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How to Improve Asset Turnover Ratio With Sales Order Processing Automation

Getting more products out the door more quickly lets you maximize your assets. It’s a universal objective shared by everyone from Finance to Operations — and it’s your competitors’ objective, too. Everyone knows you need to spend money to make money, but determining exactly how much revenue each asset generates can be a challenge. Fortunately, there’s a formula to help you figure out exactly that. It’s known as the asset turnover ratio.

What Is the Asset Turnover Ratio?

Have you ever seen this formula before?

Asset Turnover Ratio = Sales or Revenues / Total Assets.

According to the Corporate Finance Institute, “The asset turnover ratio, also known as the total asset turnover ratio, measures the efficiency with which a company uses its assets to produce sales.”

The higher the asset turnover ratio, the better your company is performing. Higher ratios mean that you’re generating more revenue per asset, which is a key indicator of where your organization stands against its competitors. If you want to understand how every dollar in total assets equates to sales, this formula will reveal the answer.

So how can you maximize your assets? The answer is simple: Sales Order Processing Automation.

Improve Your Asset Turnover Ratio With Sales Order Processing Automation

Sales Order Processing Automation is one of the most effective tools for maximizing assets. By accelerating your fulfillment process and streamlining logistics, your company can increase revenues and reduce Days Sales Outstanding (DSO). DSO has a dramatic impact on this figure, which is why it should be one of your key KPIs, especially if you are utilizing Sales Order Processing Automation.

With automation, your organization can streamline and automate business processes to make them faster and less prone to error. In fact, some companies have been able to reduce order processing times by as much as 80 percent.

80%

Reduction in Order Processing Time

 

Why is this important? Faster turnaround means buyers get their bills in a fifth of the time, starting the contractual payment clocks faster and accelerating revenue.

Getting Started With Sales Order Processing Automation

Now that you’ve decided that you want to improve your organization’s asset turnover ratio, it’s time to plan for your automation implementation. Before you start to worry, here’s some good news — it doesn’t take much to optimize your order processing workflow.

Our proven sales order processing system integrates directly with your ERP, making IntelliChief a safe and reliable component of your digital infrastructure. IntelliChief helps you bill your customers faster and track the status of every payment. It electronically captures all your documentation at its point of origin, then indexes the relevant content and organizes it in an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system. It even communicates with your ERP or line of business system, synchronizing your databases and updating your customer activity records in real-time.

So, what does this mean for your business? It means you have the opportunity to deploy cash assets into capital investments. You can enhance everything from sales and customer service to production and fulfillment.

Interested in learning more? Read our Sales Order Processing Automation white paper or contact us.

 

Is Automating Accounts Payable Processes Worth the Effort?

According to the Institute of Finance & Management, 61% of top global companies have implemented Accounts Payable (AP) automation. But this movement hasn’t come without challenges. The main issue? Money. When a CFO looks at potential expenditures, they need to know how each one will impact their bottom line. And it’s not just the immediate impact on cash flow.

There are long-term risks (and rewards) to consider. Without the right profile, even the most promising project won’t get funding, which leads to a central question:

Is automating Accounts Payable processes worth the effort?

The ROI of AP Automation

For organizations asking this question, there is good news — AP Automation has an incredibly high ROI that scales with size. In other words, the larger the organization, the more they stand to save. SMEs and large enterprises can save tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars a year with AP Automation.

Reduce or Eliminate the Need for Manual Invoice Processing

One of the most notable and obvious benefits of AP Automation is that it allows your business to phase out tedious, time-consuming, and manual tasks. In a traditional back-office setting, Accounts Payable is a very manual process. How long does it take for one of your processors to perform a two- or three-way match? Just think, someone has to find the documents, check them line by line to make sure they’re accurate, and approve the invoices for final payment. This is often a disconnected process that AP professionals must repeat hundreds of times per month.

In an automated environment, these tasks can be completed without human intervention, resulting in fewer errors and faster invoice processing.

Work Smarter by Automating Accounts Payable Processes

By taking the manual effort out of this business process, automation makes it much faster. Time is money, so just imagine how you can reallocate and defer resources when hours aren’t wasted on manual AP processing. When you spend these hours on other important tasks, the impact on your payable department can be significant.

Those savings also start accumulating from the moment your AP Automation solution is implemented. Every electronically processed vendor transaction saves you upwards of $10,  and that’s without taking into account an increase in employee productivity. Because their time and talents will be better utilized, they’ll be less likely to leave for more challenging roles, and you won’t have to invest resources in hiring and training their replacements.

Automating Custom AP Practices

AP professionals follow business processes designed to help them overcome the challenges they encounter on a day-to-day basis. Software that can’t be configured to your specifications can’t provide the same ROI as a solution that can be completely tailored to the user’s needs.

For instance, our AP Automation software is designed to provide the highest possible return on investment. Our Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform, which features robust Document Management, AP Automation, and an array of other products and capabilities, can help your organization by:

  • Capturing documents from all inbound formats, including paper, emails and attachments, and native electronic files of any type.
  • Indexing the data as soon as it’s received and using it to populate user-specific, designated fields within your ERP.
  • Integrating with any and all ERP technologies, helping companies extend the software investments that they’ve already made.
  • Automating key workflows to complete them before the deadline.

Here’s a sobering statistic:

More than 75 percent of payment-based supplier discounts go unclaimed by purchasers because they can’t process their invoices quickly enough to take advantage.

With fully configurable workflows, you can protect, standardize, and streamline your organization’s particular business processes. Only now, they will be faster, and you will have more accurate, real-time visibility into the status of every project and transaction. You will also be less likely to overlook a potential discount — and late fees will be a thing of the past.

Find Out How You Can Reduce Workflow Costs by More Than 70 Percent

Many studies suggest that the ongoing cost savings of Accounts Payable Automation can top 70 percent when compared to manual AP processes. At IntelliChief, we’re proud to say that our customers typically achieve a full return on their investment within a single year.

In conclusion, and to answer our titular question, is automating Accounts Payable processes worth the effort? You tell us.

Do want to see more examples of the benefits of automating Accounts Payable? Contact us today to speak to an expert.

The 7 Components of ECM

You’ve decided that your organization needs to make a change to get faster, more competitive, and less resource hungry — and you want to start by eliminating paper. But where to start?

For many businesses, the answer is Enterprise Content Management (ECM). But what is Enterprise Content Management? And what do the various components of ECM mean for your organization?

The 5 Components of ECM According to AIIM

No, that subheading isn’t a typo. Before we breaking into all seven ECM components, we should reference the list put out by the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM).  They define ECM as a ” formalized means of organizing and storing an establishment’s documents, and other content, that relate to the establishment’s processes.”

Following this definition, they have divided ECM into five components, including:

  1. Capture
  2. Manage
  3. Store
  4. Preserve
  5. Deliver

We briefly explore these components of Enterprise Content Management below:

1. Capture

Capture is the process of using OCR Software to convert information from paper documents into an electronic format. Capture is key to turning unstructured data into structured data and creating metadata for search and retrieval. It includes:

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
  • Intelligent Character Recognition(ICR)
  • Optical Mark Recognition (OMR)
  • Barcode Recognition

2. Manage

The “manage” component refers to the management of every captured document throughout every stage of its lifecycle. Managing your electronic content means automating retention policies, digital collaboration, Document Management, Business Process Management (BPM), and more.

3. Store

Securely storing your information is essential if you want to protect your customers, employees, partners, and, of course, your business. With ECM, all digitized documents are stored in a secure digital repository that can only be accessed by permitted users.

4. Preserve

Preservation of your information builds on the “store” component. Reliable ong-term storage is essential for regulatory compliance and to ensure that you have everything accounted for whenever the need arises.

5. Deliver

According to AIIM, delivery (output management) is the final component of ECM and is composed of three groups:

  • Transformation Technologies
  • Security Technologies
  • Distribution

The 7 Components of Enterprise Content Management According to IntelliChief

AIIM’s breakdown of ECM does a great job of covering the fundamental requirements of a true ECM system; however, it fails to account for two very important factors. In fact, these two factors are arguably the most important things to consider when shopping for a best-in-class ECM solution. These factors also bookend AIIM’s list, rendering them absolutely essential. Below, we’ll explain why as we detail our list of the seven components of Enterprise Content Management as advised by our experience implementing ECM for hundreds of companies across the United States and beyond. They include:

  1. Integrate
  2. Capture
  3. Manage
  4. Store
  5. Preserve
  6. Deliver
  7. Automate

6. Integrate

Simply put, you cannot adopt an ECM system without a seamless integration with your core technologies. It’s just not going to happen. This is an essential component of ECM that cannot be overlooked. Whether you utilize Oracle, JD Edwards, Infor, SAP, Microsoft, or another system of record entirely, your ECM solution needs to act as a connector between these systems to ensure that business processes can be completed to satisfaction and information can be shared across departments or business units when required. It’s also essential for our seventh and final component of ECM.

7. Automate

Automation is arguably the biggest value add when it comes to leveraging an ECM platform for your company. Tedious, time-consuming tasks such as document filing, invoice processing, sales order processing, and more can be automated from start to finish with best-in-class ECM. In our experience implementing ECM For hundreds of customers, the ability to automate Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Order Processing, and other important business functions were commonly the main incentives for implementing ECM. Of course, the Content Management side of ECM is essential, but the cost savings made possible through automation are unheralded.

To learn more about how Enterprise Content Management transforms businesses by giving them superior control of information, documentation, and business processes, contact IntelliChief today.

 

Paper-Based Customer Service Challenges

Overcoming Paper-Based Customer Service Challenges

Paper-Based Customer Service Challenges

Businesses need customers to survive. No matter how good your product is, if you can’t serve your customers’ needs in an efficient manner, there’s no guarantee that they will remain loyal to your business. All it takes is ONE small mistake or slip-up to turn a 5-star customer into a 1-star review.

 

High-quality Customer Service is determined by a number of factors, but speed is paramount if you want to keep customers satisfied. Even the most gracious and eloquent apology can’t make up for slow response times when your customers come calling. Your Customer Service team needs to be quick on their feet, and that’s impossible if your business still relies on paper-based Customer Service processes that leave your customers on hold listening to a repetitive tune while they shuffle through a cluttered file cabinet for information. Even companies that have already started implementing digital solutions to enhance Customer Service will find themselves at a disadvantage when compared to companies that have automated Customer Service capabilities. Do you know where your company stands?

Welcome to Your Paperless Office

If you want to overcome the paper-based Customer Service challenges that plague most businesses, you will need to focus on the following two objectives:

Digitizing Your Customer Service Documents

Paper-based Customer Service challenges stem from the physical limitations of paper. Paper takes up space and must be moved manually to transfer information from one person or department to the next. As a result, paper-based Customer Service processes are tedious, time-consuming, and ripe for error. By digitizing your documents, you can create precise digital replicas that allow you to store and retrieve documents instantaneously from a computer, tablet, or even mobile phone if you want to expand your Customer Service team to incorporate remote work. OCR software is the technology used to capture documents and import them into a Document Management system. Advanced OCR software can even recognize the numbers and characters on a document and use them to perform automated tasks, which should be your second goal if you want to overcome the challenges of paper-based Customer Service.

