Another exciting quarter in the X3CloudDocs world as we continue to sign up new partners from around the globe. Welcome to AIM System based in Hong Kong, Kerr Consulting in the United States, Usage Business Solutions in Australia and Steltix in the UK.
We have launched the X3CloudDocs Academy to help partners begin delivering to their own customer base as quickly as possible. The Academy includes three streams;
· Technical Consultant for installation resources
· Configuration and Training Expert for implementation consultants
· Support Expert for on-going assistance to customers
On successful completion of the Academy delegates will receive certificates to acknowledge their accreditation. The Academy is already being delivered to a partner in the United States as I write. We look forward to rolling out the program to more partners shortly.
I’ll end with a statistic. X3CloudDocs Inbound has now automatically created over 200,000 invoices in Sage X3. Even at the lowest estimate that accounts for £1,000,000 of savings for our customers!
Since the release of Inbound 2023R1 and Outbound 2023R2, see Newsbytes Q2 2023 for more details, we have been busy upgrading customers so they can enjoy the new features.
Considerable progress is being made on the next release of Inbound. Included in 2023R2 will be the ability to process BP Supplier Inter-Company invoices.
We are continuing to improve the data synchronization. In terms of performance the method of uploading data payloads is being improved, which is particularly beneficial to customers with large data sets. We are also adding more flexibility so that customers can modify the master data upload themselves, without the need for specific code to be written.
An example of this is that in Australia the tax registration number is populated from the Company Registration Number field on the Supplier but as standard it comes from the VAT Registration Number. Currently a small customization is required but it will not be from 2023R2 onwards.
Other features to look forward to in 2023R2 include improvements to soft close options and the ability to upload multiple charts of accounts via the synchronization function.
Functionally we are testing improvements to tag recognition. Once complete, document recognition can be defined using X, Y co-ordinates or specific labels embedded in the report.
On the web client we are improving the sidebar navigation to reduce the need to scroll if you have lots of document stores. A favorites option will also be added so you can quickly get to your most important document stores. Another feature will be an option to select then e-mail or download multiple documents at once. Behind the scenes there are lots of technical improvements to make sure the product stays up to date with the latest advances.
I anticipate these enhancements to be released over the next couple of months.
If you have any feedback for the X3CloudDocs team, or would like to see specific updates to the product, please let us know!
As businesses continue to strive towards sustainability goals there are plenty of avenues of investigation open; from energy efficiency, waste management, & general decarbonisation. For businesses still processing large volumes of paper documentation, there are several environmental benefits that Electronic Document Management (EDM) provides over traditional paper-based document management.
The implementation of EDM can deliver the following benefits, which we will explore in turn – however, each is, to an extent, interrelated, so separating them into separate concepts is somewhat reductive.
Reduced paper usage:
EDM eliminates (or reduces) the use of paper; which on the surface is a simple observation but may have deeper consequences overall.
The reduction in paper consumption will contribute to a net reduction in the number of trees cut down for paper production and the energy which takes place in this process along the full supply chain (from the forestry, processing, production and distribution). This results in a lower carbon footprint and helps to preserve natural resources. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that the production of paper and printing contributes to air and water pollution, deforestation, and the waste of natural resources.
Reducing paper will contribute to all five of the benefits listed above, along the supply chain and usage workflow.
Beyond paper production, which is estimated to account for 15% of energy consumed in the US, EDM software requires less energy to store, access and distribute documents, compared to paper-based document management, which requires energy for printing, copying, and transporting paper. Not to mention the energy consumption in secure disposal.
Through the use of shared physical infrastructure (using multi-tenant SaaS EDM provisions), there is an economy of scale for shared access and storage for documents in the cloud.
The volume of paper produced and consumed globally on an annual basis is enormous, albeit on a declining trend, significantly accelerated by the rapid adoption of remote working practices since 2020. The production of paper products is a significant contributor to industrial waste, and at a consumer level, the waste associated with printing (not just paper, but ink/toner and other associated eWaste) is significant.
Undertaking to use EDM can eliminate large volumes of waste through the single production of a document which can be accessed infinitely and simultaneously across multiple locations; eliminating multiple printing and waste cycles.
