As recently mentioned in another MetaBlog post, we like to keep up on industry news and happenings. Occasionally, a few members of the Metafile team also contribute our knowledge to leading outlets and resources within the industry.
Recently, Steve Gregory, Partner Channel Manager here at Metafile participated in an interview for e-media publication, Channel Marketer Report. The interview focuses on a few of our company’s practices and methods in creating a healthy channel ecosystem and our crawl-walk-run approach to channel sales and marketing. Steve shares a few trends taking place in the marketplace and what makes the Metafile approach different, and inevitably beneficial for our partners. Readers also get a few insights as to what we have in development for 2013 and what potential partners should expect for the remainder of the year.
You can read the full article here.
Earlier this week, we also had the pleasure of contributing a blog post to a retail and customer experience focused website, Retail TouchPoints. The post entitled, “Conquering Seasonal Sales”, which was authored by Vice President of Marketing Nick Sprau, focuses on the importance of internal financial processes and automated technology that enables improved workflow efficiencies during seasonal peaks for retailers. For many retailers, automated technology is the perfect solution to unlock the value of business-critical content to enhance customer service, improve workflow efficiency and reduce financial risks.
The full blog post can be read here.
We often update our Twitter feed, @MetaViewer with the latest stories from various publications and associations. Feel free to leave a comment below if there is a topic you would like to hear more about.
The spring season is in full swing! As the chilly weather breaks for sunnier days, the Metafile team is packing our bags and hitting the road.
Over the next few months our team will be attending a number of exciting conferences and shows across the country. From Texas to Florida, the team continues to find significant value in attending and sponsoring industry events. Between hectic schedules and day-to-day responsibilities, we really cherish the time we get to connect with Partners, customers and technology leaders at industry events.
Kicking off the festivities is the Accounts Payable and Purchase-to-Pay Leadership Conference. This year the conference, hosted by The Accounts Payable Network (TAPN), is being held at Lake Buena Vista, Florida from May 15-17. At this conference, attendees have an opportunity to hear best practices from seasoned practitioners, network with colleagues and participate in informational roundtables. Stop by booth 7 to learn about our Paperless ERP solution.
Another added bonus in attending this year’s Accounts Payable and Purchase-to-Pay Leadership Conference will undoubtedly be the proximity to theme park, Walt Disney World. You can see the full agenda and schedule of events here.
Two days later, the team will again be in Lake Buena Vista attending Fusion el Carnaval 2013, the premier conference of the Institute of Financial Operations. With educational sessions, on-site trainings and niched workshops, this year promises to be one of the best. Based on the five-day agenda, attendees will be more than a little busy with conference festivities.
Kicking off the keynote portion of the conference is Peter Sheahan, bestselling author and world renowned speaker on exploiting business trends and new market opportunities.
Be sure to follow the Institute’s Twitter handle, @financial_ops for updates and live tweeting during the event. Also, we will be participating in the Document Imaging & Workflow vendor tour which will make a stop at booth 705 (that's us!). Sign up for the tour taking place on Tuesday, May 21st at 9:27 am, we look forward to meeting you.
Finally, in the steamy month of July, Metafile team members will be in Houston attending Microsoft’s 2013 World Partner Conference (WPC). Credited as being the largest global gathering of top Microsoft partners, WPC is a highly anticipated event every year. From July 7- July 11 partners will be surrounded by the latest Microsoft devices, most up-to-date software and Microsoft executives.
This year Microsoft is focusing on a few key areas:
- Big Data – The Modern Business. Increase business success through data-driven decision making.
- Cloud – The Modern Data Center. Reduce costs, increase efficiency and productivity.
- Mobility – The Modern Consumer. Provide secure and managed solutions.Social – The Modern Employee. Empower interaction.
Closing out the festivities is Grammy award-winning recording artist, Lenny Kravitz. During the Partner Celebration on Wednesday, July 10 attendees will enjoy smooth tunes and tons of fun to close out the conference that rallies partners from around the world.
We will be regularly updating our Twitter feed, @MetaViewer, with news and information about our adventures and learnings. It is sure to be a great summer!
In closing, a little travel music until it’s time for the wheels to go up. Enjoy!
As busy professionals, finding the time to read the latest industry news and happenings can fall pretty low on the daily “to-do” list. Between team meetings, calls and everyday responsibilities, it seems our busy schedules as business professionals prevent us from keeping up to date. Some people look to RSS feeds and email subscriptions as a means to stay updated, while others dedicate a few moments every morning to peruse the headlines of major websites and blogs.
Thankfully, social media sites like Twitter help busy professionals easily filter and read headlines in a snap. Many of the leading news publications and journals frequently update their feeds with the latest stories and only include the pertinent information to meet the 140 character tweet limitations. Let’s face it, when we are short on time, 140 characters are a perfect way to quickly digest pertinent information.
With that in mind, we have compiled a few of our favorite Twitter handles that are great resources for those in the ERP and Microsoft Dynamics space:
@MSFTDynamicsERP – This handle is ideal for those interested in the news and information related to Microsoft Dynamics. The official handle for Microsoft Dynamics ERP, the account is managed by Microsoft team members dedicated to keeping their fingers on the pulse of all things related to Microsoft Dynamics from new releases to events and product updates.
@erpsoftwareblog – The ERP Software blog includes various editorial insights from ERP and accounting professionals from across the nation. The editorial team regularly provides updates that include new stories from the blog and vendor case studies.
@erpandmore – This thread provides a great mix of implementation success stories and resources for individuals interested in software evaluation.
@msdynamicsworld – In addition to contributing to the MSDynamicsWorld site, our team likes to stay updated on other industry insights and news from this independent leader in the Dynamics space.
@MSDynamicsWins – Another great Microsoft owned handle, this thread shares news on solutions and customer stories that are always a great inspiration to remain creative and innovative in implementation.
@MetaViewer – Last, but certainly not least, our own MetaViewer handle! We publish stories from a host of sites and enjoy live tweeting from industry events and conferences. Readers can find the latest MetaBlog entries and news stories that include insights from the Metafile team.
Do you have a favorite ERP or Microsoft Dynamics Twitter handle? Would you like for our team to check yours out? Feel free to leave the handle name in the comments section below.
Over the years, our Metafile team has been keeping a close eye on the growing prevalence of mobile in the retail space. While browsing the Retail TouchPoints website, I came across this infographic, courtesy of mobility solutions provider Motion Computing, which highlights how retailers are currently implementing mobile into legacy store systems.
Mobile has gained a significant amount of momentum and has proven to be an asset for retailers looking to increase productivity, and better manage inventory. According to survey results, as many as 50 percent of retailers said they have a mobile web site, while 30 percent currently provide customized promotions and offers through mobile devices.
If you have been in a retail store lately, you may have noticed sales associates using tablets to help customers locate merchandise or to price check. This reflects the findings which show that more than 20 percent of retailers surveyed reported they are currently providing mobile devices to help associates better assist customers. Incorporating mobile devices into the brick and morter customer experience allows for faster customer service, and creates greater fluidity between the back office, storage rooom and showroom floor.
If you’re a retailer, I encourage you to take a look at the infographic below and consider if it’s time for your business to make the move to mobile.
When going swimming, people take several different approaches to deal with the cool temperature of the water. Some like to stick one foot in the water to get acclimated, while others may start at the steps of the pool and go one step at a time until they are fully submerged in the water and then there are the brave ones who just cannon ball into the water and take it all in at once.
Raj Sabhlok, president of enterprise IT management software firm ManageEngine, compared the swimming analogy to big data, saying it’s better to take a toe-in-the-water approach than jumping in with both feet. Sabhlok shared these thoughts in an article, “Big Data: Start Small, Think Big” for InformationWeek.
In the article, he discussed how the world of IT has changed drastically in the last 10 years, there was once a time when there wasn’t enough data to manage; now there is too much. With information coming from several different avenues, how do you manage it all? Sabhlok suggests starting small.
Big data has a lot of upsides, including helping an enterprise discover how well their in-house IT team is performing. But if you don’t take the time first to investigate your current system, it’s easy to get in over your head quickly.
Have you ever purchased something new that came with instructions of how to assemble it? But, instead of following the step-by-step instructions, you tried to put it together without them and it turned into a complete disaster? Switching to a new management system without doing the proper research can put you right back in that situation.
A few points Sabhlok made that we found helpful are:
- Don’t take on a full-blown big data project, start off with little data
- Look at the reporting capabilities of your company’s existing tools
- Spend more time focusing on a data system’s reporting capabilities, instead of the bells and whistles.
I invite you read the full article, which you can access here, and let us know your thoughts.
To all you IT professionals out there, if you haven’t adopted cloud computing into your company’s business structure, now is the time! In an article on Forbes.com, Cesar Orosco, enterprise business solutions architect at NetApp, provides statistical proof that the cloud is here to stay! In case you aren’t convinced, he says, “According to IDC, by 2015, one of every seven dollars spent on packaged software, server and storage offerings will be through the public cloud model, growing five times faster than the total IT industry.”
With numbers like that, it’s hard to ignore where cloud computing is going and the possible benefits it can have for a company. But if you aren’t already using it, how do you start? Orosco suggests developing a cloud strategy plan with these seven steps:
- Inventory all your applications - Take inventory of all the IT-managed applications you have.
- Determine whether each application is core or contextual – if the application supports an important business process, it is “core.” If it doesn’t, then it is “contextual.”
- Identify each asset’s lifecycle stage - Applications that are due for upgrade in the next year are perfect candidates for the cloud.
- Perform a technical analysis – This should help with determining the technical likelihood of moving to the cloud.
- Analyze TCO (total cost of ownership) – Compare the cost of continuing to do things the way you are, over incorporating usage of the cloud.
- Evaluate cost/value – Would the move to the cloud reduce expenses or create value by increasing revenue?
- Engage your technical partners – Orosco writes that after completing the first six steps, you’ll be able to create a strategy based on your needs and engage your technology partners.
We encourage you to read the full article for all of the insights surrounding the importance of embracing cloud computing.
In many ways, the company server room functions like a heart to the human body.
Just as the heart pumps blood to vital organs enabling optimal performance, the server room acts as the company lifeline. The technical fortress is composed of multiple “chambers” that protect data and ensure information is shared smoothly.
While we all may be familiar with the benefits of keeping your heart healthy, it is just as important to keep your server room in the same happy state. This is especially important for organizations that run multiple solutions and service a number of users both internally and externally. In many instances, the server room is an afterthought for many departments outside of IT. However this is a great opportunity for operations, finance and IT leaders to work together as many key stakeholders may be impacted.
Many organizations use a mix of solutions like the MetaViewer Subscription on Premise Solution, in addition to cloud-based offerings, to create greater efficiencies among suppliers, vendors and remote team members. In this case, it is important to consider how external parties will be impacted by an on-premise solution error caused by a server room issue. With anything involving technology, as is it is always better to be proactive in avoiding issues that may cause delays in the overall business process.
I recently ran across a great infographic while reading digital IT magazine, eWeek, which showcases the five ways to keep your server room cool and safe. The infographic highlights the severity of server room errors and shares tips on how they can be avoided. For example,many of the issues included in the infographic are a result of human error and are avoidable.
I encourage you to take a look at the infographic below, and consider if your server room is “heart happy” or if it can use a few updates to avoid outages and downtime.
Whew! Last week, the Metafile team attended Convergence, Microsoft’s big annual conference for Dynamics customers and partners. What a whirlwind!
Microsoft customers and partners like Metafile come to Convergence from all corners of the globe to experience all that the event has to offer. Loaded with a wealth of informative sessions and other creative ways to learn, Convergence provides great opportunity to get a first look at new product releases and hear about future plans for their software, helping customers and partners think of ways to integrate and innovate their products with the Dynamics suite.
On the second day of the conference, Microsoft’s Business Solutions President Kirill Tatarinov’s keynote addressed how business leaders can reimagine the way they engage with customers, build brand relevance and collaborate with employees to stay ahead of the changing roles across all levels in business. Tatarinov noted that Microsoft Dynamics is uniquely positioned to serve as a catalyst for unity, and he announced new advancements in integrated marketing, embedded social capabilities, and new cloud and mobile scenarios enabled through Microsoft Dynamics solutions that will help businesses unite with their customers, unite their organizations, and unite their people and technology.
Our “Pro to Know” award winner Doug Bertram also presented on MetaViewer and its ability to integrate with Microsoft’s ERP solutions. On top of all of the insights learned, the time we spent with our customers and partners was invaluable. We truly appreciate each and every relationship and understand that our success is because of them. Coming off another Convergence, Metafile is energized for the next year and ready for all of the exciting updates to come.
Were you at Convergence this year? Tell us about your experience!
Big data is probably one of those buzz words with as much ambiguity as “the cloud.” While people still wade through the murky waters to determine the specific business value of big data investments, one thing is for sure, big data is a big deal. Almost every industry stands to benefit from the insights big data can provide.
When there are multiple departments and many moving pieces within your business at any given time, managing the copious amounts of data produced can become a cumbersome task. Many business decision makers question, “What can we do with all of this information?” and “How it will benefit my business operations?”
Microsoft recently executed research among 282 U.S. IT decision-makers, with more than half within the manufacturing, healthcare and financial services industries, to understand current business intelligence technology use and big data implementation plans.
Here are a few key findings:
Nearly half (49 percent) rated managing data growth as extremely challenging when managing their companies’ business intelligence (BI).Nearly one-third (32 percent) of respondents expect the amount of data they store to double in the next two to three years.53 percent rated increased amounts of unstructured data to analyze as extremely important.
You can view the full results of the survey in this Global Enterprise Big Data Trends: 2013 infographic, which shows the monumental implications of big data as the amount of information produced and stored is anticipated to grow. In a recent big data focused blog posted on Microsoft’s News Center, Susan Hauser, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Enterprise and Partner Group, says “Big data absolutely has the potential to change the way governments, organizations, and academic institutions conduct business and make discoveries, and it’s likely to change how everyone lives their day-to-day lives.”
While big data analysis continues to grow as valuable asset for businesses, we will continue to monitor how different industries implement solutions to incorporate big data into the overall business process.
It’s the final countdown to Convergence.
As the Metafile team prepares to make our way to New Orleans for this year’s festivities, one thing is for sure, this year promises to scratch that creative itch inspired by recent technology updates and new product releases.
For the past four years, our team has attended the conference, and we always return home ready to reinvigorate our offerings and propel our customers’ businesses forward. Each year provides something new and different from the previous, making the trip a worthy investment for Partners eager to learn about new releases and how to best implement them based on customer and vertical needs.
To say Convergence is a BIG DEAL would be an understatement and here are a few reasons why:
- Exciting sessions and educational product demos. There is no better opportunity to learn about the future of product development than at Convergence. Each session uniquely addresses a specific offering under the Microsoft Dynamics solutions and provides key insights into what is coming down the pipeline. We are especially excited about the 60-minute Deep Dive Sessions that allow Partners to comb through new product offerings and access solution materials previously presented.
- Great opportunities to network with peers and learn best practices. With product experts on hand and hundreds of partners under the same (expansive) roof, the real-time conversations with other partners and Microsoft experts provides invaluable, and sometimes impromptu, knowledge sharing.
- The keynote speakers never disappoint. Bookending the numerous sessions, roundtables and activities are two keynote speakers that are sure to inspire all in attendance. This year former Secretary General of the United Nations and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2001 (United Nations) Kofi Annan will deliver the Closing Keynote on Thursday, March 21.
As you can see, there are numerous benefits to attending Convergence, and we would love the opportunity to connect with you at our booth #531. Those who stop by will get a first look at the latest upgrades to our flagship solution, MetaViewer and how a Paperless ERP solution integrates with Microsoft Dynamics to maximize efficiency.
Too often we hear reports of businesses falling victim to security breaches and losing sensitive data to vicious viruses resulting in compromised client and customer information. As a result, data security is no longer a responsibility solely placed on the shoulders of the IT department. Many businesses now have a heightened sense of awareness regarding how information is shared both internally and externally. Especially in an “bring your own device” or BYOD era where employees’ personal devices also act as their business device, understanding the implications of malware and malicious hackers is critical.
A couple weeks ago, we discussed the rising trend in mobile adoption within manufacturing, highlighting the efficiencies mobile apps provide and the increased use of consumer devices among younger, more tech savvy executives. While mobile device integration in the workplace provides greater employee flexibility and productivity, recent findings from Cisco’s 2013 Annual Security Report (ASR) show that the most common sites visited by employees, such as retail and social media webpages, produce the most significant amount of malware.
After reviewing the security report, TechJournal reported, “Security risks rise in businesses because many employees adopt “my way” work lifestyles in which their devices, work and online behavior mix with their personal lives virtually anywhere — in the office, at home and everywhere in between.”
For IT departments on the front lines of keeping the infrastructure safe from security threats, the task becomes more difficult once employees introduce multiple personal devices into the network.
So how can you ensure that your sensitive company information is safe?
If viewing financial information via an app or mobile web browsers, ensure your device has proper security features and has been approved by your company’s finance and IT departments. When dealing with sensitive financial information on invoices and billing forms, security is essential to avoid theft and other malicious attacks.
Many mobile devices have automatic updates that flag when an operating system upgrade is available. When you update your mobile operating system you will have access to the most up-to-date security features to protect your phone and data.
When traveling or working remotely, having access to Wi-Fi can be imperative to staying connected. Only join secure Wi-Fi hotspots that require users input a password before having access to the network. An open internet connection can be easily compromised and doesn’t provide any security to those working within the network.
As the BYOD trend continues to gain momentum, we will be sure to keep you updated with tips to keep your business safe. We encourage you to read the full article here and share your thoughts with us in the comments section.
Year after year, the Microsoft Convergence Conference continues to be one of the most significant events on the Metafile calendar. It’s a wonderful opportunity to stay connected to others in the industry and share some of our expertise as well.
With Convergence 2013 New Orleans in a few weeks, here are several reasons why we at Metafile are eagerly packing our bags:
- Sharing our Microsoft Dynamics expertise. On Wednesday, March 20 from 12:30p.m. – 1:30 p.m. in Room 291/292, Metafile’s Regional Sales Manager Doug Bertram will discuss how a “Paperless ERP” solution can bring control and visibility to your organization and help leverage your investment in Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, and Microsoft Dynamics SL. Attendees will learn how to bring organizational efficiencies to their business processes and better leverage an investment in Microsoft Dynamics.
- Creating a dialogue with industry colleagues and prospects. One of the best aspects of Convergence is the opportunity to have real, substantial discussions with members of organizations who are looking for the right solution. At our booth (#531), our team will be on hand to take prospects step-by-step through the evaluation process to help determine if MetaViewer is right for their company.
- Offering a sneak peek at the latest capabilities of Metafile’s MetaViewer solution. Without giving too much away, we are excited to showcase the brand new capabilities of MetaViewer, which will be unveiled for the first time at Convergence 2013. Those who stop by our booth will get a first look at the latest upgrades as our team showcases how a Paperless ERP solution integrates with Microsoft Dynamics to maximize efficiency.
- Hearing the latest news from the Microsoft Dynamics team. Each year, Microsoft delivers exciting and dynamic (pardon the pun) keynotes that help inform Metafile’s strategic direction and product offerings. Convergence 2013 promises to be a big year, and we’re looking forward to hearing Microsoft’s thoughts on how cloud, mobility and Big Data will impact the Dynamics community.
This is just a quick look at what we are looking forward to this year, but what are you anticipating the most at Convergence 2013?
As new technologies emerge, various roles within the C-Suite will have differing priorities when it comes to new solutions that will benefit the business: CIOs want to improve internal efficiencies and help employees more effectively do their job; CMOs wish to drive sales and effectively market to their constituents; CFOs want to achieve efficient cash flow and invest in solutions that will bring a significant ROI.
While these differing priorities may seem complicated, strategic involvement of the IT department can help unify all of the C-Suite’s goals. According to a recent PricewaterHouseCoopers report, executive teams which collaborate the most across the board room and include IT are four times more likely to be top performers.
Why is that the case? Companies that combine their business and IT strategies better than their competitors are able to adapt more quickly to meet market changes. Additionally, IT projects were more likely to be on time, on budget and within the initial scope. Because technology is an amplifier of business performance, executives who integrate things like social into the business strategy are able to build a superior and sustainable edge over their competitors.
At Metafile, we understand the importance of encouraging collaboration between the C-Suite and IT to drive success and growth. Businesses that are strong collaborators with IT are often quicker to deploy new products and more responsive to customers and to the market. Furthermore, a solid understanding of IT allows strong collaborators to be better at knowing tech-related issues like basic infrastructure, but also understand how to turn key data into real, actionable insights.
How well does your C-Suite collaborate with your IT department? Let us know in the comments section!
We are excited and proud to announce that Doug Bertram, one of Metafile’s knowledgeable regional sales managers, has been named a recipient of the 2013 “Provider Pro to Know” award by Supply & Demand Chain Executive.
For 20 years, Doug Bertram has earned the trust and respect of his customers and colleagues with his ability to break down this very complex and often intimidating technology into terms that his customers can easily understand. With his in-depth industry knowledge, Doug also is able to look at a company’s existing solutions and work hands-on with IT staff to integrate Metafile’s flagship solution, MetaViewer, into the environment.
