Magazine Article | May 1, 2000

Enterprise Information Portal Speeds Procurement Process At State University

Source: Business Solutions Magazine

Switching from a client/server model to a Web-based system has increased productivity for the SUNY-Stony Brook procurement department.

Business Solutions, May 2000
For paper clips, lab equipment, medical supplies, and even buildings, the procurement department at SUNY-Stony Brook (Stony Brook, NY) needed to streamline its business processes. It wanted to manage various structured and unstructured data.

insignIO learned about SUNY's need for a solution through a routine RFP (request for proposal) process. SUNY clearly indicated that it needed to have more than one access point to a single repository. "We recommended a Web-based system rather than a client/server system," said Eugene Sayan, president of insignIO. The Web browser can act as the single point of integration and access for SUNY employees and their suppliers. "We beat out FileNET and IBM. Our pilot application was a big selling point because we were able to demonstrate in live mode," he said.

Accounting Department E-Mails Requisitions
The procurement department coordinates the sourcing, purchasing, receipt, and payment for all goods and services for the university. Currently, requisitions that are submitted are processed in both paper and electronic forms before being e-mailed by the university's accounting system. The 94-person department processes $100 million worth of purchases each year. It actively manages access to 60 filing cabinets that include records for the past two years. In addition, at least 180 filing cabinets exist in an archive space.

One Of First Enterprise Information Portals In NY State The state university implemented insignIOware, a ready EIP (enterprise information portal) solution from insignIO. The information portal is one of the first Web-enabled portal solutions implemented in New York state.

insignIOware was fully implemented over a three-month time frame. This provides e-business document transaction and workflow systems through SUNY's procurement Web site. The complete system is now an essential business process at the university's research foundation, purchasing, accounts payable, and central receiving departments.

insignIOware Repository and WebKnowledge servers are configured to protect valuable data yet permit business access outside a firewall. SUNY employees are able to submit requisitions and direct purchases to preferred suppliers over the Web. Individual buyers use insignIO's intranet-based user interface to access product information, create and automate purchase requests, place orders, and make electronic payments.

Synchronizes With ERP
insignIOware also provides records and document management, routing, approvals workflow, and open enterprise synchronization with ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems. This has streamlined the complete procure-to-pay process. For example, the procurement process for the admissions department has gone from 48 hours down to 30 minutes. With the Web storage and retrieval, customer service and productivity went up 65%.

insignIO's Web-centric solution can also act as a multi-jurisdictional, Web-based marketplace where state and local agencies can cooperatively leverage their buying power. Demand for such a solution exists from the necessity for government agencies to increase operating efficiencies. They can do this by using the Web to consolidate purchases from higher education, state, and government suppliers.

The new system required very little user training. It looks and feels like Microsoft Outlook. "We have the ability to recreate the identical document form," said Sayan. "This way the user always sees the same information." The university plans to expand the portal to student records management and financial aid in the near future.

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