Brickworks details ERP integration project



blog Building materials product company Brickworks last hit the IT headlines in May 2011, when it revealed it had deployed a fleet of Apple iPads coupled with software as a service platform to empower its employees on the road. Now the organisation has revealed a very different style of deployment. In a case study published by Microsoft this week, the organisation details how it has integrated various accounts payable and invoicing systems together using a combination of SharePoint, software from smart processing company Kofax and Microsoft partner Efficiency Leaders. A few sample paragraphs:

General Manager Finance, Damien Frost, arrived at the company in 2007 to find a paper-based workflow in place to deal with around 10,000 invoices a month. “Invoices getting lost was quite common and they bounced around different locations trying to find the right person to approve them,” said Frost.

Brickworks decided to introduce automated account payables workflows and increase efficiency in their business-critical processes by connecting their existing line of business systems with SharePoint. Implemented by Australian and New Zealand solutions provider, Efficiency Leaders, the Business-Critical SharePoint (BCSP) solution integrates Kofax Capture, Kofax Transformation Modules and Maximise Financials via Microsoft SharePoint 2010. It provides user interaction for both workflow and image and data storage and includes complex routing for review/approval and receipting for processing invoices.

Now Brickworks employees are able to raise and approve purchase orders on line rather than manually, so that these can be automatically matched with scanned invoices. The solution delivers automatic classification and separation of documents. The solution also caters for supporting documents which are combined with the invoice and stored as one file linked to the finance system, enabling easy retrieval when the need arises.

To be honest, I find this kind of deployment quite interesting. It’s a perfect example of a number of different solutions coming together to solve a fairly complex problem, without throwing out the baby with the bathwater. In this case, SharePoint provides the glue between a number of different systems, and Kofax’s software acts as the endpoint to capture and process data into Brickworks’ platform. And of course Efficiency Leaders does the systems integration work. Nice one. If things go on like this, Brickworks may well develop a reputation as having an IT department which does things smarter — rather than applying a blunt instrument to every situation.

Image credit: Brickworks