Digitize all of your Customer Service documents, including:

  • Product Literature
  • Orders
  • Invoices
  • Shipping Documents
  • Return Documents
  • Manuals
  • Parts Lists
  • Maintenance Histories
  • Customer Correspondence
  • RFPs
  • RFQs
  • Quotes

Automating Your Customer Service Processes

OCR software will help you digitize your documents, allowing you to finally get rid of those filing cabinets that take up valuable real estate in your office. Furthermore, a paperless office will never require additional offsite storage to accommodate paper loads, which means no more spending exorbitant amounts of capital on storage that yields no tangible return for your organization. However, this is only the beginning. If you want to truly eliminate all of the inefficiencies that result in Customer Service slowdowns, digitizing your Customer Service documents should be followed with Business Process Automation. By automating your Customer Service processes, you can serve customers faster and more efficiently while focusing your human capital on improving customer relations and tackling nuanced problems that require a human touch.

Customer Service Touchpoints Give You a Chance to Improve Customer Retention

While the statistics quoted by industry analysts vary, it is generally accepted that it costs as much as 10 times more to win a new customer than to keep an existing one. Expanding your customer base is crucial, but not at the expense of your existing customers. Winning customers and, more importantly, keeping them, are critical business requirements. But what keeps customers loyal? Price, quality, availability, relationships, and inertia all play a part, but Customer Service is the touchpoint where your business and your customers meet. It’s a make-or-break environment where great service is your only option if you want to maintain positive sentiment.

It’s no secret that customers respond favorably to good service. In fact, it affects their purchase decisions. According to Accenture, poor customer service has, at one point, caused nearly half of all U.S. consumers to switch at least one of their service providers.  To add insult to injury, recent reports suggest that Customer Service expectations are rising at a faster rate than companies can (or are willing) to adapt to. In a separate survey by Accenture, which canvassed 1,200 technology consumers in North America, Europe, and Asia. It was revealed that consumer technology companies that offer average – not poor, just average – Customer Service alienated consumers and risked losing almost three-quarters of their customers to competitors. The results are clear. Customer service is critical to customer loyalty and company profitability. It can’t be viewed as a cost, but it should be viewed as a prudent investment.

Paper-Based Customer Service Challenges

One important difference between Customer Service and other areas of your business is that resolving customer issues often requires access to information that is spread across multiple departments.

Consider, for example, a standard Customer Service call:

  1. A customer telephones to complain that they did not receive everything they ordered.
  2. To ensure that the customer did, in fact, order everything they recall ordering, the CSR first examines the original order document that is likely located in a filing cabinet in the sales office.
  3. If the items and quantities match, the CSR then has to verify that none of the requested items are on backorder by referring to a copy of the packing slip that is filed away in the warehouse.
  4. If that doesn’t resolve the issue, the CSR must then review the shipping documents to see if everything was shipped in one box or in
    multiple boxes.
  5. If there were multiple boxes, the CSR has to verify that they all made it onto the truck and were delivered.
  6. Depending on the company’s shipping policies, the boxes may have been delivered by the company’s own truck or by one owned by a third-party shipping company.
  7. Finally, the CSR is ready to assist the customer — except wait, the customer has moved on.

Most Customer Service interactions aren’t this tedious, but this example does serve to show how the dispersal of information across an organization can send your CSRs into a tailspin.  When some or all of this information exists on paper, providing high-quality Customer Service becomes a costly and oftentimes futile endeavor.

The Financial (and Operational) Costs of Paper

The following are among the characteristics and costs of paper that hinder your CSRs:

  • Paper is costly to store, handle, copy, and distribute.  On the enterprise level, warehouses may be required to store the paper required to resolve customer issues. That paper has to be manually filed when it comes in (or is created) and then retrieved when needed. For collaborative purposes,  the necessary documents may need to be photocopied at a cost of several cents per page in addition to the related labor costs.
  • Paper storage leads to human error. In physical storage environments, documents may be misfiled or accidentally destroyed, resulting in hours spent hunting them down or trying to recreate lost information. This is not a trivial cost. Research from Price Waterhouse Coopers suggests that the average cost to search for a misfiled document is $120. In the meantime, increasingly frustrated customers are kept on hold awaiting an answer to their questions.
  • Paper is difficult to backup or recreate. Fires, floods, vandalism, there are countless ways for a paper document to become lost, damaged, or destroyed. Most companies lack a true disaster recovery plan, so it’s not until the unexpected occurs that they understand the danger of paper documents. If the only copies of valuable customer information are destroyed, it would be impossible to serve customers, and other ongoing operations may also be obstructed. In addition, failing to adequately protect customer and transactional data against such destruction, accidental or not, may place your company in breach of a number of regulations.
  • Paper can’t meet customer expectations. A shift in customer expectations over the years has further increased the drawbacks of using paper to support customer service. Web-based technologies have resulted in a greater expectation for rapid CSR responses from vendors. Customers no longer readily accept “I’ll have to put you on hold” or “I’ll have to call you back” when they call with a question. Yet that is exactly what they hear when a CSR has to track down information that exists only on paper.
  • Paper doesn’t support self-serve options. Customers today often expect, and industry economics frequently demand, new alternatives for customer service, including 24/7 self-serve support options. Paper-based information makes it impossible to offer this level of convenience. Plus, by refusing to offer self-serve options, you are funneling all support requests directly to a Customer Service department that is already overwhelmed by a lack of digitization and automation.

Say Goodbye to Paper-Based Customer Service Challenges

Despite the predictions a decade or two ago that we would by now be enjoying the benefits of paperless offices, most businesses are still dependent on paper because going paperless requires help — and good help is hard to find. If your organization, like many organizations, is still buried under mountains of paper, it will affect every corner of your business, from Accounts Payable to Human Resources and, of course, Customer Service. Once a paperless office has been established, automating customer service functions and offering Web-based self-serve options becomes simple. You can speed-up customer interactions and add value to those interactions while lowering their costs.

Are you ready to see how Enterprise Content Management and Workflow Automation can help your business overcome paper-based Customer Service challenges? Contact IntelliChief today, our experts are standing by to answer your questions and help guide your search for the right solution!

Enterprise Automation Statistics

10 Enterprise Automation Statistics for the Cost-Conscious Executive

Enterprise Automation Statistics

Industry 4.0 is here, which means top executives are taking it upon themselves to equip their businesses with the tools and resources necessary to stay competitive and improve profitability. Although there are several ways to improve operational efficiency across the enterprise, there are only a handful of solutions that can generate appreciable ROI from the outset, and among these, Enterprise Automation reigns supreme. Are you still performing your due diligence on automation? These 10 Enterprise Automation statistics will help you obtain a better understanding of why the time to automate is now.

 

For business leaders, it can feel like the goalposts are constantly being moved when it comes to Enterprise Automation. Innovation is at an all-time high, which means new features, functions, integrations, and products are always on the horizon. A quick search online might yield dozens of potential vendors. Due diligence could take weeks, even months, to complete. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but that doesn’t mean you should stall your Digital Transformation; instead, consider these ten Enterprise Automation statistics!

1. It Takes Employees an Average of 18 Minutes to Locate a Document Manually

Before you can automate, you must first digitize. Digitization of your business-critical documents ensures that they are never lost or destroyed. They can be recalled on demand without a trip to the file cabinet or warehouse, allowing you to establish a frictionless work environment where productivity is prioritized. It takes employees an average of 18 minutes to locate a document manually, which can account for up to 50 percent of their time. When you digitize your documents, you reclaim this time lost and set the stage for the real game-changer: Enterprise Automation.

2. 60% of Occupations Could Save 30% of Their Time With Automation

Once you’ve performed your due diligence and identified your ideal solution, it’s time to identify which business processes are best suited for automation. When automating workflows, you want to zero in on departments that process a large volume of paper and/or information. In our experience, some of the best departments to automate include:

There is no “wrong” answer when you start to automate business processes; however, there are certain departments that will yield a higher ROI than others due to a number of factors. Here’s the good news. According to a McKinsey Study, 60 percent of occupations could save 30 percent of their time with automation, which means the potential for automation within your organization is largely untapped.

3. Employees Spend 69 Workdays Each Year on Manual Administration-Related Tasks Instead of Their Primary Job Duties

Businesses that automate drastically reduce wasteful spending by eliminating repetitive, time-consuming tasks that lead to productivity issues. In a study conducted by DJS Research on behalf of Unit 4, it was revealed that people spend 69 workdays each year performing manual administration-related tasks instead of their primary job duties. Enterprise Automation helps you reclaim this time and put it to use however you see fit. Can you imagine how much more your employees could accomplish with an extra 552 hours per year?

4. Businesses That Adopted Big Data Reduced Overall Costs by 10% and Increased Overall Profits by 8%

Another benefit of Enterprise Automation is that it allows you to bolster your analytics efforts to get a clearer view of the nuances of what is (and isn’t) working process-wise within your organization. You can identify operational bottlenecks, inefficient processes, and even track individual performance to make sure each of your team members is putting forth equal input to help you achieve your fiscal goals. You don’t have to wait until the end of the quarter to collect data and generate reports like the old days. You simply click a button and your reports are ready to view or distribute. Improving business intelligence keeps everyone in your organization on the same page and working towards the same objectives, which explains Business Application Research Center (BARC) findings that businesses with big data capabilities are able to reduce overall costs by 10 percent and increase overall profits by 8 percent on average.

5. Bad Data Costs Businesses $600 Billion Annually

Collectively, businesses forfeit $600 billion annually as a result of poor quality data. On a case-by-case basis, this can account for as much as 20-35 percent of operating revenue costs. That’s not a figure to scoff at. The Business Literacy Institute considers a sustained growth rate of 10 percent a year to be “remarkably good,” so if you’re currently losing 20-35 percent of operating revenue costs to bad data, the numbers suggest that your business could be trending in the wrong direction.

6. Manual Business Processes Cost Businesses $5 Trillion Annually

$600 billion in lost operating revenue costs will certainly catch the attention of any executive, but it’s only a small fraction of the revenues lost to manual business processes. Manual business processes cost businesses $5 trillion annually. For reference, that is $2 trillion more than the U.S. deficit for 2020. Of all the Enterprise Automation statistics in this article, this might be the most alarming because it suggests a significant window of opportunity for any executive who is willing to take the leap and automate their company.

7. 75% of Businesses State That AI Will Allow Them to Transition Into New Businesses and Ventures

Businesses that are no longer at a functional disadvantage can do more with the resources available to them. Growth is a key indicator of a company’s overall success. 75 percent of businesses state that AI will allow them to transition into new businesses and ventures, allowing them to expand operations into new and increasingly profitable areas that would be barred off otherwise. For growth-minded executives fueled by ambition, an investment in Enterprise Automation equates to an investment in a growing portfolio of future-proof ventures.

8. 84% of Executives and Analysts Say AI Will Help Them Obtain or Sustain a Competitive Advantage

Executives and analysts alike are keen on automation because there is still a long way to go before this technology has been adopted universally. In other words, companies that automate sooner than later can get a head start in Industry 4.0. Just think, how would your business look today if you were the first to invest in a mobile-friendly website, automated customer service, or paperless process management? There’s a reasonable chance that with earlier adoption of these technologies, many of which were considered big risks at one point, your business would be further along with its Digital Transformation and more resilient to business interruptions. According to Forbes, 84 percent of executives and analysts say AI will help them obtain or sustain a competitive advantage — which means there is no time to waste.

