Category Archives: News

Esker’s Cloud-Based Document Process Automation Solutions Shortlisted for 2018 SaaS Awards

Sydney, Australia — August 8, 2018Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced it is a finalist in the 2018 SaaS Awards Program in the category Best SaaS Product for Business Accounting or Finance.

With awards for excellence and innovation in SaaS, the Software as a Service (SaaS) Awards program accepts entries worldwide, including the U.S., Canada, Australasia, U.K. and EMEA. The SaaS Awards program is now in its third year of recognizing and celebrating innovation in software.

“Our mission at Esker is to enable our customers to improve efficiencies, visibility and accuracy through streamlining their business operations while providing excellent service,” said Steve Smith, U.S. chief operating officer at Esker. “We are honored to be recognized for the third consecutive year as a top global SaaS provider.”

Esker’s AI-driven document process automation solutions allow organizations to automate highly manual and low-value tasks in their order-to-cash (O2C) and purchase-to-pay (P2P) processes. Its solutions are designed to eliminate the need for paper and easily integrate with existing infrastructures. This frees businesses to focus on tasks that provide value to customers and optimize financial management.

Read more: https://www.esker.com.au/company/press-releases/eskers-cloud-based-document-process-automation-solutions-shortlisted-2018/

 

Esker AI-Driven Document Process Automation

The life sciences industry is at the threshold of a sweeping transformation with digitally engaged patients, more complex and stringent regulations, and value-based outcomes defining its expansive spectrum. For progressive life sciences organizations, the vital need of the hour is to be cognizant of the rising quality, compliance standards, customer expectations and take an automated and cost-effective approach to attain operational excellence alongside streamlining the handling of complex documents. “In this scenario, automation of document processing has become a necessity rather than an afterthought within the life sciences industry,” says Jean-Michel Bérard, founder and CEO of Esker. Esker offers the perfect panacea with its cloud-based collaborative platform and AI engine that strengthen business relationships, improve transaction of business-related documents, and enhance productivity.

Esker satisfies all the criteria that pharmaceutical and life
sciences companies seek in a comprehensive solution—costefficiency, increased visibility, and document security in a
unified and integrated platform

Esker recognizes the uniqueness and variability of operations in terms of process complexity and formality across organizations and their impact on multiple departments, end users, and third parties. By leveraging AI, machine learning, deep learning, robotic process automation to fax and email, IDoc EDI/XML, data capture, validation, formatting, archiving, and delivery, Esker empowers its clients with the choice to customize automation according to their requirements. “What makes Esker unique from other point-to-point solutions is that it houses all of the necessary functionality needed for the efficient flow and compliant management of customer and supplier communications in a single automated platform,” states Bérard.

Esker’s automation capability brings to the table lower processing costs, full regulatory compliance, faster processing times, flexible deployment options, and complete process visibility. “The end result being Esker satisfies all the criteria that pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device manufacturing companies seek in a comprehensive solution—cost-efficiency, increased visibility, and document security in a unified and integrated platform,” says Bérard. Moreover, Esker’s solution spans procure-to-pay and order-to-cash cycles and seamlessly integrates with multiple ERPs.

As per Bérard, Esker utilizes the agile methodology so that their customers, business partners, and key stakeholders are able to achieve maximum value throughout every phase of solution delivery. The hands-on approach that customers experience from Esker early in the process, results in faster ROI, value-added features, reduced risks, and lower overall implementation costs. Esker provides context to decisions and modifications, features that are ready to be tested and used in a short amount of time, along with greater process insight. With more than 5000 SaaS customers and
600,000+ SaaS users worldwide, Esker provides Cloud services, which represent approx 85 percent of its revenue.

Bérard shares a client interaction, where MEDRAD Inc., an affiliate of Bayer Medical Care, had to process 12,000+ orders to satisfy the demands of its 4500 strong customer base and struggled with the time-consuming task of manually feeding the order faxes and emails within its systems. With Esker’s order processing automation
system, the orders are now automatically captured and populated, resulting in 75 percent faster processing times than previous manual methods. Moreover, Esker was able to reduce the processing time of each order from eight minutes to 1.35 minutes and provide 99.6 percent success in order entry through the AI recognition engine. MEDRAD is also leveraging Esker’s Accounts Payable
automation solution to streamline the processing of vendor invoices and purchase requisitions.