According to Doug, the key to success is asking prospects as many questions as possible, and to really listen to what they are telling you in order to understand their challenges: “If you truly want to help a customer, you need to listen before you can offer a solution.” By putting himself in the shoes of his customer, “selling” the solution becomes a very easy process, as he is able to get to the heart of the issue.
We are extremely proud of Doug and his work before, during and well after a sale to ensure that each implementation of MetaViewer is as successful and beneficial to our customers as possible.
For the past couple years, the world has been reading with some skepticism about how the economy is bouncing back; however, the turnaround has benefited certain industries faster than others. According to a recent article in SearchManufacturingERP, manufacturers are finally seeing the rebound, as multiple markets emerge and younger, more tech savvy executives join the ranks. This positive momentum is setting the stage for increased IT spend for many manufacturers who had to tighten budgets and eliminate spending in recent years.
Among the technology trends outlined in the article are increased adoption of mobile apps, cloud computing, big data and social media. These technologies are providing more insight into internal processes and helping businesses to be more effective than ever.
One particular trend that we found interesting was that enterprise mobility solutions have been steadily rising. As more manufacturing-specific applications emerge and consumer-focused devices like tablets continue to enter the workplace, that trend will only increase, as businesses are seeing mobility as necessary for business growth:
“According to data from a recent Mint Jutras survey of 300 businesses -- more than half of which were manufacturers -- 27% of respondents consider access to ERP data on mobile devices to be a "must-have," while 38% consider it "important." This shows a significant increase from last year's numbers, which were 19% and 28%, respectively.”
Having access to ERP software from any device in any location is something we hear from our customers every day. We know that the cloud has lent itself significantly to that capability, but we’re excited to see the evolution into more enterprise-focused mobile applications for ERP as mobile becomes a priority for manufacturers.
Check out the full article on SearchManufacturingERP (free membership required) to learn about more trends in the coming year. What kinds of technologies are you considering for this year?
The food and beverage landscape has changed considerably over the past decade and 2013 is sure to bring even more new demands. According to a recent study by Nestle, in 2013 companies will invest more money in regional production of frozen and prepared foods to ensure freshness and convenience for customers, which will surely bring new logistical challenges.
With the ever-changing customer demand and need for the supply chains to run efficiently, supply chains would be wise to examine their internal infrastructure, such as their accounts payable/accounts receivable (AP/AR) solutions, in order to identify opportunities to streamline and optimize processes.
Fulfilling customer demands through the efficient use of resources, including distribution capacity, inventory and labor, while maximizing profits and revenue, is the primary objective of supply chain management. However, supply chain managers may be less familiar with a critical cycle: the cash conversion cycle, or CCC, which gauges the efficiency of a company's cash management.
Recently, in a contributed article for Supply Chain World, I shared insights on how food and beverage supply chains can embrace Paperless ERP in order to streamline the accounting process and shorten the CCC. In the article, we look at several benefits that Paperless ERP offers including increased visibility, simplified workflows, and decreased costs.
Read the full article here and feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments!
At Metafile, we constantly read articles from both industry-specific outlets to national business and technology-focused media to keep ourselves informed, but we especially love reading about businesses and industries that have seen major success with Microsoft Dynamics solutions.
Recently, we came across an article in Forbes that we found fascinating. The article, entitled, “Meeting the Business Challenges of the Government,” was written by Laura Ipsen who is the Corporate VP, Worldwide Public Sector at Microsoft. Her article looks at similarities between business and government organizations, noting that businesses aim to identify which technology solutions will help them do more with less and “new” with less so that they can compete and succeed, and that the government sector is no different.
Ipsen goes on to explain how Microsoft Dynamics has helped several government organizations drive innovations, increase agility and realize their full potential. There’s a great example of how Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Ltd (DIMTS) – which coordinates and contributes to the mobility of Delhi’s more than 16.3 million people – was able to re-engineer and consolidate their internal processes with Microsoft Dynamics AX to make them faster and able to deliver greater value to the many public transport projects across Delhi and the citizens who need them.
We love hearing how great solutions like Microsoft Dynamics are helping businesses of all sizes and across all sectors – even large governmental organizations across the world – streamline their processes and enable them to focus on larger and more important projects. What has Microsoft Dynamics allowed you to do? We want to hear about it in the comments section!
Retailers from around the globe convened in New York this past week for the National Retail Federation’s annual conference, “Retail’s Big Show 2013.” The conference serves as a highly visible platform for technology providers to showcase new innovations in the retail space, and an opportunity for retailers to assess which solutions can most benefit their business.
One of this year’s biggest news items, and one that’s certainly very relevant to our own retail customers implementing MetaViewer, came from Microsoft’s announcement of the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics for Retail. According to the official announcement, the latest version of Dynamics for Retail will include “new capabilities and next-generation innovation to help retailers deliver a complete shopping experience through end-to-end, search-based e-commerce; next-generation point of sale (POS); and a true omnichannel commerce engine.”
This new version of Dynamics for Retail has exciting implications for retailers in terms of increased efficiency, as the one of the highlighted features discusses the ability for retailers to manage all of their channels with a single omnichannel solution that will unify all processes and reduce the points of contact.
Needless to say, the Metafile team is watching the news surrounding the new version of Dynamics for Retail and we’re looking forward to exploring how integration with MetaViewer will help retailers become even more efficient and streamlined.
Commerce is in no way limited by geographic borders. There is a constant flow of money, resources and goods between organizations conducting business overseas, as well as global corporations with locations around the world.
For businesses looking to take advantage of the global marketplace and expand their operations beyond U.S. borders, this often means establishing partnerships with foreign suppliers and corporations that have the expertise and geographical advantage to aid in expansion. When operating on a global scale, special provisions must be made within financial departments to ensure compliance with international tax laws and regulations. One of which is the submission of a Form W-8, a form the IRS recently updated to allow for greater submission automation.
A Form W-8 provides documentation to financial institutions allowing foreign entities to establish status as a “non-resident” and claim exempt status from certain taxes. Submitting the form is necessary for AP departments executing business in compliance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Many AP departments are rejoicing after a recent memorandum was released from the IRS Office of Chief Counsel stating a signed Form W-8 can be scanned, e-mailed or faxed as an accepted method of submission.
For businesses, as well as financial institutions interested in taking advantage of the policy changes, there are a few IRS-established safeguards that must be met. The original memorandum lists these stipulations in the general requirements section and addresses the necessary parameters with which the document may be accepted. In a recent Financial Operations Matters article, Diane Sears discusses the implications of the new provision and taps a Washington, D.C., law firm to provide a clear analysis of the memorandum.
An excerpt from the analysis explains the ways senders can ensure their forms are properly submitted:
- Print it out
- Fill it out
- Sign it
- Scan it
- Email or fax it
- Verify the sender
- Validate the form
- Receive a memorandum of understanding (MOU) from the IRS that it received the form
Lose 10 pounds. Clean out the basement. Take a tropical vacation.
As we kick off the new calendar year, people around the globe are declaring 2013 resolutions with a goal of creating positive change in the next 12 months. In the business world, forward-thinking executives are also setting resolutions to accomplish goals like correcting specific operational issues and increasing cost savings through the adoption of new technology. Developing these types of business goals requires careful consideration and input from numerous stakeholders, but the effort pays off by keeping organizations competitive and focused on improvement.
In a recent article in USA Today, Rhonda Abrams, president of The Planning Shop, addressed the topic of New Year’s resolutions for businesses, highlighting the importance of establishing priorities as a means to make them achievable. Abrams includes insights from several business executives and also highlights the resolution her own company made to move away from on-premise software and migrate to cloud-based technology. She credits the success of her resolution to always keeping the goal in mind and staying focused on her declaration to make 2012 the “year of the cloud” for her company.
Resolutions often fall short of success due to a lack of focus that comes along with trying to accomplish multiple large goals at one time. As you kick off the new calendar year, now is a great time to establish laser-focused strategies that will help bring your business resolutions to fruition.
Have you made any business resolutions for 2013? Feel free to share them below in the comments section.
The beginning of a new year is a time of both planning for the future and reflecting on the past. In a previous post we shared our 2013 predictions, so this week we thought it would be appropriate to highlight a few of our favorite blog entries from the past year. With so much activity packed into 12 months, it was hard to narrow down our favorites!
As has been the case for a couple of years now, cloud computing technology continued to be a hot topic of discussion in 2012, and we don’t anticipate the momentum slowing down in 2013. We shared an informative infographic from Microsoft, which highlights the nearly 14 million new jobs that cloud computing will create globally. Additionally, we looked at the top three things to consider before adopting new cloud technology.
Many of us know that being knowledgeable about new technology and the happenings within the industry provide a valuable competitive edge. With that in mind, we highlighted a few interesting articles to keep readers updated on technology trends and forecasting. One of our favorites was a piece from Financial Operations Matters discussing how advancements in mobile, content management, and cloud computing will increase efficiencies in the financial process as well as establish more access to imperative financial documents regardless of location.
Speaking of mobility and location, it seemed as though several of our team members were constantly on the go last year! Our team attended numerous industry events in 2012 that were both informative and fun. We joined 16,000 other Microsoft partners in Toronto for an electrifying World Partner Conference and had a blast working with a few Microsoft OEMs to participate in the OEM Test Drive, a program that allowed Partner Channel Manager, Steve Gregory, to make his on-camera debut on Microsoft's MPN Live show throughout the conference.
Last year was a truly action-packed and fun year and we certainly look forward to continuing the momentum in 2013!
For many people, December signifies holiday vacations and a break from the everyday hustle and bustle. However, for those in accounting and finance, December marks the beginning of year-end reporting. These reports are often a hefty lift that brings stress and headaches to even the most seasoned professional. But the burden can be somewhat eased by having the proper technology and right plan in place.
Year-end reporting requires culling through old records and invoices in order to compile information on items like the company’s cash flow, profitability, liquidity and financial efficiency throughout the year. Technology like MetaViewer Paperless ERP, which includes automated invoicing solutions, makes accessing customer invoice records a cinch, regardless of how old or new the invoice is. Solutions like this also ensure that all invoice information is accurate, readily accessible and precisely indexed in one readily available location.
When balancing books, it is also imperative that all invoices are closed, and with features like the MetaViewer Document and Workflow Monitor dashboard, you can have a clear view of which invoices are complete with real-time customized alerts on customer payment activity.
Organizations currently dealing with the headaches of year-end reporting should explore options in early 2013 to help prevent the same issues in twelve months. To explore these technology options, we invite you to contact one of our team members or leave questions in the comments section below!
Many professionals shy away from actively engaging on social media, either because of time constraints or uncertainty surrounding how to become an active participant. While it can seem daunting, it is well worth the time investment, especially with sites like LinkedIn that provide targeted and often educational interactions. Professional networking sites can be a great resource for generating potential leads, identifying leaders within the industry and staying in touch with colleagues.
One of the great resources found on LinkedIn is its robust “Groups” feature, which allows users to create and contribute to digital communities with individuals that are similar in profession, education, or business, without being bombarded by overly self-promotional posts. During our own time on the site, we have found that there is a diverse mix of groups dedicated to Microsoft Dynamics and ERP professionals that are interested in networking with other experts in the industry.
We have compiled a few of our favorite groups that are great resources for those in the Microsoft Dynamics and ERP space:
- ERP Community provides members with active discussion boards on relevant topics such as implementation strategies, how to select software and answers to questions posted by users interested in executing ERP projects for their organization.
- ERP Project Management is a highly targeted group of individuals, usually apart of ERP implementation teams. Here, members can share professional experiences with peers that understand the unique challenges that come along with bringing an ERP solution to life. Recent discussions include the challenges of project management and effective project management tools. This is a great group for those that want to stay sharp with easy access to whitepapers, case studies, and interesting news updates.
- The Microsoft Dynamics Consultants group requires administrative approvals before being allowed access; however that shouldn’t deter you from joining. Once approved, Microsoft Dynamics ERP consultants have access to a wide network of more than 22,000 professionals, with many experts in NAV (Navision), GP (Great Plains), AX (Axapta) and SL (Solomon) systems.
- If you’re interested in connecting with Microsoft Dynamics ERP professionals, consider joining the MS Dynamics group. The large group of Dynamics pros had over 90 discussion threads last month. Although a large group, there is a lot of opportunity to connect with seasoned professionals, network and share the latest news in the MS Dynamics community.
The holiday season can provide retailers a significant boost in sales as consumers finish their last turkey leftovers and make shopping their next order of business. Many people are eager to cross items off their holiday wish list and grab seasonal must-haves, creating increased traffic to storefronts and websites alike. According to the National Retail Federation, a record 247 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the Black Friday weekend (up from 226 million last year), and total spending reached an estimated $59.1 billion.
Though this is a great time to meet annual sales goals, customer demand can place a significant strain on AP and AR departments. The heavy flow of invoices makes AP/AR automation essential. It is imperative your staff has the ability to quickly capture, analyze and react to data in order to increase sales and save your business money in the long term. Technology to help your business perform during the holiday season may not be top of mind, but it’s vital to maintaining healthy workflows and positions your business for success. Solutions like MetaViewer’s dashboard help organizations unlock the value of business-critical content to enhance customer service, improve workflow efficiency and reduce financial risk.
MetaViewer provides a host of benefits that can help retailers avoid headaches associated with increased paperwork. Solutions for retail include:
- Statement distribution
- Archival and retrieval
- Online statement review and payment
- Credit applications
- Customer service
- Order processing
- Proof of delivery
The success of this prime selling season relies heavily on the effectiveness of the internal financial process and the accounting department’s ability to handle the increased number of purchase orders and invoices through the season. To learn more about how accounts payable automation can work for your retail business, check out MetaViewer for Retail.
Gathering family and friends to share traditions, create new memories and enjoy a feast of turkey and pumpkin pie are just a few of the reasons that Thanksgiving is truly a special holiday.
One tradition that especially resonates with us here at Metafile is to reflect on the things and people for whom we are thankful. With that sharing spirit in mind, our team would like to express our gratitude and appreciation for all of our wonderful employees, customers, partners and readers of the MetaBlog.
Every week we aim to bring you relevant and insightful content, to help keep you up to date on this fast-moving industry. We appreciate your readership and we encourage you to provide feedback or suggest topics that are important to you. We look forward to continuing to engage with all of you and wish each of you a very happy Thanksgiving!
The holiday season is around the corner which, for many, means spending time with family, embarking on shopping marathons and eating mass quantities of turkey. The holiday season also marks the end of another calendar year which is a prime time for business leaders to look at the projected trends of 2013 to ensure their business is prepared for what’s next. Recently, IT analyst firm, Gartner presented its "Top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013" at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando, Florida, which highlighted what IT professionals should anticipate in the coming months.
- Cloud Computing – Cloud computing isn’t necessarily new, however, now is the time for business leaders to get smart about how they can integrate cloud solutions into their existing ecosystem. This translates to better strategic development, decision-making and evaluating what new technology can be adopted to improve the business process and ultimately the end-user experience.
- Mobile – It’s pretty difficult to find someone without a mobile device. Furthermore, hardware like tablets and laptops are increasingly becoming necessities for many professionals who work remotely. IT departments need to be equipped with the knowledge and resources to support a broad range of hardware devices as consumers incorporate personal devices into work functions. Integrated device utilization warrants clearly established security measures and policies to avoid a compromised network or customer information.
- Data – The idea that all data should be housed in a single location is outdated. Aside from the implications of the unexpected, which could easily interrupt your business’ ability to maintain productivity after an unexpected disaster or breach; it limits the ability to get a full view of data. According to Gartner, more enterprises are moving away from the single data warehouse in favor of multiple systems, including content management systems. Solutions like MetaViewer Cloud allow users to easily access data once content has been scanned and processed into the system.
An overarching theme across all of 2013 trends is the necessity of integration. That includes pursuing seamless integration across hardware, software, and solutions, which results in a smarter overall business. While the end of the year will be busy with festivities, be sure to look ahead to 2013 and consider how your business will fare when facing these trends.
What trends are you anticipating in 2013? Please share your thoughts with us below in the comments section.
The first day of winter is just over a month away, but that doesn’t mean the ice, snow and frigid temperatures won’t try to catch us off guard as soon as possible. In recent years, winter storms like Snowpocalypse 2010 have dropped record-breaking amounts of snow, which often translates to record-lows in business productivity as many people are discouraged from commuting in the dangerous elements.
Earlier this year, Microsoft Office created a fascinating infographic which illustrates how crippling and costly winter storms can be. According to the research, extreme weather conditions in 2010 resulted in a loss of approximately 50 million total man-hours of productivity in five states.
While facing extreme winter weather seems daunting from a business operations perspective, productivity doesn’t have to disappear if you have the right solutions in place. For example, cloud-based technology allows employees to access data and work from any location, which can be especially important if extreme weather advisories are issued. Solutions such as MetaViewer Cloud offer your business anytime, anywhere access to paperless workflows which can be essential to maintaining productivity when Mother Nature isn’t being kind.
Just as you prepare for winter weather by stocking up on hats, gloves and scarves, it’s just as important to make sure your business is ready for the change in seasons. With winter approaching, take some time to think about adopting technology that promotes productivity, even when staff can’t make the commute to the office.
Managing a heavy daily workload rarely leaves much time for “extras,” which makes staying up-to-date on the latest industry news a bit of a challenge. For those of us who deal daily with an ERP solution however, having a general awareness of what is going on in the ERP technology space is an important way to learn best practices and keep a pulse on new developments that have the potential to benefit your business. Staying sharp and being knowledgeable gives you a competitive edge and positions you to be a valuable resource for colleagues.
In addition to contributing to and reading publications and websites like PayStream Voices blog and MSDynamicsWorld, the Metafile team frequents a few online resources to stay updated on the latest news. These digital gems are great hubs of information and help our team stay on top of what is going on in the industry:
- ERP Cloud News is a great resource for those interested in SaaS and Cloud ERP solutions. The blog is updated with latest technology trends in accounting and ERP applications and has timely contributions on ERP growth, integration. Many posts are dedicated to specific industries such as manufacturing and food services, and can be easily searched via the navigation tool on the website.
- ERP Headlines provides comprehensive news, information on industry events, case studies and best practices on all things ERP. A recent entry discussed the high price one government organization had to pay as a result of a failed ERP implementation. The mix of headline news and informational aids is always timely and easy to read when short on time.
- Our team regularly visits The Edge – Microsoft's Dynamics ERP Blog to stay updated on all things related to Microsoft Dynamics ERP. The Edge is a great source for breaking news directly from Microsoft and has active forums dedicated to Dynamics GP, AX and CRM.
- For professionals interested in becoming more familiar with Microsoft Dynamics solutions the ERP Software Blog is a go-to resource for Dynamics vendor user stories, opinions, and case studies. Metafile also regularly contributes to this site, providing readers with insights that come along with being a seasoned solutions provider.
All of these sites are excellent for gathering information and can be easily shared with peers to encourage solution-oriented conversations with team members. Are there additional resources you find helpful in keeping you sharp? Let us know in the comments section!
Pre-implementation testing can be a stressful process, especially if the RFP process was lengthy; however testing is one of the most important steps to successfully adopt new technology. A premature or improperly planned deployment can be disastrous and brings the risk of a steep financial loss if not properly managed. Lucky for the team, these tests don't require sharpened pencils, lined paper or calculators; however they do call for rigorous performance demands during this essential phase in the implementation process.
So how should companies approach the testing of a new solution? First, testing should always be executed under controlled conditions such as an isolated system or virtualized space on a server, in which results can be documented and evaluated. When failed outcomes or glitches do occur, they should be resolved and tested again until desired outcomes are produced. If the system can withstand intentional traps, then it will be much more likely to withstand day-to-day activity.
We also encourage testing be performed by a variety of applications teams, especially those not as closely tied to the project. In the case of MetaViewer, we put together teams that consist of IT and finance administrators as well as personnel not as familiar with the intricacies of the technology. Varied opinions are valuable to determining how accurately the technology is performing.
By aggressively testing new solutions, the technology will have already been used heavily in various situations, which will make the rollout to end-users a much smoother and successful process.
Search Manufacturing ERP posted an insightful excerpt of Steven Scott Phillips' book, "Control Your ERP Destiny: Reduce Project Costs, Mitigate Risks, and Design Better Business Solutions," which provides a few best practices for ERP testing and insights on how to achieve ERP software quality assurance.
The implementation process can be a lengthy one, but as the popular saying goes it's always smart to measure twice and cut once. In this case, test twice (or more!) and execute once!
For more insights on this topic, we encourage you to read the excerpt and share your own experiences below in the comments.
Last week the Metafile team sponsored and participated in this year's Microsoft Dynamics GP User Group (GPUG) Summit. The five-day event drew more than 900 Microsoft Dynamics users and experts to downtown Seattle's Washington State Conference Center, where the Metafile team had the opportunity to interact with other Dynamics GP users and share some of the strategies and best practices learned through years of Dynamics experience.