Lower greenhouse gas emissions:
The transportation of paper documents contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, while electronic documents can be shared and accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, reducing the need for physical transportation. It has been estimated that the use of electronic documents can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 60% compared to paper-based document management.
It is challenging to directly compare electronic and physical document CO2 impact, the profiles of energy usage are significantly different given the physical vs virtual nature and their use of passive or energised infrastructure. What can be asserted is that the emissions from paper production, transportation, and disposal, in addition to those associated with the printing and transmission of documents at a consumer level, are significant; and the adoption of shared infrastructure (cloud-architected EDM) for the replacement of these processes would be expected to be more efficient and less polluting.
Electronic documents can be easily transmitted, accessed and shared with others, regardless of location, reducing the need for physical storage space and the transportation of physical documents. Furthermore, the provision of document management via the cloud facilitates remote working and eliminates unnecessary travel to office locations to process paperwork.
As part of a wider ESG strategy, although unrelated to environmental sustainability, the use of digitised documents also provides enhanced accessibility with regard to visual impairments, facilitating the use of eReaders and text-to-speech technologies.
EDM can offer a more sustainable and environmentally friendly approach to document management compared to traditional paper-based methods. Performing the actual analysis of this is very challenging due to the interrelated nature of the impacts; however, the savings and benefits which can be inferred are logically coherent based on the evidence available.
Reach out to our team to find out more about the X3CloudDocs document management solution.
We’re thrilled to announce the launch of our 2023 R1 release of X3CloudDocs Inbound, with loads of new features to make your invoice processing even easier. We’ve listened to feedback from our customers and incorporated a number of suggestions that many of you have asked for:
Update your active dimension values direct from Sage X3, including via automatic synchronisations using recurring tasks. You can also configure this in X3 so that you only pass the dimension values from X3 that you need, when you need them. Look out for further synchronisation enhancements in forthcoming releases!
If you need to include additional costs on invoices relating to freight, duties, taxes, and so on, then you can add the fields you need for invoices from each supplier, so that these values are automatically captured from your invoices and passed direct to the document in Sage X3!
If you use multiple Invoice Types in Sage X3, maybe because of legislation requirements or because you simply need to update the defaults from time to time, then you can now set new default parameters in X3 for Purchase and Supplier Invoices and Credits, and even override them at invoice level.
Purchase Receipt Matching
View details of Purchase Receipt and Packing Slip numbers for your PO lines from Sage X3, and then define the delivery number to be used for more specific matching of invoices linked to POs.
Line Level Comments
Provide more detailed narrative for your invoice lines, for both PO and non-PO invoices, to override existing invoice header comments.
Line Level Tax Codes
Provide overrides to standard Sage X3 line level tax calculations, for both PO and non-PO invoices.
Payment Terms from POs
Apply Payment Terms from your POs to invoices, overriding the supplier level default settings, by setting a new parameter in Sage X3.
As part of the upgrade process, we’re going to be offering a series of dates that you can pick from, so that you can get your test systems updated to 2023 R1 as soon as possible.
For more information on how to upgrade your Sage X3 system to X3CloudDocs Inbound 2023 R1, please contact your account manager or reach out to us at email@example.com.
We’re delighted to announce that X3CloudDocs Outbound 2023 R2 is here! The main, but really exciting feature of this release is the ability to view and download your documents from anywhere, not just via the X3CloudDocs web portal, but also within Sage X3 – and you can decide where!
Key documents from Sage X3, such as orders, deliveries, invoices and remittances can now be viewed, not just from the originating record in X3, but from the Customer or Supplier record, for instance. Imagine being able to connect to your customer’s account and being able to view quotes, orders, invoices and statements in a single place! And that’s not all…
With the facility to tag non-X3 “generic” documents, such as proofs of delivery, contracts, customs forms, emails and so on, you can now also view all of these and more wherever you need to in Sage X3, using the attachment button. Perhaps you want the Sales Order record to be the central point of reference for all of the documents associated with that order, or maybe you want to be able to capture documents related to a Production Work Order, or reports and other documents you generate, either from or outside of X3, relating to your Sales Reps. The possibilities really are endless!