With its global footprint in North America, Latin America, Europe and the Asia Pacific, Esker is all set to expand their AI capabilities to predictive analytics with deep learning and empower sales reps and customers with mobile ordering features and tracking capabilities. On the voyage to create a market disruption, Esker is looking forward to improving user experience with new report and dashboard systems as well as enhanced customer information management.

Source:

https://www.apacciooutlook.com/magazines/June2018/PharmaAndLifeScience

the profile is on page no: 16 and the listing details is on page no: 15.

Esker Receives the Forbes Futur40 Award Award for Fast and Promising Company Growth

Sydney, Australia — July 23, 2018 — Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced it was awarded the Futur40 award by Forbes France for recognition as one of the fastest growing listed French small and medium-sized enterprises.

The Futur40 ranking is based on data provided by Morningstar. It recognizes 40 non-financial Euronext Paris-listed companies that have distinguished themselves based on the originality of their business model and financial performance over the past three years. The fifth-annual Futur40 awards ceremony took place at the International Financial Forum in Paris on July 11, 2018. This award was presented by Forbes magazine and PMEFinance-EuropeEntrepreneurs, in partnership with Euronext, MorningStar, RSM, and the Federation of Individual Investors and Clubs (F2iC).

“It’s an honor to be recognized with theFutur40 award,” said Jean-Michel Bérard, CEO at Esker. “Esker’s success can be attributed to our ongoing commitment to providing customers with innovative and effective solutions.”

Esker’s impressive financial performance is marked by the continued success of the company’s cloud-based document process automation solutions, which represent 85 percent of sales. This business growth has enabled Esker to accelerate solution implementation thanks to commercial partnerships and strengthen investments in human resources.

Read more here:

https://www.esker.com.au/company/press-releases/esker-receives-forbes-futur40-award-award-fast-and-promising-company-growth/

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180723005102/en/Esker-Receives-Forbes-Futur40-Award-Fast-Promising

Should we view Artificial Intelligence (AI) as the evil robotic mind that has prompted an inflated cause for concern when it comes to thinking about job security becoming under threat?

As we see increased thoughts towards the adoption of autonomous vehicles, delivery of goods via drones, chatbots taking fast food orders, immersive technology such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), then should we be concerned for the future of the job roles that we currently have and the security of the future workforce?

We increasingly hear that the next industrial revolution of robotic process automation, machine learning, and AI is upon us and with this in mind, a certain amount fear, uncertainty and doubt seems to have set in. Just as history has shown with the very first industrial revolution, many people initially opposed this change due to the fear of large-scale manufacturing leading to the deskilling and replacement of the workforce.

Of course, some work practices were replaced and lower quality items initially produced but for the large majority, it actually meant a surge in workforce employment and improved practices to supply the increased demand for goods. In fact, one study from Gartner Research states that while 1.8 million jobs will be lost by 2020, 2.3 million new ones will be created.

So, we should probably embrace the new industrial revolution and view it as a positive step towards improving our work and lifestyles yet further. Yes, there may well be some short-term implications concerning job replacement but in the end, the impact will be minimal just as it was with the first industrial revolution.

Therefore, following our own philosophy at Esker, whereby we embrace technological advancements such as AI to enhance the way our customers can go beyond business as usual, we have been pleasantly reassured to continue our investment in the development of such solutions.

For example, one area in which we help organisations to improve their business practices through these technological advancements is the processing of incoming customer orders. When an order arrives in the system, the data is automatically extracted with machine learning and any exceptions are flagged for review. Approvals are then made through an automated workflow with accurate order data integrated into the ERP system. A copy is then archived for a complete electronic audit trail. Custom dashboards display data like the number of open issues or processing time, while a customer portal allows for orders to be placed from an online catalogue and for staff to quickly communicate with customers.

This allows benefits to be quickly realised, such as increasing the accuracy and efficiency of the processed data as well as improving the visibility of the workload. The result of these benefits does not diminish the skills of the workforce as perhaps perceived but actually enables them to allocate more time to assisting customers and providing a better overall customer experience.

With this, plus the various seminars and events I’ve attended over the past few months, I have been further reassured that this new era is not the apocalyptic end to the way we do business and won’t see humans being the puppets on the strings of a far superior robotic mind intent on taking over the world!