GPUG is made up of more than 3,000 companies, all hungry to grow their Dynamics knowledge and competencies. The summit's 150 sessions, expo hours and networking activities proved to be rich experiences for our team members. For example, the partner showcases and breakout sessions included live demos of systems coming down the pipeline and were dedicated to topics such as security and management reporting. Because of events like this, Metafile continues to learn and grow our expertise in Dynamics, enabling us to provide better service options and innovative technology to our customers.
We encourage you to follow the GPUG Summit 2012 discussion by checking out the #GPUGSummit conversation on Twitter.
When an organization prepares to adopt significant technology like a new ERP solution, a CRM system or a document management solution, it's amazing the excitement and anticipation it sparks throughout an organization. It can be easy for stakeholders to eagerly scrap old solutions and processes in favor of quickly adopting the new tools. But this skips over an essential part of the adoption process that is vital to new technology's success: closely evaluating the old solution for key lessons.
All too often, organizations automatically look at what hasn't been working, but it's also important to consider what did work and what can be carried over or mimicked in the new process. By doing this, companies can identify ways to make the transition from old to new as smooth as possible while troubleshooting issues within processes.
For example, when adopting a new Paperless ERP solution, two-way communication with the end users in the accounts payable department will provide a wealth of knowledge to the IT team that is managing the implementation. The implementation process will often expose holes in the existing business processes, but alternatively, the AP professionals will be able to share details on certain workflow and approval process details that can be carried over or adapted to fit the new solution.
We encourage businesses considering adopting new solutions to do their due diligence in understanding what their organization needs specifically. This may mean rolling up your sleeves and getting heavily involved in the processes, however this step is necessary in creating the foundation needed to implement a successful new solution.
For more on this subject, we recommend "Successful ERP migration requires business process redesign," a recent article on Search Manufacturing ERP (free registration is required).
Establishing a new automated solution can be a large undertaking that has the potential to significantly impact a company's AP staff. Vishal Patel, research director with Ardent Partners, recently contributed an interesting article to Financial Operations Matters, which provides valuable insights on the four recommended phases of selecting an AP automation solution:
- A solid business case - In the article, Patel asserts that developing a strong written case for the investment is vital in getting key decision-makers buy-in to dedicate the necessary financial and time resources to make the process a success.
- An ROI calculation that proves the financial value - Return on investment often tops most business leader's minds when considering the purchase of new technology. Within this phase, Patel discusses the importance of determining the cost of running your AP department and how much it currently costs to process an invoice and then comparing those costs to the investment in new technology.
- An understanding of the AP automation market - Knowledge is power! Having ample knowledge about what solutions are on the market can make the buying process significantly easier. Solutions like e-invoicing, payment processing, and end-to-end payable solutions all have great benefits, but may not address specific pain points unique to your department's needs.
- An RFP to select a vendor - In Patel's final recommended phase, it is vital to ask questions that are relevant to your organizations requirements when developing an RFP. During the RFP process it is important to share what you hope to accomplish with your new solution, be specific as possible in conveying objectives, requirements, and a timeline of when you expect to have the solution rolled out to the department. If your company has aggressive deadlines you will want to share this information with potential vendors to ensure they have the staff and resources to successfully execute.
We encourage you to read the full article for all of the insights surrounding adopting an AP automation solution. Also, feel free to contact our team if you would like to discuss the process with any of our experts!
As responsible adults, we take our cars in for regular service and have annual screenings with our doctors knowing that these preventative check-ups will ultimately ensure the health of ourselves and vehicles, saving us time and money in the future. We think it is equally important to apply this same proactive behavior towards your business' technology.
Performing annual audits (if not more frequently)and evaluating the health of information systems, hardware, and software updates is vital to maintaining your business productivity. For example, employees shouldn't have to fight technology to complete tasks or use cumbersome programs that decrease efficiency. Audits can actively identify vulnerabilities in mission critical systems, as well as ensure sensitive data is secure. It is important to understand what existing technologies are being utilized and evaluate if they are successfully helping your business achieve its goals. For instance, many companies have found Paperless ERP to be a worthwhile investment as it helps to reduce costs, and streamline processes.
One 'Do-It-Yourself Auditing' article in Biztech magazine lists several key areas to consider in an audit:
- Systems and device inventory (type and number), including software, hardware and patches
- Return on investment on projects run by IT
- Help-desk calls, duration and case closure rates
- Automation levels for system maintenance (i.e., the operations that run the IT applications)
- In-house development and its total cost of ownership compared to projects of existing off-the-shelf prepackaged solutions
- Productivity levels of consultants versus employees in the IT department
- Budget of IT costs versus actual expenditures
- Number of different platforms and databases, and if and how they are able to communicate with each other
- Networked systems inventory and open ports
- Data backup procedures and system logs
- Deciding what to upgrade or what to buy new can be a challenging decision. When considering your choices, evaluate not only the direct-dollar investment, but also ensure that the solution (upgrade or new) provides an acceptable return on investment.
Like your regular car and health checkups, we encourage you to be proactive about auditing your business' technology to discover opportunities to help your business run more efficiently and effectively.
When a company decides to adopt a new technology such as Paperless ERP, it can be exhilarating. Excitement about new technology has a way of spreading through an organization like wildfire, especially for the end users who stand to experience greater efficiency and productivity. As CIOs and business decision-makers consider what solutions are best for their companies' needs, there are a few steps that leadership should keep in mind before they sign on the dotted line:
- Identify your company's unique pain points. Your company may have pain points that are specific to your clients and the services you provide for them. Often, finding this information can be as simple as having an in-depth conversation with financial administrators and other end users. Solutions that provide open architecture much like MetaViewer's allow end users to interact with their ERP solution in a way that resolves pain points and provides an experience that is targeted to their needs. One MetaViewer customer, Sunflower Bank, allows their tech-savvy staff to create new connections and processes themselves without paying additional cost for vendor changes. Because Sunflower Bank is able to identify their specific pain points, they now have intuitive processes that allow them to more effectively use their ERP solution.
- Consider a solution that will drive the bottom line. Hosting an ERP solution through the cloud provides many great benefits. Staff can process invoices from anywhere and at any time, and with automation the use of paper becomes significantly decreased. The Garner Group estimates that an invoice, when handled manually, is usually copied 11 times before being processed for approval. But with cloud-based Paperless ERP, an invoice can be scanned one time and live in the cloud to reduce cost while still offering increased visibility. Reduced cost from hosting an on-premise solution paired with the reduced cost of paper equals greater savings at the end of the month.
- Ensure legacy security and data compliances can integrate with new solution. This can avoid end user issues once adoption is complete. In a recent post on ERP Cloud News, security was discussed in-depth: "Cloud ERP must provide physical security, transmission security, storage security, access security, data security, and application security." Data security is vital, especially when integrating a new solution with a legacy system to ensure a smooth transition. For more in-depth insights on data security, we recommend reading the full article.
What considerations do you think are essential when adopting new technology? Feel free to share in the comments section below!
Recently, MSDynamicsWorld posted an informative article on the "State of Document Management," technology deployment and the cost associated with investing in new technology. The article features two industry experts, Bob Larrivee, Director of the AIIM Learning Center and Jon Casher, President of Casher Associates Inc., both of whom bring a wealth of knowledge to the topic of document management, imaging, and the application of new technologies.
Notably, the article provides valuable insight on the next generation of technologies, such as cloud and mobile, that will impact the way document management and automated workflow solutions are utilized in the accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) functions.
What we found most striking was the discussion surrounding the sophistication that document management and automated workflow technology (such as MetaViewer) has long since achieved and how cloud and mobile technology are just now beginning to catch up. Here is a brief excerpt:
Q. What is the state of technology for document imaging?
A. Casher: A lot of the technology like document imaging, and OCR and even automated workflow have been around for many years-30 or 40 years in some cases. They are very mature technologies. Many of the technologies used in accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) and such are really quite mature. The things that are the least mature are things like cloud computing and software as a mechanism for delivering software. Things like smartphones are also relatively newer technologies.
The initial promises that [were] made by vendors dramatically overstated the capabilities and about seven or so years ago, people sort of held off because of the many [potential errors inherent in the software.] So the vendors sort of stepped back, and rethought the products. And the next generation of products-the ones that are out there today-are actually quite good. They often times allow people to be twice as productive. But when people use things like OCR that doesn't mean [documents] shouldn't be reviewed by human beings.
The full Q&A is available to subscribers of MSDynamics World (registration is free), but we would love to hear your thoughts on the state of document management and ERP in the comment sections.
We write a lot about the value of attending events, and we hope our readers find value from reading our thoughts and experiences at conferences like Convergence, IAPP Fusion and the Microsoft World Partner Conference.
This week, Steve Gregory, our partner channel manager, is attending The Partner Event 2012, where he is participating in numerous meetings and sessions with other members of the Microsoft Dynamics community.
The Partner Event is a great opportunity for Metafile to stay up to date on new business strategies, Dynamics product announcements and more. This year, there's quite a bit of speculation surrounding what news will be shared with the Dynamics Partner community.
In a recent blog post on The VAR Guy, Joe Panettieri discusses which new products will be hitting the Microsoft Dynamics community and how partners can prepare for the upcoming products that are being deployed on SQL Server 2012, Windows Azure and SQL Azure cloud. Director of Product Management, Errol Schoenfish will be at the event, providing attendees with a detailed Dynamics ERP product roadmap, while Peter A. Jensen, director of US Partner Programs, will likely be sharing key areas for partner growth.
Following the event, we will be sure to share a recap of the news from The Partner Event as well as our thoughts on how it will affect the Dynamics landscape.
Many CFOs are growing more interested in establishing the IT department as a resource to drive revenue and contribute to overall business strategy. A few weeks ago, we discussed how IT professionals can be vital assets to the bottom line, encouraging CIOs and IT professionals to take a holistic, business-focused approach when considering new technology. A recent study conducted by CFO Research (the publisher of CFO Magazine) and sponsored by Google, found that more CFOs and financial leaders foresee cloud computing as a driver to lower operation costs and help their businesses succeed in the near future.
According to the research, finance executives see cloud computing and technology as a vital tool moving into the future:
- 76 percent said a "solid cloud computing strategy" will be important for their company's success within the next twelve to eighteen months.
- 52 percent say their companies are in the process of considering or implementing a cloud-based system.
- 40 percent of respondents said their companies consistently include cloud-based options alongside on-premise options when evaluating new systems.
- 68 percent said cloud-based systems would "meaningfully improve" IT's ability to focus on high-value activities, such as setting corporate strategies.
Moreover, one recent Microsoft study found that by 2015, business revenues from IT innovation enabled by the cloud could reach $1.1 trillion a year. Cloud technologies provide great opportunities to drive revenue by reducing overall operation cost and better utilizing IT professionals.
We invite you to read the full findings and let us know your thoughts on the cloud's impact on the bottom line in the comments section!
We think it is vital for our partners, clients and team to stay up-to-date on all topics related to ERP, Dynamics, and cloud solutions. As a result, we're always scanning leading publications to keep a firm pulse on trends within the industry. Staying "in the know" helps us forecast what pain points our clients may run into in the future, and aids in establishing intelligence to share with business leaders who are interested in becoming more knowledgeable.
Additionally, the team here at Metafile also contributes regularly to various publications and websites to share best practices, steps to improve business efficiencies, and insights surrounding cloud solutions that will contribute to the overall health of the company. Sites like PayStream Voices blog, MSDynamicsWorld, and ERP Software blog all serve as great hubs of information as they post whitepapers, blog posts from industry leaders and much more.
In the spirit of sharing educational resources (and to toot our own horns!), here are a few highlights of Metafile's contributed content and whitepapers so far this year:
- MSDynamicsWorld -The Cloud's Silver Lining for Paperless ERP
- MSDynamicsWorld - Speeding the Payables Process for Multi-Location Organizations
- Manufacturing Business Technology Magazine - Ditch the Paper l & Ditch the Paper Part ll
- Metafile Whitepaper - Metafile Whitepaper Examines Appetite for AP/ERP Tech Integration, Pinpoints Importance of Process Before Technology
- ERP Software Blog-Microsoft Prepares for Exciting Launch Year: Notes from the Worldwide Partner Conference
Is there a topic you would like for us to discuss? Feel free to leave a comment in the section below with your ideas; we greatly appreciate your feedback!
Recently, Metafile made the trip to the Microsoft World Partner Conference (WPC), joining more than 16,000 other Microsoft partners in Toronto. It was truly an electrifying week that offered exciting conversations surrounding topics like Microsoft Dynamics, Windows 8, Office 365, and cloud computing. As expected, partners were eager to learn about the incentive programs and new service offerings that would allow them to aid in the growth their customers businesses.
In a recent post on the ERP Software Blog titled "Microsoft Prepares for Exciting Launch Year: Notes from the Worldwide Partner Conference," we provided readers with an in-depth recap of our learning's from the conference, including insights on Microsoft's upcoming launch year and the implications for Microsoft Dynamics partners and users.
Also while attending WPC, Metafile's Partner Channel Manager Steve Gregory was invited to participate in a fun and unique project with the Microsoft OEM team called the Device Test Drive. At the beginning of the conference, Steve and representatives from six other Microsoft partners were given Ultrabooks from Microsoft's top OEM partners to test throughout the week, resulting in video interviews that were aired on Microsoft's MPN Live show throughout the conference.
Microsoft's Vice President of US OEM Peter Han recently shared his thoughts on the highly successful Device Test Drive in a blog post entitled, "Good Things Pass by Those Who Wait," which includes a link to Steve's video debut (You can also watch Steve's Device Test Drive video by clicking the image below).
As predicted, WPC was an exciting week and proved to be a valuable experience. We're especially excited to see what this year holds for Microsoft and the entire Microsoft Dynamics community with the launch of so many new products, so stay tuned for our insights throughout the year!
It's no secret that IT leaders play a crucial role within the business world, working hard every day to keep systems running smoothly, research and implement new solutions to meet their teams' needs and conduct system maintenance to protect efficiency within the organization.
Unfortunately for many CIOs and IT professionals, the time they spend putting out proverbial fires limits the time they have available to contribute to the organization in more strategic ways, like identifying cost savings opportunities and developing partnerships.
In a recent executive profile on Enterprise CIO Forum, the senior vice president and CIO of the United Parcel Service (UPS), Dave Barnes, discusses his philosophy that "business drives technology," sharing how UPS has adopted transformational practices to best utilize its IT department.
Acknowledging that servicing a large number of users within an intricate network creates a laundry list of daily administrative IT tasks, Barnes asserts that it is still essential for IT professionals to think strategically, ensuring that technology investments "stay aligned with the company's vision and strategy...[and] aligning all IT efforts with measurable business outcomes."
Channeling Barnes' philosophy, the experts at Metafile also encourage CIOs and IT professionals to take a holistic, business-focused approach when considering new technology, asking themselves high-level questions:
- What is the overall business objective we are trying to achieve with this technology?
- What are the cost-savings opportunities?
- Is this solution in line with the overall corporate strategy?
- Will the implementation and maintenance of this solution be off-set by the anticipated ROI?
What has the capability of creating nearly 14 million new jobs by 2015? While that may seem like a staggering number, Microsoft recently answered that question in a white paper they commissioned through analyst firm International Data Corporation (IDC). The white paper, Cloud Computing's Role in Job Creation, provides insights on the impact cloud computing will have on employment around the world - by region, country, business size and industry. According to the white paper, spending on public and private IT cloud services will generate nearly 14 million jobs worldwide from 2011 to 2015 (with 1.2 million in the U.S. alone). The research also found that IT innovation created by cloud computing could produce $1.1 trillion a year in new business revenues. Here are a few interesting predictions from the white paper:
- Cloud-related jobs will accrue evenly to businesses with 500 or fewer employees and those with more than 500 employees.
- More than one-third of cloud-enabled jobs will occur in the communications and media, banking, and discrete manufacturing industries.
- China and India will account for about half of all new cloud-related jobs.
Accompanying the white paper are two visually-arresting infographics showcasing the growth of cloud-enabled jobs across the world and United States, and there is an additional blog post about the effect of cloud computing across vertical industries as well.
You can read the full white paper, sponsored by Microsoft here.
In past posts we have discussed the increased business efficiencies cloud solutions provide. Utilizing cloud-based solutions allows IT personnel and finance administrators to focus more on revenue driving strategy and less on administrative hiccups. The benefits of increased internal efficiencies easily translate to vendors or clients in the form of timely billing and easier access to information.
Are you interested in learning how your business can benefit from cloud solutions? Please contact our team here.
Last Friday marked the 13th Annual System Administrator Appreciation Day, but we think system administrators deserve acknowledgement for a whole week. Therefore, we would like to take a few moments to thank these unsung heroes, who are found within large and small companies alike. These hard-working professionals play a vital role in making sure communications like phone and email run smoothly, networks are safe, and data is secure. Being a system administrator often means supporting multiple groups within a company, requiring extensive patience, and spending long hours fixing, tinkering with and testing network infrastructures.
System administrators are indispensable team members, and much like accounting personnel and other professionals in back office roles, the essential work that system administrators do are often not given the credit or acknowledgement that's so rightly deserved. Without these individuals it would be difficult to perform other job functions as technology plays a significant role across multiple departments.
With this in mind, this week is a great opportunity to give these unsung heroes their due, so be sure to thank your system administrator for all of their hard work!
Recently while on the Journal of Accountancy website, we ran across an interesting article addressing how cloud computing, mobile and analytics impact CPA job functions. In the article, "Technology and CPAs: Visions of the Future" author Jeff Drew states that the accounting profession is undergoing one of the biggest technology shifts "since the introduction of the personal computer three decades ago."
With the increased utilization of cloud-based applications and automation, financial experts forecast the demise of financial data entry all together. Numerous experts contributed to the article providing insights on what CPAs should expect in the next decade. A few interesting highlights:
- Mobile devices and cloud computing dominated the discussion of the most important technologies for CPAs. "(The) cloud and mobile devices (phones, tablets, ultrabooks, etc.) will continue to help further integrate technology into all aspects of a CPA's daily duties," Cieslak said. "We refer to this as pervasive computing."
- With pervasive computing, CPAs increasingly will use mobile devices to access cloud-based applications, communications, and data. This connectivity will help CPAs work more efficiently and exchange information with clients more effectively, Vetter said.
- CPAs also can expect to gain access to more robust business intelligence and data analysis tools, according to several of the experts. Collins, for example, said, "These new tools will likely use XML and XBRL tags, large databases, and sophisticated algorithms to quickly analyze a company's financial activity-sliced, diced, and stratified by many criteria to identify risks, concerns, and potential improvements and opportunities."
You can read the full article here. Are you seeing a significant impact in your financial processes as a result of technology? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments section below.
The benefits of cloud solutions can be tremendous for businesses, yet many people may fear putting financially sensitive information in the cloud. When processing financial information, it's vital to ensure the integrity of the process and information is maintained. It might surprise you to learn that not only can a cloud-based solution be safe for the storage and transmission of financial information, but it can actually be a safer option than physical alternatives.
By utilizing a cloud-based solution, invoice information is secured on a few different levels:
- Secure privacy settings. One of the benefits of adopting cloud solutions is the ability to implement privacy settings. Pertinent invoice information can be accessed, viewed and approved by permitted users with specific login information. This also creates an improved auditing trail.
- Environmentally controlled data center. Paper invoices can succumb to natural/IT disasters (or the occasional spilled cup of coffee). In a recent post, I shared how documents stored in the cloud can be vital in the recovery phase for companies that experience server crashes or experience IT issues. A perk of using a Paperless ERP solution like MetaViewer Cloud is the availability of full-service scanning documents, which then live in the cloud. Voila! Your invoices are now Chi-latte proof.
- Continual enhancements. MetaViewer Cloud is continually updated with product enhancements to ensure your data security is performing at optimal levels. With this remotely hosted application, you can be sure your cloud solution is not a "one-and-done" fix.
Are you interested in learning how your business can create a safer invoice process? Visit our site to learn more.
It's no secret that paper can be extremely expensive. According to Reduce.org, the costs of using paper in an office can run as much as 31 times the actual purchasing cost. For example, one ream of paper may retail for $5, but can cost a business up to $155 after copying, printing, and handling. As a result, many AP/AR departments have adopted automated Paperless ERP solutions like MetaViewer to assist in reducing the costs associated with paper.
Implementing an automated Paperless ERP solution aids in creating a more streamlined process when approving and sending invoices, and also establishes a more effective use of resources. We recently discussed the benefits of ditching paper in a two part series for Manufacturing Business Technology. In the series, we shared with readers how paper can be the financial department's greatest enemy and a "blind spot" for management and executives. I recently found some staggering stats on paper waste on Reduce.org:
- The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year.
- The United States alone, which has less than 5 percent of the world's population, consumes 30 percent of the world's paper.
- More than 40 percent of wood pulp goes toward the production of paper.
- Printing and writing paper equals about one-half of U.S. paper production.
Is your office fighting a battle with paper consumption? Visit our site to learn more about how paperless solutions like MetaViewer can help your office ditch the paper.