9. 67% of Businesses Believe Implementing Digital or Software Solutions Is Important to Remain Competitive

AI plays an important role in automating business processes, but it’s not the only solution for companies looking to streamline and cut costs. 67 percent of businesses believe implementing digital or software solutions is important to remain competitive. Some examples of software solutions that can help enhance the enterprise include:

10. Automation Projects in Paper-Intensive Departments Generate an ROI of 30-200% in the First Year

According to ThinkAutomation, automation projects in paper-intensive departments, like Accounts Payable, Human Resources, and Customer Service, typically generate an ROI of 30-200 percent in the first year. In Accounts Payable, where Enterprise Automation can increase processing speeds by as much as 70 percent or more, many businesses recoup their initial investment in less than twelve months. Forward-thinking executives tend to leverage these savings to expand their solution across the enterprise to facilitate a more connected, data-savvy work environment.

These Enterprise Automation Statistics Speak for Themselves, Only You Can Speak for Your Business

Are you ready to cut costs, increase operational efficiency, and future-proof your business? These ten Enterprise Automation statistics speak for themselves, but it’s up to you to be the voice of reason at your company. If your team is still entering data to your ERP system manually, shuffling through file cabinets to locate documents, or paying the same invoice more than once, it’s time to make a change.

With IntelliChief, you can preserve your existing business processes and enhance them with industry-leading Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Workflow Automation capabilities. To learn more, contact IntelliChief today.

Automation Skills Gap

How Businesses Can Address the Automation Skills Gap With a Team-First Approach

Automation Skills Gap

There is a significant skills gap with automation, one that must be confronted head-on to address deficiencies that could threaten your digital transformation. According to Forbes, “63 percent of business leaders believe the pressure to reduce costs will require their organizations to use AI in the next five years,” which means the clock is ticking on businesses that have yet to start to their automation journey. Don’t worry. This article is the perfect jumping-off point, answering essential questions like:

 

  • What is the automation skills gap?
  • Why is it important to open up a dialogue about automation?
  • Which tasks can be automated to benefit your team?
  • Why does automation give leaders the perfect chance to retrain and upskill their workers?

What Is the Automation Skills Gap?

Any competitor in an industry with a growing skills gap is in danger of losing their market share if they cannot find a way to address their deficiencies. In many cases, these skills gaps are the result of generational shifts in the types of occupations being pursued. For instance, the skills gap in the construction industry is the result of a lack of millennial construction workers. To attract new talent, contractors are investing in technology and software to help bridge the gap between the needs of the industry and the talents of the new generations. That said, generational shifts in the interest toward certain professions aren’t the only catalyst for skills gaps.

In regards to automation, the skills gap is related to technology. Digital Transformation is sweeping the globe, and those who fail to adapt will find themselves fighting an uphill battle against their competitors who have equipped themselves with the tools to work faster and more efficiently. McKinsey surveyed 1,500 executives across a broad range of industries and found that “addressing potential skills gaps related to automation/digitization” was a Top 10 priority for 66 percent of respondents. Furthermore, it was a Top 5 priority for 30 percent of respondents.

Industry 4.0 is here, and businesses are being forced to evolve. It is this evolution that has revealed an opportunity for the next generation to capitalize on the need for talented, automation-savvy workers that possess the soft and technical skills necessary to help businesses thrive in an automated world.

Remember, automation isn’t a substitute for your valued workers; it’s a complementary asset that improves work for everyone. It’s time to transform. For business leaders, that means not only consulting with automation experts to plot your Digital Transformation but also meeting with your team to retool your enterprise for a more profitable future.

Open Up a Dialogue About Automation

If you are already in the process of exploring your options to automate your company, it’s important to take note of three things before you commit to a purchase:

  1. Automation can be implemented to take over tasks, but it’s less effective at taking over jobs.
  2. Automation works best as a complement to your existing team.
  3. Automation can ameliorate working conditions to improve company culture and worker retention.

With these facts in mind, it’s time to open up a dialogue with your team so they are aware of your intentions to automate the company. Whether you’re looking to implement automation in Accounts Payable, Sales Orders, Human Resources, Customer Service, or another department entirely, you want to quell any concerns about automation and help your team understand why automation is important and how it will positively affect your company. You might be surprised to find that they not only take the news well but embrace it and support you. The automation buzz continues to build year-over-year, but not for the reason you might expect.

Adobe Digital Insights analyzed 3 million social mentions related to “future of work” and found that sentiment towards the role of automation in the workplace was overwhelmingly positive. People are more interested in learning about how automation can make their jobs more enjoyable as opposed to how automation could affect employment negatively.

Target the Menial, Time-Consuming Tasks Your Team Loathes

Now, it’s time to address the skills gap preventing you from taking the next step on your automation journey. The skills gap with automation refers to the soft and technical skills required to help employees thrive in a workplace that has incorporated automation in some form or another (i.e., AP Automation, Data Entry Automation, etc.). However, before you can address these skills gaps, you must identify them by mapping out business processes for automation. It is recommended that you undergo an in-person or virtual whiteboarding session with an experienced automation expert so you can target the menial, time-consuming tasks your team loathes — those that are the best fit for automation and tend to be error-prone, such as:

  • Data entry
  • PO/Non-PO invoice processing
  • GL coding
  • Auditing
  • Document routing

Once you have identified the processes suitable for automation, you will have a better understanding of the tasks that can only be completed by your valued team members. During this time, it’s highly recommended that you take a step back to focus on how you can retrain and upskill your workers to create a more resilient and self-sufficient workforce.

Focus on Retraining and Upskilling

Automation helps your business optimize processes that are commonly viewed as tedious and repetitive, but it’s not a panacea for all of your operational woes. As the emerging leader in workflow automation for the enterprise, we speak from firsthand experience when we say that your business will get significantly faster and more efficient, but there’s still work to be done if you want to gain a leg up on your competition. This is where your most important asset, your employees, get a chance to truly shine.

Did you know that 82 percent of executives at companies with annual revenues exceeding $100 million believe retraining and upskilling are the primary solutions to addressing the automation skills gap? It’s time to get to work! Job roles are changing and being redefined, yet 42 percent of US businesses lack a solid understanding of how automation will affect their future hiring processes in relation to specific job skills. Retraining and upskilling workers already under your employ are viewed as urgent matters by most business leaders. When you automate your company, you are presented with the perfect opportunity to assess areas of your business that can be improved and retrain your workers accordingly.

This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but many companies have found success by offering free e-learning content for employees or supporting re-training at institutions of learning. Arguably the best approach, and most hands-on approach, are retraining and upskilling opportunities that occur within the company itself. This approach helps you dial in on specific areas that need to be addressed, ensuring that your employees pick up the skills that will help them flourish at the company for years to come.

Closing the Automation Skills Gap for Good

Learning and development programs and training are highly effective measures if you’re looking to close the automation skills gap and embark on your automation journey. There’s no substitute for the real thing. Your workers have the knowledge, empathy, and unbridled freedom to do things automation could never, which makes liberating them from tedious tasks that much more important.

Are you ready to automate your company? IntelliChief, the emerging leader in Enterprise Automation, makes it easy to transition from manual processes to a fully automated workplace. We even train your team to get the most out of your system so you don’t miss a step during your Digital Transformation.

To learn more about how Enterprise Automation can take your business to the next level, contact IntelliChief today.

 

Automation Trends

3 Reasons the Enterprise Automation Buzz Is Building

Automation Trends

Automation was once viewed as the future of technology — then it became a reality. Today, automation has been scaled up and down to meet the daily challenges of organizations spanning countless industries across the globe. If you’re still in the camp that believes Enterprise Automation is just a trend, it might be time to take a second look at what Automation can do for you and your business.

Twitter. LinkedIn. Reddit. Wherever public discourse takes place, automation is trending in the @mentions. From 2016 to 2017, Adobe Digital Insights (ADI) performed a comprehensive analysis of 3 million social mentions related to “future of work,” such as automation and RPA. The researchers were able to attribute positive sentiment to the majority of these engagements. They weren’t talking about how automation would affect employment; rather, they were discussing the potential for automation to improve working conditions and increase productivity.

1. Automation Saves Valuable Time

It’s no secret that automation technology works faster than humans. It doesn’t need to “think” or “consider” letters or numbers before taking an action; instead, actions are taken automatically whether or not a human worker is available to push a process through to the next step. Automation doesn’t take sick days or vacations and it’s not limited to 40-hour workweeks or the costly constraints of overtime. Therefore, it’s unsurprising that in the analysis mentioned above, 30 percent of respondents mentioned saving time when discussing automation.

It might be a well-worn cliche, but there’s no hiding from the fact that time is money. With Enterprise Automation, you can assign menial, time-consuming tasks to automation so your team can focus on the things automation isn’t as well-equipped to handle. The days of manual data entry are over, and everyone is talking about it.

2. Automated Business Processes Yield Valuable Analytical Data

Still not convinced that automation is more than a passing trend? Consider this: 25 percent of automation-related conversations taking place on social media reference big data analysis as a primary driver for implementing automation. When business processes are automated, they gain the ability to automatically track productivity from start to finish, allowing C-level executives to glean valuable insights and make informed decisions on a rolling basis. No more waiting for the end of the quarter to figure out what went wrong and why. With real-time analytics guiding you, operational inefficiencies can be nipped in the bud to prevent your team from wasting time and resources that could be better allocated to other tasks or departments.

3. Humans and Automation Can Work in Harmony

Automation is often viewed as the harbinger of death for human jobs, but this is a gross overexaggeration that can be quickly disproven by examining how (and why) automation is being used by businesses all over the world. The average number of daily mentions of automation has doubled year-over-year. During that same period, the number of daily mentions of robots and jobs has increased by a staggering 70 percent year-over-year. However, to truly understand why this bodes well for humans and automation alike, we need to break into the meat and potatoes of these mentions to truly understand their sentiment. Here are a few examples:

 

Needless to say, the automation buzz is building — and for good reason. The automation “trend” has taken root and it’s not going away anytime soon. Organizations that can work faster and more efficiently while simultaneously cutting costs and improving work-life balance for employees have already taken the necessary steps to prepare for a future where traditional working arrangements are no longer viable.

Enterprise Automation: Once a Trend, Now a Requirement

Before the automation trend really took off, it was considered a luxury for enterprise leaders who not only had the infrastructure to support it but also the growth capabilities to afford it. Today, this is no longer the case. Automation technology and software have been retooled to boost business across all marketplaces. From start-ups to SMEs and beyond, automation is a difference-maker the likes of which we’ve never seen before, especially for large enterprises that can benefit from an integrated solution across multiple departments and locations. The automation trend is here to stay, and IntelliChief’s experts are standing by to ensure that your automation project capably addresses your challenges and helps you become more resilient (and profitable).

To learn more about Enterprise Automation or to see our products in action, contact IntelliChief today.