For a demo or more information on how to upgrade your Sage X3 system to X3CloudDocs Outbound 2023 R2, please contact your account manager or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The past quarter has been nothing short of exciting as we’ve been attending industry events, connecting with experts and thought leaders, and working on a number of product enhancements. First and foremost, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your continued support and trust in X3CloudDocs. Your feedback and suggestions have been invaluable in shaping the direction of our product, and we are thrilled to share the progress we’ve made.
The Sage global partner conference (“Sage Partner Summit”), was held in Las Vegas this May, with attendees from around the Sage ecosystem; uniting with a spirit of friendship and a shared commitment to driving digital transformation in businesses around the world.
This conference was an unmissable opportunity for our community to connect, learn, and discuss the future of our ecosystem. In an era of ever-evolving technology AI took centre stage, with Sage’s Aaron Harris showcasing the developments taking place in the Sage world. This rang true for us, at X3CloudDocs, with automation and intelligence at the heart of our tools. The whole event served as an amazing platform for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and forging new partnerships.
Over the course of the event, attendees were immersed in keynote sessions, thought-provoking panel discussions, and interactive workshops. Industry experts, from IDC to PwC, also took centre stage; delivering inspiring talks on emerging trends and the role of ISVs in shaping the future of business solutions.
For us, one of the highlights was the ‘Partner Neighbourhood’ (a show floor for all the exhibitors), where we had the opportunity to present our solutions and demonstrate to the partner network and the Sage Centre of Excellence. With some great constructive feedback, and rave-reviews, we left Las Vegas with a spring in our step and a plan for the development and partner roadmaps.
We are already looking forward to Sage Summit 2024. We don’t know where it is yet, but we know that we’ll be there, and it’ll be great!
In the previous edition, Brian mentioned we are integrating X3CloudDocs into Sage X3. It allows users to view a document from the source Sage X3 record, such as a sales invoice via a new web application. The ability to define a link from any Sage X3 object to single or multiple X3CloudDocs stores is possible. For instance, you can configure a customer to link to the sales invoice store so that all invoices for the customer can be viewed. However, a link to a second generic store can be configured allowing you to view other documents pertaining to the customer.
In the following example, customer GB012 has a view of all their sales invoices:
As well as their Direct Debit mandates:
We know the new functionality is important to our customer base and look forward to seeing it in action!
We are nearing the release of the next version of Inbound. Based on our experience working with partners in the UK, North America and Australia we are incorporating a number of new features;
As you can see, we are continuing to invest in X3CloudDocs. All the upgrades in this edition of Newsbytes are a result of customer feedback so please continue to let us know how we can improve.
Last week, the X3CloudDocs team had the incredible opportunity to attend the Sage Partner Summit in Las Vegas, where we proudly served as silver sponsors. The summit once again proved to be an outstanding platform for us to showcase our document management solution to Sage partners, engage in inspiring conversations about AP automation, reconnect with valued partners, and forge exciting new connections. With unforgettable moments like meeting the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis, and a closing performance from the Black Eyed Peas, the week was truly extraordinary!
Here’s a snapshot of our week:
We had the pleasure of reconnecting with a number of our partners, including NetAtWork and RKL e-Solutions, exploring how we can work together to empower their customers to streamline their businesses through automation, whilst also attending various keynote sessions and interactive workshops, presented by the likes of PwC and IDC.
The week has left us feeling energized and inspired, ready to embark on new ventures and explore the possibilities that lie ahead. We extend our gratitude to Sage for organizing such an amazing event, and recognising our dedication to driving innovation in the industry.
As we move forward, we remain focused on our mission to revolutionise document management and automation, enabling businesses to thrive in the digital era. Stay tuned for more exciting updates from X3CloudDocs as we continue to shape the future of document management together with our valued partners!
Thanks to everyone who popped by our booth to pick up a pair of X3CloudSocks. If you didn’t get a chance to see a demonstration of X3CloudDocs at the event, don’t worry! Reach out to our team and we can provide you with a personalised demo.
7 Key Take-Aways
As businesses continue to rely on digital technology to streamline their operations, accounts payable (AP) automation has emerged as a valuable tool for companies looking to simplify and optimize their financial processes.
In this infographic, we will explore seven key benefits of AP automation, from improving compliance and consistency of data to employee satisfaction and reducing costs.
The end of 2022, and the start of 2023, have seen some great achievements; with new projects and successful Go-Lives in the UK, US and Australia.