Next week, Metafile's Partner Channel Manager Steve Gregory will be attending the 2012 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), which is Microsoft's largest conference of the year and the focal point for all of its partner-focused initiatives. This year, WPC is being held in Toronto and provides Microsoft partners like Metafile access to key information in relation to business strategies, marketing, updates on products and informative learning opportunities. Additionally, and much to our delight, many of the sessions will be centered on cloud technology and trends. Recently, Scott Bekker, the editor of Redmond Channel Partner, discussed this cloud focus in his article, "WPC 2012 Session Agenda: Heavy on the Cloud," which makes for a great pre-conference read.
After Steve returns from Toronto, we will share a post-conference blog post detailing his experience at WPC, which will include some key insights from this exciting conference. In the meantime, stay up to date on all of the conference events by following the updates on our Twitter handle @MetaViewer and by following the hashtag #WPC2012.
We are excited to share the upcoming changes that are in store for our staff headquartered in Rochester, Minn. This week, we'll be moving to our new, beautifully renovated headquarters which has been optimized with state of the art technology and high efficiency capabilities. The new space will allow us to better serve our valued customers and partners and allow for our continued growth in addition to further solidifying our commitment to green business principles.
The new headquarters are a testament to the hard work and commitment our team members provide our clients by delivering effective solutions. As the move draws near, our team is finalizing preparations and aim to make it as smooth a transition as possible for our clients.
We look forward to sharing more news, pictures and updates with you in the coming weeks as the space and transition are complete, so stay tuned!
Some of today's most successful businesses credit their success to the ability to meet and exceed customer expectations. Constantly challenging perceived limitations is what innovation is all about and the most cutting-edge companies recognize that innovation should be applied throughout the organization, even to back office technology.
For instance, consider the accounting process. Today, AP/AR operations must push past limitations to create the best, most efficient and timely way of doing things to better service customers. In a recent article in Financial Operation Matters, Bruce Kelly discusses how companies in the relentless pursuit of productivity employ innovative solutions:
"Top performers are becoming more focused on effectiveness, improving customer service, gaining more timely and accurate visibility into spend, reducing invoice processing cycle times, and ensuring payment accuracy within defined terms, as opportunities for efficiency enhancement become more difficult when organizations reach advanced levels of accounts payable transformation maturity."
This is an awesome opportunity for organizations to utilize new technologies, but for many, it means breaking out of the comfort zone afforded by paper-based AP/AR. Though the process of completing AP/AR tasks with pen and paper may seem outdated, many companies still rely on this method and it's time to learn the benefits and efficiency afforded by an automated accounting process.
We recommend reading the full article, "In relentless pursuit of productivity," on Financial Operations Matters for more on how businesses' AP/AR departments can become a true driver of innovation.
As the school year comes to a close and summer approaches, students everywhere are participating in graduation and awards ceremonies to honor the "Best and Brightest." In this spirit, we thought it would be beneficial (and fun!) to take a look back at a few news stories and MetaBlog posts from this spring that we consider "Best in Class." Here's how we cast our ballot:
- Valedictorian: Get your head in the tech game (Financial Operations)
- Most Likely to Succeed: Announcing the Newly Enhanced MetaViewer!
- Most Popular: Microsoft's Kevin Turner Ushers in "New Era" of Technology
- Most Likely to Run a Fortune 500 Company: Ditch the Paper
- Most Likely to Change the World: Three Reasons to Consider the Cloud
Is there an article from the past few months that you found especially interesting? Feel free to share your favorites with us in the comments section!
On the heels of FUSION 2012, we are excited about the future of AP/AR systems and the advancements we're seeing in the financial operations industry.
Recently, we ran across an article in Financial Operations Matters that discusses several new technologies that will aid in increasing efficiencies and establish more access to imperative financial documents. The article discusses technology, such as mobile, that is on the cusp of creating a much larger impact on the industry and highlights the potential implications that trends like enterprise content management and cloud - which has already made a significant impact on financial operations - may have on your business.
A key point in the article establishes what businesses should keep in mind before they decide to invest in new technology. Adopting new technology for your businesses financial processing needs may mirror the initial feeling of being overwhelmed before purchasing a new personal piece of technology. Often, being well informed and knowledgeable about offerings is the first step in being a smart consumer that will provide the most return on investment.
Read the full article, "Get your head in the tech game," to learn more about the evolving technology advancements!
Earlier this month, the Metafile team attended Fusion 2012 in Nashville and, as expected, had a fantastic experience. Whether through conversations with prospects, meetings with partners and customers or participating in educational sessions, we found a tremendous value in taking an active role at FUSION. This year, Metafile presented a few sessions, including:
- Best Practices for Managing Documents and Workflow Automation: Metafile's Regional Sales Manager, Doug Bertram shared how organizations can integrate a document management system into existing business applications in order to reduce operating costs, while simultaneously increasing cash flow and productivity.
- Pitch the Paper Clips and Move to Paperless ERP: Regional Sales Manager, Doug Bertram, discussed how Metafile's MetaViewer Paperless ERP solution goes beyond the electronic file cabinet to offer paperless invoice and order capture with OCR, automated workflow, real-time visibility and full ERP integration.
Thanks again to everyone who stopped by our booth and attended our sessions! If you weren't able to attend and want a quick recap, Karen Kroll from Financial Operations Matters shared a great overview of the conference on the Institute of Financial Operations website.
Recently, Financial Operations Matters, the official publication of The Institute of Financial Operations, published an article sharing several recommended questions that businesses should ask themselves in order to improve their accounts receivable performance. We have discussed in previous posts how organizations can implement an effective automation solution to enhance existing AP/AR systems. This article lists a few points highlighted in recent posts and goes further to provide a few holistic perspectives to improving AP/AR systems, in addition to adopting a solution.
Here are a few highlights from Financial Operations Matters' David Schmidt:
- Where can we efficiently get rid of more paper? Paper is costly primarily because of the time it takes to handle it. Paper gets lost, has to be filed, has to be located, and has to be re-filed. Handling paper is wrought with inefficiency, especially when a paper process has been used to link automated processes. In contrast, automated, end-to-end systems provide visibility across the entire order-to-cash process. Research activities then take much less time, and consolidated access to customer and transaction information facilitates better and faster decisions. Customer intelligence is then embedded in your systems, available for any authorized user to access, rather than isolated among the individual staff members who deal with specific customers. Likewise, reporting and monitoring key performance indicators is enhanced. Many things that are cost-prohibitive to track with manual paper-based processes can be easily accessed in automated systems.
- Which customers are generating the most profits? Too often, companies have no idea how much profit individual customers are generating. If your sales margins are tight, a high-volume customer that requires a lot of administrative support and collection efforts can be losing money for your firm. Understanding customer profitability starts with knowing the gross margins on the products they buy and then factoring in returns and allowances as well as any decrease in the net present value of past-due receivables. Customer profitability can then be cross-referenced against risk, credit availability; sales open AR, industry type, and other portfolio analysis parameters to better understand the composition of your AR portfolio and to make better decisions.
Check out the full article on the Financial Operations Matters website.
Fusion 2012 is back and better than ever!The team from Metafile will be in Nashville, TN from May 13-17 to participate in the largest conference for professionals in accounts payable, accounts receivable, document management and procure-to-pay.
This week promises to be full of informative events and speakers: more that 1,700 professionals will be present to participate in education sessions, keynotes, and networking opportunities.
The Metafile team has a lot in store, and here are four great ways to connect with us:
- LEARN how to leverage the full capabilities of your Microsoft Dynamics or other ERP solution. Members of the Metafile team will be leading several educational sessions throughout the conference, including:
Best Practices for Managing Documents and Workflow Automation
Tuesday, May 15 from 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. in the Cheekwood C room
Metafile's Regional Sales Manager Doug Bertram will share how you can can integrate document management system into your organization's existing business applications in order to reduce operating costs, while simultaneously increasing cash flow and productivity.
Pitch the Paper Clips and Move to Paperless ERP
Tuesday, May 15 from 3:00p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in the Magnolia Boardroom B
Regional Sales Managers David Danner and Doug Bertram will discuss how Metafile's MetaViewer Paperless ERP solution goes beyond the electronic file cabinet to offer paperless invoice and order capture with OCR, automated workflow, real-time visibility and full ERP integration.
Wednesday, May 16 from 9:30 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Metafile will participate in two vendor tours on the exhibit floor: "A Futuristic Look at Document Management Operations" and "Emerging Technology in AP." These round-robin sessions are a great opportunity to hear from many experienced vendors and interact on the show floor to learn what technology is a best fit for your organization.
- CONNECT with Metafile product experts. Still wondering if MetaViewer is the right solution for your organization? Stop by our booth (#615) and speak directly with our team. They will take you step-by-step through the evaluation process to help you determine if it's right for your company. Be sure to register at our booth for a discount offer on your MetaViewer software purchase.
- Get a SNEAK PEEK of the latest enhancements to our MetaViewer solution. Metafile team members will be on hand at our booth (#615) to provide you with a hands-on demonstration of the latest upgrades to MetaViewer and will guide you through how our Paperless ERP solution integrates with Microsoft Dynamics and other ERP solutions to maximize efficiency.
- Gain INSIGHT into what's happening with Metafile and how it will benefit you. Hear directly from our team on what lies ahead for Metafile and how you can become a part of their partner program.
Are you going to Fusion 2012? Let's get together. At IAPP Fusion, that is. Be sure to visit us at booth #615!
Cloud computing has been making a big splash in the business world. While technology heavy hitters like Google and Microsoft are making headlines with new solutions in the space, many IT decision-makers are still on the fence as to whether a cloud-hosted solution is a fit for their company. However, utilizing cloud solutions has provided many organizations with an opportunity to save money on IT resources, while increasing employees' efficiency with the added accessibility of information. If you're on the fence, cloud solutions may offer more benefits to your business than you think.
- Access documents.Anywhere. At Anytime (Really): For companies with multiple locations, sourcing invoices from various locations across the country and globe can be a headache, as well as a costly, time-consuming task. Paperless ERP, hosted online, creates an easy access solution where documents can be stored and viewed at any time. No more excuses for lost invoices; this creates a streamlined process that saves time and money.
- Re-energize IT efficiency: Last week, we discussed the importance of providing IT with the critical resources necessary to do their jobs effectively. Recent reports state that a hefty portion of IT resources often go toward maintenance of existing infrastructure, but cloud solutions like MetaViewer Cloud undergo consistent upgrades and receive seamless product enhancements. With the added support from Metafile, your IT department will have more time to focus on mission-critical applications key to your business' success.
- Protect your information: Documents and information stored in the cloud can be vital in the recovery phase for companies that experience server crashes or experience IT issues. If a disaster occurs, invoices and payments still need to be processed, but with functions like AP/AR hosted in the cloud, you can be assured you won't lose important financial documents vital to maintaining your company's day-to-day functions.
Take some time to consider the benefits cloud computing could have on your bottom line. Is your business already in the cloud? If so, leave a comment to let us know how the air is up in the clouds.
April is National Stress Awareness month, and as the month comes to a close, it's an appropriate time to call attention to the increased amount of stress and pressure that is placed on IT administrators with the evolving demands of enterprise companies and franchises alike. A recent study found that more than 60 percent of IT respondents said they've considered switching jobs due to stress and identified managers, the users they support and tight deadlines as their top three stressors.
Aside from the benefits of integrating MetaViewer into your AP/AR process, one of the perks of utilizing MetaViewer is the ease of implementation. Companies can opt to have a Subscription on Premise Solution which allows for automatic storage, rapid implementation and almost instant return on investment.
The solution can also be expanded at any time to adjust to your company's needs and even better, MetaViewer offers full integration modules available for most major accounting and ERP systems.
Providing the IT department with the proper technology, staff and sometimes financial investment can make a world of difference in business outcomes as it relates to your companies IT infrastructure.
So play nice with your IT administrators. It's good for both their stress level and yours.
Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) launched their Six Words for the Planet project in an effort to celebrate the environment and allow people to share meaningful messages about our Earth in six words.
To recognize Earth Day, which is April 22, and the importance of playing a role in being responsible consumers we came up with our own six words:
Save money, save trees: MetaViewer Cloud.
MetaViewer Cloud offers paperless ERP that can be accessed anywhere at any time across any device. Cloud services allow organizations greater flexibility and access to unlimited data usage and storage at a fixed price with no upfront investment.
In our last blog we shared how one invoice is usually copied 11 times before being processed for approval. According to the EPA, the average office workers in the U.S. use 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year and generate approximately two pounds of paper and paperboard products every day. That's a lot of paper! The four million tons of paper produced annually place an incredible amount of stress on trees and other natural resources. Paper and pulp are the third largest producers of land, water and air pollution. With the cloud solution, reams of paper can be eliminated. By adopting paperless ERP solutions, your company can exercise corporate responsibility and reduce pollution.
Visit the EPA's blog to learn more about the Six Words for the Planet project and MetaViewer Cloud services to learn how your business can adopt a flexible ERP cloud solution.
Earth Day is fast approaching, and with the growing push for individuals to be more cognizant of energy consumption, it's also important to note that businesses small and large can have a significant impact on the environment and should take steps to lower their carbon footprint.
Going green has several benefits:
- Promotes corporate responsibility and a commitment to reducing a company's carbon footprint. Reducing carbon footprint can be as easy as using more energy efficient lighting, or providing incentives for employees to carpool, lowering the number of vehicles on the road every day.
- Encourages green habits. One of the benefits of a paperless office is being able to easily access documents without being buried in stacks of paper invoices. MetaViewer offers a solution to paper mountains via technology that requires an invoice only be scanned one time. Reducing the need for copies also decreases overall consumption of paper, which, in turn, saves oxygen-producing trees.
- Delivers greater returns on hardware, software and technology investments. Having these technologies in an office are almost synonymous with the term "office." However, you may be able to better utilize existing hardware by allowing it to do the heavy lifting. The Garner Group estimates that an invoice, when handled manually, is usually copied 11 times before being processed for approval. Better partnering hardware with technology that allows a document to be scanned one time, but viewed by multiple users as many times as necessary fully optimizes the existing functions of software and hardware.
- Increases the bottom line. In previous blog posts, we've discussed the financial benefits of trashing paper invoices. One of largest areas for savings can be found by eliminating the need to print, purchase stamps and shipping materials. Eliminating paper invoices allows you to save on printing, postage and storage costs.
Adopting green business habits is good for your business and reflects positively on your bottom line. And with more customers expecting companies, vendors and partners to practice green, there are only positive benefits for your company.
MetaViewer can be a great asset for companies looking to go green. Our site is full of information on paperless ERP and solutions to trash paper invoices.
Companies invest time and financial resources to ensure their public appearance properly reflects their business capabilities. This involves proactive reputation management, ensuring marketing efforts are aligned to overall company goals and keeping a watchful eye on what is being said about the company publicly. You've heard the phrase "Don't judge a book by its cover," but the reality is we often do. Maintaining a good appearance for external audiences is important, but it shouldn't be all fluff - that's why it's important to ask, "Does my company need an internal makeover?"
Businesses should think about how their technology and business processes translate to external audiences, as they can reflect the organization's priorities and overall business practices. It's important to convey a positive image with customers. Can you imagine hosting a customer in your office only for them to see mountains of paper spilling into streams of invoices? One of the benefits of the MetaViewer solution is its capability to totally makeover the accounts payable/accounts receivable process. But it's more than just a tool to help tidy up the accounting department.
Solutions like MetaViewer provide companies in a wide range of industries an integrated solution to save money and time, increase efficiency and decrease the paper chase whether the accounting department is down the hall or around the globe.
As mentioned in a previous blog post, it can be difficult to get the financial department's buy-in when trying to implement a new way of doing things. In fact, history tells us that comfort levels are slow to shift when adopting new technologies, as evidenced by recent research by Gartner which found that 75 to 80 percent of invoices are still paper-based. However, when company reputation and customer opinions are at stake, implementing a solution like MetaViewer will organize and improve the efficiency of your AP/AR systems and prove to be a painless transition for employees.
So what does your business' current AP/AR process communicate to your customers? Does it match the polished, professional image you want to project at every customer touch point? Or is it more likely to appear on a worst-dressed list?
A company's profitability is often determined by how well vital departments are managed internally, and the amount of time it takes to turn cash into more cash is often a tell-tale sign of how efficient the accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) departments are at managing cash flow.
A recent article in Forbes highlights one measurement that is used to determine the efficiency of a company's cash management, the Cash Conversion Cycle (CCC), which measures the amount of time in which a business can turn over cash on hand. For those that aren't familiar with this measurement, the CCC follows cash through an organization, beginning as inventory, transitioning to accounts payable, moving through sales and accounts receivable, and then back into additional cash for the company. Further, the CCC measures how long a business will be deprived of cash if it increases its investment in resources in order to expand customer sales.
Investors use the CCC, in conjunction with other measurements like Days in Inventory, to determine the overall health of a company, and how efficiently the company manages inventory, accounts receivable and the accounts payable process. A low or gradually decreasing CCC rate should be the goal for companies aiming to stay ahead of competitors and ensure efficiency in management.
So what steps can organizations take to decrease the CCC? Solutions like MetaViewer provide a way for businesses in every industry to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their AP/AR departments, decreasing the amount of time necessary to process incoming and outgoing invoices. The Paperless ERP software allows users to better capture, manage and access data through the lifecycle of an invoice, plus companies save time and money by eliminating the need for paper processing and mailing, as well as simplifying the overall business process.
A well-organized and effective AR/AP process plays a vital role in a company's ability to turn cash into more cash, ensuring that your business' CCC is lower than the competition. Read the full article and then we invite you to explore our website to learn how MetaViewer can increase your CCC.
The impact of cloud, mobility and flexbility on Microsoft Dynamics
We had another fantastic year at Microsoft Convergence, and we're exhilarated by all of the great conversations we had with our partners, customers and prospects last week. With 10,000+ attendees, 270 Dynamics solutions providers and hundreds of educational sessions, Convergence was a valuable opportunity to learn from and share insights with the ever-growing Microsoft Dynamics community.
Microsoft's COO Kevin Turner and President of Business Solutions Division Kirill Tatarinov kicked off the conference with a compelling keynote that addressed some of the most talked about topics in the Dynamics community, including the move to the cloud, mobility, the consumerization of IT and the importance of balancing flexibility and agility with security and management.
Over the coming weeks we will share our insights on these topics, but one of Kevin Turner's key points, in particular, resonated with us here at Metafile:
"One of the things that gives Microsoft an advantage is, we're not trying to move you to our cloud. We're basically saying if you want to build your own cloud, we'll enable that, we'll help you do that. If you want to go to a partner-hosted cloud, we're going to enable that and help you do that. If you want to go to a Microsoft cloud, we're also going to help you do that.
The important thing that I want you to note is that we're building a cloud where you decide where and how you want to go to the cloud."
While Kevin Turner was speaking of the transition to the cloud, this promise to take a personalized approach to each customer and their business aligns closely with what has long been Metafile's philosophy.
If you were unable to make it to this year's Convergence, we invite you to read this excellent recap from ZDNet's Paul Greenberg: "Microsoft - Convergence at Last?" It provides an in-depth look at the event from start to finish.
We'll also be sharing more thoughts on the conference in coming weeks, so stay tuned!
As we hinted in our post last week, we're excited to announce that our team has made new enhancements to our flagship solution, MetaViewer.
In order to address the increasing need for speed and accuracy in today's dynamic business environment, we wanted to provide our customers with additional features that simplify their processes. With this in mind, MetaViewer's top enhancements include:
- Shift to a "role-based" system: MetaViewer's User Manager Web application allows users to be assigned to one or more roles, eliminating any extra steps needed to create and manage users in the system. This allows hundreds of approver and other internet / cloud users to be added to the system securely and effortlessly.
- More control over search: Enhancing the proven MetaViewer "Google like" full text search, users now have even more control over what documents and pages are returned on an active search, saving time and improving efficiency.
- Simplified activation software: With MetaViewer's new Activation Assistant, there is no longer a need to request unlock codes and wait for Metafile to send license files. This simplifies the implementation process and reduces IT resources needed for deployment.
Read the recent announcement for full details on these exciting updates!
This weekend the Metafile team landed in Houston for the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence. So far, it's been a busy and exciting show, and we're looking forward to everything coming up this week.
We invite customers, partners, colleagues and Dynamics users to stop by booth #2224 and say hello! We'll be showing live demos of our flagship paperless ERP solution, MetaViewer, which includes several exciting new enhancements (stay tuned for more on that announcement!).
On Tuesday, our regional manager, Doug Bertram, will host the session "Leveraging your Microsoft Dynamics Investment" from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. in Room 371 ABDE. He'll discuss ways users can maximize their Dynamics GP, AX, NAV and SL investment through the integration of our MetaViewer Paperless ERP solution.
Be sure to follow the Convergence action on Twitter at hashtag #CONV12 and at our own handle, @MetaViewer.
Here at Metafile we're dedicated to exceeding customer expectations - in the technology solutions we provide, the capabilities we deliver and at every touchpoint with our customers and partners.