Workflow Digitization

How Controlling Your Workflow Directly Impacts the Success of Your Enterprise

Workflow Digitization

As more and more businesses embrace digital transformation, they are learning firsthand how important the process of workflow digitization is to their overall success. By attaining greater control over workflows across your enterprise, you can focus on growth and avoid costly service charges down the line. Here is what you will learn:

 

  • What is workflow digitization and why is it important for business leaders to develop a strong understanding of it?
  • Why is workflow such a difficult topic to discuss?
  • What conditions and situations cause workflow to become difficult to manage, and even more so to automate?
  • What is delegation of authority (DOA)? Why is it integral to workflow?
  • How can businesses scale and manage workflows in a cost-effective manner?

What Is Workflow?

Although the term “workflow” has been utilized in the mainstream for years, there are a lot of misconceptions about what it truly means and why it is so crucial to businesses in 2020. Workflow differs in numerous ways from the business processes your enterprise employs to remain operational.

For example, your Accounts Payable business process is probably very similar to that of your competitors:

  • Issue Purchase Order
  • Receive/Inspect Goods
  • Enter Invoice
  • Match Purchase Order to Invoice
  • Match Invoice to Receipt
  • Release Payment

The business process outlined above is standardized, and in a vacuum with ideal conditions, it might mirror your workflow. However, as anyone who has ever worked in an office can tell you, each step of your business process is really composed of several internal steps — many of which may not even be documented, a phenomenon some refer to as “tribal knowledge.”

When you digitize your workflows, you gain superior control of these nuances. Vulnerabilities can be mitigated, eliminated, or replaced with streamlined operations. Your workflow can continue to grow with your business and employees without missing a step. Best of all, with the right solution, you can continue to build out and evolve workflows to suit the specific needs of your business — all you need is a trustworthy partner to guide you.

Why Getting From Point A to Point B Is More Complicated Than Anticipated

As we mentioned above, there are a lot of misconceptions about what exactly workflow means; however, the concept is really quite simple when applied to everyday situations. For example, when you go to get gas for your car, the process of getting gas may differ drastically from the steps required to actually fill your tank…

Scenario 1

  1. You drive to the gas station
  2. Pay for fuel
  3. Fill your tank

This is what we refer to as a process in a vacuum. Only the minimum number of steps is required to complete the task, and everything goes according to plan — a rarity in business. Here is a more realistic scenario…

Scenario 2

  1. Drive to the gas station
  2. Pay for fuel
    • EXCEPT the outdoor card scanner is broken
  3. Walk inside and pay at the register
    • EXCEPT the entire payment processing system is down — cash only
  4. Drive home
  5. Collect the appropriate amount of cash to purchase fuel
  6. Drive back to the gas station
  7. Walk inside and pay at the register
  8. Fill your tank

Now, this scenario is slightly more complex. It is also a scenario you have likely experienced before. When things do not go according to plan, you are forced to take additional steps to complete the process. When automating workflows, your provider needs to understand the full scope of your working logic to map out your workflows accurately and minimize the number of exceptions drawing out your process longer than needed. Just for the sake of showing why flexibility is integral to workflow automation, we will get a little crazy with our third and final scenario…

Scenario 3

  1. Drive to the gas station
    • EXCEPT the gas station is closed
  2. Choose another gas station to acquire fuel from
  3. Drive to the selected gas station, which is located two miles down the road
  4. Pay for fuel
    • EXCEPT as you are about to swipe your card, you notice that the gas station across the street is offering gas at a lower rate
  5. Drive across the street to the other gas station
    • EXCEPT they are out of the premium-grade fuel your car requires
  6. Drive back across the street to the other gas station again
  7. Pay for fuel
    • EXCEPT your card shows an error when you swipe outside, displaying the message “See Cashier for Assistance.”
  8. Walk inside and pay at the register
  9. Fill your tank
    • EXCEPT two weeks later you discover that your credit card information was stolen by a skimmer when you attempted to pay outside. Uh-oh! Now you must recoup that expense before you can truly say you completed this process without a net loss.

All it takes is a few mishaps to turn a simple workflow into a complicated mess. Workflow is tricky, which means selecting the right partner for your workflow digitization and automation project is essential to achieving your goals.

Efficient Workflow Automation Must Be Comprehensive to Reduce False Exceptions

Keep in mind, when automating workflows, every step must be accounted for. Even those steps that are only required under very specific circumstances. Here is a shortlist of “what if” questions pertaining to invoice processing workflow challenges that will need to be considered before rolling out workflow automation. For the sake of simplicity, our example will use a “round-robin” style queue to assign invoices to the four processors in this order: Robin, Bill, Jen, Zach.

  • What if Robin calls in sick?
  • What if Bill works every day EXCEPT Thursday?
  • What if Jen is not allowed to touch invoices from a certain customer?
  • What if Zach isn’t familiar with the required workflow for a particular vendor?
  • What if Robin receives an invoice for a partial order?
  • What if Bill receives an invoice for the wrong amount?
  • What if Jen is working remotely?
  • What if Zach can only process invoices valued between $5,000 and $50,000 for customers alphabetized A – D, but he is out of the office?

Believe it or not, these are relatively simple challenges as far as workflow is concerned, but they must be accounted for all the same. In the enterprise, where dozens of processors may be employed with varying levels of permissions, these exceptions — the invoices that cannot pass for any number of reasons — can slow your process to a halt. Avoiding them at all costs is the key to getting faster, leaner, and more profitable.

Establishing a Resilient, Streamlined Workflow Starts With a Successful Implementation

Remember, your employees are tasked with thinking on their feet whenever a document enters your organization. They must not only have clearance to handle a specific document but also the knowledge of what action they must take to keep the information en route to its final destination.

Most of these nuanced workflow details become second nature over time, which is fine if all of your employees plan to work for you until retirement. Unfortunately, this can be a major hindrance when an employee decides to leave your organization. Not only do you lose manpower and productivity, but you also lose undocumented knowledge that helps grease the wheels of your workflow. When a valuable employee leaves, you may start to notice that your workflow needs improvements.

In an article published by EdTech, Steve Smith, the University of Nevada, Reno’s vice provost for IT and CIO, noted, “A significant portion of the work precedes implementing the workflow. Particularly for automated workflows, the approval steps and the individuals must be clearly defined so only those with the need and authority are included in the workflow.”

In other words, workflow digitization is a significant undertaking before the solution has even been implemented. The discovery and solution design phase are critical if you want to control workflow on your terms and ensure that you are delegating authority as needed to keep your business running smoothly. Unfortunately, many vendors are too focused on bells and whistles to establish a reliable implementation process, which explains why 68% of software implementations fail.

Delegation of Authority: The Key to Streamlined (and Automated) Workflows

According to Indeed, “Delegation of authority is the process of transferring responsibility for a task to another employee.” It is a simple concept, but in many ways, it is the key to a successful workflow automation project. Why? When a task cannot be completed by one employee, it generally falls on the shoulders of another. Otherwise, transactional content can get stuck in limbo which costs your business time and money.

You recognize that your process can’t come grinding to a halt every time an employee isn’t available to perform a task, so there needs to be some form of DOA to ensure that transactional content not only avoids bottlenecks but also falling into the wrong hands. By establishing solid DOA rules and applying them to your digitized workflow, your business can process transactional content at a much faster clip than competitors who rely on purely manual processes.

One of the main concerns that must be addressed whenever discussing the topic of DOA is security. All users must be authenticated and authorized to work within your digitized workflow. This is integral to controlling your workflow, but it is relatively simple to fortify security within a basic system. However, once you need to connect disparate systems and eliminate information silos, your options for workflow digitization will become limited to a few key players within the industry — especially if your enterprise is hoping to deploy in multiple departments (i.e., Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Sales Orders, Human Resources, etc.).

Tips for Configuring, Editing, and Controlling Workflows at Scale

Workflow digitization and automation require extensive front-end involvement to bring the project to fruition. You might spend hundreds or even thousands of hours planning, mapping, implementing, and testing your workflow to ensure that it is both efficient and capable of saving you time and money. However, there is one small problem inherent to any solution intended to spur growth — the problem of scaling.

How can you continue scaling your solution to ensure that you maintain an efficient workflow? Here are some tips:

  • Work with a single trustworthy vendor to avoid makeshift solutions that will need to be augmented or replaced later.
  • Focus on process streamlining to make work less complicated for your team.
  • Reduce or eliminate paper-to-digital processes to cut down on menial tasks.
  • Find a workflow digitization solution that includes the option to purchase a Visual Workflow Designer This will allow you to build or edit workflows without coding to help you scale while saving on expensive service agreements.
  • Treat your vendor as a strategic partner to ensure that there is a mutual, vested interest in your success for years to come.
  • Set clear goals and work with your solution provider to achieve them.

Enterprise Success in 2020 and Beyond Depends on Your Ability to Manage and Maintain Efficient Workflows

When you embrace workflow digitization, your business will get faster, leaner, and more cost-efficient. Furthermore, when you introduce workflow automation, your system will be gaining the ability to deftly handle most of the transactional content entering your system without any human intervention at all. Can you afford to let your employees waste time on tasks that have become entrenched in your workflow due to years of stifled innovation? The answer is clear.

To learn more about how your enterprise can benefit from workflow digitization and automation, contact IntelliChief today.

 

Enterprise Automation

Clearing the Air: Let’s Talk Enterprise Automation Myths and Misconceptions

Enterprise Automation

It is impossible to ignore the impact of automation across the enterprise. With benefits ranging from reduced provisioning times to fewer data entry errors, duplicate payments, and lost documents, there are countless ways for enterprise automation to make a marked difference in your organization. The enterprise is evolving, and skeptics will find themselves at a significant disadvantage if they attempt to resist automation. If you want to keep pace with your competitors, you will first need to address some of the common automation myths and misconceptions that cause business leaders to pause.

 

What Is Enterprise Automation?

Enterprise automation expands the concept of departmental or “office” automation and applies it to the enterprise at scale. It places a strong emphasis on automating all aspects of the enterprise that can benefit from faster, less error-prone, and more streamlined processes, such as Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Sales Orders, Human Resources, Customer Service, and more.

Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions about enterprise automation, which is largely due to the fact that this technology is capable of enhancing the enterprise in virtually endless ways. Furthermore, since no two enterprise automation projects follow the exact same rules and guidelines, the term has a tendency to defy a singular description. Lack of clarity can lead to incorrect ideas and blatantly false information, preventing you from acting in the best interest of your company. Therefore, as the premier provider of enterprise automation featuring universal compatibility with all Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and applications, we have decided to take some time to clear the air and dispel some of the most common (and problematic) myths and misconceptions preventing you from automating in 2020.

Myth: Implementing Enterprise Automation Requires a Ton of Coding Expertise

Whenever business leaders consider software-based solutions like office automation, their most common concerns are typically centered around the amount of coding that will be required to ensure solutions are seamlessly integrated and easy to maintain and update. The amount of manpower that goes into coding projects can be extensive, resulting in more billable hours than you anticipated or were led to believe during your initial consultations.

Consider this: the cost to develop a professional-grade application with custom coding for iOS can cost as much as $150,000 or more if you want a reputable, US-based vendor to take on your project — and that is just for a smartphone app.

