Fishing Successfully in the Document Pool

Digital content will be a vital means of storing information and ensuring competitiveness for small and midsize companies in future. However, this will also necessitate finding a means of storing the collated business data long-term and arranging it in such a way that it is instantly accessible when required. “This is a very distant reality for many midsize firms,” says Reinhard Oborski, Managing Director of SAP’s solution partner bob Systemlösungen (bob). “Many companies still have paper-based processes or can only access their digitally archived documents via complex folder structures,” he adds. “Important documents are often irretrievable in this tangled web.”

Tidying up the tangled web

“To be able to manage business processes rationally in future, midsize companies will need an archive system that’s integrated in their business software,” emphasizes Oborski. Through its DocuWare Integration to SAP Business One, SAP’s solution partner, which is based in Erftstadt near Cologne, has filled this gap by interfacing the DocuWare archive system to SAP Business One. The solution is designed to meet the needs of companies in all manner of industries that already use (or plan to use) the SAP midsize solution and want to archive their documents in an “orderly” fashion.
In this context, “orderly” means that all process-related documents subject to archiving legislation (such as the principles of data access and auditability of digital documents) must be easily accessible. This includes invoices, orders and delivery notes and, under certain circumstances, correspondence (by letter, fax or e-mail) about complaints or credits, to ensure that provisions for warranties, for example, can be substantiated in the long term. In the case of product liability, it includes test certificates and analysis results, for example. In the building sector, it might include cement certificates, X-ray photos of steel constructions, and other test reports, while in the food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industries, it might include contents, package inserts or batch documentation.

Process-based approach

Commercial documents such as inbound invoices are entered directly in SAP Business One and archived automatically with DocuWare (for example, by means of barcode recognition). As a result, an electronic copy of every incoming invoice can be accessed instantly when outgoing payments are being processed and, using the payment wizard, called up from the archive in the relevant sequence and released for payment. The posted documents are then stored audit-proof in the central document pool using the DocuWare TIFFMAKER.
DocuWare automatically assigns keywords to all documents generated in SAP Business One using process criteria. Documents (created in Word, Excel, PowerPoint or CAD applications, for example) relating to a particular process are assigned to this process and stored in the document pool. In this way, users can call up and view all documents that belong to a particular business process, such as drawings, sketches or e-mails, directly from SAP Business One. “The advantage of this process-based approach is that it removes the need for backup storage in folders, and thus prevents format incompatibilities,” emphasizes Oborski. Because of this, a press distributor that processes tens of thousands of remittances a year, for example, can work much more efficiently if it uses the SAP standard solution in conjunction with DocuWare. Return documents are automatically scanned, assigned to the relevant business process in SAP Business One, and can be found easily at any time.

Fully integrated

bob integrated the DocuWare software into SAP Business One using SDK (software development kit). “The two systems are perfectly integrated because the archive solution has the same look and feel as the SAP solution,” points out Reinhard Oborski. Users can access archived documents conveniently from any dialog box in the SAP standard solution and therefore react quickly to queries. That accelerates processes and increases service quality. This allows businesses to optimize internal processes as well as processes involving customers and partners. According to bob, integrating the archive solution in SAP Business One also holds advantages for internationally active midsize enterprises because, like the SAP standard solution, it comes in a variety of language versions (currently 12 languages and 30 countries).

Preconfigured and quick to implement

Despite offering a broad range of functions and powerful features, DocuWare does not require much processor performance. The system runs on Microsoft SQL Server and can also be installed on the SAP Business One server. Companies that use the add-on only require sufficient disk space to store documents. Around 20,000 documents can be archived per gigabyte. Depending on the required document types, the archive system can be installed in one to two days. “In addition, when supplying SAP Business One with DocuWare, automatic archiving of all documents from the SAP standard solution is preconfigured,” explains bob’s Managing Director. According to Oborski, there is no prescribed minimum number of users for the DocuWare Integration to SAP Business One.

Prices to suit midsize sector

The SAP solution partner is offering the integration package in two “very low-cost price models that meet the budget requirements of midsize companies,” says Oborski. The small business package for up to five users contains the DocuWare Business Suite and the interface, as well as functions for archiving inbound and outbound documents, the keyword indexing module, a search client and a consistency check. It costs a net price of €3,995. The Business Suite (including all components) for up to ten users is available at €4,995 (net) and the Enterprise Suite (including all components) for up to 20 users costs €9,995 (net).
Summing up the advantages of the solution, Oborski says, “The integration of DocuWare in SAP Business One provides midsize companies with an efficient combination of archive system and business software that allows them to find documents quickly and easily. It shortens reaction and response times, improves service, cuts costs and ultimately strengthens their market position.”

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Dr. Andreas Schaffry
Dr. Andreas Schaffry