Koger Equity sees significant savings in time and money.
Company: Koger Equity, Inc.
Industry: Real Estate Investment Trust
Issue: Improve business processes and security while going paperless
Solution: iChannel Document Management and CRM
Result: Streamlined accounts payable paper flow and increased efficiency in document management
For some time, Koger had been aware of the need to review some of its business processes in an effort to certainly reduce and hopefully eliminate its reliance on paper-based files and records. With an upcoming office move, there was added motivation to eliminate the need for the several thousand square feet of Class ‘A’ office space traditionally devoted to document storage. The decision was made to research and acquire a document management system to address the front end scanning requirement as well as the back end document management and retrieval.
Steve Abney, Koger’s Vice President of Finance, sponsored the project. “We needed to identify an initial application to help develop an effective set of implementation procedures and decided to start in the accounts payable department,” said Abney. The project involved back scanning the previous two years of payables invoices and checks as well as scanning in all new invoices when they arrived. That project took 2-3 months. Koger deployed two high-speed scanners and employed two temporary staff members to tackle the back scanning. The results of the project have been highly rewarding.
After careful research, Koger chose to partner with Atlanta-based Conarc, Inc. Conarc could point to extensive expertise in commercial real estate applications with many large clients throughout North America. Conarc had developed iChannel as an entirely web-based collaborative document management system. As a web-based solution, it is ideal for deploying in widely dispersed operations. With 70% of its employees located on site at the various properties, Koger needed an effective yet inexpensive, distributed solution. Needing only a web browser, property managers and staff are now able to have access to documents in iChannel from anywhere at any time. Along with flexibility of access has also come much improved data security. “We are now able to aggregate all of our data storage much more easily which greatly simplifies back-up,” says IT Director, Mark Saunders.
iChannel will be implemented as both an intranet and extranet. Initially it has been implemented as an intranet service for Koger’s internal employees but they plan to activate its powerful extranet functionality. This will allow Koger to start collaborating and sharing documents with tenants, vendors, and other parties external to the organization.
The Accounts Payable department at the corporate center was the first to implement the system. Invoices from all regional centers along with the check used to pay them for the previous year were scanned and “filed” under the corresponding vendor. “The speed at which we can access records has brought a significant increase in productivity,” said Debi Ritenauer, Koger’s A/P Administrator. Koger staff at the regional centers no longer have to contact the corporate office with questions or need to look up an invoice. iChannel provides them direct access to the stored images plus the flexibility to search by vendor, invoice number, or check number. The ease with which invoices and checks can now be accessed has greatly enhanced vendor relations.
The Accounts Receivable department was the next to implement iChannel. As with Payables, all regional centers now have direct access to cash receipts and tenant invoices stored at the corporate data center. In addition to increasing productivity in the daily operations of these departments, improved document access with iChannel has made accounting audits much more efficient.
The Corporate Tax department has also implemented iChannel for document storage. In addition to fast and easy access, the tax department has taken advantage of iChannel security protocols to implement restrictions on who can access these confidential documents.
- Streamline accounts payable paper flow
- Reduced the direct on-site and off-site costs of paper storage
- Real time access to approved documents
Conarc’s iChannel solution has helped Koger quickly and effectively streamline our accounts payable paper flow. Within a relatively short period of time we were able to electronically file and catalogue a substantial amount of transactions, and our remote users as well as our corporate office now have access to that data through iChannel’s easy-to-use web interface. We have continued to leverage our iChannel investment by electronically storing and cataloging various other file types, such as tenant leases, tax returns, SEC filings, loan documents and insurance policies, and of course can customize security access to all of these documents. We also intend to use iChannel as the tool through which we will create and share documents with our business partners, such as tenants, vendors, brokers and lenders. Conarc’s iChannel solution is helping Koger generate, negotiate, store and share documents very efficiently. The solution has more than paid for itself by providing broader access to our documents and reducing the direct on-site and off-site costs of paper storage. “We think it’s a solution that can be very attractive for any number of organizations,” explains Steve Abney, Chief Financial Officer.
About Koger Equity, Inc.
Koger Equity, Inc. is a Boca Raton, Florida-based, self-managed real estate investment trust (REIT). Koger owns, operates, and manages 126 office buildings, containing 9.21 million rentable square feet, located primarily in 17 suburban office projects in ten cities in the Southeastern United States and Texas. National and regional companies or government agencies occupy the majority of all office space owned by Koger. The Company’s commitment to high-quality, low-cost service is evidenced by the fact that approximately 70 percent of all employees are on-site directly serving tenants at each center. From its beginning as a general contractor, Koger has conducted the functions of land acquisitions, site planning, development, and building construction in-house. Koger has designed and constructed most of the buildings it now owns and operates or manages.