When it comes to enterprise automation, if you can find a solution that supports no-code programming, you will be able to save a lot of money during the implementation phase as well as ongoing maintenance after your solution is deployed. You will not need to retain an expensive independent contractor or full-time employee to keep your system running smoothly. Rather, with a no-code solution, your team will be trained on how to make the necessary changes to your system whenever needed. Additionally, if you do require support from your vendor, they will be able to quickly and efficiently tweak your system to help improve operational efficiency and increase your bottom line without the exorbitant service fees associated with custom coding projects.

Myth: The Learning Curve of Enterprise Automation Creates a Chaotic Work Environment

Your business needs a competitive advantage to survive but is entrenched in processes that need to be overhauled to improve operational efficiency and save your company; how can you ensure that enterprise automation will be a good fit? More importantly, how can you be completely certain that your workflows will not be thrown into chaos? To be fair, this myth has some truth to it depending on which vendor you select to take on your project.

Too often, businesses find that the solution that seems like the best fit on paper is actually more restrictive than they were led to believe. These vendors want you to play by their rules to ensure that their solution is capable of satisfying their contractual obligations, which means your company’s best interests may become secondary to those of your vendor. This is how a “solution” becomes a problem, resulting in a chaotic work environment that ironically creates more challenges for your team.

That said, when working with the right vendor, this should not be a problem. Enterprise automation does not have to be complicated. Your solution should offer you more direct control of your workflows based on your existing procedures while integrating with your core technologies. This will result in streamlined workflows that eliminate menial tasks and give your team more time to focus on tasks that require human intervention. Best of all, the business rules applied to your workflows will mirror the exact processes already being utilized by your team, significantly reducing the learning curve of implementing new technology into your existing infrastructure. If you are currently browsing enterprise automation vendors, it is highly recommended that you confirm whether or not you can keep your existing workflows intact. This is crucial to a successful office automation implementation.

Myth: Enterprise Automation Is a Static Solution

Many organizations consider automation a purchase like any other. They assume their solution will be designed, purchased, and implemented — and that’s it. However, this could not be further from the truth. Enterprise automation is not static, and your experience with automation will extend beyond your implementation. Your project might contain multiple phases, and the scope of work could be altered several times before your solution is deployed. These course-corrections are important if you want your solution to generate ROI from Day 1 and onward.

Enterprise automation should be scalable. Whether you deploy it department by department or in one fell swoop, there will come a time when you need to pick up the phone and talk to your vendor. But how can you be sure they will be there when you call? Enterprise automation needs to evolve alongside your business, which means your selected vendor needs to be all-in on your mutual success. Our recommendation? Start with departments that are heavily reliant on paper or have the maximum ROI potential for automation, then expand your solution from there.

Myth: Enterprise Automation Focuses on Patching Up Inefficient Business Processes

When it comes to enterprise automation, your goal should not be to simply bridge the gap in workflows that are inefficient. Enterprise automation is far too robust and flexible to be utilized as a “patch.” Instead, your enterprise automation project gives you a chance to take a step back and gain a global view of your entire organization.

From here, it is easy to spot operational inefficiencies, bottlenecks, and other obstacles that prevent your business from maximizing profitability. It is even easier when your vendor takes the role of a strategic partner to help you unearth and, ultimately, address these inefficiencies. If your business is only dealing with a single issue, a point solution might be suitable; however, many businesses later discover that these simple solutions lack compatibility with future software integrations, or the scalability to meet their growth objectives. The real benefits of enterprise automation include:

  • Faster, more accurate processing across all departments
  • Instant storage and retrieval of all enterprise content
  • Superior enterprise collaboration
  • Enhanced customer service
  • Significant cost savings
  • Improved working environment
  • And more

Myth: Your Enterprise Automation Project Will Fail If Your Organizational Structure Is Overly Nuanced

Do you have an approved automation project? You want to be frank when discussing your requirements with vendors to ensure that you do not waste time with a vendor that cannot deliver. One of the best ways to separate suitable vendors from those that do not have the capabilities to help you reach your goals is by discussing your business processes and their corresponding workflows ad nauseum. Do not be shy if the way you do things is unique (or even impractical). If a vendor tells you that your organizational structure is too complex or nuanced for automation, they are not the right choice for your business.

Enterprise automation solutions exist for virtually every business in every industry, regardless of the legacy components, systems, and applications inherent to those industries. Look for a provider that has established integrations with your core ERP system, even if there is more than one. As we mentioned above, you want to work with a strategic partner who has a mutual interest in your company’s success. When you find a partner like this, no organizational structure is too complex to automate.

Myth: The Key to a Successful Enterprise Automation Implementation Is the Features of the Product Itself

Take a second to think about some of your recent purchases. What compelled you to buy? If your psychology matches most consumers, you probably weighed the features and benefits against the cost of the product to find the most feature-packed product for the price. This strategy is effective 90 percent of the time for 90 percent of purchases, but it is not a good buying strategy when shopping enterprise automation solutions.

Of course, features are important, but with enterprise automation, accessibility to a full suite of features is dependent on the success of your implementation. Most enterprise software implementations fail; not because the technology is flawed but because the team tasked with implementing the solution is not up to the task. Any vendor that takes a one-size-fits-all approach to office automation is going to find themselves at a standstill when attempting to configure their solution to the precise needs of their clients.

Selecting the right vendor and ensuring that they map their solution to your existing workflows is vital. It is easy to be won over by a robust feature set, but if you cannot use those features, what is the point? Keep in mind that features and a successful implementation are not mutually exclusive, but they are two considerations that should be weighed equally.

Myth: The Cost of Enterprise Automation Is Too Expensive to Justify the Project

Cost justification. The stage of automation where good projects go to die. In many cases, the justification is warranted by the potential for ROI but there is skepticism about whether projected models can be relied on to move forward. Let’s be clear, models help you understand how ROI will be attained, but they are less effective at giving you a precise measure of cost savings and performance improvements — this can only be accomplished by utilizing models that pull from a company’s real data.

Therefore, this myth is rather easy to dispel. When looking to justify your project, ask your selected vendors about their process for calculating ROI. Do they calculate ROI strictly in dollars saved? How do they attach a dollar amount to performance improvements? These are vital questions to ask during the research phase. When reaching out to vendors, ask if they have an ROI calculator that lets you plug in your unique business data to get a rough estimate of potential savings — but do not stop there. You should also ask how (or if) they calculate ROI during the implementation phase.

Are You Ready to Automate in 2021?

The enterprise automation buzz is everywhere. Business leaders have faced some of the greatest economic challenges in our country’s history this year, and the consensus is clear. It is time to automate in 2021 and beyond to not only stay competitive but viable as well. As digital transformation shifts the balance of power across markets, now is the time to cast skepticism to the side and embrace enterprise automation for what it is — the future of business as we know it.

Want to learn more about the benefits of our enterprise automation solutions? Contact IntelliChief today to learn how your business can leverage an Enterprise Content Management system to become faster, leaner, and more profitable.

 

4 OCR Advantages That Help Businesses Rise Above Their Competitors

Has your company implemented a plan to start its digital transformation? When you transition to Enterprise Content Management (ECM), you must also convert your paper documents into digital copies. But how do you do that? Learn more about the advantages of optical character recognition (OCR) in this article.

At this point, unless you work for International Paper, Kimberly-Clark, or one of the other major paper manufacturers, you should not be dealing with paper on a daily basis. Not in 2020.

When you consider the recent advancements in ECM and how it gives businesses the freedom to eliminate paper altogether, there has never been a better time to embark on your digital transformation. In your bid to streamline and optimize your enterprise, going digital is essential, and OCR software is the best way to ensure that all of your information is secure and accessible from a digital repository, even if its native format was paper.

What Is OCR Software?

OCR is a technology that recognizes printed characters. According to PC Mag, “OCR systems can recognize many different fonts, including those designed specifically for optical recognition as well as typewriter and computer-printed characters. Advanced OCR systems can recognize hand printing.”

It’s a flexible solution that can improve your business in a number of ways, which is why the benefits of OCR are universally lauded by the companies that have already integrated this technology into their day-to-day business processes.

How Does OCR Software Work?

OCR software captures the information from traditional documents and converts it to searchable data that can be recalled at the push of a button. It is important to note that OCR software is far different than a scanner. A scanner simply creates a digital replicant of a document, it cannot utilize the captured information in a purposeful way. OCR captures the document and turns it into a bitmap, which can then be analyzed using variations in dark and light pixels to guide it. These pixels are then converted into ASCII characters. Once the document has been captured, OCR software can read the individual lines and patterns that make up printed characters — even if the document is multiple pages.

OCR Benefits for Your Business

The advantages of OCR can help your business gain a distinct competitive advantage. From the moment documents are captured and digitized, your business becomes significantly more productive and cost-efficient. Here’s how OCR benefits your business:

1. Convert Paper to Searchable Data

Stop searching through cumbersome file cabinets for paper documents and eliminate the costs associated with both on-site and off-site storage. Digitize all your corporate content whether it is a paper document received in the mail, fax,  email, or something else entirely. Once your documents have been converted, a user can utilize search features to quickly find the information they are looking for without leaving their desk.

2. Eliminate Erroneous Data Entry

Data entry tasks are often time-consuming and littered with errors, and it is easy to see why. Copying information from one medium to another is hardly stimulating, so it comes as no surprise that this task is better left to OCR software. One of the main benefits of OCR software is its ability to quickly capture information. It doesn’t need to check and re-check to ensure that it has entered the information correctly — it gets it right on the first go with a very small margin of error. By preserving the integrity of the data flowing through your company, you can ensure that transactions are accurate and detrimental errors are mitigated.

3. Accelerate Document Processing Speed

Not only does OCR benefit your company’s quality of information but it also increases the rate at which this information is routed throughout workflow to complete the corresponding transaction. As we mentioned above, this starts with making the process of data entry more efficient by eliminating manual entry and digitizing information for instant recall. However, it does not stop there. Another advantage of Optical Character Recognition is scalable batch processing technologies that prevent your volume of invoices from overwhelming your processors.

4. Unlock Straight-Through Processing Capabilities

While OCR software can play an important role in helping your business become more efficient and less resource hungry, the greatest potential will be derived from the technologies that can be implemented together with OCR software to unlock straight-through processing. Straight-through processing, or “touchless processing,” allows your company to process invoices without any human intervention — unless the system flags an exception. That’s right. OCR is the key to Business Process Automation, serving as the conduit for data to be automated in the first place. Here is an example of how it works:

Documents are automatically captured from a monitored inbox into your ERP or line of business system, giving you immediate real-time access to any information contained on those documents. Then, using a configurable workflow engine, this information is matched to the corresponding invoice and processed. If something doesn’t match, it is flagged as an exception and an employee is alerted. In some cases, exceptions are reduced by as much as 90% or more,.

Want to learn more about the advantages of OCR software? Contact IntelliChief today to learn more about our industry-leading Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions backed by robust capture capabilities.

 

Business Process Automation Benefits

4 Benefits of Business Process Automation in the Workplace

Business Process Automation Benefits

Automating inefficient, time-consuming products has become essential in every industry in the United States. Whether you are a project manager working in construction or an Accounts Payable professional for an enterprise-class manufacturer, automation can help you forge a path forward during one of the most challenging economic periods in American history.

