Infor Lawson customers have the ability to implement Accounts Payable Invoice Processing (APIA) to automate some of the manual tasks and decisions related to invoice processing. There are also many third-party products and solutions tailored to AP Automation, such as Kofax KTA, Perceptive Content, or OnBase by Hyland. Each organization must evaluate their unique business processes and requirements to determine which products and solutions best fit their needs.

Watch RPI’s Chad Tucker and Jeremy Stoltzfus as they review Accounts Payable Automation solutions comparing and contrasting Infor Lawson APIA and third-party workflow products, such as Perceptive Content (ImageNow) and OnBase by Hyland.

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Transcript:

Chad Tucker:
Welcome to another Webinar Wednesday, our monthly presentation of topics and content relevant to Kofax, Hyland, and Infor customers. Today’s a special crossover edition with our Infor Lawson practice. A few housekeeping items before we get started. This webinar will be recorded and available later this week with the PowerPoint deck. You can find past webinar recordings and future webinars online at www.rpic.com/webinars. Go ahead and submit questions through the go-to webinar and we will answer them at the end of the presentation.

We also want to let you know about our upcoming webinars today and through next month. We have VB Scripts for Perceptive Content today after this one at 1:00PM CST. We have a couple Infor Lawson webinars May 14th, and 15th and then next month we are doing system and database maintenance best practices and another accounts payable automation in voice processing webinar.

My name is Chad Tucker, I’m the Manager of Solution Engineering. I focus on our design and scoping activities for Kofax, Perceptive, and On-Base.

Jeremy Stoltzfus:
My name is Jeremy Stoltzfus, I’m a Senior Technical Architect. I’ve worked over 15 years as a Lawson system administrator on the customer side and now with RPI I specialize in process automation, implementations, conversions, and customs integrations.

Just a little high-level agenda of what we’ll be covering today, first we’ll just tell you a little bit about RPI and who we are and what we do. We’ll then get into the main part of our presentation, talking about accounts payable automation. Looking at the different processes, components of that. So, intelligent data capture exception handling and workflow and then invoice approvals. We’ll be comparing and contrasting the different solutions that are available. Then at the end we’ll wrap it up with a summary and take any questions that you might have.

So just a little bit about us as RPI Consultants. We’re a comprehensive professional services organization. We have over 18 years of experience designing, implementing and supporting ERP systems focusing on the Infor Lawson system and then advanced data capture and content management solutions as well. Just a real high level – you know we have over 80 full time consultants, project managers and technical architects with offices located Baltimore, Tampa and here in Kansas City.

Chad Tucker:
So, accounts payable automation for invoice processing basically refers to a combination of software products solutions and features that replace manual tasks, activities, decisions related to invoiced processing with the goal of reducing the amount of time and money an organization spends on invoice processing.

The main components of an automation solution for accounts payable includes the intelligent data capture portion, which feeds into the exception handling and workflow process for your PO and non-PO invoices. And then finally rounds off with your invoice approvals. Often EDI is considered part of an AP invoice automation solution, but most of the time they’re separate mechanisms with an ERP’s to handle those but it could be handled within your workflow solutions as well.

Jeremy Stoltzfus:
Just to cover a little bit of the product and solution portfolio that we’ll be discussing today. Of course we’re talking about the Infor Lawson product and the ERP solution that they provide, and their accounts payable invoice automation module which is a bolt-on for the older versions but is included in the CloudSuite Financials product.

Then looking at intelligent data capture, talking about Kofax TotalAgility, ReadSoft Online, Brainware by Hyland and Ephesoft with third party workflows and approvals we’ll be looking at Kofax TotalAgility again, ReadSoft Online, Perceptive Content, and OnBase software.

Chad Tucker:
So intelligent data capture specifically refers to the advanced optical character recognition OCR to extract the invoice data from scanned or imported images. Typically, this process starts with your capture, the software is going to read, extract the information off the invoices, attempt to validate and flag any exceptions that are found on those invoices. The advanced data capture does things like automated PO line pairing which can facilitate straight through processing, and eventually the invoice which is exported out of your intelligent data capture into the workflow portion of the solution.

