Cloud ECM + Web-Based Capture a Winning Strategy for Defense Contractor

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Every business faces the same challenge: how to increase profits, either through growth, lower costs or more efficient operations.

Textron Systems Marine & Land Systems (TMLS) is winning the battle with smart technology choices that are creating new efficiencies in its internal operations, saving money and time, and fostering continued growth.

The company’s storied history, starting back in 1935 as Bell Aircraft Corp., continues today with the production of advanced combat vehicles and cutting-edge maritime craft used by U.S. and international armed forces, as well as civilian entities around the globe.  

Following the lead of Textron Systems’ Information Systems Group, which manages enterprise IT for parent company Textron Inc., TMLS is using a progressive combination of technologies: cloud-based ECM, together with distributed, web-based capture for processing its accounts payable, expense reporting, journal vouchers and certain HR records.

OnBase Cloud ECM was selected by Textron Systems to replace the company’s prior Oracle software, which was no longer supported.  The prior data capture system, Kofax Capture was replaced by CAPSYS® CAPTURE Online, a full-featured, browser-based document and data capture solution.

The move, according to Sean Hansen, Director, Financial Planning & Analysis, has been an across the board win.

“We’re now ahead of where we need to be – not just current, but ready for the future,” he says.

Reduced Storage, Hardware Costs

After the company experienced damage at its Louisiana headquarters during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, being better prepared against loss of data became a top priority.  TMLS’ customer base also requires the company to substantiate services and costs for a prescribed timeframe.  Therefore, the system to manage this must be designed with controls in place to ensure accuracy, and receive customer certification, says Hansen.

“We have to maintain proper records, but, if we have a certified imaging system, we can destroy portions of the physical paper,” explains Hansen. “Now, instead of all of our documents being physically stored at a warehouse, they are at our fingertips in the Cloud. This saves us money, and solves the Disaster Recovery concern.”

To integrate the new OnBase ECM system already chosen by TMS, TMLS turned to its long-time supplier, Integrated Document Technologies, to handle the conversion of its legacy documents, data, workflow processes and to implement the new CAPSYS CAPTURE Online system.   

“IDT has expertise we don’t have in-house.  They provide what we ask for, and new ways to approach our specific issues,” says Hansen.

Moving to a Cloud ECM system provided software cost savings for Textron, with the added benefit of less on-site infrastructure and oversight.

“The need for servers and maintenance is eliminated; plus, Cloud systems are completely scalable,” says Mike Nolfo, IDT president.  Previously, TMLS managed multiple servers in multiple locations.  Now, everything is centralized in the Cloud, and each operating unit of the group pays only for what it uses.

 Security in the Cloud was certainly a concern, given that TMLS handles proprietary data, plus sensitive HR and employee information. “Fortunately for TMLS, we have the Textron Information Systems Group that manages security for the enterprise as a whole, so the entire issue of security and any potential exposure to corporate espionage was already carefully addressed,” says Hansen.

Better Access for Future Growth

The convenience of maintaining documents in the Cloud is another important benefit for TMLS.

“We now have greater access to information throughout the organization,” explains Hansen.  TMLS is growing and already has multiple locations in Louisiana, as well as offices in Washington D.C., South Carolina and Michigan, and marketing offices internationally. “As we grow, this Cloud system means we can support more people working remotely, so it sets us up to expand easily.”

Beyond accessibility, Hansen says, the new, combined Cloud ECM and web-based capture software also serves as a quality control check. For example, staff can now more easily identify duplicates in files and in workflow processes.  “When you can see spikes or anomalies, it helps you analyze and improve the business.”

Replacing its prior Kofax Capture Software with the online software from CAPSYS Technologies was also a matter of both price, and user conveniences.

“The CAPSYS system is definitely more cost effective for us, since we really had more capture capabilities than we needed – and we were paying for it,” notes Hansen.

Other benefits of the web-based capture system include:

  •           Easier administration. No programming or scripting is required to create flexible data and document capture processes, making CAPSYS CAPTURE unique compared with other capture software systems
  •          The ability to scan and capture documents from any location (distributed capture) via a Web browser, versus a centralized capture system
  •          Elimination of user and volume-based fees
  •          No software installation needed per workstation, in turn, reducing security concerns with individual users

In addition, the move to the new online capture software enables more efficient auditing.

“With our previous system, auditing was a manual process.  After documents were scanned in batches, we could extract only 100 at a time, and were limited to 1,000 per day, per user,” says Hansen. 

Now, audits are much easier and faster.  What used to take an hour per week now takes 15 minutes, he notes. “This new software is more automated – and therefore more accurate – and more reliable.  It gives us more opportunities to reconcile since it provides more data.”

This aspect of the imaging system was important for TMLS to eventually obtain certification from the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA).  “When DCAA saw our process, they understood that we are validating as we go along, which reduces risk,” he says. “This kind of accuracy and consistency in our processes is valuable to our customers.”

Overall, Hansen says the new ECM and capture systems are performing quite well.

“Our uptime is solid; everything is working reliably, and, we’re able to work more efficiently. We’re keeping up with the daily document load, instead of having a backlog.”

The success of this latest system solidifies the value of having an expert consultant like IDT involved.  In addition to a long-standing relationship with TMLS, IDT has

also designed systems for Textron’s Financial Shared Services Center, Kautex, Greenlee, Bell Helicopter and more.

“We look at IDT as our partner,” says Hansen.  “We lean on their subject matter expertise, which allows us to deploy forward-thinking technologies.”

 

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