The fact is that technological advancements should be embraced and be viewed as a positive move towards enhancing our current working practices, improving the business world and making our lives even more positively interconnected to reap the rewards it will bring.

Written by Sam Townsend – Esker Head of Marketing, Northern Europe

Eliminating Paper in the Supply Chain with Esker

Paperless processes are freeing up resources and driving efficiency in procurement. Esker’s COO Steve Smith explains

Historically, companies have always spent a lot of time and money moving paper around. And if any aspect of that business involves supply chain management, then the inevitable large amounts of paperwork can result in a supply chain that’s sluggish and inefficient. In efforts to streamline, companies are increasingly looking into implementing digital technologies in their supply chains, which enables them to vastly increase the speed of processing while also going paperless.  

It is actually possible to quit paper completely, which has numerous positive knock-on effects, according to cloud-based document process automation solutions provider Esker. Along with doing away with the need for paper, automating every phase and type of business information exchange enables companies to reap a host of benefits in a short space of time; Esker says its solution can deliver a measurable ROI in as little as three to six months.

The company, which launched as a software vendor in 1985 in France before branching into document automation, operates across Europe, North America, Latin America and the Asia Pacific, and counts global heavyweights Ericsson, Hyundai, Heineken, John Deere, Kimberly-Clark and Microsoft among its 80,000 customers and millions of licensed users. Esker’s technology enables businesses in numerous sectors to automate manual inefficiencies and low-value tasks in their order-to-cash (O2C) and purchase-to-pay (P2P) processes.

Steve Smith, Esker’s Chief Operating Officer, says the company’s solutions are about “keeping the supply chain rolling and getting goods and services out as quickly as possible”. He adds that cloud-based process automation enables orders to get into the ERP quickly, invoices to be issued, purchase orders to be managed, and invoices to be approved and paid as quickly as possible – all without any data being inputted manually or paper being printed.

“We can get orders processed sometimes 80% to 90% faster than they could do manually, so they’re getting orders in and fulfilled quickly, keeping customers happier,” Smith shares.

Speed is something that has always been a priority in business but never more so than today, at a time when customers simply don’t want to wait. Younger generations have grown up alongside the digital boom, where everything is available instantly and services have grown exponentially.

“We’ve had many customers tell us that it’s been part of their strategy to fulfill orders the same day or within a 24-hour period. Aside from a competitive standpoint, they may offer certain goods and services that mean they have to get their products out faster, and were able to facilitate that,” Smith says.

“On the accounts receivables side, you’re gaining efficiencies by being able to send invoices in a format where your client can better work with them, so the customers of our customers can accept or request their invoices in electronic formats. If they still want them via paper, they can get them via paper, if that’s how it works better in their AP (accounts payable) process. It’s the same on the inbound or the P2P; our customers are seeing benefits by having their spend approved before they actually make it, not after the invoice is coming in. Having all the proper workflow to make sure the spend is acceptable means when the invoices do come in from suppliers, they’re paid much faster as it’s pre-approved.”

As well as reducing the time it takes to fulfill orders, going digital reduces the ecological impact a company has. It’s not often you can argue that the most efficient process in any given scenario can align with the best environmental decision, but Esker certainly makes a strong case for that, when you consider that it’s enabling a customer to send and received tens of thousands of digital documents each year, which reduces CO2 emissions and the need to cut down trees.

“We certainly know that we are reducing the amount of paper in companies and that there are environmental benefits to it; we know we’re saving trees,” Smith says, before adding that, unlike Esker, saving the planet has not been a key motivator for companies.

He admits: “Customers seem to care more about the cost-savings. We actually talked about doing more campaigns around green initiatives in the past but, surprisingly, it wasn’t as high of a priority within companies as we thought it would be. I was actually quite shocked.”

Something that will always be popular, however, is harnessing technologies that enable human resources to be freed up for more valuable tasks, as it delivers salary savings while significantly minimising the risk of human error.

SEE ALSO:

“The goal in many cases is to reduce human interaction and automate processes to the highest degree,” Smith says. “Then you can find other reasons to use those humans. With order processing, many customers are repurposing people that were interacting with those orders coming into more valued processes.”

Instead of workers being pushed out by automation, they can be redistributed to areas that make better use of human skills, though there still exists an opportunity to trim down the wage bill if required, Smith explains.

