across the enterprise in banks and loan offices – from loan application processing to email archiving.
For the insurance sector it enables underwriting and claims processing to efficiently manage content from scanned paper documents, faxes, print streams, application files, electronic forms, web content, multi-media files, emails and industry standard file types.
These companies are already suffering from low returns in a market that is both fiercely competitive and heavily regulated – traditional insurance companies are now facing an attack from nimble and customer-friendly new entrants including online, and consumer retail organisations (Coles/Woolworths) looking to leverage their customer relationships and a digital, mobile-oriented approach which will rapidly win over the younger generation customers. This could also include companies like Amazon, Google and more.
It is clear that the more ECM is integrated to an organisation’s line of business (LOB) applications the more benefit it has.
We spoke about the cloud and any security implications
OnBase can now be in the cloud, in a hybrid (private cloud) or on premise – cloud is currently used by about 30% of our customers and we have our own data centres in Sydney and Melbourne.
Cloud however is about moving from CAPEX to an OPEX model – a pay as you go model, and we have embraced that.
It is not about the software but where the organisation feels comfortable in storing its data. It is also more about what databases or LOBs we need to integrate into the workflow. For example, a time sheet (HR), may need to be approved (line management) and paid (accounts) and then business analytics applied (reporting). We provide the tools to seamlessly integrate with any third part application.
Our workflow system is rules based and easy to design based on processing requirements. It is also easy to access OnBase from mobile devices (currently iOS and Android apps) to create a document and or approve one. It can also be used offline via a briefcase facility.
We spoke about accuracy
In scanning a document like an invoice we may get 80% accuracy (80 out of 100 documents flawlessly scanned) and the rest may need manual intervention to correct something. The scanning software can recognise logos (to marry up with a supplier in the account payable database), it can identify dates, it can identify line items and costs. Pre-determined rules are then applied to route that to the appropriate reviewer(s) for approval and ultimately payment.
Its first ever user group meeting
Dunn was pleased that the first Australian user group meeting had been attended by about 17 of its 45 active customers here. In some countries Hyland is welcome to attend and host – like here – and in others the user groups take on a life of their own. In any case it enjoys a renewal rate of over 98%.
Finally – can you tell us about a recent Australian client
Australian residential property developer, Henley implemented OnBase software to improve cash flow and control of millions of files related to 2000 jobs across Australia.
That is the subject of another article.