Jeremy Stoltzfus:
And when everything’s working as it should we refer to that as straight through processing. So that invoice gets scanned into the system or emailed into the system however it’s captured in and then all the data is pulled in, everything happens without any manual intervention at all.

So, looking specifically at Ephesoft which is a cloud-based solution, and this is who Infor has chosen to partner with for their Infor CloudSuite Financial Solution. So, with Ephesoft it’s doing the capture portion of it and then the document management piece Infor document management solution takes in those documents after they’ve been scanned in. Even though Infor is partnering with Ephesoft for this solution it does require an additional licensing component from Ephesoft directly.

Chad Tucker:
As far as third-party data capture tools that you can use and integrate with your Infor Lawson solution, Kofax TotalAgility is Kofax’s intelligent automation platform has robust OCR and workflow capabilities. ReadSoft Online is another Kofax offering that is a completely SaaS cloud-based solution that focuses on invoice processing. And another tool is Brainware for Invoices by Hyland which is typically used in global complex use cases that require multiple languages and invoice currencies out of the box.

Jeremy Stoltzfus:
So, as we consider the different solutions that are available, looking at the Infor solution it is an integrated solution so there’s less cost as far as interface maintenance and ongoing support and development for those interfaces.

Chad Tucker:
Now third-party tools, while not having that integration that native integration being ERP agnostic, that could be a benefit strategically to your organization if your ERP strategy is in flux and you don’t want to have to rebuild your AP automation solution to support a different ERP system.

Jeremy Stoltzfus:
And the third-party tools at this point are a little more mature than the Infor integrated tools currently, however as Infor is continuing to build out and develop they are releasing new features and functionality on a regular basis.

Chad Tucker:
So, the next portion of an AP automation solution is the exception handling workflow. So, this is what happens when all the OCR has been validated but there’s actual business process issues with the invoice that prevents it from being paid. Some of these exceptions could be, you know you have a new vendor that sends an invoice that isn’t set up in your system yet maybe you get an invoice with a PO number that doesn’t exist or a PO that’s been closed. Or the invoice comes in for more than what was allocated on the PO, or there’s tax, freight or miscellaneous charge issues that have to be resolved before the invoice gets paid.

Jeremy Stoltzfus:
In regard to the workflow error handling workflows through the Lawson APIA capabilities, so again this is a solution that is available out of the box with the Infor CloudSuite Financials application. There is that tight integration because it is part of the solution already. So, we look at the user roles so in AP that are required to do that, and again that’s built in and part of the solution. The Infor Document Management solution or IDM is the solution for the content storage and images, and then we have the Ion Integration piece which is part of the Infor OS platform, and just kind of ties everything together. And then of course all of the workflow and everything is backed by IPA so there’s that ability to automate and customize that using the technology that your using with your Infor Lawson product already.

Chad Tucker:
So third party tools, you know Kofax TotalAgility has a highly customizable workflow solution. It does require to build out Lawson integration as part of that metadata back into Lawson, but we’ve built a connector for this called Yoga Connect for Infor Lawson. Which is a drop-in connector for interfacing, however, it still needs maintenance. Kofax, ReadSoft Online as a SaaS-based solution it includes some basic workflow and exception handling, but it has limited customization due to the fact that it is a SaaS solution. And then Brainware by Hyland requires a separate workflow engine, typically either Perceptive content or On-Base to facilitate post extraction exception handling.

Considerations for these different workflow solutions, being able to see your invoices across… having to research multiple platforms to see where your invoices are. Sometimes there’s issues with interfaces, for being able to accrue invoices on a monthly basis. So, consolidating into a single system provides a more stream lined and efficient process for managing where your invoices are at.

And as far as integration, maintenance and troubleshooting goes and the development of those interfaces as well, with the APIA solution that’s built in and out of the box and is technology that your staff may be supporting your ERP system may already know and understand. There is the additional cost then with those third-party solutions in requiring those additional development effort of those integrations, and again maintaining and supporting. And it’s a different skill set and knowledge that’s required of your support staff. Whether it be your IT department or even your AP staff learning another system and knowing how to troubleshoot and where to look for issues when they come up.

And then also product license cost for multiple systems. So having to purchase multiple concurrent user licenses for multiple systems that has a real cost to it. And the additional training and roll out of having to have people trained on these systems can be costly.