 

According to a recent Harris Poll survey, Accelerating Automation: How Businesses are Adapting to a Post-COVID World, “92 percent of business leaders agree that to survive and flourish, companies must enable digital channels and process automation in the workplace.”

As a business leader, your reasons for automating your company will differ drastically from those of others. Some automate to cut costs, while others do so to help control the workload being placed on employees. If eliminating costly transactional errors is your objective, automation can help with that too.

Business process automation benefits can be a significant game-changer for your company. In this article, we’ll briefly discuss four benefits of Business Process Automation. Keep in mind that these benefits are NOT mutually exclusive.

1. Meet and Surpass Your Growth Objectives

At the end of the day, every business has the same goal: growth.

Whether you want to grow to generate revenue, to spread your message, or to give yourself the tools to make a positive impact on the world, the most direct path to your goal is through growing your business – and business process automation gives you an array of tools to do just that.

The initial cost barrier of automation can be a tough pill to swallow; however, just beyond this initial investment lies an endless bounty of opportunity for businesses that decide to take the risk. Ironically, the risk of not investing in automation for the workplace is significantly higher – especially if your competitors are already getting their own automation projects underway.

Once your competitors automate their companies, you must begin calculating the opportunity cost of your decision to not automate, including:

  • Stifled profits
  • Overburdened employees
  • Erroneous processes
  • The rising cost of paper and storage
  • Lost market share
  • A growing gap in the capabilities of you versus your competitors

After you have justified your investment with the help of an expert, you will be able to forecast your ROI and create a plan to help you scale your solution into the future. With your company firing on all cylinders and productivity elevated by as much as 90%, you can rest assured that your company will continue to meet its growth objectives year after year.

2. Reduced Time to Fill Keeps Productivity at Peak Levels

Whenever an employee decides to quit or retire, they will leave a void in your business process that must be filled with another employee who possesses the same or similar skills and knowledge to complete the job at a high level.

If that role is unable to be filled, the responsibilities of that employee will fall squarely on the shoulders of your other workers. An overly long time to fill can cripple productivity and create bottlenecks in your workflow.

Automation can help you eliminate issues caused by an excessive time to fill. Better yet, it can bridge the gap when an employee leaves for good. If there’s no other candidate out there who can capably do the job or a lack of qualified talent, automation can nullify the impact.

3. Cultivate an Employee-Friendly Working Environment and Improve Retention

As a business leader, you are not only at war with your competitors when it comes to dollars and cents, you are also battling over the top talent in your industry. If your employees report being overworked or overburdened, regularly being tasked with taking on multiple duties or a large volume of manual tasks, they could be heading for greener pastures sooner than later.

The competition in the recruitment market is one of the least talked about struggles facing all employers, but that does not diminish its impact. The best way to avoid this obstacle is to retain employees, and the only way to retain employees at a high rate is to ensure that your working environment supports your employees and is willing to make necessary changes to improve retention.

Here’s the thing: Shallow improvements to the workplace, like installing pong tables and vending machines, won’t actually help you retain workers. Bells and whistles are nice, but they won’t help your workers relax if they are constantly working on repetitive or menial tasks.

Business process automation benefits your working environment because it takes on redundant tasks, freeing up your workers to focus on more meaningful responsibilities or those that require some form of creative problem-solving. Workers that arrive each day with a sense of autonomy over their work-life balance feel valued, which means they are more willing to stay with a company in the long run, as opposed to employees who constantly feel anxious or depleted.

4. Unheralded Efficiency Drives Your Business Past the Competition

Companies that focus on maintaining efficiency across all areas of their business generally have a leg up on the competition. They outfit themselves with superior technology that allows them to establish streamlined companies that waste very few resources. Take Tesla for example, which is now considered the most valuable car company on the planet despite being founded in 2003. Not only is their product more efficient, but their entire business model is also structured on the principle of efficiency.

Efficient processes ensure that information flows in and out of your business without any interruptions, resulting in faster transactions and increased operational bandwidth. For the enterprise, this is achieved by forming a seamless integration with the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system at the core of the business (i.e., Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle PeopleSoft Infor LX, JD Edwards World, etc.). Once integrated, business process automation software can help you reclaim the 520 hours per year lost to repetitive tasks per employee.

Your company can cash in these hours on new projects, additional training, and other important organizational benefits. Repetitive tasks that could be automated cost the US economy over $10,000 per employee each year. How many employees does your company keep on its payroll? How many “invisible” dollars are you really losing? And how do these dollars lost compare to the dollars gained after investing in automation?  These are important questions that should be answered with the help of an expert who has experienced implementing automation in the workplace.

Automation in the workplace can help you establish stronger and more resilient business processes to help you become an industry disrupter? Contact IntelliChief today to learn more about the benefits of business process automation.

The Hard and Soft Dollar Savings of Automation

In theory, making a case to automate your company shouldn’t require much justification at all. Businesses that automate are faster, leaner, and less susceptible to interruptions. Not only do they benefit by pleasing their customers and employees alike but they also save critical dollars that can be used to future-proof their businesses for years to come.  If your main goal is to cut costs and gain a competitive advantage over other businesses in your industry, automation is the answer —and the hard and soft dollar savings ensure that your project generates the ROI you’ve been promised by your vendor.

Hard Dollar Savings

The first category is the hard dollar savings or increased revenue in the operating budget. Hard dollar savings are usually the result of having tangible and identifiable reductions in expenses. These savings include:

Lower Business Operating Costs

Automation drives down business costs by:

  • Substituting electronic repositories for filing cabinets to eliminate long-term storage space
  • Using workflow automation to easily manage high volumes of orders, receiving documents, and invoices
  • Scanning, classifying, recognizing, validating, verifying and exporting data/images quickly, accurately, cost-effectively
  • Providing built-in tools to help avoid late payment penalties, and capture higher percentages of discounts
  • Reducing mailing, postage and shipping costs associated with document delivery, to and from customers or vendors
  • Cutting labor expenses – slashing time for printing, copying, filing, and document research using unsearchable paper
  • Lowering equipment expenses by reducing the need for printers and fax machines, and added maintenance cost

Better Utilization of Personnel

Another benefit of automation is the elimination of menial tasks. Employee productivity increases because they no longer must make copies of documents or look for lost or misplaced files.

It also reduces the need for employees to manually send documents to supervisors to approve expenses and purchase orders. Using automated workflow routing of documents eliminates management time and expenses to manually move documents from one department to the next. They can complete tasks right from their desktop.

Increased Cash Flow

It can also automatically prompt users to take advantage of vendor discounts, and to invoice earlier, faster, and more efficiently. The result is increased cash flow, which allows your company to invest capital in the things that matter most.

Soft Dollar Savings

The second type of cost justification revolves around soft dollar or intangible savings. Benefits are realized, but they may not easily translate as cost reductions.

Increased market share, higher employee retention, and the ability to bring products to market faster are examples of strategic benefits that tend to get ignored in hard-dollar ROI discussions.

Other soft dollar savings include:

Better Customer Service

Immediate access to automated documentation encourages better customer service. Companies that go paperless show improvement in overall customer satisfaction with products and services. Employees have fast access to information to meet customer requests in shorter timeframes.

“Green” Improvements

Environmental savings are realized by bringing a company paperless. According to the Environmental Paper Network, “If the United States cut its office paper use by roughly 10 percent or 540,000 tons, greenhouse gases would fall by 1.6 million tons. This is the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for a year.”

Eliminating the printing of multiple documents alone can dramatically cut carbon and energy costs. Lighting, heating, and cooling costs for print equipment are also significantly reduced.

Ready to find out how automated sales order processing can fit into your business? Contact IntelliChief to learn moreor to request a custom demo of our order to cash automation software, click here.

4 Common Matching Issues for Major ERP Systems

 

Is there anything more frustrating than footing the bill for a fraudulent or inaccurate invoice? For years, business owners have struggled to give their Accounts Payable (AP) departments the tools they need to prevent invoice processing errors related to manual data entry, duplicate invoices, and faulty exception handling — and it’s starting to take a toll on several industries.

According to Infor, “approximately 0.1% to 0.05% of invoices paid are typically duplicate payments.” In other words, a business that grosses $150 million per year could lose as much as $750,000 to duplicate payments over a five-year period. This “lost” money could have been invested in training, bonuses, infrastructure, and virtually anything else businesses need to succeed. For most businesses, utilizing a 3-way matching process is a reliable way to cut down on matching errors, but it can also lead to additional Accounts Payable challenges.

In theory, a true 3-way matching process matches not only the invoice and purchase order but also its corresponding receiving information, thereby eliminating the chance for duplicate payments and counterfeit invoices. Unfortunately, this process can be a hindrance for businesses that aren’t equipped with the tools to process invoices quickly and accurately. For instance, some enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems require the processor to manually check to ensure that all related documents have been received to approve the 3-way match and complete the AP process. Another common ERP-related issue is a system’s inability to read purchase orders (POs) and receipt tables, rendering automatic voucher creation an impossibility.

IntelliChief, an Infor solution partner and Oracle Gold Partner, was built to overcome these limitations with unparalleled workflow automation and invoice matching capabilities. Unlock your team’s true potential by eliminating pitfalls in your existing AP process and watch productivity soar as you reduce manual exception handling by as much as 50% or more.

Issue #1: Workflow-Restrictive Implementation

Too often we find that enterprise-class software wants your business to play by their rules. Whether you’ve been in business for one, ten, or one hundred years, your existing business processes should be respected and considered whenever new technology is incorporated into your workflow. One of the major detractors of point solutions that aim to address a single issue is a lack of flexibility. You can’t apply their technology to other departments or workflows, and you must mold your existing processes to “play nice” with their system.

IntelliChief is unique because it is an enterprise content management (ECM) platform that integrates directly with your ERP system and can be configured to your exact business processes. Whether you utilize a 2-, 3-, or 4-way matching process, IntelliChief can be configured accordingly to help you reduce lag time and AP errors.

Issue #2: Queued Matching

How do you streamline a process that grinds to a halt every time something unfamiliar enters your queue? On top of that, how do you ensure that easily processed documents aren’t trapped behind a wall of exceptions? Realistically, utilizing any sort of queue in your process will lead to slowdowns and additional Accounts Payable challenges. For example, if your team members must enter an invoice to see if the receiving has been completed, it’s only a matter of time before your entire system is bogged down.

As an Infor Solution Partner and Oracle Gold Partner, IntelliChief matches invoices in real-time to help businesses avoid late fees while capitalizing on opportunities for early payment discounts. Exceptions are routed into workflow and automatically processed once the system has enough confidence in a match or recognizes that it’s within your tolerances. Any exceptions that fail the confidence test are then routed to a user for manual approval, leaving only your most pressing (and real) exceptions to be handled by your AP department.

Issue #3: No Unit of Measure Conversion Capabilities

Reducing the number of exceptions in your AP process is a surefire way to increase productivity. Whenever your processors are forced to deal with an exception, they are committing extra time to a particular transaction regardless of its value. Whether a transaction is worth $1 or $1 million, every additional second your team requires to process it is being siphoned directly from your bottom line.

