A Harmonic Convergence In Knowledge Management

Integrated Document Management Is A Perfect Solution For The NowGeneration

Information needs to be made easily accessible by knowledgeworkers throughout the enterprise, not just in a few departments. More than ever,organizations are relying on integrated document management software to provide solutions,increase efficiency and improve the bottom line.

Organizations have usually used a collection of diverse products, including documentimaging, workflow and document management software, to create an overall documentmanagement solution. But many industry experts believe the market is moving away fromtraditionally disparate enterprise document management applications. The new trend in themarket is the implementation of integrated document management (IDM): a collection ofsolutions including enterprise document management, document imaging, workflow and reportmanagement software.

The Gartner Group (Stamford, Conn.) estimates the current installed base of integrateddocument management software is four million users and is expected to grow to 48 millionusers by the year 2001. These IDM solutions will enable corporate and governmentorganizations to unleash the power of information by providing access to an organization'sdocuments across the enterprise.

Integrated Document Management

IDM is a solution that is transparent to the end user but integral to the businessdemand for instant access to information. IDM software products can be deployed onMicrosoft Windows with Internet Explorer client desktops, which helps to significantlyreduce deployment time for document-enabled line-of-business and general accessapplications. They allow users to access any document from any desktop and put thosedocuments to work using document-centric, graphical workflow processes. With thesecapabilities, organizations can reduce the cost of ownership while retaining best-of-classattributes for production and general access to documents and workflow processes.

The Internet has proven to be a catalyst for the integrated document managementindustry. Organizations want information access that cuts across geographies andorganizations, data types and platforms, just like on the Web. IT managers, no longer tiedsolely to the client-server environment, increasingly seek Web-deployable applications forsimplified administration, ease of deployment and reduced costs.

Today, new classes of IDM software can be deployed in thin-client or Web browserenvironments, providing users, such as remote offices, business partners and vendors witheasy access to corporate document libraries. This structure allows them to participate indocument-centric workflow processes. Additionally, this IDM foundation can be implementedusing the same component software architecture, in a thick-client (client-server)environment.

IDM! How Suite It Is

IDM solutions are composed of suites of component software, providing a single point ofaccess to any document, while offering scaleable, enterprise-enabled capabilities. Theback-end or server is transparent and users have a comfortable interface to work with,eliminating many of the costs associated with training on proprietary software. Withcomponent-based IDM software, an organization can quickly develop and deploy tailoredsolutions to enable users to easily query enterprise document libraries to retrieve, viewand update documents and create workflow processes in real-time to put the documents towork in workgroups, departments or across the globe.

IDM's Benefits

Founded in 1898, Bechtel Corp. (San Francisco, Calif.) is a global firm specializing inengineering and construction and management projects. Contributing to support operationsis the Electronic Disbursement Center in Phoenix, Ariz. The Disbursement Center hasresponsibility for paying the invoices and expense reports for all domestic offices,involving hundreds of projects and handling upwards of 10,000 payment transactions eachmonth.

In its quest for improving project performance and reducing costs, Bechtel realizedthat it had to streamline its accounts payable operations. The paper-based, manualoperations for its four disbursement offices were not operating at peak efficiency, withexpense reports taking up to 10 days to process. The company found that thecost-per-transaction was several times higher than industry benchmarks and as aworld-class technology and engineering firm, Bechtel realized there had to be a betterway.

Bechtel's IDM Solution

Bechtel selected an IDM solution that became operational in 1995 to solve theseproblems and improve productivity in their Accounts Payable department. This client-serversolution includes IDM Services software from FileNET, Oracle Payables, a HP 9000 UNIXserver and two HP optical disk jukeboxes. This mixed computing environment provides aflexible and scalable solution for organizing, storing and accessing all kinds ofdocuments.

This IDM solution produced impressive results -- staff was reduced by 60 percent andcosts reduced by 70 percent. "Using IDM, we can offer all our domestic billingoffices fast electronic access to invoices as needed to complete our projectbilling," said Bill Kearney, workflow process manager at Bechtel's PhoenixTransaction Processing Center. "IDM and workflow are the tools that stop the paperflow in the mailroom and have reduced our costs dramatically."

As companies struggle to reduce costs and increase productivity, IDM has emerged as aneffective means for achieving these goals. A March 1998 International Data Corp. (IDC;Framingham, Mass.) study estimates that $1.6 billion will be spent on integrated documentmanagement in 1998 and spending will reach $5.5 billion by 2001.

As companies expand globally and the Internet plays an increasingly important role inbusiness, the seamless sharing of knowledge will become a business standard. Integrateddocument management will soon become as commonplace on employees' desktops as wordprocessing is today. And companies presently benefiting from integrated documentmanagement are better prepared to serve their customers and be profitable.

--Lee Roberts is President and CEO of FileNET Corp.