“Where we may see some reductions from the human perspective is where overtime is reduced greatly or they might not need to hire part-time individuals to handle peak period,” he says.

Turning his attention to Esker itself, Smith discusses exciting digital opportunities he wants to seize this year surrounding new legislation.

“We’re always looking at ways that we can enhance our solutions and certainly we are now with the B2G (business-to-government) initiatives in the Americas,” Smith shares, referring to e-invoicing becoming mandatory before the end of the 2018 fiscal year for companies in the US that provide goods and services to the government.

“We’ve hired a team to really focus on that in the Americas because it wasn’t as big of an initiative here as it has been in Europe and Latin America. We think, with the B2G initiative starting in the Americas, we could see a real spike in growth for electronic invoicing initiatives here. We’re going to hopefully see more activity around our accounts receivable solution.”

Moving to Europe, EU directive obligates all contracting authorities to be able to process e-invoices by the end of 2018 and a major e-invoicing initiative launched last year, requiring an interoperable, common standard for B2G trade in Europe, with a deadline for implementation of April 2019.

Smith adds: “We deal with all compliance issues in Europe and Latin America, and other parts of the world, including the B2G initiatives. We can format our documents to meet all the different compliance issues that are out there. On the B2G initiatives, we have to tailor the way the invoices are formatted, specifically to the different government initiatives. In Latin America, we’ve got to make sure the government sees invoices before they’re sent out to suppliers, and we’ve got to make sure we’re showing that VAT is being collected with the different compliance issues throughout Europe.”

In terms of what’s on the horizon, promising to disrupt the global supply chain management industry, Smith sees advancements in robotic processing and AI, revealing that this is a “big part” of Esker’s solution.

“Through AI and robotics, we are able to automate things faster and adapt to everybody’s environment. Even though what we do is similar in every company, in many cases there’s nuance involved with orders and invoices but no matter what kind of document we’re dealing with, having robotics and artificial intelligence built into our solutions enables faster adaption to environments. There’s a lot of talk around this right now and in the next few years we’re going to see huge advancements to speed up and enhance the whole supply chain management process.”

While discussing companies’ interest in embracing digital documents over paper documents, Smith tells Supply Chain Digital that he experienced a level of resistance to even going paperless until fairly recently. He cites younger generations entering the workforce as a key factor in driving a change in mentality.

“I’ve been talking about paperless for probably 30 years and it’s really been in the last five years that I’ve started to see many of the things that we talked about way back when really starting to take hold. The younger generations are used to using electronics – laptops, tablets, phones – and that’s the way that they are used to doing their daily activities. To receive something via paper seems odd to them and, quite frankly, they’re forcing people even in my generation to think differently,” he states. 

Asked if there is ever a need for paper, he concedes that he does find it useful to have paper documents occasionally – to look over when he’s traveling for instance – but believes “the need for paper has greatly diminished”.

“We’ve all learned to get used to paperless ways of communication and we’re finding that it’s just an easier way of doing things,” he concludes.

Esker: Growing the P2P Suite in 2018 and Beyond

Company Background

Esker was founded in 1985 with the vision of helping businesses deliver paper documents electronically. Today, more than 30 years later, they have stayed true to its roots and are now one of the larger document process automation vendors in the market. Over 85% of sales now come from its on-demand (SaaS) solutions for Purchase-to-Pay, Order-to-Cash, and document delivery. Headquartered in Lyon, France, Esker also has operations in North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

Based on the strong growth of its cloud-based solutions (+21% YOY), Esker’s 2017 sales revenues increased by 15.3% over 2016. Another interesting stat from the earnings release is that the number of employees in R&D increased by 18% in 2017, and now represents an impressive 22% of the total workforce.

During our briefing, Esker spoke to us primarily about the newer solution for Purchasing but also covered the Accounts Payable solution as well. Below is a brief description of each solution.

Accounts Payable

Esker’s sweet spot has always been its AP automation solution for the mid- and large-market. The cloud-based AP solution is designed to eliminate paper, reduce manual processing of invoices, lower costs, and improve efficiency. As you would expect they can easily handle most invoice formats and delivery vehicles. The solution can automate the AP process from invoice receipt to 3-way matching, and through to, and including, approval and transfer for payment. They have also automated the exception handling process, which can automatically be routed around based on customisable workflows and business rules.