This is why I'm particularly proud and humbled to share that Regional Manager Matt Akin has been recognized for his dedication to his customers. Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine recognized Matt as one of its 2012 "Pros to Know," an awards program that recognizes individuals from software firms and service providers, consultancies or academia who have helped their supply chain clients or the community prepare to meet industry challenges. These Provider Pros to Know offer thought leadership that is shaping the supply chain industry and advancing it as a respected discipline.
Matt was recognized for his dedication to his customers and has earned the trust and respect from his colleagues, customers and industry partners by demonstrating a thorough understanding of their business needs.
Matt is a tireless advocate for his customers, always taking the time to understand the issues and challenges unique to each organization. Throughout the process, he serves as part of the customer's internal AP/AR team, taking everyone's input is taken into consideration, learning their pain points and ensuring their needs are met.
Please join me in congratulating Matt! I'm proud to work with him and all of the other Metafile team members committed to delivering the best service, counsel and technology available.
This week, we wrap up our three-part series on how vendors can make the move to digital invoicing. In parts 1 and 2, we discussed reasons why vendors may want to ditch paper and consider electronic invoicing, as well as vendor portals and how vendors can equip themselves to take advantage of this technology.
Now we'll highlight ways for vendors to submit invoices to a customer with a fully automated AP solution. Unlike the complexities and high cost of EDI (electronic data interchange) solutions, a vendor can easily submit electronic invoices even if they are not using automated technology:
- A PDF version of the invoice can be attached to an email and sent to the end customer. (Many ERP systems include this capability, or vendors can easily implement an eInvoicing solution, like the one found in MetaViewer that can automatically create a PDF invoice and email it to individual customers.) Once the email is received, the system recognizes the attached documents, extracts the necessary information and places the invoice into the AP workflow process automatically.
- The vendor may log onto a customer website and use a form to create an invoice directly on the customer's website.
- The vendor can scan the invoice and save the file on a designated FTP site. The AP automation solution will retrieve the file, extract the necessary information and incorporate it directly into the AP workflow.
- The vendor can use the portal's upload feature to submit the invoices with a simple click and drag process.
By using technology wisely, vendors can submit their invoices to customers electronically to avoid the costs of printing and mailing paper invoices. This solution offers them a way to electronically monitor the progress of invoices and when payment can be expected. It's worth the time to make the transition.
If you are attending Convergence 2012 and want to learn how MetaViewer can work for you and your vendors, stop by our booth #2224 for a demonstration.
Vendor Portals: Where to Begin?
Last week we began our series on how vendors can make the move to digital invoicing. In Part 1, we covered the basics, including why vendors may want to ditch the paper and pursue digital invoicing. This week we're discussing vendor portals and how vendors can equip themselves to take advantage of this technology.
A vendor self-service portal offers significant time-saving benefits to the vendor and the customer. The AP automation solution automatically keeps the portal data in sync with any changes entered in the ERP solution, so vendors can remain up to date on when invoices have been received, approved, scheduled for payment and when payments have been submitted. With a portal like VendorView from Metafile, automated update emails are sent to the appropriate vendor with a link to the portal. By simply clicking on the link and securely logging in, the vendor has access to the invoice and any related transaction documents at their fingertips. This visibility and automated communication of status can greatly reduce the time-consuming phone tag and searching for documents rampant in traditional paper-based systems and even most other imaging systems.
Getting started with a portal is a simple process. A customer who is equipped with an AP automation solution adds the vendor in the system, which then sends out a welcoming email that invites the vendor to register. The vendor logs in, chooses a password and uploads an electronic W-9 form with the vendor's taxpayer identification number. At that point, the vendor is all set to go digital. Vendors can participate in a portal even if they are still mailing traditional paper invoices, but for vendors to fully reap the benefits of this time-saving technology, however, they should also make the switch to providing digital invoices.
Check in with us next week where in Part 3 of this series, we will get more technical and outline the various ways vendors can submit invoices via a vendor portal.
Making the case for paperless invoicing
For savvy businesses, automated technology (like Metafile's AP automation solution) has removed much of the burden associated with billing and accounting processes. But for many of these organizations, paper-based invoices submitted by vendors may inhibit their progress toward realizing all the benefits of a completely digital accounting system.
Vendors should be eager to move toward electronic invoices, because printing and mailing paper documents is needlessly expensive. The vendor incurs cost for not only printing the invoice but also for the related staff resources and postage fees needed for handling the paper. As a results, vendors pay more per invoice to mail them than necessary. Electronic submission avoids all these costs, because the invoice never needs to touch paper. Vendors now have a new options for sending and tracking customer invoices.
In upcoming posts, we'll share some tips and strategies for companies using AP automation technology to help their vendors trash the paper and go digital. Stay tuned for more!
This past fall, Metafile's vice president of marketing and sales, Nick Sprau, and Steve Gregory, Metafile's partner channel manager, attended the Microsoft Dynamics GPUG Summit 2011 conference in Las Vegas where Metafile was a Premier sponsor of the event..
As a follow-up to their conversation at the conference, Jenny Davis,president of The Partner Channel and managing publisher of GPUG Magazine, spoke with Nick and Steve to discuss Metafile and their experiences with Microsoft Dynamics GP. Here are a few highlights from their conversation:
GPUG: What do you have coming up for customers?
Nick Sprau: We're continuing to integrate more and more with Microsoft Dynamics GP, creating the tools needed for people who are not only inside your organization - but also the people outside of the Microsoft Dynamics infrastructure.
GPUG: What's been the greatest benefit of being involved in GPUG?
Steve Gregory: We've found a lot of benefit in participating in regional chapter meetings, conducting webinars, and being face-to-face with Users. All of these activities have added value and have taken GPUG to the next level.
Nick Sprau: I agree with Steve. The opportunity to attend regional meetings has added strength to our User relationships.
Read the full Metafile feature story, on page 25 in the Winter issue of GPUG Magazine's "ISV Member Showcase."
The article has some great insights on why organizations are being motivated to consider new technology, but one piece that we found particularly interesting was the following graphic that outlines the various levels of accounts payable automation solutions:
It's interesting to see how PayStream defines each segment and the graphic is a great primer for those that are new to the automation space. Read the full article on the Financial Operations website.
Recently while reading Supply & Demand Chain Executive, one of the primary sources for industry news, we came across an interesting article that looks at the essential things for organizations to consider when moving towards the cloud. Contributed by Stan Klimoff, the director of cloud services for Grid Dynamics, a provider of scalable engineering and enterprise cloud solutions, the article shares some valuable insights on the adoption of cloud technology, including identifying the business processes that will benefit from the cloud, the data that is touched by each IT process and the value of having a trusted partner.
One of Klimoff's most resonant points was the assertion that when identifying business processes that can benefit from using the cloud, it is important to remember the reasons for moving to the cloud, which include:
- Cost: for the workloads where volume of processing varies significantly from month to month or even day by day, switching to a pay-as-you-go model can provide significant cost savings over the TCO of an in-house infrastructure.
- Business agility: most of the cloud offerings provide a great degree of automation, greatly improving turnaround time of IT-related processes.
Read the full article, "It Isn't Easy," and let us know your thoughts in the comments suggestion!
Paperless ERP for Microsoft Dynamics Webinar: How do Best-in-Class Organizations Utilize AP Automation?
Organizations often have a lot of uncertainty when considering implementing new technology such as accounts payable/accounts receivable paperless document management software. A seemingly endless number of questions to ask and resources to turn to, but we've often found that it's best to hear it explained by a live person who can address questions in real-time.
On Thursday, January 26, Doug Bertram, a Metafile regional manager, will be presenting a 60-minute Microsoft Dynamics focused webinar in collaboration with The Accounts Payable Channel that will provide important information to professionals who are motivated to implement proven AP technologies that will add real cash to the bottom line.
During the webinar, Doug will share how organizations can improve results with an automated solution that will allow them to:
- Avoid paper shuffling that can complicate business processing and lead to inefficiencies and errors
- Go beyond the "electronic file cabinet" to true Paperless ERP
- Eliminate data entry by efficiently implementing paper and electronic invoice capture
- Utilize web-based workflow for full invoice approval and GL coding automation
- Enjoy real-time visibility to the entire AP process
- Automatically calculate use tax and assign the appropriate coding
- Retrieve associated documents without leaving Microsoft Dynamics
- Easily expand to AR, HR, and payroll to achieve fully integrated, paperless ERP
If you would like to learn more, we invite you to register and join us on January 26th for this no-cost webinar!
This year's Microsoft Dynamics Convergence is being held almost a full month earlier than in years past, which means it's already time to start preparing! Taking place in Houston from March 18-21, the conference is the premier event for the Microsoft Dynamics Customer and Partner business community, providing the opportunity to make key business connections and to discover the full potential of Microsoft Dynamics solutions.
Metafile is pleased to announce that we are once again a Gold Sponsor of this event. Our team is still putting together Metafile's Convergence plans, but we will be posting all of our updates here as they develop. We're looking forward to meeting with other Microsoft Partners and Dynamics users. Early registration is still open, so make sure to register and connect with us at the show!
As the year winds down, we would like to thank all of our customers, partners, employees and industry colleagues for making 2011 one of Metafile's most exciting years yet! It's the time of year for reflection, and as we look back on the past 12 months, there are so many milestones that deserve acknowledgement.
This year, Dan Hunstad was honored by Supply & Demand Chain Executive as a "Provider Pro to Know," an award that recognized his reputation as a trusted resource who is able to foresee challenges and work closely with his customers to proactively develop and implement targeted solutions.
Members of the Metafile team were also honored by the 2011 Stevie Awards as finalists in three categories, including Dan Hunstad in the category of "Technical Professional of the Year," Virginia Wimmer in the category of "Product Development/Management Executive of the Year," and our MetaViewer product, which was a finalist in the category of "New Product or Service of the Year - Computer Software - New Version."
Industry events also continued to be a priority for the Metafile team, and we had great experiences at this year's Microsoft Dynamics Convergence, IAPP Fusion, Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, IOFM's Accounts Payable Conference and the Microsoft Dynamics Communities User Group Summit.
Finally, this year the Metafile partner program saw tremendous growth with the addition of several new trusted partners. Since the program's launch, these partners have become a valuable extension of the Metafile team and we are so proud to have everyone on board.
On behalf of everyone at Metafile, here's wishing you happy holidays and a very happy New Year!
The Aberdeen Group recently published its latest report, "Focusing on Customer Relationships in the Order-to-Cash Cycle," which demonstrates the positive impact that an efficient accounts receivable (AR) process can have on building and maintaining strong customer relationships.
One interesting finding within the report is that, overall, companies are feeling the pressure to improve service levels while lowering customer service costs. This results in an increasing focus on two main strategies: streamlining processes to remove non-value-added steps and increasing their use of electronic invoicing.
Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some of the key insights from this research, however a complimentary copy of the report can be found on the Aberdeen website for a limited time.
In a recent series of blog posts, we have been highlighting insights from our whitepaper, including how to approach removing paper from the accounting process, strategies to ease communication with vendors and customers, ensuring CIOs ask the right questions before investing in new technology and best practices for implementing a MetaViewer-enabled ERP solution.
In this week's final installment of this series, we ask, what does the future hold for organizations that are implementing intelligent ERP solutions, such as MetaViewer-enabled ERP?
As companies continue to integrate digital data with their work processes, MetaViewer is likely to find fans in more areas of the business. For example, human resources departments may progress from simply scanning their employee packets to digitally storing and grouping all types of documents associated with individual employees, from W4 forms to performance reviews and benefit enrollment forms. Those forms can be preserved in electronic form for a designated retention period and retrieved as needed. Legal departments may appreciate the security of MetaViewer's document management system for preserving highly sensitive information, as well.
Throughout midsized companies, MetaViewer-supported ERP is certain to keep evolving and enhancing processes to help businesses become more productive and efficient and to streamline their growth into new geographies, products and services.
In recent months, we've been sharing insights from our whitepaper "Uncovering the Real Value of ERP for Midsized Companies," most recently sharing our first for best practices as it relates to integrating an AP/AR automation solution with an organization's ERP system.
Here's the next installment of our recommendations:
- Automate what can be automated and streamline the rest. In cases where purchasing or receiving does not have strict rules on a process, such as three-way matching, automating may be difficult and the process should instead be simplified and standardized to the extent possible.
- Don't try to make the initial implementation too large. Consider streamlining certain processes in
phase 1, automating in phase 2, and streamlining and automating another area in phase 3. Once staff members have seen what the technology can do in its early stages, they will envision other areas where it can be used, and future phases likely will be easier to implement.
- Get executive leadership involved and show them how they can easily gain visibility and business intelligence with the solution. They should be able to see ways that processes have improved, discounts gained and productivity increased for invoice processing and other data.
- Plan to expand the Paperless ERP solution to other parts of the organization that currently maintain paper-based processes. This will help to more easily gain management approval and will maximize the company's investment in its state-of-the-art MetaViewer document management system.
In a couple of weeks we will share our vision of how implementing AP/AR automation solutions (like MetaViewer) will impact midsized organizations in the future. In the meantime, download our latest whitepaper here to learn more about how to properly implement technology to maximize its effectiveness.
The retail industry traditionally takes the spotlight during the holiday season, as media pundits rank the hottest gifts, sales promotions are analyzed like the Superbowl, and in-store technology becomes the great differentiator for successful retailers.
Customer-facing technology is typically the hot topic of the retail industry conversation, whether it's the latest mobile application or the newest e-commerce sites that make national retail chains look, feel and act local.
But, behind the scenes, accounts payable (AP) automation technology - a little-thought-of, yet just as important automation area - is the latest and greatest tool to help CEOs, CFOs and financial managers stay ahead of the competition. AP automation technology provides retailers with the tools to make better, quicker business decisions using up-to-the-minute data with the customer in mind - all while enhancing operational ROI and eliminating the blind spots and inefficiencies of traditional paper based processes.
We invite you to read more about MetaViewer for retail on our website to learn how MetaViewer solutions are helping retail organizations unlock the value of business-critical content to enhance service, improve efficiency and reduce risk.
As organizations in all industries continue to strive to implement economical and efficient IT solutions, Metafile is proud to announce a newly formed strategic partnership with American Digital to provide customers with access to hardware solutions that are optimized to lend added efficiency to the financial process.
This exciting partnership will offer customers in the healthcare industry one-stop access to IT hardware solutions equipped with Metafile's MetaViewer solution. These hardware / software solutions will not only be easily and smoothly implemented into the organization's IT infrastructure without interruption, but will enhance the efficiency and visibility of the back-office financial processes such as Patient Billing and Accounts Payable.
To learn more about this strategic partnership, read the full announcement here.
In recent months, we've been sharing insights from our whitepaper "Uncovering the Real Value of ERP for Midsized Companies," most recently discussing important questions executives should ask when considering implementing accounts payable/accounts receivable technology.
Once an organization has decided to invest in an AP/AR automation solution (such as MetaViewer), to integrate with an ERP system, there are several best practices we recommend. Here are our first four:
- Encourage vendors to move away from paper and toward an electronic format by creating purchasing documents in a digital form from the start. Electronic invoices can be saved in PDF format so that they can't be altered and then emailed to the company.
- Review the company's processes to ensure that they are truly efficient. Automating a bad process simply makes a bad process faster.
- Centralize accounts payable processes. All vendors should send their invoices to a central office so that individual branches don't need to manage the documents.
- Standardize the company's review and approval process so that everyone can follow the same procedures and new employees will have workable guidelines.
In a couple of weeks we will share the second half of this list. In the meantime, download our latest whitepaper here to learn more about how to properly implement technology to maximize it's effectiveness.
The experts at Metafile always strive to stay involved and up-to-date with the latest news and technology, including ERP solutions like Microsoft Dynamics with which MetaViewer is so often integrated. As part of our efforts, members of our Metafile team will be participating this week in the Microsoft Dynamics Communities User Group Summit 2011 in Las Vegas.
This year, Metafile experts Bob Hawley and Doug Bertram will be speaking at the following sessions:
- Document Management Round Up - On Wednesday at 2:30 p.m., Bob Hawley will be participating in this roundtable discussion that will help attendees understand the differences of document management software solutions. The session will encourage discussion amongst customers sharing their experiences with their chosen solutions, lessons learned and advice for others evaluating the various solutions. It's a can't miss!
- Paperless ERP for Microsoft Dynamics by Metafile - On Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. and Thursday at 9:30 a.m., Doug Bertram will discuss how organizations can use technology to revolutionize the way they process invoices and the benefits of a paperless environment, including reducing the cost of processing invoices and improving cash flow and working capital.
Will your organization be at this year's Dynamics Communities Summit? Be sure to visit us at booth 418!
Implementing new AP/AR paperless document management software can lead to tremendous results in any industry. But, as is the case with any new technology, getting all of the necessary stakeholders within an organization on board can be a struggle.
History shows that managers are often averse to change. For example, accounting departments felt a high level of comfort with ledgers before finally being convinced to move to Excel spreadsheets and eventually to QuickBooks-type integrated accounting methods.
So how can a CIO approach implementing automation technology in a way that ensures success? Our customers have found that the benefits of MetaViewer's technology speaks for itself, once they experience the dramatic improvements in accuracy, speed and productivity.
Read our recent blog post on the ERP Software Blog to learn more about how organizations can successfully adopt new technology, while achieving company-wide buy-in.
We often discuss the value of implementing an AP/AR document management system that integrates with an existing ERP solution, and one Metafile customer, Entercom, recently saw that value in action. As one of the five largest broadcasting companies in the U.S., Entercom uses Microsoft Dynamics SL to manage its accounting functions, using a centralized system to process invoices and other transactions for its 23 locations. Within the system, there are 76,000 records from 12,000 to 15,000 vendors who have been active over the last two years.
While Microsoft Dynamics SL offered significant capabilities in connecting the accounts payable process for all of the locations, the company was not capitalizing on the system's potential as it was manually processing paper invoices. Entercom decided to implement an accounts payable automation and workflow solution using Metafile's MetaViewer solution, which provides the ability to scan paper invoices, index them, route them for approval and archive them.
The company began by integrating MetaViewer with its Microsoft Dynamics SL at the corporate level, preceding a planned, strategic rollout to local offices. The company has plans to establish 21 scan stations (some locations have consolidated business offices) where paper invoices will be scanned into MetaViewer locally before being coded at Corporate and subsequently routed back to the office for the necessary approvals.
Entercom anticipates MetaViewer will greatly improve efficiency by allowing employees who currently spend large amounts of time on payables to focus on other areas as well as helping to reduce expenses. Read Entercom's full success story here.
We always look forward to participating in industry events, and this week, members of the Metafile team are traveling to Las Vegas for The Institute of Finance & Management (IOFM)'s 10th Anniversary Accounts Payable Conference & Expo where we'll meet with and learn from accounts payable professionals in a wide range of industries. This year's conference will cover the most up-to-date AP strategies and procedures, including:
- How to Use Imaging, Lean Processing, Green Solutions and Partner with Purchasing to Improve Efficiency
- Get Insider Secrets on Running a Global AP Operation, Merging AP Acquisitions, Handling International AP Compliance Issues
- How to Manage Change in AP Today to Stay Ahead of the Curve and Make Yourself More Valuable
- The CFO Perspective on Managing AP's Impact on Cash Flow to Hear What Your Boss Is Looking For
- Building a Strategic Plan for AP Automation to Help You Get Your Department in to the 21st Century
- How to Build Your Goals - and Your Career
- Find Out About Latest in P-Cards, Using E-payables and P2P Best Practices
We're looking forward to sharing our insights and learning from our industry colleagues about the latest industry trends, and as a silver sponsor, we're proud to support such an important educational event.
Will we see you at this year's Accounts Payable Conference? If so, remember to visit us at booth #418!
Recently, we've been sharing insights from our whitepaper, "Uncovering the REal Value of ERP for Midsized Companies." We've discussed the benefits of eliminating paper from the financial process and how to leverage portal technology to ease communications with vendors and customers, but we've found that when determining whether to implement accounts payable/accounts receivable technology, executives best serve their organizations by asking the following questions:
- What is the company's current cost to process an invoice? How long does it take and what is the dollar value of the man-hours required? Studies show that this cost will be drastically reduced with an automated AP/AR solution.
- How often does the company miss out on early payment discounts? Collecting these discounts actually can make the accounts payable unit a revenue generator.
- How much time does AP spend answering vendor inquiries? With an automated process, staff can immediately determine where in the approval process an invoice is and offer a prompt response. With a portal, vendors can answer many of their questions themselves.
- Will automating AR improve cash flow as a result of implementing workflow procedures or bank wire transfers in place of checks? Will the company get paid more promptly?
By taking an honest look at their organization's existing AP/AR process and asking the tough questions, executives are best positioned to make an informed and valuable decision. Download our latest whitepaper here to learn more about how to determine an organization's technology needs.
Earlier this month, we read with interest the story of Mar-Bal, Inc., a privately-held, mid-size manufacturing company that produces thermoset composite products for a wide range of industries. Similar to what we've seen with other manufacturing organizations, Mar-Bal was experiencing challenges in its day-to-day operations, including an outdated, expensive ERP solution that negatively impacted the organization's inventory control, a time-consuming interface with customer portals and lack of automation.