As would be expected, working in other regions creates new challenges! Different tax structures, business processes and Sage X3 configurations all add to the diversity of our customer base. This is where the design of X3CloudDocs can add real value; Sage X3 is a complex product which can be configured in many ways and the knowledge accumulated from 20 years of implementing Sage X3 taught us that we needed to build in flexibility to the core product to handle this diversity of configuration.
A great example of this is Invoice Elements – which, while not used in the UK heavily, is implemented more commonly in the US. Our developers and consultants have worked with X3CloudDocs sites to determine the core requirements and provide a solution for our customers, in one case using up to 13 elements. The handling of Invoice Elements in X3CloudDocs will not be in the standard release until later this year, but an ad hoc enhancement is available for customers who urgently require it. Another example, also largely surfaced from the US customers, is where the Bill of Lading number is important when matching invoices to receipts. We have easily been able to integrate it into the core product.
These customer requirements will continue to feedback into the standard product, contributing to R&D strategy, and ultimately enhancing X3CloudDocs for everyone.
We have had a great start to 2023, with 4 new customers going live already! One of the customers has embraced the full range of functionality on offer, using X3CloudDocs Outbound for;
The Generic Document upload was enhanced significantly in the 2022 Q4. It is now possible to verify the labels (tags) against Sage X3 data. In the following example, I am uploading a Purchase Invoice. By searching for FAP the list of invoices is populated. Only a reference for a valid Sage X3 invoice will be accepted.
It is possible to build verification links to almost any data table within Sage X3 which will ensure your Generic Documents are easier to retrieve.
The development roadmap is iterative and agile, but we are also developing against a longer-term strategy of functional and technical enhancements.
The upcoming development cycle for Inbound will be focussed on functionality frequently requested across our global customer base; specifically, some of the candidates for development are: improved line-level VAT handling, use of the packing slip number in receipt matching, more options to handle month-end processing and invoice elements.
For Outbound we are focussed on providing the ability to view documents stored in X3CloudDocs from within Sage X3. It is a major enhancement, and one frequently requested by customers also. We have spent a lot of time researching and assessing the best approach and it’s beginning to take shape. The R&D team are very excited about this enhancement, as it deepens the integration between X3CloudDocs and Sage X3. Hopefully we can provide some previews via the website over the coming weeks!
Two other Outbound enhancements are being rolled out:
We are delighted to announce that we have partnered with two new companies to sell, implement, and support X3CloudDocs around the world.
Headquartered in New York, Net@Work have 21 office locations based in the US and Canada, supporting over 6000 clients. Founded in 1996, they are a recognised industry leader supporting a variety of ERP, CRM, HRIS, and Managed IT systems. Last year, Net@Work were ranked on the 2022 MSP 501 – Tech Industry’s Most Prestigious List of IT Managed Service Providers Worldwide – and on the 2022 List of Top 100 ERP VARS.
Founded in 2001, RKL e-Solutions provides business software and IT/Networking solutions for their clients. With five office locations and a further seven service region locations all in the US, RKL provide a wide variety of Sage ERP, Enterprise Performance, and Process Automation solutions over more than 15 different industries. Last year, RKL were listed amongst the 2022 Sage Intact Partner Award Winners and also maintained their Top 30 status on Bob Scott’s Annual Top 100 VARS Report.
We are always on the look out for Sage X3 partners around the world who are interested in selling X3CloudDocs. If you’re interested in partnering with us, get in touch with our team!
As cloud storage techniques and technologies have continued to evolve, costs have decreased and ease of use and security of storage has improved. Electronic Document Management – EDM – has become the industry term for this type of solution. There are increasingly compelling arguments for using Cloud over on-premise solutions, even allowing for improvements in on-premise software. Let’s explore some of these points.
We are all familiar with the idea of updating apps on our phones on a regular basis. Typically the companies that write these apps do this for a number of reasons: bug fixes, new features, security patches, efficiency improvements, and so on. They actively encourage this updating process so that they only have to maintain one code base and don’t have to worry about customers using old software which then causes them problems.
The idea that we’d not update these apps on our phones reasonably frequently seems quite counter-intuitive. Yet the same cannot always be said of software on our business computers and this also applies to our office-based servers. And this is one of the risks of on-premise EDM and other storage and backup solutions.
