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Hyland releases OnBase 3.5 at AIIM - Beta users applaud features, ease of use

The Distribution Group (TDG, Atlanta) is a conglomerate of companies specializing in supplying tools for the manufacturing and construction industries. TDG is currently using the beta version of Hyland Software's (www.onbase.com, Booth #2259) OnBase 3.5, to be officially released at AIIM '98. OnBase 3.5's Document Imaging, COLD and PCL data processing modules have been installed at TDG to improve performance in applications like warehouse inventory management, accounts payable, accounts receivable and the handling of material safety data sheets.

Paul Boushell, TDG's electronic commerce manager, summed up the OnBase 3.5 value proposition in a few short words: "The software is very powerful, but it's very easy to use," he said.

When three separate distributors merged to form the $350 million TDG conglomerate, the vastly increased volume of warehouse "pick tickets" made automation a priority. Pick tickets are the warehouse documents that turn customers' orders into timely, accurate deliveries. In the new system, a customer order generates a pick ticket that is barcoded with the order number, scanned and matched back to the customer service number. Documents are scanned at branch locations, and a copy of the image resides on a local server (thus speeding up local retrieval). Another copy of the imaged document is sent to corporate headquarters in Atlanta, along with the SQL look-up data. OnBase allows customer service representatives to access the original order, the pick ticket and the resulting invoice from one integrated system, using a Windows interface. In addition to the obvious benefits of increased efficiency and improved customer service, there's a bonus to having all of those images readily available--it satisfies the documentation requirements for ISO 9000 certification, which is being pursued by two TDG divisions.

The integration work on the initial 20-seat, $100,000 OnBase 3.5 installation was performed by The Paperless Office (Atlanta). President Harvey Heath is impressed with the software, to say nothing of Hyland's personalized service. "Packy Hyland Jr., the CEO and founder of the company, participated in the installation and gave the customer his home phone number to call in the event of any difficulty--now that's service," said Heath. He cited Version 3.5's 32-bit scanning and indexing, PCL viewer capabilities and, especially, its terminal emulation as valuable features. In Heath's experience, terminal emulation has always been problematic: "You installed a Band-Aid approach, hoped that it worked, and most of the time it didn't." In contrast, Heath said that Hyland's terminal emulation "works beautifully." When asked if other TDG departments might be candidates for Hyland's solutions, Heath replied, "With this software you're only limited by your imagination."

Although TDG has yet to install the OnBase 3.5 Web server, Heath already has an application of the technology in mind: Some 40 or 50 smaller TDG distributors who are not currently on the network would be able to mail their pick tickets to regional offices for scanning and subsequent access to critical customer data via a Web browser. Heath is also looking forward to learning about Version 3.5's workflow module.

Another beta user confirmed that the workflow module does, indeed, work: Triangle Bank (Raleigh, NC) is using the module to ensure mortgage loan compliance. Like TDG, the $1.5 billion Triangle Bank has experienced substantial merger activity that's fueling the drive to automation. Fran McAllister, a VP of loan services, estimated that by the end of September 1998, the bank will have been through 10 mergers in the past two to three years, and will grow to $2 billion. A corresponding increase in the paper-intensive loan business has meant more and more paper--until, as McAllister said, "we were buried in it."

The OnBase 3.5 solution at Triangle begins with converting loan files (the note, credit application and paper collateral, such as deeds of trust) into images. McAllister said, "The workflow module will perform missing document and compliance reporting; for example, if a deed of trust is missing a date, the operator can flag the file accordingly in OnBase, and that information will be exported directly to an Excel file. Automating that reporting function will give our loan officers time to actually follow up on compliance exceptions, instead of chasing paper."

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