The article goes on to describe how Mar-Bal's implementation of a new ERP solution has led to streamlined operations, increased visibility, enhanced communication and total annual savings of $270,000 across its four plants.
With this recent success, where does an organization like Mar-Bal go from here? We've often discussed the benefits of AP/AR automation, and in our experience, integrating financial automation technology into an existing ERP solution is the surest way to maximize an investment and directly impact an organizations' efficiencies. Learn more about this process in detail here and feel free to share your experiences in the comment section below!
Whether it's with employees, customers, vendors or third-party industry colleagues, thriving organizations across all sectors are recognizing that communication is a key driver of success. This communication can even extend to the financial process, where transparency and visibility strengthen third-party relationships while streamlining the payment process.
One way this can be achieved is through the implementation of a vendor and customer portal that offers external business partners visibility into the status of their invoices, payments and shipments. Portals can provide an alternative to email for communication and collaboration between the company and its clients and suppliers. Portals can speed communication and resolution of issues and offer a self-service capability that reduces the number and complexity of calls from suppliers or customers, further improving productivity.
Download our latest whitepaper here to learn more about how portal technology can enhance visibility and strengthen communications and relationships with third-party business partners.
Earlier this year, Metafile surveyed 209 executives, IT professionals and other employees in companies of all sizes that use Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions. One of the most interesting findings was that paper is still by far the most prevalent form of processing AP/AR. Nearly three-quarters of respondents indicated that invoices are primarily shared among co-workers in hard-copy format and even among midsized organizations, more than 57 percent indicated that hard copies were their principal format for sharing invoices and associated documents for approval.
Through our work with our customers, we have found that paper is the natural enemy of efficient digital technology; sapping time, accuracy and efficiency from the organization. When businesses store their data on voluminous quantities of paper, that information can't be shared, understood or acted upon efficiently.
We've summarized our findings from this survey in our latest whitepaper, available for download here. In it, we discuss how organizations can ditch the paper to achieve efficiency, visibility and integration across the entire financial process.
We are excited to announce the availability of our newest whitepaper, "Uncovering the Real Value of ERP for Midsized Companies." Based on research performed in collaboration with MSDynamicsWorld.com, we delve into how organizations can leverage technology to maintain their competitiveness and boost process efficiency, especially with fully integrated paperless ERP.
Over the next few months, we will be sharing additional insights from this research, including the benefits of eliminating paper, the efficiency associated with automating manual paper management, the questions organizations need to ask when considering new technology and best practices for integrating with an ERP solution.
We invite you to download the full whitepaper here and let us know what you think!
Several weeks ago, Steve Gregory, Metafile's partner channel manager, attended the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in order to connect with Microsoft and other Microsoft partners. As a first time participant in WPC, the Metafile team was very excited to learn about Microsoft's plans for the cloud, specifically as they relate to Dynamics (read our original post here).
After the conference, Microsoft's Jenni Flinders, the U.S. vice president of partner strategy and programs, asked Metafile for insights on our experience at WPC as a first time attendee. Our response was included in her latest post on the Partnering with Precision blog. In her post, Ms. Flinders shares her thoughts on the entire week and highlights the many exciting announcements and events at the conference.
Read the full blog post from Jenni Flinders here and let us know what you think!
Several weeks ago, we shared our top publications and resources for IT professionals and C-Suite level decision-makers. To continue this series, this week we are turning our attention to resources for accounting professionals who are on the ground in organizations' accounts payable/accounts receivable departments.
- Accounting Today - AccountingToday.com is a great resource for professionals looking for the most current, breaking industry news. Focusing on providing online business news for the tax and accounting community, this publication also offers in-depth features and editorial analysis.
- PayStream Advisors - Another excellent resource for professionals in the procure-to-pay industry, Paystream is a research and consulting firm that minimizes risks and maximizes value associated with technology investments.
- SearchContentManagement.com - This publication is part of the TechTarget suite of publications, and provides professionals with a wide range of content management and collaboration resources to help organizations more effectively manage and leverage data as a corporate asset.
- The Accounts Payable Network - This website is devoted to providing accounts payable professionals access to online data, facts, information, downloadable tools and peer-to-peer networking. Metafile works closely with TAPN on webinars and research projects and we look forward to our upcoming collaborations that will be shared here in the future.
- The Institute of Financial Operations (IFO) - As we shared in January, four influential accounting organizations (NAPP, IAPP, IARP and TAWPI) joined forces to create a premier resource for accounting professionals, recently renamed The Institute of Financial Operations (IFO). IFO provides professionals in all areas of the accounting industry with educational resources, ranging from webinars and conferences to whitepapers and articles.
At Metafile, we talk a lot about the value that Microsoft Dynamics brings to organizations and strive to provide enhanced value with the integration of MetaViewer, which offers organizations the benefits of integrated eInvoicing, workflow and document imaging.
From within MetaViewer, users can access Microsoft Dynamics documents with just the click of a button, including accessing specific transactions within Microsoft Dynamics and allowing the ability to choose the exact type of document the user would like to access. Additionally, users can select all of the documents matching the current Dynamics record to retrieve the entire transaction folder arranged by document type.
All of the information users need to efficiently process these transactions is immediately available online, at which point the appropriate documents can be viewed, printed, emailed, routed or processed further.
With this level of integration, MetaViewer truly becomes an extension of the Microsoft Dynamics environment. Learn more about MetaViewer and Dynamics integration here.
Regional Sales Manager Bob Hawley and I recently returned from the 2011 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), Microsoft's annual event for partners. The conference provided Metafile with the opportunity to connect with other partners and Microsoft, as well as learn about the latest developments in Microsoft programs, strategies and cutting-edge technologies.
For Dynamics partners, Microsoft unveiled its updated strategy for cloud-based ERP (enterprise resource planning) software, which will move its four Dynamics ERP suites to the Azure cloud service starting with NAV next year.
What does this mean for Dynamics' partners and users?
Microsoft says the transition will be seamless for partners for they will still be able to host Dynamics' applications after they become available on Azure. They also note that users will be able to quickly set up consistent and repeatable steps common across the life cycle of an ERP deployment.
Since the transition to Azure will also cut down on implementation work, it will allow partners to focus on ISV solutions, such as MetaViewer Paperless ERP.
We will keep you updated as we see rollouts and product upgrades from Microsoft in the coming months, so continue to check back for the latest information and insight.
Did you attend WPC, or do you have any questions about what happened at the conference? If so, please leave a comment below, we would enjoy hearing from you!
Aggressive corporate growth, a new team member and industry honors round out the exciting news from the first half of this year we'd like to share with you.
First, our presence in the manufacturing, wholesale-distribution and retail industries has continued to grow, and increased customer acquisitions have contributed to a 35-percent growth in revenue and more than 100-percent net income growth year-over-year.
On the personnel front, veteran sales leader Bob Hawley recently joined Metafile as regional sales manager. He will be focused on expanding business and partner relationships in the Western region of North America. He comes to us with more than 20 years of senior sales and sales management experience at several organizations within the enterprise software sector.
As we mentioned a couple of months ago, our expertise was recognized when our MetaViewer solution and two of our executives were named finalists for this year's Stevie Awards. This industry honor recognizes the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and business professionals worldwide who strive to provide exceptional and innovative technology services to their customers. Metafile was a finalist in the following categories:
- Product Development/Management Executive of the Year, Virginia Wimmer, Metafile's VP of product development, was recognized for her work in strategic product development and with all of our product lines, including ResultsPlus, MetaViewer and PrintStore.
- Technical Professional of the Year, Dan Hunstad, a senior systems analyst, was honored for his commitment to customers, attention to detail, excellent customer service and breadth of knowledge of the issues facing accounts payable and receivable departments.
- New Product or Service of the Year - Computer Software - New Version, for Metafile's MetaViewer solution, which offers customers unparalleled automation, visibility and workflow efficiency.
As we wrap up the first half of 2011, I'd like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to you, our customers and partners. Our success is due to your confidence in our ability to deliver solutions that add value to your organization and your bottom line.
We look forward to an exciting second half of this year and thank you for your continued partnership.
As we reach the halfway point of 2011, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of the many significant things that have happened at Metafile during the last six months.
One of the most exciting developments was the continued development of our strategic partner program. We are proud to welcome six new technology partners that will sell, service and support the Metaviewer solution for Microsoft Dynamics users:
- Computer Generated Solutions, Inc. - a provider of end-to-end, technology-enabled business solutions including ERP, SCM, PLM, WMS, CRM, portal, e-commerce, application development, project services, e-learning, training, staffing, call center and global sourcing solutions.
- CRI Technology Solutions, LLC - a full-service information technology provider of accounting solutions for companies based in Northwest Florida and Alabama.
- OmniVue - an IT partner that integrates sales, marketing, finance and operations data while providing businesses with the ability to gain visibility.
- SBS Group - a creator of technology solutions that uses industry knowledge, technical savvy and project management know-how to deliver measurable results for businesses.
- Zensar Technologies - an information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO) services company that provides end-to-end services from consulting to implementation to support to over 300 active Fortune 500 and other customers.
- TM Group - provides integrated e-business solutions to more than 250 customers in the Great Lakes area focused on accounting and finance, customer relationship management, e-commerce, human resources, manufacturing, project accounting and supply chain management.
With the addition of these companies, our partner program has grown by 60 percent and continues to see momentum.
We'll be sharing more exciting news in the coming weeks and in the meantime, read more about the exciting year we've had here!
At Metafile, we firmly believe in the importance of staying up-to-date on industry news, trends and best practices in order to best serve our customers. We often turn to online webinars and conferences, such as Microsoft Convergence and IAPP Fusion, however there are many publications that we turn to for the latest information.
Over the next few months, we'll be sharing some of our favorite "must-read" publications, websites and blogs. The following publications are great resources for IT professionals and C-Suite level decision-makers:
- CIO Magazine - Addresses the issues affecting IT executives, their partners and their companies.
- Business Solutions - Articles are written for management of companies that make up the distribution channel for IT products, demonstrating how to sell new technologies and reach growing vertical markets.
- CNET - A great souce for information on new technologies, products and trends and brings breaking news related to the technology industry.
- eWeek - Provides IT professionals, government agencies, educational institutions, nonprofits and corporate executives with essential technology information.
- InformationWeek - An excellent source of news and analysis on leading-edge products, technology, vendors and trends for professionals in the IT industry.
What publications do you read regularly? Feel free to share in the comments section below!
2011 has been a busy year for conferences, but with Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2011 and IAPP Fusion under our belts, it's time to look forward to our next exciting event: Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC).
This will be our first trip to Microsoft's largest corporate conference, and it's a great opportunity for our team to join the almost 13,000 attendees that will gather in Los Angeles to gain insights into Microsoft's business and technology roadmap for 2011.
Including a keynote from Sir Richard Branson, the founder and president of Virgin Group, this year's WPC will focus on cloud computing and the opportunities it presents for IT partners. We're also looking forward to meeting with and learning from other Microsoft partners and technology experts.
Be sure to follow the WPC conversation on Twitter at hashtag #wpc11 and look for updates from the Metafile team after the conference!
There are several great resources for information on AP/AR industry trends and best practices, and one of our most valued is the PayStream Advisors' blog, PayStream Voices. Recently, Metafile was asked to share our insights on how to make the integration of accounts payable automation and ERP technology a successful and valuable endeavor.
The first post in a four part series titled 'Why a Critical Look at Accounts Payable Processes Makes AP and ERP Technology Work,' discusses how more and more organizations are turning to paperless AP document management and workflow technology to manage their procure-to-pay processes.
Read the first installment here and be sure to check in on our monthly posts where we'll share more advice and best practices.
Ask any accounts payable or accounts receivable professional to share their top financial operations goals and the list will likely include automating the financial process. Recently, Metafile discussed this hot-button topic with Diane Sears from Financial Operations Matters, sharing insights on the cloud's impact on the adoption rate of automation technology and the importance of putting technology in the hands of the end-user.
Click here to read the full Financial Operations Matters cover story, titled "The efficiency imperative: Is there a 'silver bullet' for speedier finance operations?". The article features insights from experts in all areas of financial process, making it an excellent, well-rounded resource for any organization that is looking to achieve greater efficiency.
Next month, the Dynamics GP Users Group (GPUG) Minnesota Regional Chapter is gathering in St. Paul, MN to network and learn best practices from each other and gain insights from presentations from Dynamics experts. Doug Bertram, Metafile's regional sales manager, will be presenting to GPUG members on how organizations can go beyond the electronic file cabinet to achieve cost-cutting efficiencies and executive visibility for all financial processes.
Doug will also be providing insights on how organizations can:
- Eliminate manual data entry by efficiently implementing paper and electronic invoice capture.
- Utilize web-based workflow.
- Enjoy real-time visibility to the entire AP process
- Retrieve associated documents without leaving the Dynamics solution
- Easily expand to AR, HR, and payroll to achieve complete paperless ERP
Metafile is proud to have also sponsored similar GPUG regional events in Tampa, New York, Seattle and Portland and this next regional event on June 28 is sure to be a great experience for all. All job roles and disciplines from companies are encouraged to attend so register today!
In every industry, relationships are vital to an organization's success. Whether it's the relationship with other departments, customers, partners or vendors, clear communication and collaboration is essential to building trust and rapport. This week, we want to take a look at one of our products, VendorViewTM, the MetaViewer Vendor Self-Service Portal, which has helped many of our customers facilitate online collaboration, visibility and communication.
In a paper-based accounting department, AP managers and suppliers often have to play unnecessary phone tag and spend countless hours searching for documents when completing transactions, checking status or resolving disputes. Implemented as an extension to the MetaViewer Paperless ERP solution, VendorView, provides suppliers with instant access to payment status, past and current invoices and other related transactional documents, essentially eliminating the need for unnecessary follow-up phone calls to the AP department.
In a business world where relationships are crucial to success, it is important for organizations to invest in technology that gives them the visibility and flexibility they need to stand apart among their competitors.
Last week, we received the exciting news that Metafile has been named a three-time finalist for this year's Stevie Awards, which were created to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and business people worldwide.
- A finalist in the category of Product Development/Management Executive of the Year, Virginia Wimmer, Metafile's vice president of product development, is being recognized for her work in strategic product development and her work with all of Metafile's product lines including ResultsPlus, MetaViewer and PrintStore.
- A finalist in the category of Technical Professional of the Year, Dan Hunstad a Metafile senior systems analyst, has been recognized for his commitment to his customers, his attention to detail, excellent customer service and his breadth of knowledge of the issues facing accounts payable and receivable departments.
- Finally, our MetaViewer solution is a finalist in the category of New Product or Service of the Year - Computer Software - New Version, as an innovative solution that offers customers unparalleled automation, visibility and workflow efficiency.
It is an extraordinary achievement to be recognized as a finalist in these competitive awards categories. Congratulations to our fellow finalists and stay tuned for when the winners are announced in late June!
As a proud Microsoft partner, we at Metafile make a point to stay on top of the latest news as it relates to Microsoft Dynamics, whether it be through attending conferences like Convergence 2011 or reading publications that keep us updated with the most current information.
One of our favorite resources is the ERPSoftware Blog, a website where Dynamics vendors provide comparisons and opinions to professionals in the ERP/Accounting software selection process.
Recently, we shared our key takeaways from Convergence 2011 on the ERPSoftware Blog including a look at Microsoft's intensifying focus on the cloud and its call to Microsoft Dynamics partners to champion the cloud's security and agility among fellow partners and their customers.
Read the full blog post here!
Friends of Metafile know we often tout the value of accounts payable (AP) automation technology in increasing efficiency and productivity within an organization. In a recent blog post on Paystream Advisors, we illustrated how those benefits can translate into tangible ROI, citing one of our customers' recent success story.
One of our longest-running customers - a major architectural glass and aluminum fabricator and distributor - was relying on a heavily paper-based AP department, in which case AP staff in each branch would receive, stamp and sign suppliers' invoices and handwrite general ledger coding instructions on each invoice.
The blog post details how this organization was able to integrate AP automation technology with their existing ERP solution in order to drive tangible, impactful ROI for their technology investments. It's a great read for any organization that is considering implementing the technology, but is struggling to tangibly justify the investment.
Read the whole success story here!
Having recently returned from Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2011 where the focus on cloud computing was clear, we announced an exciting partnership with "Dynamics-in-the-cloud" platform provider SaaSplaza.
We're looking forward to extending that momentum to the upcoming IAPP FUSION 2011 conference, to be held May 8-12 at the Gaylord Palms Hotel and Convention Center in Kissimmee-Orlando, Florida. Visit us at booth 801 on the IAPP FUSION show floor, and hear our own David Danner discuss how organizations can go beyond the electronic file cabinet to an integrated invoice-capture and paperless ERP environment at an onsite session (#205) at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11. During his session, participants will learn how best-in-class firms:
- Eliminate data entry by efficiently implementing paper and electronic invoice capture
- Use web-based workflow
- Enjoy real-time visibility into the entire AP process
- Retrieve associated documents without leaving their ERP solution
- Easily expand to AR, HR, and payroll to achieve paperless ERP
Will we see you at IAPP FUSION?
Convergence 2011 came to a close Wednesday of last week and the Metafile team has been taking some time to reflect on everything we learned from the exciting sessions and our meetings with Dynamics partners and customers.
More than 9,300 Dynamics partners and customers were in attendance at this year's conference making it the second largest Convergence ever - it seemed like almost that many people visited our booth!
The conference kicked off with a great keynote address from Steve Ballmer and Kirill Tatarinov, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Business Solutions gave, during which they shared Microsoft's vision of the future of Dynamics, including an increased shift towards cloud-based solutions. If you have some free time, we highly recommend you watch their address - it's truly a must-watch for anyone who works closely with Microsoft Dynamics.
Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2011 is in full swing and so far it's been an exciting and worthwhile experience.
As enterprises in all industries intensify their focus on the value of cloud computing, we announced today at Convergence a strategic partnership with SaaSplaza , the SaaS hosting service provider of choice for Microsoft Dynamics partners. As our MetaViewer solution easily integrates with all four Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions (GP, AX, SL and NAV), Convergence is the perfect venue to share this exciting news.
Together, Metafile and SaaSplaza will advance and simplify integrated accounting automation of Microsoft Dynamics ERP technology installations in the cloud among Metafile's value-added resellers (VAR), referral partners and systems integrators.
Stay tuned for more on this exciting new partnership and how it will positively impact Metafile's customers and partners!
Last month, we shared some of our exciting plans for the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2011 conference. Running from April 10-13 in Atlanta, we're proud to serve as a gold sponsor, and our team is eagerly anticipating attending some very informative sessions and meeting with valued members of the Microsoft Dynamics partner community.
As the conference approaches, be sure to follow us on Twitter at @MetaViewer, where we'll be posting our thoughts on this year's Convergence activities, sharing industry news and participating in the official Convergence conversation at hashtag #Conv11.
Also, be sure to check back here soon for a very exciting MetaViewer partnership announcement we will be making at Convergence!
Organizations that have fully integrated an accounts payable automation technology with its ERP solution have likely benefitted from the visibility that is achieved by intelligent automation, which has long been a strategic priority that is paying dividends for Metafile and our customers.
Recently, Lisa Yoon from CIO Magazine interviewed Boris Groysberg, associate professor at Harvard Business School, and Jeremy Hanson, who manages the North American Financial Officers Practice for Heidrick & Struggles, about trends affecting C-suite executives - most notably the CFO.
One of the key points made by Groysberg and Hanson is the notion that, as the level of cross-team collaboration increases, CFOs must be knowledgeable about business functions outside of their specific responsibilities - and their impact to the business - in order to be successful. For example, a CFO must understand the priorities and projects of the CIO, and how they impact the bottom line.
This perspective shows the case for intelligent automation has never been stronger, as the visibility and business intelligence it affords is becoming more and more valuable to C-suite executives, all of whom rely on it to make informed decisions.
We write a great deal about the benefits of paperless AP automation and its ability to transform a business, but a lot of businesses don't know how gains in efficiency and visibility can be quantified.
Our customers rightly ask what returns they can expect for their AP automation technology investments - especially when those investments are integrated with ERP solutions like Microsoft Dynamics. As our partner channel manager Steve Gregory recently shared with MSDynamicsWorld, consider the following:
- Metafile has found the average AP worker consumes 10,000 sheets of paper per year at an average copying and printing cost of between 2-5 cents per page, or between $200-$500 per year.
- A combined AP/Microsoft Dynamics "paperless ERP" solution mitigates those costs. Costs associated with misfiled documents - averaging between 2-7% in most organizations at a cost of $120 per page - can also be eliminated.
- Metafile's customers report that their average per-invoice processing times are reduced from 29.8 days using paper to just 4.8 days using an integrated paperless AP/Microsoft Dynamics solution.
By integrating AP automation technology with Microsoft Dynamics, invoices and supporting documentation can be accessed with just one click, ensuring accuracy and accelerating productivity gains - quantifiably - across the organization.
