Case study: Logica delivers leading Accounts Payable solution on SoftCo R8
IT and business services company Logica has drawn on more than 30 years expertise in payment processes to develop some of the world’s most sophisticated payment-cycle software. The company employs around 40,000 people globally, and has an international customer base.
SoftCo is one of Logica’s trusted partners. The two companies have shared their expertise over 10 years to develop a market-leading Accounts Payable (AP) product, which is used by diverse organisations such as the Finnish Government and the EBS Building Society. The latest release of this collaboration is built on the SoftCo R8 architecture.
We value what SoftCo does because they bring a high level of expertise around compliance that has become a crucial part of our solutions.
The relationship is a classic software partnership, taking SoftCo and Logica into territories where they might not otherwise do business, while complementing each other’s strengths to deliver a more complete solution that stands out from its competitors.
“We value what SoftCo does because they bring a high level of expertise around compliance that has become a crucial part of our solutions,” said Kati Siikonen, Service Director, Logica. “It is something missing from competing products so it is very important to us.”
SoftCo AP is an Aaccounts Payable product developed by Logica that replaces inefficient paper-based processes with a compliant, fully automated workflow solution. By digitising paperwork, either through scans or by starting out with electronic files, an organisation can reduce errors caused by manual data entry, avoiding lost documents and an inefficient paper trail.
SoftCo’s R8 archiving system provides an end-to-end document management and complaint storage solution that is used by leading organisations such as Argos, Halifax Bank of Scotland, Sunny Delight and Logitech.
The product is the culmination of many years of R&D, from Logica perfecting the optimum way to route an invoice through to payment, and SoftCo developing extensive domain knowledge about compliant storage, workflow, and the most effective methods for loading high volumes of documents using its R8 Business Automation Platform.
“Logica has written sophisticated workflow rules that sit on top of our infrastructure,” explained Robert Hickey, Senior Project Manager, SoftCo. “We supply the compliant storage, archive and the database management.”
Invoices are routed through a workflow system that ensures they are approved by authorised people. Not only does it remove the risks associated with paper-based processes, SoftCo AP also integrates easily into ERP systems for an automated purchase order lifecycle that brings huge efficiencies to organisations.
From the moment an invoice is received to when it is signed-off and paid, the users, databases and permissions around the entire lifecycle management are controlled by SoftCo AP which gives full visibility to the entire AP process. Three-way invoice matching (order, receipt, invoice) is automatic and exception routing for documents that fail to match are all part of a sophisticated, highly specialised workflow process.
Supplier queries are handled quickly and easily. SoftCo R8 stores data in a secure repository where key invoice data is indexed and searched according to criteria such as the invoice number, the account number or the date. Documents can be retrieved quickly and easily.
SoftCo AP reduces the cost of invoice processing and saves time, allowing staff to be redeployed to more productive functions within the business. Deployed by the Finnish Government, SoftCo AP cut the cost of invoice processing from €30 per invoice to €10.
Another unique selling point is its ease of use. The huge functionality of the system is delivered through an intuitive user-friendly interface with different levels of access control that mask its complexity. The web-based software is accessed via a simple log on which opens up a series of menus and fields appropriate to the user’s role.
Written in Java and accessed through a browser without the need for additional client-based software, it is designed from the bottom up to be a web-based application. “You can handle the whole workflow process through one user interface, with different access levels given to different users,” said Kati Siikonen. “This avoids having to have separate licences for different roles which is what some of our competitors do. We keep it simple.”
You can handle the whole workflow process through one user interface, with different access levels given to different users. This avoids having to have separate licences for different roles which is what some of our competitors do. We keep it simple
Quantifying the benefits that SoftCo AP can bring to a business, Kati Siikonen cites a customer that reduced costs by 75 per cent by automating its AP process, including the outsourcing of the invoice scanning to its service provider.
SoftCo AP is either deployed on the customer site or delivered through a Software as a Service model using the SoftCo Cloud infrastructure. The pay-as-you-go Cloud service removes the need for any capital investment and takes the strain away from in-house IT resources.
Choosing the right approach will depend on many factors, from the type of business to its existing IT infrastructure. As a general rule, a company with up to 50,000 invoices per annum would soon get a return with an on-premise system investment. For smaller businesses, where the number of transactions does not justify the investment, the Cloud service makes sense. A firm with as few as 4,000 invoices a year will get a worthwhile return with the pay-you-go model and avoid having to make any capital investments.
Ten reasons why SoftCo transforms the Accounts Payable process
- Once invoices are captured electronically they can be automatically distributed to appropriate personnel for approval and sign-off
- Invoice matching and exception routing are also automated
- Early payment discounts are more achievable and late payment penalties are less likely to be incurred
- Manual error is removed by automatic indexing and data entry
- Cross-referencing capabilities ensure more accuracy, even to legacy applications
- Search and retrieval of invoices is much easier and faster, even from within an ERP system
- Discrepancy resolution and response times to supplier inquiries are much faster
- Procedures and approvals use automatic rules-based routing and processing that meet corporate and governmental compliance requirements
- Real-time key performance indicators (KPIs) monitor the process, performing three-way matches if required
- Costs are cut and time is saved, allowing resources to be redeployed to more productive parts of the business