Esker offers adapters for a number of ERPs including SAP, Oracle eBusiness Suite, and Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Over 50% of Esker’s AP customers have SAP as their backend ERP, not surprising since Esker has long provided integration to SAP. Two years ago they introduced an adapter for Oracle and this has resulted in good growth in this market segment as well. It is important to point out that Esker’s workflow sits outside of an organisation’s ERP, something they say is one of the major reasons clients select Esker for their AP automation.

Purchasing

Based on requests from its existing customers, and sensing market demand, Esker launched its on-demand Purchasing solution four years ago, in order to be able to offer full P2P functionality. The majority of Esker’s customers utilising the purchasing solution already had Esker’s AP solution or were sold the full P2P suite in the last four years. Esker Purchasing allows enterprises to automate the full P2P cycle, from the purchase request all the way through the payment process. Esker automates purchasing workflow and integrates seamlessly to the Esker AP solution. They provide out-of-the-box, role-based dashboards tailored to the specific needs of the user, and allow for easy switching between the AP and Purchasing solutions. Esker provides functionality to easily manage internal catalogs and is in the process of launching ‘punch-out’ catalog capability that will be available later this spring. Eskers purchasing solution is currently best suited to handle an organisation’s indirect spend but, Dupuy-Holdich said their vision is to possibly handle direct spend as well sometime in the future.

Final Thoughts

After a successful 2017, it was great to get an update from Esker to hear how they achieved such positive results and learn what they are currently working on and plans for the future. They have recently provided integration to SAP S4/Hana, Dynamics NAV 2017, and early payment discounts. Future plans include support for SAP S4/HANA Cloud and NAV 2018, punch-out catalogs, and contract management. They are working to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in all of its solutions. The ‘Esker AI Engine’ is currently being used to improve global field recognition, for an intelligent splitting of invoice batches, general ledger auto allocation, and improved supplier recognition on invoices and purchase orders. Esker R&D is looking to utilise AI to improve the functionality of its solutions wherever possible. Esker understands the importance of being able to offer a full P2P suite and is motivated to bring its purchasing solution on par with that of the AP solution. Esker has produced solid revenue growth over the last couple of years and has a plan in place to keep that momentum going in 2018. Ardent Partners is very interested to see where Esker goes from here and the traction they are able to achieve in the full P2P market.

 

Source: http://payablesplace.ardentpartners.com/2018/03/esker-growing-p2p-suite-2018/

 

Esker Enhances Order Processing Connectivity Through Mobile Solution

New functionality achieves greater level of sales order automation in the medical device industry and others

Sydney, Australia — May 14, 2018Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced the addition of mobile ordering functionality to its Esker Anywhere mobile application. Esker Anywhere provides on-the-road accessibility for sales representatives placing orders directly on behalf of their customers, and customers themselves, and is available on both Apple® and Android™ devices.

Originally launched to enhance the purchase-to-pay (P2P) cycle, the app now supports the sales order process. The new features enable mobile users to retrieve items directly from the product catalog, or to scan a barcode and automatically populate the product and lot number—saving time and increasing the accuracy of orders. Subsequent scans of the same barcode increase the quantity of the order. From there, the order can be completed through the app. Different order types can be placed, including replenishment orders, sample no-charge orders and standard orders.

Sales representatives also have greater visibility into the order process through a mobile dashboard, which displays the number of orders in the queue and their status. All of this integrates seamlessly with Esker’s AI-driven document process automation solutions.

Read the full press release here

How Sales Order Automation Turns Soft Benefits into Tangible ROI

 

Prospects ask this a lot: Does automating sales order processing lead to eliminating staff?

It’s a common misconception. The purpose of automation is not to reduce headcount, but rather to provide staff with tools and smart technology — like Artificial Intelligence (AI) — to supplement their work. While automation does free up staff time to work on more value-added activities, possibly opening the door to re-allocating them within the company, there are numerous soft benefits that should also be considered.