Jeremy Stoltzfus:
When we talk about invoice approvals we’re talking about either non-PO or service-based PO invoices. And this is when we’re looking at the approval routing and based on several criteria whether it be dollar amount or some other invoice type or something like that.

Infor Lawson APIA capabilities so there is an included GUI-based system to allow you to define these workflow routing rules. And again, this is defined by an invoice type and dollar amount to know how far those invoices need to be routed for approval. This could integrate with an existing approval matrix that an Infor Lawson customer may already have. So, for example many customers running requisitions already have a solution, an approval matrix so this could tie in and use that existing approval matrix that you already have. And, of course it’s all backed with IPA, so again the technology that your Infor Lawson staff knows and uses today, if that’s your ERP system you’re running those custom workflows or the workflows that are delivered with the ability to modify them and create custom ones as well.

Chad Tucker:
So the third party tools Kofax TotalAgility with AP agility is highly customer approval hierarchies again another GUI-based approval management product, but again requires custom Lawson integration.

Perceptive Content by Hyland has the Perceptive Experience AP approval app, it’s very highly customizable to facilitate all types of approval workflows, and then OnBase by Hyland has the approval manager again another highly customizable approval workflow.

Jeremy Stoltzfus:
So just some considerations again is the license cost again for the third party solutions. So, if your organization already owns a system maybe it’s not one of those third-party solutions it might not be an issue, but again with the approval within the API solution that’s included with the license that you may already own.

Chad Tucker:
Another thing to consider is the security maintenance when it comes to an approval solution. Typically, your approval solutions are touching a vast majority of your departmental management staff, so a lot of people have to get into these systems to approve it. So how you maintain that, maintaining security across multiple systems versus one system, that’s something to consider when choosing an approval workflow solution.

Jeremy Stoltzfus:
And again, similarly to the exception handling workflow, with the approvals you’ve got interface cost and maintenance. So, the maintenance of those integrations and those approval workflows whether it’s built within a third-party solution or right within APIA.

Chad Tucker:
So just to summarize just kind of what we’ve talked about up to this point, your advanced data capture solutions, you have the Infor partner solution with Ephesoft which you know is IDM and part of the CloudSuite offering. But it’s not as mature as other third-party solutions like Kofax TotalAgility, Kofax ReadSoft Online, or Brainware by Hyland.

Jeremy Stoltzfus:
And just to summarize the workflow for approvals and for exception handling there is that visibility of those service level agreements so that where is my invoice, so being able to easily track, so do I look in another system or can I look in my ERP system where I’m already at. But then the integration maintenance cost of the third-party solution versus a common solution and then again, the product licensing costs for multiple systems.

Chad Tucker:
And then for approvals, having to maintain users in multiple systems can be costly over time, and can be confusing depending on where you are driving your approval matrix from.

So, thank you for attending our Webinar Wednesday, if you have any questions please submit to the go-to panel at this time., we’ll wait a few minutes to see if anyone has any question.

Speaker 3:
And if you do have any question please feel free to submit them via the questions pane in the go-to webinar window. We have a couple, first is…

If I already have another OCR software that you didn’t list, can you help me integrate it to APIA?

Chad Tucker:
Absolutely. APIA exposes both SOAP and REST web service calls that can be consumed through your OCR application or through a middleware application that we developed like Yoga Connect.

Speaker 3:
What is the length of a typical OCR and or APIA implementation?

Chad Tucker:
It’s typically about 14 to 16 weeks.

Speaker 3:
Does EDI come into play at all with APIA?

Chad Tucker:
Yeah, it doesn’t come into play with APIA. Lawson has a separate interface engine for dealing with EDI transactions.

Speaker 3:
Are there any gaps in APIA functionality that you have run into?

Chad Tucker:
So, with the workflow and approval routing there’s not a built in, I shouldn’t say not built in but not some of the pre-delivered alerts and notifications and reminders of those invoices, and it’s not something that can be configured you would have to customize a workflow to support that.

Speaker 3:
All right that’s all we’ve got

Chad Tucker:
All right, well, thank you guys very much. Lastly, I just wanted to remind you about these upcoming webinars today. So, stay tuned for the script for Perceptive Content applications plans.