Unit of Measure Conversion

IntelliChief finds the match even when item numbers, quantities, and unit prices don’t!

Therefore, if you can reduce the amount of time spent handling exceptions, you can realize significant cost savings. IntelliChief can automatically perform unit of measure and part number conversions to reduce exceptions. For example:

  • Lithium grease can be purchased in a drum or a 5-gallon bucket. There are 55 gallons in a drum, which means there are 11 buckets in a single drum. If the invoice and purchase order express this amount (i.e. one drum) in different terms (i.e. one drum vs. eleven buckets) it will result in an exception and require manual intervention to process. IntelliChief utilizes a cross-reference matrix to automate these conversions, eliminating the need for manual approval.
  • Steel is often purchased in coils while copper tubing is more commonly purchased by the 20-foot section. Similarly, steel pipe is regularly purchased in 44-foot rail lengths but used by the inch or square inch. When suppliers and purchasers have different expectations about how a material will be utilized, it can lead to unit of measure normalization issues. The final product is ultimately the same, but your AP processors can’t be certain without checking manually. IntelliChief eases the burden of this complicated process by handling the conversions for you and eliminating this step altogether.

Issue #4: Lack of Support for Workflow Automation

By addressing the above concerns with an industry-leading ECM solution like IntelliChief, your business can take advantage of faster processing times and fewer exceptions. It allows businesses to accelerate invoice or customer purchase order processing by eliminating manual intervention and automating your workflow. Even complex matching procedures, such as those involving blanket POs, are no problem for IntelliChief.

As soon as your information enters the system, a 2-, 3-, or 4-way match is performed automatically. With normalization and cross-referencing, the number of transactions that require manual intervention is reduced even further. IntelliChief Capture Enterprise users can even unlock the ability to use straight-through processing, which allows invoices to be processed without any manual entry or intervention from the beginning. As the statistics below prove, the leap in productivity is nothing short of alarming:

Without Normalization/Cross-Reference

  • 260 Total Invoices
  • 141 Processed Straight Through
  • 119 Required Manual Intervention
  • 54% Straight to Voucher

With Normalization and Cross-Reference

  • 260 Total Invoices
  • 254 Processed Straight Through
  • 6 Required Manual Intervention
  • 97% Straight to Voucher

With IntelliChief, you can reduce the burden of exception handling on your AP team, reach unprecedented processing speeds, and decrease the number of errors in your process by a wide margin. Even when your team is out of the office or unavailable, IntelliChief continues to process transactions in real-time from start to finish.

Overcome Your Accounts Payable Challenges With IntelliChief

There are many benefits for businesses that rely on 3-way matching, including stronger supplier relationships, increased profitability, and superior preparedness for financial audits. However, businesses that don’t automate this process are often overwhelmed with the time- and labor-intensive nature of manually performing 3-way matches. In order to scale this process as you grow your business, automation is critical. With IntelliChief, there’s no limit to how many documents you can process — even when the office is closed — thanks to robust automation capabilities that learn (and master) your business-critical processes.

To learn more about how IntelliChief can help your business overcome its Accounts Payable challenges with industry-leading workflow automation and document management solutions, contact us today.

 

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5 Must Haves for AP Automation

Selecting the right AP automation software for your situation can be challenging. To get the most out of AP automation, you need a solution that adapts to your business model. If your system can’t handle your unique business rules – like matching invoices to open purchase orders or routing exceptions to managers for approval – you have to manually complete tasks that you should have been able to automate. Check out the five (5) must-have features in AP Automation to ensure that you have all of the right tools to maximize the efficiency in your AP department.

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Reduce Your Operating Costs With Process Automation

The cost of doing business has been increasing every year – and not by just a few percentage points. Some experts calculate that operating expenses double every 14 years. This makes it increasingly hard to stay competitive.

Of course, as industries change, new tools emerge. Businesses have a number of ways to reduce their operating costs, both now and in the future.

One option? Using technology to handle time-consuming tasks. This not only makes things easier for your employees, but it helps you reduce your expenses in the process.

Choosing Processes to Automate

Many routine processes are good candidates for automation. Software can help reduce the operating costs associated with:

Some companies turn to outsourcing services to help cut these costs. Unfortunately, there are downsides – most notable, poor visibility and a lack of control. But with automation, businesses don’t have to trust these responsibilities to a third party. Companies can still handle them on their own while placing less of a burden on their internal resources.

How Much Can Businesses Save With Automation?

The more you automate, the more you can save. At IntelliChief, we’ve seen companies cut their costs by as much as 70 percent.

It all starts with a comprehensive strategy.

Individually, each of the processes listed above may not seem that costly. But a few dollars here and a few dollars there can quickly add up.

Let’s use invoice processing as an example.

The average business can save $10 (or more) for each invoice they process automatically. At 1,000 invoices per month, that’s a savings of $120,000 per year.

And if that business were to also automate their order processing?

The best companies can process a sales order for just over $5. Meanwhile, inefficient companies spend around $40.87.  That’s a difference of more than $35 per order. Over the course of a year? A business that processes 1,000 orders per month can reduce their annual expenses by $420,000.

An Increase in Business Doesn’t Have to Mean an Increase in Operating Costs

Most companies see an increase in operating costs as they grow. More transactions mean more administrative work – and more employees to keep up.

With automation, though, the economy of scale can make a big difference.

Software can do in seconds what an employee may need several days to complete. As you earn more business, automation lets you handle the increased workload with the resources you already have.

The only caveat: you need to invest in a solution that can solve your current problems, while also accounting for future growth.

Weighing the Cost of an Investment Against the Potential Benefits

When you’re looking to reduce your operating costs, paying thousands of dollars for a solution can seem counterproductive. But for the right technology, your business can easily recover the expense.

In an article for PricewaterhouseCoopers, Stephen O’Hearn states that “the crucial priority isn’t the costs you cut, [but] rather where you focus resources to stimulate growth.” Technology helps you work smarter – as long you spend smarter, too.

The best way to increase your ROI is to find one solution that can work in several areas of your business. This brings down the total cost of ownership.

It’s also important to find a solution that’s simple to use. A new software program can’t do you any good if your employees don’t understand how to use it – or if it makes them abandon their current processes. It can be hard to bring about meaningful change in a business, but when you introduce a solution that makes everyone’s lives easier, they’re more likely to adopt it for the long haul.

How IntelliChief Can Help You Reduce Your Operating Costs

At IntelliChief, we understand how important it is to keep your operating expenses low. We can help you implement cost-saving strategies across your entire business.

Our process automation tool can help you lower your operating costs across Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Finance, Production, Distribution, Customer Service, and even HR. And the financial justification is there: our customers typically achieve a full return on investment in just one year.

Our solutions integrate with the business programs that you already use. This lets you extend the usefulness of your legacy programs – programs that could otherwise be too costly to justify keeping.

To learn more about reducing your operating costs with IntelliChief’s business automation software, contact us today. Or, visit our Resource Library to see how other businesses have implemented our cost-saving measures in real life.

 

Automation vs. Robotics: Choosing the Right Technology for Your Business

With more than 80 percent of enterprises already using AI – and 30 percent planning on increasing their investment over the next three years – companies that aren’t already using automation to their advantage may be feeling the pressure to catch up. But there are so many options to consider that it can be difficult to decide where to focus your attention. Automation? Robotics? Machine learning? What’s the right technology for your business?

The Difference Between Automation and Robotics

The terms “automation” and “robotics” are sometimes used interchangeably, but there are minor differences between the two.

  • Automation is the process of using technology to complete human tasks.
  • Robotics is the process of developing robots to carry out a particular function.

Not all types of automation use robots – and not all robots are designed for process automation. That said, most robots are used for that specific reason – especially in the context of industrial use.

Automation vs. Robotics

Traditional robots have sensors – like audio and visual sensors – that allow them to carry out complex physical processes without (or with very minimal) assistance from a human. (An example: a robot that travels around a warehouse, collecting items for orders.)

However, there’s also such a thing as a “software robot”, which refers to a computer program. Software robots – which can also be referred to as desktop automation or robotic process automation – are designed to conduct virtual processes rather than physical ones. For instance, some companies use data recognition software, which can be configured to “read” documents the same way that a human would. This reduces the need for manual data entry, which – when done by a human – can be time-consuming and error-prone.

Machine Learning & AI

Now that we’ve covered automation vs. robotics, we can introduce machine learning and AI (artificial intelligence) to the conversation as well.

  • Artificial intelligence is the concept of using “smart” machines to complete tasks.
  • Machine learning is the practice of users “teaching” machines how they should function.

While all forms of automation are taught at some point in their development, machine learning is an ongoing practice. These are the programs that become more adept at their jobs the more frequently they’re used.

Machine learning tools are considered semi-autonomous. They can function well on their own, although they do require occasional user input to “teach” them how to make complex decisions in real time. (Autonomous robots, on the other hand, work entirely without human intervention.)

The Role of Automation, Robotics, Machine Learning, and AI in Business

Here’s where all of these terms come together.

If you’re looking to incorporate new technologies into your business, you may have several options to consider. It all depends on what type of goals you’re looking to achieve.

If you’re looking to assemble your products more quickly, a robot may be able to help you speed up your factory operations. If you’re looking to make repetitive administrative tasks more efficient, software-driven process automation would be more appropriate.

Types of robotics and automation for business

Of course, these are just a few examples of industrial robotics and automation – there are hundreds of opportunities to explore. Each one can provide you with a unique competitive advantage – and a different ROI.

IntelliChief Robotic Process Automation for Businesses

If you’re not sure where to start, IntelliChief can help. As a leader in robotic business process automation, we provide companies with intelligent software to help them simplify their most time-consuming tasks.

Our tools can be customized to accommodate almost any administrative function. For instance, we offer solutions for:

  • Collecting and verifying invoices
  • Entering sales order information
  • Producing customer invoices
  • Administrating HR benefits
  • Onboarding and offboarding employees
  • Managing logistics

When performed by employees, these repetitive tasks are highly inefficient and inaccurate – but our software robots are configured to make them faster and more predictable.

And, the more you use IntelliChief, the less you end up having to do. (For instance: type in a new customer’s information once, and we’ll remember it for the next time you bring up that account.)

To learn more about how our automation software can help you transform your business, contact us today. Or, visit our Resource Library to see how other customers have successfully implemented business process robotics in their back office.

Cost Savings in Logistics and Product Distribution

You move goods on a very large scale, but cost savings in logistics and product distribution can be hard to come by. Having a clear picture of your distribution operations of those goods is critical for business.

But, think about many of your logistics operations are driven by paper, restricting the movement of every inbound and outbound shipment. Paper-based processes are slow and create bottlenecks in productivity. They make important data contained in shipping documents, including bills of lading, manifests, and delivery receipts, difficult to process and track.

IntelliChief’s capture technology and electronic workflow processes can help you streamline tasks related to shipping and receiving goods. It can also enhance the functionality of your existing systems. Whether you use an ERP, a supply chain management system, warehouse management software, a transport management system, or a combination of several different programs, IntelliChief can easily connect all of your business applications.