Four Soft Benefits and Tangible Outcomes

  1. Overtime reduction; better work-life balance and lower costs 
    I recently spoke with a pipe manufacturer whose key driver for their automation project was eliminating mandatory overtime. Management was concerned that their Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) were burnt out, more error prone and likely to leave due to excessive overtime. Sales order automation with machine-learning technology would allow the company to eliminate mandatory overtime and avoid new hire costs while giving CSRs a better work-life balance and work enjoyment.
    How close are your CSR’s to being burnt out and moving on?
  2. No more mundane; retaining valuable staff 
    One life science customer explained how they routinely hire MBA level CSRs who tend to be expensive and tough to recruit. After spending all that time and money to recruit them, they were placed in a job full of mundane, manual activities that ultimately killed their drive and ambition. Instead of leveraging their knowledge to benefit the business, they were placed in a position that they will more than likely move on from after a short period of time.
    How many of your educated CSRs are performing mundane order entry tasks?
  3. Encourage high performers; recognising your staff
    Another customer implemented sales order automation, leading staff to reduce order entry time by six minutes per order. Due to this, the company was able to avoid hiring additional employees and focus on encouraging current staff, promoting the top performers to coach others. Some CSRs were even able to be moved to inside sales and IT roles. Automation provided the platform for improvement and visibility into daily activities, allowing the company to recognise and promote employees.
    How many CSRs have you been able to promote internally?
  4. Better customer experience; cutting out competition
    The real win is when the CSRs are able to spend more time serving customers than entering and checking orders. For a furniture manufacturer, it meant they were able to answer customer inquiries in one short call versus three calls. With staff spending more time working with customers, they create a better experience which cuts out competition by creating loyal customers.
    Is your staff able to provide a superior customer experience or are they stuck on manual order entry?

Soft Savings = Big Benefits

When companies invest in their people, process and technology, everybody benefits. Not only are CSRs more fulfilled, they end up sticking around for longer and contributing more. Adrian Posterraro, Director of Customer Success at Integer Holdings Corporation, invested in training, new processes and sales order automation. In return, he was able to avoid hiring more people, dramatically improve morale, increase customer satisfaction by 7.5%, absorb a 16% per year growth, and net a 4.4% profit gain (EBITA).

Soft savings add up. Be sure to vet the sales order automation solutions you consider and look for a solution that can offer more than just buzzwords. Instead, ensure the solution vendor has numerous case studies, video testimonials, and customers who can describe how they utilised the time and effort saved with automation as well as the results that followed.

 

Property Brokers – Improving supplier invoice processing with cloud-based accounts payable automation

BACKGROUND

Property Brokers, New Zealand’s leading provincial real estate brand, runs its entire accounts payable (AP) process out of its head office in Palmerston North. The company was manually handling the processing and approvals of its 1,200-1,300 monthly supplier invoices (for the head office and all the North Island regional branches). Unfortunately, the process was very paper-heavy and laborious and not a good use of time or resources.

Each invoice was scanned and emailed to the right branch or department for approval, and depending on the approval hierarchy, would sometimes need to go through as many as five approvers in the company. Each recipient printed the invoice, checked and authorised it for payment, applied the correct finance code, then signed and emailed back the re-scanned invoice copy. The accounting team at the head office would then print it out again and match it against the original invoice, before entering the data into the company’s Accredo accounting software. After ticking the invoice off on the master list, the invoice was finally filed.

This time-consuming process was both inefficient and error-prone. Data entry errors and payment duplications were numerous and the accounting team lacked real-time visibility of where an invoice was in the approval/payment cycle. It also made invoice handling slower and costlier than necessary.

The company knew it had to improve its overall invoice management process through automated capture of invoices and electronic matching and routing for approval, as well as reduce time and costs associated with manual matching, distribution of invoices and keying-in of information.

SOLUTION

It was time to modernise. Lee Waller, Property Brokers’ financial controller, was keen to find a better way to manage incoming invoices and expense claims handling. “I wanted an automated, simpler, faster and less labour-intensive system,” he said. So, the search was on. Property Brokers drew up a list of requirements and asked four potential partners to submit proposals.

Fuji Xerox New Zealand recommended Esker’s Accounts Payable automation solution as the perfect fit with the business. And, delighted with both the affordability and functionality of the solution, Property Brokers agreed.

The Fuji Xerox implementation team worked closely with Property Brokers’ finance team to configure Esker’s solution to reflect the company’s internal processes. From day one, Property Brokers were impressed with Fuji Xerox’s approach, which involved taking time to understand the business and get things right. The effort paid off and the go-live was a success.