It’s very easy to skip a few updates or the latest patches for your EDM software. What’s the harm – it still works, right? Well, yes it does. Probably. Unless, perhaps, there was a bug in the last version you updated to that stops it from reliably retrieving stored documents. Or which corrupts some of the lookup tables it generates after a certain period of time.
Equally, when you decide that you actually do need to update your on-premise EDM – and realise that it’s 5 updates behind – you might get a slightly unpleasant surprise when you ask how much it’s going to cost. Maintaining (and that includes allowing updates from) old versions of software is more expensive for the software house than simply looking after a single version of the code.
Moreover, if you lose data (say) due to a software bug and complain to the software house about it – but have been using an older version of the software – they are likely to disavow all liability and say, “well, you should have updated to the latest version where we fixed it!”
The point is that Cloud-based EDM systems are always up to date. This is because the software doesn’t reside with you. It’s maintained centrally. So as soon as a new version of the software is released, it’s updated – and you get the benefit of it immediately. The cost of doing this is baked into the cost of the service so that it’s not a hidden or un-budgeted cost.
As mentioned above, the costs of using and maintaining On Premise EDM software can be higher both for the company using it – and for the company that writes it. Because of this, it’s not unusual for software companies to charge increased support fees for maintenance as well as software upgrades. Punitive on-premise support fees can be an increasingly – and potentially ongoing – nasty surprise to your business if unexpected – potentially costing you much more than the equivalent for Cloud-based support.
If one were to see an on-premise EDM vendor suddenly increase their support fees by, say, a figure significantly higher than inflation, one might infer a couple of possibilities:
Our company recently had a case of a customer whose servers were hacked during a holiday period. As a result, their systems had been completely trashed by the time they got back to their offices. They had backups of some of their on-premise data – although it was somewhat out of date. What they didn’t have however was backups of the actual on-premises software that was used to run everything. Fortunately, their ERP, EDM, and AP Automation systems were all cloud-based. So it was a relatively straightforward job to get those systems back up and running and restore access to all their data.
Well, you may ask, what if it had been your systems that had been hacked instead of theirs – that would have been catastrophic, right? Well, there are some very stringent security measures in place to hopefully prevent that in the first place. However, thorough, off-site, daily backups are performed daily should the worst happen and recovery becomes necessary.
‘Act of God’ risks such as fire, flooding, etc. and more mundane threats such as theft, accidental damage, technical failure, etc. all fall into the ‘physical risk’ category. You can of course insure for them but any insurance is likely only going to cover the cost of replacement or repair. If you have SLAs with your customers – and even if you don’t – you might find them asking for 3rd-party compensatory damages if their services to their own customers have been affected as a result of an outage. And if those SLAs are significant, those damages might be high.
Better and much cheaper to avoid the loss of customer service altogether. If you’re hosting on-premise, you can of course design for that. You might want a backup server with a failsafe switchover – either in a fireproof and/or waterproof, high-security enclosure – or in an offsite location for safety. Neither of these two options would be particularly cheap.
You can circumvent the risk altogether however by opting for Cloud-based EDM. Cloud-based EDM is effectively a centralised store for multiple users so the cost of the safeguards and security precautions mentioned above are spread over multiple customers – tending to bring the cost per customer down compared with self-implementation.
As mentioned in the ‘Out of date software’ discussion, not updating an on-premise EDM installation with every patch or update presents a risk. But not only is there a risk of not fixing bugs, but there’s also the potential opportunity risk/cost as well.
Perhaps the latest version has some extra features that would have saved you a load of time in terms of onboarding a new client? Or perhaps the latest version uses a new compression technique that would have saved you from having to upgrade your server with extra storage space for another year? Neither of these things represents actual costs to you. But they are lost opportunities and hence opportunity costs. What could you have done with all the saved time when you onboarded the client using the new software? What extra thing could you have bought for the business with the money you saved in not having to upgrade the storage in your server yet?
With Cloud EDM, these issues don’t exist. The updates are done automatically for you centrally at the hosting site. They’ll be done outside of work hours (so you don’t have to pay overtime for your IT team to do the same) and typically with advance notice to you to make sure they can still schedule it to minimise any impact.
