I’ve talked here before about how we seem to be focusing on the wrong things in DM, i.e. the ideal of the paperless office – when in fact, the real contribution of document management is much more practical, such as improved retrieval of business data.
I regularly talk to customers struggling with this very problem: DM significantly speeds up the process around paying suppliers. After all, 99% of the queries related to non-payment of invoices are about, ‘Have I received that invoice?’ ‘Oh it’s with the manager awaiting approval, so I’ve yet to enter on to the system’ and so on.
You obtain big savings in time and money by having all your invoices centrally stored and indexed, so anyone who needs to see a copy of an invoice can. That helps on two fronts – supplier enquiry, and just as importantly it also speeds up the authorisation of an invoice.
If you want to be an organisation where all your invoices are visible; in terms of their location, at what stage they are in the payment process, and you also want an efficient purchase ledger process – DM has to be a major part of that picture.
Why? Because efficiency is your friend – especially in today’s tough business climate. Many of our customers who are purchasing or buying procurement and purchase invoicing systems are doing so to improve the efficiency of their whole procurement and purchase to pay process: they want a good relationship with their suppliers, they don’t want to field uncomfortable calls – and the Finance team do not want to spend their time searching for invoices to check and recheck. And increasingly, if you pay suppliers promptly, you will receive a discount.
DM adds to the whole value of the purchase-to-pay process and as a community we should be shouting about this a lot more than we do. There is, to be frank, a great market opportunity here – as a lot of people have purchase to pay processes that continue to be very manual, very labour, paper and filing cabinet intensive – and audit trail ‘un-intensive’!