How to Make Your Distribution Logistics More Efficient

The objective: improve visibility and reduce the time it takes to process information by capturing your shipping documents when they enter your business.

The strategy:

  • Automate the receipt of shipping documentation in paper or electronic formats
  • Standardize the document formatting, indexing, and data collection process
  • Collect critical information from images, barcodes, signatures, and text
  • Import this data into your system’s working fields
  • Link electronic copies to the appropriate core system and forward the documents to the appropriate workflow queue

Your newly standardized approach lets you manage all your processes from a single platform. Automated capture eliminates your need to print the documents and painstakingly key in the data – saving even more time in the process.

And because this all happens in real-time, you never miss a beat.

Track Every Single Shipment for Better Customer Service

The Sales-Fulfillment-Collections connection is the main engine of your company. Ensuring that orders are processed quickly and accurately is a primary objective. As your business grows, you need to be able to process more customer orders without adding personnel.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) lets your customer service, sales, and fulfillment staff:

  • Stay current on all client accounts
  • Receive real-time data verification
  • Send Order Acknowledgements via email or fax without user intervention
  • Accelerate order fulfillment with faster approvals
  • Gain order processing visibility throughout each transaction
  • Collect payments in a timely fashion, enhancing cash flow
  • Reduce costs associated with copying documents, updating logbooks, and chasing down lost orders
  • Run progression analytics and reporting on each order.

Learn More About Cost Savings in Logistics With IntelliChief

By seizing potential cost savings in logistics and product distribution, your organization can safeguard its bottom line from the unexpected. Our tailored solutions for freight document management were designed with the enterprise-class distributor in mind. Our ECM platform is uniquely equipped with the tools to help you not only master logistics and distribution today but also in the future. IntelliChief is one of the only ECM solutions designed specifically for the enterprise at scale. Our solutions grow with your business to help it avoid interruptions and benefit from ongoing cost-saving opportunities.

Want to learn more about the tangible cost savings of electronic freight document management? Contact IntelliChief today to speak with an expert about your project and requirements.

Early Payment Discounts for Increased Revenue

Early Payment Discounts

Early payment discounts can help your company save hundreds – if not thousands – of dollars every month.

Spend less on the products you need to buy, and increase your working capital. Take the money that you have sitting in a low-yielding corporate account, waiting to be sent to a supplier, and leverage it to generate a higher rate of return. It’s a valuable strategy for your business – but it can be easier said than done.

Dynamic Discounting as an Early Payment Incentive

It’s common for suppliers to offer regular discounts for early payment. Sometimes, companies that offer early payment discounts are trying to motivate customers to pay faster so they can reduce their DSO. Other times, they’re trying to address cash flow issues. Either way, your company can benefit from the incentive.

2/10 net 30 is a common example. This incentive would allow you to deduct 2 percent of the invoice’s total amount if you pay within 10 days. (If you pay within 30 days, you owe the entire balance. If you pay after that point, you may owe a late fee.)

If you’re offered 2/10 net 30 terms on a $1,000 invoice, you can pay just $980 if you’re able to issue that payment within a week and a half. If your company has the cash on hand (or a readily available line of credit), those terms are firmly in your favor. That 2% early payment discount for paying 20 days early? If you do that just 18 times in a fiscal year, you get an annual return of approximately 36%.

By taking advantage of dynamic discounts, your Accounts Payable department can directly impact your company’s profitability. The only problem? 10 days isn’t a lot of time.

The Problem with a Long Invoice Processing Cycle

When you get an invoice in the mail, it may be several days before someone finds it. And if you rely on manual invoice processing methods, it can take several more days to move it through your organization. Getting all of the approvals & validations that an invoice needs before it can be paid is painstakingly slow.

When you’re working with a short time frame, a single delay (like a processor being out of town) can prevent you from capturing those valuable discounts. And when you have hundreds of invoices to deal with every month? There’s a pretty high chance that at least a few of them fall through the cracks. That’s why many companies have a hard time processing their invoices quickly enough to qualify for early payment discounts.

A sad reality? Industry research shows that the average invoice processing cycle time is 12.4 days, from receipt till payment. It’s frustrating to miss the mark by just 2.4 days – but it’s also encouraging, as it means a few strategic changes can get you over the hump.

So how can you make your process more efficient?

Invoice automation lets you streamline your accounts payable workflow. You don’t have to manually collect your invoices, and you don’t have to manually confirm that the charges are correct. The technology handles all of the behind the scenes, automating the most time-consuming steps with ease. And if a key employee is out of the office? They can still process documents remotely, keeping your workflows…well…flowing.

At IntelliChief, we’ve helped our customers reduce their payment cycle times by as much as 80 percent. One customer was even able to capture $5.4 million savings in the 2016 fiscal year – just by using our automation software to process their incoming invoices.

Our AP automation software works directly with your enterprise content management system (ECM) to make sure every incoming invoice is correct. It even checks for “process-by” target dates – letting you finally start capitalizing on your early payment discounts, without extra work for your employees. It’s an easy way to start meeting your cash flow objectives – and we’re here whenever you’re ready to get started.

For more information or help speeding up your invoice processing cycle, contact IntelliChief today.

 

Real-World, Real Benefits: How to Reduce Accounts Payable Processing Costs

Accounts Payable Expenses

Reducing Accounts Payable processing costs has officially become a movement — one driven figurately by the ability to better allocate staff resources and literally through automating transactional information and workflows. In an increasingly competitive business climate, improving the speed and accuracy of processing has become fundamental in achieving measurable growth. Accounts Payable automation is increasingly sought to securely capture all transaction information, which can then be utilized in any number of ways through system integrations that assure contractual-transactional integrity. New technology is shining a spotlight on the priorities of Finance and Accounting professionals, and the truth is evident: the benefits of reducing your company’s Accounts Payable processing costs are too substantial to ignore.

Moving from manual to automated environments increases transaction productivity and cash flow visibility. In a study of AP Management by The Institute of Financial Operations, cost savings and improved accuracy ranked as top justifications for investing in automated accounts payable solutions.

Their peer findings: 9 in 10 organizations still deal, at least in part, with paper invoices and transaction-related documentation, leading to higher costs, stifled efficiency, and a greater chance of erroneous information entering their system.

Highlights From the AP Processing Report

Failure to innovate can have a negative effect on the success of your business, especially when your business relies on outdated, paper-based processes to stay on top of money flowing in and out of your organization. By being the first to innovate, your business gains a competitive advantage over its rivals. The statistics below paint a clear picture of where our economy stands in terms of efficient AP processing:

  • 80% indicated their volume of invoices increased or remained roughly the same over the past year; 60 percent reporting the bulk of their increase was paper-based
  • 80% confirmed half or more of their invoices arrived paper-based; with a majority reporting paper exceeding 90 percent of their volume
  • 60% required between 5 and 25 full-time employees for invoice entry and matching
  • 70% had unimproved or increased invoice entry and payment error rates change in the last 18 months
  • 7 of 10 said that PO automation is an important component of an AP automation initiative
  • The most important drivers to automating the management of POs and invoices: a full 60% stated the desire of achieve better control over spend and ensuring purchases are with preferred suppliers, 45% to eliminate mismatches and exceptions that lead to blocked invoices
  • 65% noted the average time it takes to process an invoice changed over the past year has increased or remained unchanged
  • Just over half captured a significant amount of early payment discounts contractually available to them
  • Regarding imaging, 45% reported using front-end document capture capabilities. 20% included optical character recognition (OCR) to replace manual ERP keying. A mere 10% reported having data extraction and utilization capabilities. These companies could benefit significantly by enabling ERP-integrated invoice validation and routing direct entry into an automated workflow.

Making Your Organization More Competitive With Lower Accounts Payable Processing Costs

The above statistics are indicative of the current state of the industry, but how well do they describe your particular working environment? If the answer is “nearer than you would like,” your potential automation advantages include:

  • Eliminating manual invoice data entry to your ERP
  • Reducing your costs associated with processing and filing vendor invoices by an average of 75%
  • Increasing automation and streamlining your processes via workflow while reducing cycle time by an average of 80%
  • Increasing visibility into your AP processes through intuitive, decision-enhancing reports
  • Reducing the risk of late payment fees
  • Increasing the number of early payment discounts you receive
  • Maintaining your existing processes, but automating them to achieve superior results

To learn more about how your business can reduce accounts payable processing costs, read our AP automation guide. Or, learn more about  IntelliChief ECM for Accounts Payable for PO and Non-PO invoices by clicking here.

 

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PeopleSoft Accounts Payable Automation

PeopleSoft Accounts Payable Automation

How long do your employees spend on Accounts Payable in PeopleSoft?  If you’re not using your Oracle PeopleSoft ERP as efficiently as you could be, IntelliChief can help. We offer AP automation solutions specifically for Oracle, and because we’re an Oracle Gold Partner that has performed countless installations for PeopleSoft customers, we can configure a solution that aligns perfectly with your needs and goals.

What to Expect When You Automate Accounts Payable in PeopleSoft

Our PeopleSoft Accounts Payable Automation tools help you:

  • Collect, process, and store your vendor invoices
  • Capture more vendor discounts
  • Collaborate easily between multiple departments
  • Prevent lost or misplaced documents
  • Eliminate inefficiencies from manual entry

Automated workflows let you capture purchase orders, order acknowledgments, and receiving documents from both paper-based and electronic formats. Once captured, they’re organized and stored with any related transactional documents. Meanwhile, our software compares all of the data with the transactional information you already have saved in PeopleSoft. You don’t have to manually match the information or waste time on multi-step approval routing.

The best part? PeopleSoft users that implement IntelliChief for AP typically achieve a full ROI within one year — and that’s not the only benefit.

PeopleSoft ap invoice automation

The Benefits of PeopleSoft Accounts Payable Automation With IntelliChief

When you automate PeopleSoft with IntelliChief, your business will become faster, leaner, and more profitable. Customers benefit from:

  • Industry-leading integration backed by Oracle Gold Partner status eliminates the need for multiple vendors or technical resources
  • Embrace a paperless office that is more sustainable, environmentally friendly, and adaptable
  • Full visibility in the Accounts Payable process, including micro- and macro-level tracking
  • Boost deployment speed
  • Improve accuracy with advanced validation software that gets smarter over time
  • Automatically capture invoices from a monitored inbox
  • 80-90 percent reduction in manual data entry
  • Lightning-fast 2-, 3-, and even 4-way matching
  • Secure digital repository creates a centralized hub for all documents
  • Analyze processing speed, cost, efficiency, and ROI achieved with IntelliChief
  • Remote access from any smartphone or tablet
  • 24/7 security and audit protection

ECM PeopleSoft

Discover Our PeopleSoft Accounts Payable Automation Solutions

Is your company ready to phase out old, inundated processes that prevent it from reaching its potential? Your growth objectives are clear. You’re ready to take the next step, and IntelliChief can help you get there with PeopleSoft Accounts Payable automation. Realize instant ROI as your processes become faster, more accurate, and smarter — literally paying you back over time by automatically taking advantage of early payment discounts while eliminating late payments.

Want to learn more about our PeopleSoft Accounts Payable automation solutions? Contact us today for a free consultation. Our automation experts will help you determine whether or not your business is a good fit for automation.