Use Case: Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, systems are the foundation of enterprise information technology solutions. These mission-critical systems often handle some of the most important business processes such as financials/accounting, inventory control or human capital management that help organizations run an efficient business. While ERP systems excel with these types of applications they have serious deficiencies in the areas of collaboration, social integration or mobile access. In this solution we will develop a best-of-breed solution that incorporates core ERP functionality, yet also provides a highly usable and collaborative experience using Box.
- Finance: Your Company has a business policy that you will only pay received invoices if there is a corresponding packing list, proof of delivery signature as well as the original business agreement document. Someone in your finance department receives package of these hardcopy documents in an envelope and this person is dreading manual entering all this data from these different documents and collating them into this particular invoice payment transaction. Fortunately for your finance worker you had the foresight to create an effective invoice processing management solution using your existing ERP system and Box. Your finance worker drops the stack of these documents into the scanner and the rest of the process is fully automated saving your worker many possible hours of labor and frustration. In this use case scenario all of the activity revolves around the invoice number.
- Inventory Management: You are a Company that sells physical products and you have many widgets that you offer to your customers. The business is thriving and you are continually adding new vendors and inventory items to your portfolio of products. As your business scales you find that adding these new vendors and the hundreds of line items that includes part number, item description, unit of measure and cost is simply becoming too time consuming and costing the Company too much wasted labor hours. Being the innovative thinker that you are, you add Data Capture technology where you can simply drop a packing list from a new vendor into a paper scanners automatic document feeder and instantly the Data Capture software can automatically create a new supplier record in your ERP and also add all the inventory line items with details. Simultaneously, all the supporting documents in the received shipment success as a document with all the serial numbers of the products and the proof of delivery document as automatically routed to Box for secure storage as an associated record.
- Human Capital Management: More than a great product or service, terrific companies are successful because of the people that work for these Companies. As Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, says that A Great Workplace is “Stunning Colleagues” and a good corporate culture are critically important to the financial success of a business. Therefore hiring and effectively managing the entire lifecycle of your human capital is vital to the business. In this particular use case each current, past and even considered employee is a record in your ERP system so that you can effectively manage details of these individuals. You start by capturing their resume information to create a new record and then as you gather more information about these persons then documents such as letters of recommendation, signed confidentiality forms and hopefully items such as ‘Keys to Success’ from fellow employees for outstanding work are added to this employee record.
Solution Description: We will use an accounting application in our solution example. The solution consists of four independent parts that when integrated offer exceptional value of enterprise organizations. The first part is any ERP application that provides Web Services as a means for connectivity, which most do these days. The second part is a document scanner which can digitize paper documents such as invoices, purchasing agreements or other accounting related materials. The third part is automatic data capture software and the last part is Box for storage of the images themselves.
Note: This is a software developer solution. While the overall solution does not involve major integration work, some knowledge of Web Services connectivity is required.
- Box account
- ABBYY FlexiCapture for Automatic Data Capture
- Cloud-based ERP system with Web Services connectivity
- Document scanner
Configuration Steps (Complexity = Moderate to Involved):
- Consult your ERP providers Web Services connectivity documentation (for example, NetSuite SuiteTalk Web Services) or consult an integration specialist
- Setup ABBYY FlexiCapture with the various Document Definitions for the various types of documents you wish to extract data
- Integrate ABBYY FlexiCapture output fields with the ERP input fields via Web Services API or use a data mapping web interface
- When the ‘Submit’ button is pressed within your Data Capture validation user interface then perform the metadata population to ERP procedure and simultaneously store the images into Box with a persistent link from your ERP database begins
User operation (Complexity = Easy):
- This is a very easy to use solution from the user perspective standpoint because the connectivity of the various systems would be tightly integrated. Therefore the workflow process has been carefully considered to limit the users themselves to as little interaction as necessary
- First, start the scanning application or a scan button icon could have been integrated directly into the ERP application user interface. After scanning the system would have automatically classified documents to understand what type of document there are (i.e. Invoice, Questionnaire, Survey, etc.)
- Next, after classification, the system would automatically extract the data from the images so the user does not have to be burdened
- Finally, depending on the organizational policy, the data can be automatically entered into the ERP system or as a good general rule you would have the user verify the extracted data which could be integrated directly into your familiar ERP user interface to ensure high quality data accuracy. Once confirmed, then the user presses the Submit button
Associated screen prints on this solution:
1. Document type Definitions
2. Index field mapping
3. Web-based data mapping tool
4. Web-based verification user interface
5. Automatic process with one button user operation
6. Data Capture scanning software application
7. Embedded scan functionality directly into Line of Business application
8. Automatic document classification
9. Automatic data extraction
We think this is the new way business applications will be created but it’s still new. What do you think? Do you have a specific use case? We’d love to hear from you on your thoughts and please vote in our poll on your favorite Innovative Solution for Box below.