Ok, so you’ve decided to move your ERP system to Cloud. When is the best time to do it? Perhaps when it’s due to upgrade anyway? Maybe when you’re due to have to upgrade your infrastructure?
And how will it all work once it’s done? Will it be seamless? Will you have some sort of backup plan when you transition? What’s the best implementation plan?
We’ve got you covered – reach out to our team today.
For more than a century, the cabinet served as the cornerstone of paper document management. However, modernists, technologists, and environmentalists have been searching for a new document management solution…
For as long as trading has existed, businesses have always needed to manage documents. That might be the filing of incoming documents such as customer purchase orders, invoices, statements, remittance advice from customers, tax documents, legal documents, etc. It could be internally generated paperwork such as goods received notes from a Goods-In department, say. Or it might be documents that need to be sent out externally such as invoices, statements, purchase orders, etc.
One thing has always been guaranteed; as any business grows, the amount of paperwork needing to be managed, stored, filed, archived, and so forth will grow disproportionately. Inevitably, this causes headaches.
Historically – before the invention of the typewriter in 1868 – paperwork was generally handwritten and, out of necessity, document management was kept to a comparative minimum. However, as the typewriter became more widely used from the 1880’s onwards, it became far easier and quicker to send and receive business documents. And the amount of filing being done increased in proportion.
Typically at this time, any document that needed to be physically sent anywhere that wasn’t ‘local’ was sent by post of course, which itself set the cadence of business correspondence.
Commerce continued in this way until the late 1960’s to early 1980’s when mainframe computers started to be introduced into larger businesses. These – with their associated daisy wheel, ‘golf ball’, and dot-matrix printers – vastly increased the volume (and speed) with which documentation could be generated and sent outside of the business. The introduction of early desktop computers and fax machines in the 1980s only increased this trend.
This caused a problem for businesses as well. What did you do with all the paperwork that you received from other businesses? And the copies of the paperwork that you sent out that you needed to keep for your records. Sometimes for up to 10 years (for tax, legal, and business continuity purposes).
Sadly, I am old enough to remember this period and worked for a multinational organisation in the early 1990s which was faced with exactly this issue. They dealt with it in the same pragmatic way that I suspect that everyone else did, to begin with; giving over an ever-increasing amount of space in their warehouse to store and archiving these paper records.
Whole new businesses sprang up just to support this problem. Offsite storage and filing became a thing. It was clear even then however that – given the ever-increasing rate of paper documents – this could not continue ad infinitum. The planet would run out of trees quite apart from anything else.
Due to, arguably, a serendipitous confluence of technology, solutions started to present themselves. Moore’s Law continued unabated and processors got faster, smaller, and more efficient. Memory and hard disk storage became cheaper and capacity sizes increased. Image compression technology improved. By the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, it started to become commercially viable to consider scanning and storing documents electronically. The term, ‘the paperless office’ was coined.
Initially, this was done locally – the same computer that was used to scan the documents were often also where the scanned images were saved. However, one other technology which had also been progressing in parallel with the hardware was the internet and, in particular, its accessible bandwidth – its ‘speed’. It became feasible to email scanned documents both internally within organisations and externally.
In order to cope with this gradual switch away from paper and the need to be able to intelligently store larger quantities of digital imagery, new techniques needed to be thought of. One of these was to append barcodes to each document once scanned. The barcodes described the document with information about the type of document, date, source, etc. and that meant that they no longer needed to be saved/archived/etc. by a person. A computer could now read the barcode and know where to put each document.
As the performance of the internet continued to improve, the idea of offsite storage came back into fashion. Except this time, you didn’t need to physically store the paper documents offsite. Rather, you could pay someone to store your documents on their physically remote computers, dedicated to document storage – ‘servers’ as they were called. The idea of this remote server was abstracted even further and the concept of ‘the cloud’ came into being. I did, on one occasion about 10 years ago, come across a colleague who was quite convinced that this meant files were stored somewhere up in the sky…
So that was the history. In our next blog, we’ll be looking at where we are now and comparing some of the advantages and disadvantages of On-Premise solutions vs Cloud-based EDM solutions.
Find out more:
6 Steps to Success with AP Automation
What is AP Automation?