Designing an Enterprise Document Management System Integrated with VMS based system
AutoTrakk is the leading automobile leasing company specializing in financing customers with moderate to severe credit issues. AutoTrakk had been in operation for over 10 years utilizing a leased software application designed specifically for the leasing industry. AutoTrakk works through a network of authorized dealers in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, Delaware, and Puerto Rico. The companies leasing software application operates only on an Open VMS platform on HP Itanium servers owned by AutoTrakk.
Client Challenge and Needs
AutoTrakk is an automobile leasing company located in PA. They currently have leases on over 15,000 vehicles. Due to the nature of their business an extensive amount of paperwork is generated for each lease beginning with the application process and extending through the lifetime of the lease. The quantity of paper generated has become impractical to manage as well as time consuming when a contact needs to be researched as the paper file has to be retrieved (if it can be located at all) and possibly hundreds of documents need to be read through to find the information desired. Additionally the accumulation and use of extensive paper files over the life of the company was not conducive to best practices while formulating a Business Continuity Plan.
AutoTrakk approached SGCO desiring a document management solution that would eliminate completely the need for paper files. SGCO proposed a solution that would be developed to fit within the business requirements of AutoTrakk as well as be integrated with their current VMS based leasing system.
After researching both SGCO’s approach, as well as the major off the shelf solutions, AutoTrakk decided to have SGCO build a custom solution. The factors that lead to the decision were that it would initially be the same cost an off the shelf solution there would be no annual licensing fees (up to 60k+ per year) while still having all the features that they needed. An additional contributing factor to this decision was AutoTrakk requirement for integration of the documents management system fully into their enterprise and their VMS based leasing system.
AutoTrakk receives paper in several formats. For the initial version of the document managements system 99% of these will ultimately reside as PDFs. A file system as well as a naming convention was developed that will allow flexibility as the business changes and grows. All of the PDFs and other formats for document are stored in this file system. The file system is stored on a clustered SAN which is also replicated in real time to an offsite colocation facility for disaster recovery purposes. Each document in addition has extensive meta-data stored for a database to allow for sorting and searching, document viewing and creating audit tables etc.
The document management system is integrated with the current VMS based leasing system so that when a user is on a customer account screen, a button 'Documents' can be selected and the document management system will show that customer's account information with all documents sorted by document type. This can be further filtered using select lists (pull down menus) based on a distinct values for the current customers documents to immediately locate the desired document. When a document is selected with a single click from the list it appears in the body of the document management system for preview. When it is double clicked it opens full screen in the PDF reader (or the appropriate application for other file types). Each time a document is previewed a record is generated in the audit table of the last viewer. This information is displayed for each document previewed as well as viewed, so that the user can see the entire view history of a document since creation. Documents can also be related to one another so that the user will be able to see a list of documents that pertain to the currently previewed document.
There are also screens within the document management system to add documents to the customer, merge documents, move documents, relate documents etc.
The current leasing system generates documents that are available online to the dealer when an application is filed and a contact is being developed. The leasing system already knows information for these generated documents to allow then to automatically be filed in the correct location in the file system.
Going forward the documents will be generated with a QR code printed in the document that will be readable by the DMS. When the signed hard copy is returned from the dealer the documents are scanned into the system. A continuously running daemon monitors the file system and moves these documents to the correct location as well as to insert a record of meta-data for that document. This will allow any document that is scanned in with these tokens to be filed with no further user action.
About Stirling & Young
Stirling & Young an Information Technology consulting firm that delivers innovative, scalable business solutions to help our clients reduce costs, increase revenue and gain competitive advantage through technology. Since 1995 the Stirling & Young Group has provided advice, consultancy, design, implementation, training, network support, internal/external business application solutions and digital media communications solutions to a wide range of companies and organizations in more than 12 countries including USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, India, Australia, South Africa, Serbia, and the Netherlands.