There's no denying that cloud computing is playing and will continue to play an integral part in the future of IT, software development and services for businesses large and small. In the eyes of CIOs and other business and technology decision-makers, one of the largest perceived drawbacks for cloud computing is uncertainty surrounding security.
Security in the cloud is a valid concern, and one that Metafile takes very seriously. No matter how MetaViewer is deployed, be it hosted or on-premise, we take steps to prioritize security of information, ensuring that data is only accessed by the right people at the right time .
In a recent CRN article titled, "Microsoft Bangs Drum For Cloud Trust," Microsoft urges its partners, vendors and developers to work to establish cloud trust with customers, acknowledging the importance of instilling confidence in this technology. It's up to Microsoft partners like ourselves to join the cloud trust movement. It is our hope that businesses everywhere will embrace cloud computing as a trusted solution.
Read the full article on CRN here.
In an effort to make their organizations more lean, many manufacturers focus on reducing wasted time and resources on the production line. While this is certainly a key component of streamlining their businesses, in order to truly be considered lean, manufacturers must apply these same principles to their accounting processes.
In a recent Manufacturing Business Technology article, Dan Hunstad, senior systems analyst for Metafile, shares three essential strategies for streamlining the accounting process through the implementation of accounts payable automation technology.
Within the article, Dan highlights the benefit of integrating accounts payable technology with an existing ERP solution as well as the importance of closely evaluating the accounts payable process, and adjusting accordingly to eliminate waste of time and duplicate efforts.
Read the full article in Manufacturing Business Technology here.
One of our most anticipated events of the year, Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2011, is fast approaching. As a Gold Sponsor of the event, we are excitedly preparing for what is sure to be a great conference. If you are unfamiliar, Convergence will take place April 10-13 in Atlanta, and is a great opportunity for Microsoft Dynamics customers and partners to network and discuss current Dynamics topics, including strategies for optimizing Dynamics investments.
We attended last year's Convergence conference and found that, in addition to broadening our Dynamics knowledge base, we also were able to meet and collaborate with many like-minded businesses that recognize Dynamics as an integral tool for creating efficiency within an organization.
If you're planning on attending Convergence, be sure to visit Metafile at booth 201 and if you are on Twitter, follow the Convergence hashtag #Conv11. Our conference planning is still underway, so check the MetaBlog often for updates as Convergence nears.
There are many questions surrounding proposed changes to 1099 regulations and what they will mean for accounting professionals, the business community and others that rely heavily on suppliers, such as manufacturing and wholesale/distribution. In January, we discussed the 1099 changes and how it may impact those in the accounts payable function at their organizations.
According to a recent article on CNNMoney.com, the 1099 issue is receiving much attention in Washington because of the anticipated burden of paperwork the changes will create. Businesses of all sizes, and in all industries, need to prepare to handle the onslaught of paperwork that may be looming beginning in 2012.
To learn more about 1099 regulations and how they could affect your organization, read the full article here. As this situation unfolds, we will post recurring updates here on the MetaBlog.
Distributors must continually manage a global ecosystem of suppliers, partners, and customers, so they are required to be nimble and efficient in order to handle their stakeholders' vastly different accounting and transactional needs. In a recent Industrial Distribution article, Jim Mandt, our vice president of technical services, shares strategies for leveraging AP automation technology to help distributors achieve accounting process.
Within the article, Jim recommends evaluating the existing accounting process for inefficiencies and investigating and implementing the right accounting automation technology, and stresses the importance of integrating paperless accounting automation technology with the ERP solution to achieve intelligent automation.
This is a great read for professionals in the distribution industry and others who want to apply these same principles within their organizations. Read the full article in Industrial Distribution here.
Earlier this month, we were proud to announce that Dan Hunstad, our senior systems analyst, has been named a recipient of the 2011 "Provider Pro to Know" award by Supply & Demand Chain Executive. Throughout his 11 years of experience working with customers in manufacturing, the supply chain and other industries, Dan has built a reputation as a trusted resource who is able to foresee challenges and work closely with his customers to proactively develop and implement targeted solutions.
Dan is a firm believer that one of the most significant supply chain challenges his clients will face in the coming year and beyond centers on negating inefficiencies surrounding invoice reconciliation. His solution is to first adjust workflow surrounding the invoice processing, then leverage accounts payable automation technology to work within those process to cultivate better working relationships inside and outside an organization.
We are extremely proud of Dan and this much-deserved recognition of his talents and commitment to solving our customers' business challenges with the right automation solutions. Read more about Dan's award win here.
Recently, PayStream Advisors, a research and consulting firm that specializes in minimizing risks and maximizing value associated with technology investments, published the results of an interesting survey in PayStream Voices, its online community for financial operations technology and automation.
The survey asked financial operations professionals to rate the level of advancement their company had achieved with regard to adopting accounts payable, accounts receiveable or other financial automation technologies.
Only 21 percent of respondents identified their organization as an innovator that has "made significant investments in automation." The most common response, selected by 33 percent of respondents, was that the organization is "evaluating some advanced tools, but (has) not yet adopted them."
In this economic climate, Metafile believes that organizations with innovative accounting departments will be the ones that thrive. By implementing an AP/AR automation solution that integrates with ERP systems, organizations stand to gain enhanced visibility and workflow efficiency, enabling them to make strategic decisions and handle significant industry challenges, including anticipated changes to 1099 regulations.
See the full survey here.
At Metafile, we listen to and learn from our customers, partners and colleagues to stay ahead of the top trends that will impact our industry and our customers. By staying on the forefront of these trends, we can ensure that our paperless AP and AR document management and workflow solutions are optimized to help our customers compete and thrive.
Recently, we shared our views on what we think are the most important accounting automation trends in 2011 with Pat Romanski of Cloud Computing Journal, including our belief that AP and AR automation technology will increasingly take to the cloud.
While we offer and support a traditional, premises-based licensing option, our customers are increasingly requesting the time, cost-savings and flexibility that cloud-based solutions can offer. Metafile's MetaViewer Online is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) option that offers secure Web-based access without infrastructure and software-license expenses.
For more on this and our thoughts on other pervasive accounting automation trends, read the full article here.
Earlier this month, The National Association of Purchasing & Payables (NAPP) announced that it is merging with three influential organizations: International Accounts Payable Professionals (IAPP), and its sister organizations International Accounts Receivable Professionals (IARP) and The Association for Work Process Improvement (TAWPI).
The announcement notes that the procure-to-pay process is becoming an increased focus for IAPP, IARP and TAWPI. Not only is this significant to members of these associations who will benefit from the addition of procure-to-pay content and programming, but it should be recognized by the entire industry as a signal of widespread change.
As the president and CEO of IAPP, IARP, and TAWPI, Thomas Bohn noted, the lines between the accounts payable, accounts receivable and procurement processes are becoming blurred as integration becomes an increased priority. We at Metafile often discuss the importance of achieving automation integration throughout the accounting process and this merger is a positive sign that industry influencers share the same wholistic philosophy.
Read the full announcement here.
One of the biggest stories to come out of 2010 that is continuing to unfold in the New Year is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the healthcare reform bill) which contained a provision that will require all businesses to file 1099 forms if they purchase $600 or more in goods or services from another business during the calendar year.
Previously, only unincorporated businesses that purchased $600 or more in services were required to file a 1099 with the IRS and the service provider. The new rule extends to all companies, charities and state and local governments; and to purchases of goods and products as well as services. The added reporting burden is expected to bury all businesses in paperwork, which may stunt any hopes for business growth.
How will this change in regulations impact your organization's AP department? Industry experts are projecting an increase in the reporting workload by five to 10 times, which means companies will have to adopt more efficient accounting processes in order to cope.
In a recent article that appears in AP Matters, Diane Sears discusses the implications of the new 1099 regulations in detail and highlights automation as a key strategy that will help AP departments efficiently handle the paperwork burden. While the number of AP departments that have automated their invoicing is relatively low at (approximately three percent in the U.S.), the buzz surrounding accounts payable automation is increasing. This technology not only removes the paper but also provides organizations with transparency in the supply chain and overall workflow efficiency throughout the procure-to-pay process. Sophisticated AP automation systems are also capable of providing the C-suite with visibility that cultivates more informed business decisions while alleviating the strain caused by the anticipated influx of 1099 forms.
For more information on changes in 1099 regulations and what they could mean for your organization, read the full AP Matters article here.
As 2010 winds down and we prepare to welcome the New Year, we would like to take this time to thank all of our customers, partners, employees and industry colleagues for making this past year one of Metafile's most memorable and impactful yet.
From the launch of our Microsoft Dynamics partner program to the unveiling of our new website, to our attendance and participation at this year's many exciting industry and technology events to Jim Mandt's recognition as one of a Supply & Demand Chain Executive's "Provider Pros to Know," 2010 has been a great year, and we are looking forward to tremendous success for Metafile and our customers in 2011.
On behalf of everyone at Metafile, here's wishing you happy holidays and a very happy New Year!
As our Microsoft Dynamics partner program continues to gain early momentum, we at Metafile are looking forward to 2011 and the many exciting opportunities that integrating MetaViewer with Microsoft Dynamics will bring for Metafile, our partners and our customers.
In 2011, we plan to extend our presence and influence in the Microsoft Dynamics community by participating in a variety of upcoming Dynamics events - most notably the Microsoft Dynamics Convergence 2011 Conference, to be held April 10-13 in Atlanta. We are also scheduled to attend the 2011 Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP and NAV Users Group Summits, the 2011 Microsoft Dynamics GP Technical Conference, the 2011 Microsoft Dynamics SL Users Group Conference, and The 2011 Partner Event.
We're looking forward to engaging with potential VAR, referral and systems-integrator partners at these events to make the integration process even faster and easier for our customers. Be sure to check back with us as these events approach for more details on Metafile's participation and key learnings.
We've talked at length about the meaning and value of "intelligent automation" in accounts payable. Intelligent automation is rooted in accounting systems that deliver built-in intelligence across the customer and supplier landscape, ensuring that, after the first time information is entered at any point in the procure-to-pay process, it will never need to be rekeyed and instead will appear automatically as work and data flow.
For all its value in helping organizations introduce visibility into accounting processes and identify system breakdowns, automation truly becomes intelligent when integrated with the AP department's workflow according to established business rules. Why does workflow automation matter to enterprise?
- Leveraging a permission-based interface, AP leaders and staff can immediately establish and modify routing and approval rules among AP staff. They can adjust those rules according to specific customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, boosting customer service and satisfaction.
- Once modified, newly designated approvers can be regularly reminded via e-mail about invoices awaiting their action. The best solutions also allow alternate approvers to be designated and notified if primary approvers are absent.
- Optical character recognition (OCR) can enable invoice text to be scanned for keywords matching customer and supplier information stored in individual records. Once the correct customer or vendor is identified, the document can be updated and conditionally routed for processing via e-mail according to established rules.
For more on the power and value of AP workflow automation to enterprise, contact us.
The launch of our Microsoft Dynamics Partner Program was recently featured on The Partner Channel, a leading authority for sales, marketing and leadership news for Microsoft Dynamics partners. We highly recommend subscribing to The Partner Channel's e-newsletters, as it provides readers with comprehensive news and event coverage specific to Microsoft Dynamics.
As the announcement shares, we are currently seeking VAR and referral partners and systems integrators to sell, service and support our MetaViewer paperless ERP document management and workflow solution to and for Microsoft Dynamics users. MetaViewer is the one paperless AP/AR/HR solution that goes beyond the electronic file cabinet, providing integration with Microsoft Dynamics while offering the affordability expected by midmarket organizations and the scalability demanded by enterprise.
Read our coverage in The Partner Channel here.
With the holiday season upon them, retailers are working harder than ever to meet customers' demands while growing their own sales numbers. One often overlooked aspect of the retail sector is the internal challenges that are faced by retailers' AP and AR departments as they handle and process a high volume of invoices, purchase orders and more throughout the holiday season.
The fact is, retailers should view AP/AR automation as an effective way to improve efficiency and cultivate high visibility into accounting operations to not only improve their internal process, but increase sales as well. As is common during the holidays, more transactions mean the flow of invoices, purchase orders and supporting documentation accelerates. Retailers who are armed to handle the increase in paperwork using automation technology can avoid unnecessary headaches.
As all retailers know, the ability to capture process, and report on accouting information is essential to improving efficiency and informing decision making across the board, as the ability to capture, analyze, and react to data can ultimately save retailers money and nurture increased sales.
To learn more about how accounts payable automation can work for your retail business, check out MetaViewer for Retail.
In a recent blog post, Diane Sears at AP Matters discusses the latest AP Productivity Index, a quarterly assessment of AP performance worldwide. In her post, Diane examines why the U.S. has the highest median score, outscoring the next highest region by 16.3 percent.
Diane rightly points to the fact that U.S. companies are mostly larger than those in other countries, meaning their accounts payable departments are often afforded access to more effective tools that foster greater AP efficiency. In our work with customers in all industries, we see the business-building benefits of AP automation technology in boosting AP process efficiency.
Beyond their organizational size, our customers achieve ultimate AP efficiency by first aligning their AP process to get the most out of their technology investment. They also recognize the importance of integrating our AP automation technology with their ERP solution. By achieving intelligent automation that puts process first, AP productivity is in the best position to soar.
We are happy to welcome the first of our new Microsoft Dynamics partners to our Microsoft Dynamics partner program. Welcome Tribridge, Integrated Business Group, KeyQuest Consulting and Workflow Heroes!
Our Microsoft Dynamics partner program enables current and future customers to more easily integrate MetaViewer with their Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions, to cultivate greater cost savings and "paperless ERP" efficiency.
Our newest partners also understand that there has never bee a better time for VARs, referral partners and systems integrators to incorporate affordable, measureable value into Microsoft Dynamics solutions with paperless ERP automation technology. The value of new customer Microsoft Dynamics ERP sales incorporating MetaViewer can be increased 25 percent, and current customers can be offered a fully integrated paperless ERP solution that affords tangible ROI.
For more information, contact Steve Gregory, Metafile's partner channel manager, at 800.638.2445 x180, or visit our partner area on the website.
Here at Metafile, we have been pretty busy with the launch of our new Microsoft Dynamics Partner Program and with participating in three major conferences, but that's not all we've been up to! As you may have noticed, we recently made significant changes to MetaViewer.com.
While there are many exciting new design features and sections, one of our favorite additions is the menu bar located near the top of the homepage, which contains the "AP View," "IT View," and "Executive View" tabs:
The decision to implement accounts payable document management software into the financial process impacts every department in an organization. To help visitors find information that is most relevant to their role within their company, we have devoted special sections designed to answer the most pertinent questions to each department.
We invite you to browse the rest of our newly redesigned website and let us know what you think!
At the Microsoft Dynamics GP User Group Summit 2010 event held this week in Orlando, Fla., we announced the launch of our Microsoft Dynamics partner program. We're actively recruiting value-added reseller (VAR) and referral partners and systems integrators to sell, service and support our MetaViewer paperless ERP document management and workflow solution to Dynamics users. All MetaViewer functionality integrates easily with all four Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions (GP, AX, SL and NAV) - the foundation of many organizations' ERP infrastructure in a variety of industries.
The launch of our Microsoft Dynamics partner program will make it easier than ever for our customers to integrate our MetaViewer solution with the power and promise of Microsoft Dynamics GP, AX, SL and NAV to introduce "paperless ERP" efficiency and cost savings into their accounting operations.
A combined solution offering integration between MetaViewer and Microsoft Dynamics enables significant cost savings, affording accelerated ROI when compared to standalone Microsoft Dynamics implementations.
In addition, as Metafile's network of value-added resellers (VARs) and referral partners grows, our customers will benefit from more access to local partners and systems integrators who can sell, service and support the MetaViewer solution. That means even faster MetaViewer implementation and resolution of customer-support issues.
For more information on our new partner program, read our announcement , visit our new partner area or read a recent article from MSDynamicsWorld.com (free registration required).
Microsoft made several announcements about its Dynamics ERP and CRM products at the recent Convergence 2010 Europe event in London. Among them was the general availability of a two-tier ERP connector for Microsoft Dynamics AX, which according to Microsoft's released statement, "... accelerates deployments between Microsoft Dynamics AX across subsidiaries, divisions or branch entities, and SAP Business Suite at the corporate headquarters."
Also according to Microsoft's statement, "A two-tier ERP implementation model helps organizations consolidate disparate ERP solutions, provides standardization and rationalization of IT investments, and improves business agility and value by facilitating cost-effective business process integration."
What does this two-tier ERP connector mean for Dynamics AX users - and for MetaViewer customers? By speeding Microsoft Dynamics AX deployment among an organization's multiple operations, the organization's business processes - including its AP and AR processes - will be made more efficient even faster than before, resulting in swifter ROI for the organization's Microsoft Dynamics ERP investment.
This development is sure to be a hot topic at the upcoming AXUG and GPUG Summit 2010 events and MSDynamicsWorld's Decisions 2010 Fall Conference. To learn more about Microsoft's recent Dynamics announcements, read this article from Redmond Channel Partner.
Also, look for an exciting Dynamics announcement from Metafile in the coming weeks!
In the next several weeks, we are attending three very important conferences for the benefit of both Metafile and our customers: the Microsoft Dynamics AX User Group (AXUG) Summit 2010, the Microsoft Dynamics GP User Group (GPUG) Summit 2010, and the MSDynamicsWorld Fall 2010 Virtual Conference. These conferences offer Microsoft Dynamics users, partners and others the opportunity to participate in educational sessions and role-based tracks designed to help organizations maximize the benefits gained from using Dynamics.
This year Metafile is scheduled to present a breakout session at the Microsoft Dynamics GPUG and MSDynamicsWorld Decisions Fall 2010 events entitled, "Paperless ERP for Microsoft Dynamics," which will show Microsoft Dynamics users how to move beyond the electronic file cabinet by eliminating paper, increasing visibility and maximizing the functionality of Dynamics. Participants attending our session will understand how best-in-class firms:
- Eliminate data entry by efficiently implementing paper and electronic invoice capture
- Utilize web-based workflow
- Enjoy real-time visibility throughout the entire AP process
- Retrieve associated documents without leaving Dynamics
- Easily integrate Dynamics with AR, HR, and payroll to achieve paperless ERP
Here are important details for the three conferences - it's not too late to register!
AXUG Summit 2010 (Visit us at booth #326)
October 18-21, 2010
GPUG Summit 2010 (Visit us at booth #313)
October 25-28, 2010
MSDynamicsWorld Decisions Fall 2010 Virtual Conference
November 1-4, 2010
The Accounts Payable Channel, a leading online resource for accounts payable (AP) and finance professionals, recently released its latest whitepaper, "Visibility: The Not-So-Obvious Real Value of AP Automation," which details the factors that play a critical role in finance management, cost reduction and business intelligence. The report discusses the hidden benefits associated with integrating automation technology into the financial process beyond simply eliminating paper: increased visibility. By streamlining and automating the workflow through the effective use of technology, organizations gain the ability to view and leverage information and data, which enables companies to negotiate and better volume pricing and contract terms.
To learn more about how your organization can benefit from AP Automation, click here to receive a copy of the report, which is available for a limited time.
The Aberdeen Group recently published its latest report, "E-Payables 2010: The Strategic Value of Accounts Payable Automation," which demonstrates the need for accounts payable (AP) cost-cutting efficiency and visibility through AP automation. Having surveyed more than 310 companies, Aberdeen found that paper-based AP processes hampered AP's readiness to address the efficiency and visibility challenge. Some important findings include:
- Best-in-class companies achieved invoice processing costs 76 percent below their peers with invoice processing cycle times, on average, 82.5 percent faster.
- Of these top performers, 72 percent currently have an active AP improvement initiative in place, and 60 percent employ a standardized payment process throughout the organization.
What does this mean for companies of all sizes that are looking to improve their AP process? Organizations can champion cost-cutting efficiency and visibility through automation of non-value-added processes - including AP processes - to better support value-added strategic initiatives.
To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, click here.
Last week, we discussed the emphasis that professionals in a broad range of industries are placing on streamlining their accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) processes before AP/AR document management technology is implemented in order to be truly efficient.
Recently, MSDynamicsWorld conducted a survey among 240 Microsoft Dynamics users to gauge the level at which respondents within a broad range of industries are implementing AP and/or ERP technology to manage accounting documents and workflow.
Out of the survey results, two key findings emerged:
- Despite the widespread use AP document management technology in some form among the respondents, processing invoices in a timely manner remains a prominent challenge facing the AP profession among more than 40 percent of respondents.
- In addition, while relatively few respondents are employing AP/ERP technology integration in its entirety, integration is the priority identified as most likely to improve the Microsoft Dynamics experience. Integration of AP document management technology with ERP solutions is identified by nearly half (43.3 percent) of the sample as a priority over the next one to two years (see graphic immediately below).
We've always said empowering true AP/AR efficiency is rooted in intelligent automation, which means information only needs to be keyed once and is updated across the enterprise, whether using our solution or the organization's ERP. These findings show that organizations looking to enhance their AP operations can gain an operational advantage by making intelligent automation - enabled through AP/ERP technology integration - a top priority.