Automating the invoice and expense approval process delivered instant results. The new level of consistent invoice coding provides an accurate picture of what the company is spending and where. Esker also gives branch and department managers a clearer view of their running expenses, which helps them eliminate unnecessary overheads.

Esker captures invoices from emails and uses intelligent Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to extract data from header and line level detail. It provides users with a friendly interface for invoice review and coding, a workflow engine to handle multi-level approval, reporting with dashboards, as well as archiving of images with the audit trail for further retrieval.

In addition to supporting Property Brokers’ technology strategy, Esker’s cloud-based solution makes invoice and expense information available to managers across New Zealand. Because invoices are now entered into the approval workflow as soon as they arrive, reviewing them has become a more manageable task for managers.

Thanks to AP automation, invoices are no longer scanned, printed, filed and manually matched. The AP team has been able to focus on more value-added tasks and keep pace with the growing business without the need to recruit more staff and monthly invoice close-off date has been reduced.

The Property Brokers team are enthusiastic about their new automated AP solution. Even the staff members who were initially nervous about such a dramatic change are now delighted to use the system. The company knew the project was a
success when they started receiving positive feedback from business users.

“I love Esker. We will see some major improvements to the bottom line in the coming months!”
Greg Kellick | Waikato regional manager

Read more:

How to Start Building a Successful Customer Experience Program

By the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and quality as the key brand differentiator. In other words, brands that don’t work on improving their customer experience will be left behind.

Customer experience is more than a trend or buzzword — it will play a pivotal role in the future of marketing and has an insightful ability to predict where a company will be 5-10 years down the line. What should you be doing, if anything to prepare for this change?

First, what is customer experience?

On a basic level, customer experience (CX) refers to how a customer perceives their interactions with your company. How does your customer feel at every touchpoint they have with you, from marketing to sales to support? CX is ultimately defined by the consumer, which means businesses need to actively adapt and set themselves up to exceed expectations.

Should you be investing in this?

Joe Hanousek, Esker’s Customer Experience Manager, believes that every company needs to be tracking their customer touchpoints and working towards continually improving that process. He often says that: “Seventy percent of senior executives in companies believe that CX is important. In my opinion, the other 30 percent shouldn’t be executives.” So much of the B2B focus is on lead generation instead of improving customer experience, although most people are well aware that it is less expensive to keep existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. Companies mistakenly start looking into customer experience as a last resort once they’re suffering, but customer experience is best as a proactive approach, taken when business is growing versus lagging behind. The graph below shows just how valuable an investment in improving customer experience could be.

How do you begin?

If you’re just getting ready to work on improving customer experience, aim for C-level sponsorship. It won’t go very far unless there are people at the top behind it, so do the research you need to convince someone to back you up. Most executives are aware of the importance of CX, but still aren’t taking active steps to improve upon it. If you haven’t already started in a few years, it’ll be too late.

Next, be sure you’re ready to invest a significant amount of time and human resources into building a solid customer experience program. At Esker, the process took a full year to go from conception to having a Customer Experience manager and a team in place. It’s a good idea to have at least one person fully devoted to customer experience and multiple people from different departments committed to being a part of the CX improvement process; otherwise, CX can easily become a task that is swept away on an already busy to-do list. This will also depend on executive buy-in, as far as whether the need to have a customer experience manager or team is understood.

Finally, it is important to communicate the goals of the customer experience program throughout the organizationEveryone should be on board and kept up to date. As Joe puts it: “It’s not C-Level people or managers that make customer experience better — it’s the staff working directly with them.” Educate, train and update all those who interact with customers at any level on what needs to be done to improve those important touchpoints.

The beginning stages of our customer experience journey.

Joe’s biggest recommendation for those starting to work in CX? Change your perspective. “It is not an area for problem customers to go to, but rather a way to prevent customers from ever having the problem in the first place,” he explained. As staff focus on offering solutions to immediate problems, the CX team should be looking into why those problems happened in the first place, and if there is anything that could be done to fix that.

Customer experience goes beyond customer satisfaction or happiness. A successful customer experience program will work to prevent problems before they arise, delighting your clients past the point of mere satisfaction. CX has become more of a trend in the past two years, but it is definitely here to stay for the long haul. If you have any questions about the process we went through to build our customer experience program at Esker, or about customer experience in general, leave a comment below and we will respond to you!