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3 years, 1 month ago
We continue series of the materials allowing to look in a new way at application of ECM or EDMS for automation of corporate business processes.
Happens so that life throws tasks in which you at all also were not going to be engaged when designed the system of document flow. It is possible, of course, is proud to tell "our system is for this purpose not intended" and it will be quite honest professional answer. And it is possible to think soberly how to use possibilities of ESM in a new way and to risk to overstep the bounds of the niche allocated for itself – both the customer to satisfy, and to acquire new experience.

If the ECM system has been designed with good stock of flexibility and adaptivity, the area of its application can be expanded fearlessly on many adjacent tasks which are beyond clerical document flow. To automate process of MTO – material support, having encroached thus on traditional glade of ERP? And why would be not present if the customer of that asks?

Problem essence

We live in such time when it is already impossible to find service or division in the large organization where still the IT specialist's foot would not go. Of course, the department of MTO in the CAHEKO oil-extracting company (subsidiary of Alyans Oil Company) too has been once automated – there stood separate 1C and led the autonomous life, without being interfaced to all-enterprise registration system also on 1C in any way. Purchasers accepted from divisions of the request in Excel-files, brought data to themselves and further processed on procedures known for it. For the others the system was black box – to receive information on request status, it was necessary to ask purchasing department.

As it usually happens, the developer of that custom configuration 1C for management of purchases long ago and the trace has caught a cold. And there were meanwhile new requirements, processes have changed, integration with document flow was required … Actually the last factor has also played crucial role because during the work in two systems inevitably there was duplication of information and it was necessary to get rid of it.

Process of MTO: from where requests undertake and that happens to them

Process of material support begins with requirement. When the employee of division knows that it needs to buy, it creates the request and includes in it the necessary positions. In fact the request is some kind of container for set of positions to purchase. For example, the request for stationery can turn on handles, notepads, staplers and so on.

The prepared request goes to purchasing department, there it if necessary evaluate and return to the initiator that that could look he fits into the budget or not. Further, when the planned cost of positions is approximately known, approval of the request at which it passes through different services begins and is finally approved. The route of approval is defined by the clerk of department of MTO to whom all requests from divisions initiators get. It checks correctness of design of the request and its reference to items of expenditure.

The approved request returns to department of MTO to execution where the employee, responsible for it, is assigned. Here the most interesting begins: positions in the request can be regrouped, it is possible to consolidate requests from different divisions or to break the request for some parts. As a result, on the basis of all positions included in requests the plan of delivery forms. Then tenders are held, winners with whom agreements which also pass approval in EDMS are signed are defined. The request is considered executed when the initiator receives the positions ordered by him.

And why not to make everything on 1C?

It is seemingly logical to solve all registration tasks on one platform – time in the organization the main registration system is constructed on 1C, and to automate processes of material support in it. But as always, important in parts. The matter is that corporate 1C it is implemented at the level of holding and it is supported on a centralized basis in Moscow, and in it there is no purchasing module. Besides, it not box, but strongly customized solution ground under Alyans Oil Company and for the sake of one daughter nobody would begin to enter changes into the general system. To save "automation island" in the form of 1C in department of MTO the customer has absolutely not been configured.

On the other hand, in CAHEKO electronic document management on the THESIS, including management of contracts has already been implemented. The concept of business process of MTO meant that the contract for purchase has to be agreed with the initiator, and it is more logical to do it in EDMS, than in registration system. Then the final version of the contract has to be unloaded in "big" 1C where it is accepted by accounts department to accounting.

Purely theoretically, the problem of automation of processes of MTO can be implemented mainly both means of ERP, and means of ECM, transferring weight of development to one or on other system, and data exchange to provide by their integration. But as we speak not about spherical horse in vacuum, and about the specific customer, the option with upgrade 1C was not even considered. And what sense to start up great number of users who initiate in accounting system and will agree on requests? Let them do it in document flow and do not climb in finance.

Examination in data domain – business acquirable

From technical aspect the new task looked difficult, but solved: to add new type of documents, new routes to system, to add business logic. In general anything unusual – if there is good director, the expert in data domain. Clear business that in the company which is engaged in implementation of EDMS of internal examination on processes of MTO was not. But on the party of the customer there were people knowing the subject and ready to risk to act as business analysts.

In fact, both parties did it for the first time, together typed cones and together grew on this project. Certainly, it was possible to call business consultants who would explain how it is necessary to build correctly process and as to automate it, but it, first, fairly would increase the budget of the project, and secondly, not the fact that by all means would lead to success. The main priorities were clear: to get rid of outdated unsupported system and to construct through business process of MTO on the basis of successfully working EDMS the THESIS, and to make it for reasonable money.

Having looked at box solutions, available in the market, it was revealed that though it is formal they and solve problem, but it is made so inconveniently that it was hardly possible to force people to use it. Generally, despite of all fears and risks, have decided to write management system with purchases on EDMS the THESIS.

As it became

The project started in the summer of 2012. Not to shock users with innovations, have planned gradation from old system to the new. At first we have achieved that requests were created in the THESIS, but were not sent in the form of files by mail. At the first stage they were unloaded in old 1C in semi-automatic mode but as thus there was bifurcation of bases – some requests already went in the THESIS, some reached the way in 1C, it was heavy for users. Therefore by new year it was necessary to refuse completely old system not to tighten transient period. That, actually, also it has been made – after new year have completely passed to work into the THESIS, and 1C it was possible to bury.

Having examinations in data domain at us was opportunities to manage the customer, to say that it is necessary to them really, and that it is possible to discard, find disagreements in requirements. Therefore it was necessary to listen to them and to do that ask, and the customer, in return, gradually started thinking systemically. As a result only in few months of "joint life" understanding has started coming, what information is really necessary and as it has to look in system. However, despite these difficulties, terms of the project it was succeeded to sustain.

The non-standard project – incentive to development of product

Often happens that the features requested by the customer in the non-standard project then smoothly overflow in the main product, thus promoting its development. As for automation of process of MTO, in principle regular opportunities of platform quite were enough and it was not necessary to invent any radical innovations. That is, our control facilities documents and business processes it has appeared enough and for task from new data domain that could not but please.

Perhaps, unless it was necessary to tinker with reports – it was necessary to make the research opinion when such big sheet - "shakhmatka" with dynamic columns and lines which grow depending on data forms. It our CUBA platform then was not able and following the results of the project in CAHEKO we have tightened the reporting.

In general, it is possible to draw such conclusion: if we have normal BPM and the sound module of management of documents, it is possible to undertake any similar registration tasks.

What gives us new knowledge?

If sellers hear that there was new solution, they think at once "here now we fast will resell it to other clients, then we will let out box …" But unfortunately, everything is not so simple – fast monetization of new knowledge can not occur.

Actually when you undertake the new project, it turns out that you are much put to understand in general, about what it as in this business everything is arranged. Also it becomes is a pity for the spent time if any useless, unclaimed knowledge as a result turns out. Where then to use it? It is difficult to bring to box, to compete in forehead with ERP systems silly. But in this case there was valuably understanding that we are able to do it that our platform allows to implement such tasks rather far from normal document flow.

Customers arise different all the time – and such projects give confidence that potentially any problem can be solved. In business management of purchase and financial activity are considered as one of the most difficult processes because they include interaction between large number of users, and it is not simple in the approval mode, and mean active work with information, consolidation, its some processing, etc. Thanks to such projects, there is confidence that we are ready and to larger and complex challenges.

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