Within the manufacturing and distribution industries, each industry category - from food distribution to metal fabrication - manages vastly different vendors and produces entirely different products. Despite these and other differences, true accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) efficiency is a common goal across the spectrum.
Any organization that handles a large volume of invoices and produces a large quantity of products should understand that achieving true AP/AR efficiency means aligning AP/AR processes with the technology designed to support them. As Jim Mandt, our vice president of technical services, often states, before AP and AR technology of any kind can be implemented; the underlying processes must be extensively evaluated and aligned to achieve true efficiency.
We've found that this philosophy resonates with our customers involved in all industries. In addition, by selecting AP/AR technology that integrates with an organization's existing ERP solution, organizations can achieve intelligent automation by entering information only once, whether using AP/AR technology or the ERP. The impact to ERP return on investment can be tremendous.
To read about Perishable Distributors of Iowa's process efficiency success story, read the recent article in Refrigerated Transporterhere.
For more on Jim Mandt's philosophy on putting process before technology, read his article as it appears on Chem.Infohere.
Last week, Supply & Demand Chain Executive featured an excellent article on how organizations can leverage enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to positively affect the efficiency of the supply chain.
Written by Eric Kimberling, an ERP consultant based in Denver, the article outlines reasons ERP must be more effective, differentiates between ERP solutions and shares best practices for selecting and implementing ERP. As Eric states in the article:
"Managing receivables is more important than ever. For most businesses, the next best thing to cash is receivables. Although not directly related to supply chain management, robust financial and receivables management in an ERP system will help better finance inventory investment needs in the long-term..."
While Metafile is not an ERP solution provider, our MetaViewer product integrates with ERP solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics to create true workflow efficiency, achieve true process visibility and promote truly intelligent automation. As the excerpts from the article above illustrate, robust financial management, rooted in process visibility, should be a top priority for companies looking to establish a leaner supply chain.
For more on this topic, read the full article here.
As anyone heavily involved in the technology-sector knows, cloud computing is a major cross-industry game changer that is having profound impact on software solution providers and their customers. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said, "As I like to say at Microsoft, for the cloud, we're all in." We share in Microsoft's philosophy, and find it is ringing true across the industries we serve.
While we offer and support a premises-based, traditional licensing option for MetaViewer, we find that more and more customers are realizing the tremendous savings of time and cost that cloud computing environments can offer.
Our answer to the cloud computing call is MetaViewer Online, a Software as a Service (SaaS) option that allows our customers to access our solution securely on the web, allowing all the functionality of our on-site solution without the multidimensional expense associated with infrastructure and software licenses.
We've made it our mission to ensure that, as technology continues to evolve, so will MetaViewer. The move toward cloud computing is an exciting cross-industry innovation we're delivering today, and will continue to deliver in exciting new ways in the future.
When organizations plan to implement new accounts payable (AP) technology, education surrounding AP best practices is essential in ensuring ultimate value for technology investment. As part of our commitment to industry education, in tandem with The Accounts Payable Channel (TAPC), Metafile is offering free access to the "Accounts Payable Best Practices" on-demand multimedia seminar.
Hosted by Tom Nichols, consultant to The Accounts Payable Network (TAPN) and president of Process Management Improvement, Inc., this seminar provides insights and realistic approaches to process improvements that can bring positive change to accounts payable operations. Nichols provides best practices for:
- Enforcing your company's ethical guidelines
- Redefining internal customer satisfaction
- Strengthening control of your vendor master file
- Maximizing the benefits of P-cards
- Tightening T&E controls
- Improving invoice processing efficiency
- Performance measurement
This 60-minute seminar is available free of charge to registered users of The Accounts Payable Channel for a limited time only and provides a flexible way to learn all about proven best practices that will help make operations more efficient. Click here to access the seminar.
We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of evaluating the accounts payable process before implementing paperless document management software and how this technology can maximize an organization's previous investment in an ERP solution, such as Microsoft Dynamics.
However, when companies begin actually implementing this technology, they realize that there are number of specific factors that have to be evaluated in order to make the process as smooth as possible.
Recently, Bob Greenbaum, executive vice president of Metafile, was asked by The Accounts Payable Network to weigh in on document scanner technology and the factors that need to be taken into consideration before making an investment.
Bob's advice to organizations is to first have a deep understanding of the types of documents they will be scanning:
"When dealing with an accounts payable environment, you are going to find that documents are varied. You cannot control them. And the quality will vary enormously depending on the nature of your business."
"Ultimately, the goal of a scanner is to take a competent and quality picture of the document," Greenbaum says. "To do that you really have to look at the paper [documents] in your department's drawers. If that stuff is going through the machine, then the machine needs to be able to manage the stuff in the drawers right now."
For more about best practices surrounding document scanning technology, read the full article here.
Recently, the Aberdeen Group conducted a survey of more than 150 enterprises serving a wide range of industries and developed a research report entitled, “Invoicing and Workflow: Transforming Process Automation into Operational Cost Control.” The report serves as an overview of the AP function’s current state, and offers strategies organizations can employ to improve invoice-processing efficiency and visibility.
We've always believed technology is a critical tool in delivering business value and confidence in decision making to the C-suite, but only in concert with an invoice-processing framework that is truly efficient. Among other findings, the research report indicates:
- The most common factors driving participants’ focus on AP improvement are a lack of visibility into invoices and AP documents (575) and corporate directives to lower overall costs (43%).
- Relative to invoice processing performance, the Best-in-Class maturity class (the top 20%) of respondents averaged a $4.84-per-invoice processing cost and a 3.7-day cycle time to process a single invoice, while the Laggard maturity class (the bottom 30%) averaged a $27.83-per-invoice processing cost and a 41.3-day cycle time to process a single invoice
To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, click here.
Over the last 30 years, our products and technology have evolved based on our customers' ever-changing needs. By keeping our finger on the pulse of the industries we serve, we can ensure that our products are at the forefront of change.
The latest product innovation for MetaViewer is an enhancement to our existing invoice capture solution, Invoice Accelerator.
Because every document in Invoice Accelerator needs a matching vendor profile, Invoice Accelerator's automatic vendor profiler simplifies the process of building a vendor profile. The profiler automatically recognizes invoice header and line item information to create new profiles or match existing profiles. Once created or matched, the profiler enables automatic processing. In most cases, profiles can be modified or verified with a single keystroke, boosting time and cost savings.
From Jim Mandt: Five Questions About Accounts-Payable Tech Implementation That Every Organization Should Ask
With more than 20 years' experience implementing AP document management technology, Jim Mandt knows just how impactful AP technology investment can be to organizations in every industry. Beyond the expense, the technology that organizations select will touch every internal and external player in the procure-to-pay process.
In a recent blog post on The Accounts Payable Channel, Jim shared five simple, yet critical, questions that organizations should ask their technology provider to help them avoid the all-too-common pitfalls of choosing AP technology "flash" over substance:
- PROCESS: How in-depth will your evaluation of my organization's P2P process be before implementation of AP document management technology?
- CUSTOMIZATION: How will your solution adapt to my organization's particular operating environment and supplier ecosystem?
- WORKFLOW CAPABILITIES: How will your solution move my organization beyond only eliminating paper to also addressing the workflow behind it?
- ERP INTEGRATION: How will your technology integrate with my ERP solution to boost my organization's return on investment?
- SERVICE AND SUPPORT: How will you ensure that your solution continues to deliver value long after the sale?
By asking these and other tough questions, organizations can make sure their AP technology choice reflects a long-term, value-driven commitment to true automation across the P2P spectrum.
Read Jim's full blog post as it appears on The Accounts Payable Channel.
Our work with one of our customers, Perishable Distributors of Iowa, Ltd. (PDI), recently made news on Food Manufacturing's website.
As one of the nation's largest food distribution companies, PDI faced many workflow challenges. Several of these were related to the high volume of paper representing more than 3,500 invoices processed each month.
One of the Metafile team's first steps was to evaluate PDI's accounts payable (AP) process. Our analysis revealed that each invoice was touched between 34 and 42 times during processing. The sheer number of invoices, coupled with the complicated processing, resulted in numerous logistical, organizational and financial challenges.
After implementing our MetaViewer solution, PDI was able to not only eliminate paper but also optimize its AP workflow to ensure that tasks and responsibilities were clearly defined and assigned across the team. PDI employees were able to spend less time on process and more time adding value to PDI's buisness.
In less than one year, PDI realized ROI and decreased annual processing costs from $135,000 per year to $80,000. Read PDI's full success story as it appears on FoodManufacturing.com.
Often when discussing accounts payable technology, industry trends, and our products, we will talk about achieving "intelligent automation."
Intelligent automation is rooted in accounting systems that deliver built-in intelligence across the customer and supplier landscape, ensure that once information is entered at any point in the procure-to-pay process, it will never need to be rekeyed but will appear automatically as work and data flow through the process.
So what is the benefit of intelligent automation? It helps organizations introduce visibility into accounting processes and identify system breakdowns. This increased visibility allows accounting department leaders and C-level executives to make highly strategic decisions based on increased awareness of their companies' processes, and the impact of those processes on the bottom line.
For more true automation and how it is achieved, read our article that appears on Manufacturing.net..
When we first began work with our customers at Central Maintenance and Welding (CMW), a premier industrial maintenance, fabrication, and construction firm, we found they had an extremely complex and multifaceted procure-to-pay (P2P) process that was entirely paper-based. Having already made a significant investment in a Microsoft Dynamics GP enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, CMW was looking to streamline its financial processes by implementing an accounts payable (AP) automation solution that could seamlessly integrate with Dynamics to achieve true automation.
After implementing MetaViewer to standardize its AP and AR processes, CMW successfully migrated those processes from 100% paper-based to 100% paperless. Automated indexing and text extraction from any invoice, links to supporting documents, workflow steps, customized, action-oriented emails, and customer notification tools are now accessible using either Microsoft Dynamics or MetaViewer, streamlining CMW’s P2P process and resulting in more efficiency throughout the organization. Aside from immediate and measurable return on investment, CMW leaders also enjoy a highly visible and accurate view of all captured financial information, empowering them to make thoroughly confident financial decisions.
Read Central Maintenance and Welding’s full story here.
Here at Metafile, we feel that when decision makers consider implementing accounts payable (AP) technology or maximizing their existing investment, one of the most important steps is taking the time to learn as much as possible – not only about the technology they’re considering, but also about the path to automation – in order to make a well-informed decision.
This year, we are partnering with The Aberdeen Group to present a series of webinars designed to inform those who are considering AP technology solutions, may have already implemented them and want to maximize their investment, or are considering switching to a new AP automation solution.
The second webinar in the series, “Overcome Roadblocks – Turn Your Accounts Payable into a Revenue Generator” will be held Thursday, June 17 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. Supported by Aberdeen’s latest research, this webinar will evaluate the current state of AP automation, explore the roadblocks to AP process automation improvement and offer recommendations for overcoming those roadblocks in order to maximize the value of their AP technology investment.
The session will be presented by Metafile’s own Doug Bertram and Aberdeen’s Nasreen Quibria, a senior research analyst, along with Scott Pezza, a senior research associate with Aberdeen. For more information on the webinar, we recommend reading Scott Pezza’s blog.
Next week, several of us will be attending the Institute of Management & Administration (IOMA) Accounts Payable Automation 2010 Conference in San Diego. Doug Bertram, Metafile's regional sales manager, will present a session titled "Boosting Operational Efficiencies and Visibility in the P2P Process."
During the session, Doug will discuss how organizations can improve productivity and increase visibility in the procure-to-pay (P2P) process. He will explain how implementing the right AP Solution will enable companies to reduce their invoice processing time by as much as 80%.
He will also take a case study approach to illustrate what everyone within an organization can gain from new efficiencies by highlighting benefits for management, buyers, AP clerks, transportation, IT, approvers, and more.
If you or someone from your organization will be at the conference,drop us a line or stop by MetaViewer booth number 3 in the primary corridor outside the meeting rooms.
By Nick Sprau, Vice President of Marketing, Metafile, Inc., and Chris Evanoff, President and Managing Director, Soltec, Inc.
Adapted from an article that appears in the May-June issue of AP Matters
No matter what the industry, every accounts payable (AP) professional understands their success lies in efficiently managing and executing their role in the procure-to-pay (P2P) process. Beyond ensuring cost control, an efficient P2P process contributes to customer satisfaction that can help generate revenue and grow the bottom line. But with thousands of transactions among thousands of suppliers and customers in thousands of locations, getting to that bottom-line growth can seem all but impossible.
For organizations in many industries, supplier portals can extend automation across the supply chain and provide the “bottom-line value acceleration” accounts payable professionals seek. Understanding if a supplier portal is the right investment decision means assessing the portal’s application and potential value, and thinking strategically about the P2P process.&When AP professionals begin to consider portals for their organization, it is essential to ask the right questions:
- Deciding which portal path is right for your organization requires evaluating the resources of your IT staff – from software technicians to core IT systems personnel and others. Are they willing and able to develop, support, maintain, and upgrade the organization’s own supplier portal?
- Organizations must gain portal participation among their supplier ecosystems to ensure ultimate value. They must ask themselves: how much detail are they willing to share on an individual and collective basis? While small to midsized suppliers are best positioned to reap efficiencies from the use of supplier portals, some may deem adapting their processes to match the portal’s requirements too costly per transaction.
- Which transactions will the supplier portal make possible? Technology is available that makes multiple P2P transactions possible, maximizing potential for across-the-board efficiency and ROI.
The advent of supplier portal technology has proved immensely valuable, tremendously efficient, and widely popular for organizations in a variety of industries, as the adoption and use of supplier portals continues to increase.
It’s this success that also breeds the supplier portal’s next challenge: enabling automatic transaction processing and helping suppliers efficiently manage the ever-growing number of unique portals they may be required to access on a daily basis. After all, true automation exists when data can be accessed, shared, and processed seamlessly, without the need for rekeying or other human intervention.
Many IT decision-makers implement an ERP solution, only to find that they're not achieving the process efficiency they were looking for. Sometimes an ERP solution is not enough; in today's complex business environment you need additional tools to optimize an ERP solution and take your workflow to a new level of functionality and transparency throughout your organization.
MetaViewer integrates seamlessly with ERP platforms, including Microsoft Dynamics and Lawson, enhancing process efficiency by eliminating paper, adding integrated e-invoicing and approval workflow, and providing internet-based vendor self-service.
Learn more about how MetaViewer can complement your ERP investment.
Last week we attended another great and informative conference, IAPP Fusion 2010 in Grapevine, TX. Focused on collaboration between accounts payable and accounts receivable professionals, IAPP Fusion 2010 provided us with the opportunity to meet with a lot of great people representing organizations that are striving to achieve efficiency in their business processes.
Metafile served as a "stop" on several FUSION 2010 tour visits, including the future of AP technology and ways to create efficient AP automation. Metafile's David Danner also presented a well-received session on how AP departments can achieve efficiency and visibility by implementing new technology in well thought-out steps.
Two weeks ago, a group from Metafile travelled to Atlanta for Microsoft Dynamics’ Convergence 2010, the premier Microsoft Dynamics event. Aside from broadening our knowledge-base as it pertains to Microsoft Dynamics, we also were able to meet with many like-minded organizations who recognize Dynamics as an integral tool for creating efficiency within an organization.
Here are a couple of upcoming conferences in which we will be participating. If you are planning on attending, be sure to visit us at our booth:
May 9-13, 2010
Billed “the premier annual forum for AP and AR professionals” by the IAPP in collaboration with TAWPI and IARP, Metafile will exhibit as a supporting sponsor at IAPP FUSION 2010. Also look for Metafile as a “stop” on several FUSION 2010 tour visits, including “Emerging Technology in AP,” “A Futuristic Look at Document Management Operations,” and “How to Create an Efficient AP Automation Operation.”
Metafile’s own David Danner will present a session on Thursday, May 13 at 8:45 a.m., titled, “Paperless AP Automation: The Basic Steps to Success.” Learn how implementing AP technology in phases can help achieve efficiency, visibility and acceptance in the AP department.
May 19-20, 2010
Decisions Spring 2010 is a free virtual conference focused on “Facing Real-World Challenges with Microsoft Dynamics” and this year, Metafile is a silver sponsor. This live online will provide the latest perspectives on Microsoft Dynamics AX, CRM, GP, and NAV.
As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Metafile and its MetaViewer AP document management and workflow solution integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to accomplish integrated e-invoicing, workflow and document imaging to affect true efficiency in AP automation.
As discussed in a previous post, Jim Mandt, our vice president of technical services, firmly believes in the philosophy of thoroughly evaluating and troubleshooting an organization’s AP process before implementing technology in order to maximize value and efficiency, and shared his philosophy with the manufacturing sector on Manufacturing.net.
Throughout Jim’s more than 20 years working with mid-market and large organizations in manufacturing and a variety of other industries, Jim has seen firsthand the positive impact of AP document management technology that eliminates paper, reduces costs, and introduces greater efficiency and accountability. Jim also knows even the best technology is only as powerful as the AP best practices that support it.
He recently shared his thoughts on this topic with a wide spectrum of accounts payable professionals in a blog post he wrote for The Accounts Payable Channel entitled, “Think Process before Technology to Get to AP Value.”
Organizations across all industries are feeling the pressure to control operational costs, which is leading decision-makers to abandon the traditional solutions that simply automate individual processes and eliminate paper. Full financial automation solutions improve efficiency by increasing transparency and accountability in financial processing among all accounts payable stakeholders – from departmental leaders and staff to suppliers – allowing companies to empower staff to make higher-business-value contributions.
Regardless of the size of their organizations, most of our customers tell us that they will invest more in full financial automation technology that maximizes potential for efficiency, visibility and cost control.
With this in mind, we anticipate that full financial automation solutions will overtake traditional compartmentalized document management in 2010. We’re taking steps to tightly integrate the MetaViewer solution with a growing array of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and financial solutions – including those from Microsoft Dynamics and Lawson – to make sure the benefits of full financial automation are experienced across the enterprise. Since ERP solutions are among the most expensive technology investments an organization can make, accounting decision makers who are ERP champions are in the best position to increase their own value and provide information that helps the C-suite make more impactful, informed, and strategic business decisions.
We’re also supporting the full financial automation trend by developing additional tools to more comprehensively engage suppliers in MetaViewer’s process automation.This includes enabling secure access to and sharing of information critical in executing transactions among customers and suppliers and their respective ERP systems.
Next weekend, several of us will be attending Convergence 2010 Atlanta, the premier Microsoft Dynamics event where Dynamics users and partners come together to share best practices and network.
If you'll be attending, feel free to visit us at booth 1137 for a chance to win an XBox 360! We'll also be able to share insight into the real results companies are experiencing from the seamless integration of MetaViewer with Microsoft Dynamics solutions.
Hope to see you there!
Anyone who has worked with Jim Mandt, our vice president of technical services, has heard him discuss the importance of maximizing efficiency by improving an accounting department's process before implementing technology. He recently developed an article for Manufacturing.net about this philosophy.
In the article, Jim shared insight into challenges accounting departments face, how to evaluate processes to address these obstacles and how to go about implementing automation technology to achieve true efficiency and cost-savings.
You can read Jim's article here: "Getting More from Accounting Means Thinking Process Before Technology"
A recent AP Matters article covered the challenges AP departments face when looking to adopt automation technology. One of these challenges is capturing information on the front-end, before paper invoices ever get created. It can often be difficult for AP departments to approach clients about switching to electronic invoices, but in most cases the clients notice the end-benefits too.
Other obstacles include existing ERP solutions and their compatability with paperless document management systems. Companies tend to view ERP solutions as the sole financial solution that is needed, but what many don’t realize is that document management automation in the AP department can seamlessly integrate with ERP, increasing the effectiveness of their existing system.
One of our customers, Gary Churchill, assistant vice president of IT for Perishable Distributors of Iowa (PDI) was highlighted in the article and discussed the challenges that PDI faced in its AP processes, the implementation of MetaViewer, and the benefits and results they’ve experienced ever since.
Read more on this topic in the AP Matters article “AP automation dilemma.”
If you're reading this, you may already be a friend of MetaViewer (perhaps a partner or customer). If that's the case, welcome! We look forward to strengthening our relationship with you by sharing what's happening at Metafile and within the accounts payable and accounts receivable document management industry.
We encourage you to visit our blog often, where we'll be sharing our perspectives on AP and AR document management and workflow solutions, and the trends supporting them. We'll also be bringing you engaging and informative stories about how our paperless automation solutions are solving real business problems for partners and customers like you.
If you're new to MetaViewer, thanks for visiting our blog. Stick around for a lot of great information coming your way in the near future, including relevant news and trends in the AP and AR document management realm, and how we're helping our customers achieve efficiency and visibility for the accounting function. In the meantime, take a look around our web site for information on our products, our company history, and industries we serve.
Our goal is to share, inform, and talk with you about the power, promise, and results that can be achieved using AP and AR technology. Feel free to comment on our posts or contact us with any questions you have, we look forward to hearing from you. Look for more soon!