InContext Magazine

your source for solving the unstructured information challenge

Welcome, Jennifer | Log Out


Grant Johnson

Forrester says 73 percent of organizations don’t have a working digital strategy, so chances are that yours may be one of them. As CMO or other marketing department leader, it can be difficult to understand where you fit into your enterprise’s digital transformation efforts and how you can lead your department to make the maximum impact.

First, consider that digital transformation might mean something different for marketing than it does for other parts of your organization. Forrester’s Martin Gill says “Digital transformation isn’t one-size-fits-all; it means different things to different people, regardless of size, industry or vertical.”

If you think digital transformation is the responsibility of your product development teams or IT department, think again. Regardless of your organization’s digital progress, your customers are already living in a digitally transformed world. That means prospective customers might not ever reach those teams – if the discovery phase of your marketing isn’t digital, prospects could disappear before you even knew they were there.

The common theme of digital transformation across industries and departments, Gill says, is “moving from a siloed ‘inside out’ approach to one that is data-driven and customer-centric.” That’s something today’s marketing departments are perfectly positioned to achieve.

If you’re ready to help your team drive a data-driven, customer-centric digital transformation, here are five ways to get started: 

  1. Lead by example: When research agency Organic surveyed 111 digital and marketing professionals, they found that 58% of respondents agreed C-level executives are among the most valuable stakeholders in driving digital transformation, and 62% feel that not having a leadership mandate is the biggest barrier to digital transformation.
  2. Build a culture of agility without overemphasizing technology: Too often, people wrongly assume that digital transformation is all about the tech. The minimal look of your app, the cool functionality of your mobile website, the slick features in your “contact us” form. These things are important to your brand, sure, but it’s more important to hire people who understand that digital transformation is, above all else, a conduit to better, faster and friction-free customer experience. Technology changes quickly – invest in people who can look beyond the bells and whistles to who the tech benefits – your customers.
  3. Take advantage of the tools at your disposal: Tech isn’t the end goal of digital transformation, but it can certainly help you reach that end goal. Tools like geotargeting, personalization, and automation are great, low-investment ways to reach your customers and consumer base. Anything your marketing department can do to help customers feel like you understand them on an individual level gets you a notch closer to digital transformation.
  4. Encourage innovation: Make sure your marketing employees know it’s okay to fail. Technology in the hands of a marketing employee can lead to extreme creativity that can ultimately lead to customer satisfaction and digital transformation … or not. And that’s alright. Digital marketing lends itself to testing and making ongoing adjustments, so make sure your marketing department isn’t afraid to try new things. As long as you pay attention to what customers want and respond to, what works and what doesn’t, innovation and creativity are important aspects of digital transformation.
  5. Set benchmarks and measure your progress: Digital transformation might be hard to define, but it isn’t hard to measure. Don’t let your marketing department fall into the trap of talking around digital transformation without making any real moves or failing to use data and customer feedback to continually improve. Use these five stages as a guideline to measure your progress toward digital transformation and let it direct your marketing efforts if you get stuck along the way.


Phil Wasson

The advent of the true VNA: Part I


The medical imaging needs of Healthcare Delivery Organizations (HDOs) are evolving. As more clinical specialties incorporate medical images into their practice, the ability to access and manage images from a variety of different enterprise systems becomes all the more critical. 

Historically, Radiology, Nuclear Medicine, and Cardiology departments were the hubs for medical imaging within HDOs, and PACS systems providing the features, functionality and workflow necessary to access, manage and interpret these images. However, traditional PACS are built using proprietary code sets that are unique to a chosen vendor. These proprietary solutions can make image sharing within and outside the enterprise complicated and costly, especially when trying to incorporate specialty images (e.g. Dermatology, Gastroenterology, Pathology, etc.) that fall outside traditional PACS parameters.

PACS also puts HDOs in a constant state of flux when it comes to features, enhancements and quality of service. For example, the storage infrastructure of a traditional PACS is built on a disruptive technical and financial model. As a result, it is not uncommon that significant hardware changes are required to reduce the total cost of ownership of enterprise storage. These factors often force HDOs into a high storage abandonment and upgrade rate in order to gain the increased flexibility and capabilities they desire from their PACS.  

Today, HDOs need a Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) that can integrate all unstructured data and content-enable their enterprise. A true VNA, however, also needs to address emerging reimbursement and information management drivers by delivering attributes that help HDOs enhance patient care, standardize workflows and achieve cost savings. As such, a true VNA must provide many functions that don’t exist in traditional PACS technology. The most important of these capabilities include: 

  1. The VNA should be capable of pre-fetching relevant and filtered prior studies. Also, the VNA should be able to auto-route data to any functional PACS system to support the ongoing use of that application if required.
  2. The VNA should also support post-fetching that allows a query to both the VNA and the final destination to assure that the VNA doesn’t have studies that exist in the destination system.
  3. Dynamic DICOM Tag Morphing is the process of mapping or remapping data elements that exist within the DICOM image. Tag Morphing is an important feature as it allows migration of studies from PACS systems that are either being migrated or decommissioned into the VNA for future access. The ability to morph this data within DICOM can be critical to providing easy access in the future.
  4. A true VNA provides built-in software for the support and management of data migrations. During these migrations, the VNA should allow unfettered access to prior studies within the legacy archive system, essentially federating this system as the new VNA comes online. A true VNA supports on-demand migration of the entire imaging jacket for all patients. Having a solution that provides software and experience with both study and media direct migrations is critically important to HDOs wishing to take ownership of their imaging information.
  5. Finally, and most importantly, the VNA should be vendor neutral, even to the point of being vendor neutral to itself. A true VNA supports multiple viewing technologies using a variety of protocols. It should allow the viewing experience to be customized to meet the needs of each clinical specialty area and support cacheless zero-footprint viewing technologies so imaging studies can be obtained directly from the VNA. 

There are many VNA solutions available, but not all VNAs are created equal. By following the above guidelines, you can ensure the VNA you select allows you to optimize your imaging environment today and into the future.

Ken Congdon

Connect content to succeed in a value-based care environment


The U.S. healthcare system is in the midst of a monumental paradigm shift. Instead of providers being paid by the number of visits and tests they order (fee-for-service), more and more payments are now based on the value of care they deliver and the quality of patient outcomes (value-based reimbursement). According to CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), 30 percent of fee-for-service Medicare payments will shift to value-based reimbursement models by 2016.

Value-based reimbursement impacts the entire healthcare enterprise — not just the financial department. Providers need to be able to document, report, track and analyze a variety of disparate clinical information in order to secure optimal reimbursements. Even something as traditionally departmentalized as medical imaging will be a key contributor to this process. In fact, research from Frost & Sullivan estimates that 10 percent of diagnostic imaging procedures will be reimbursed as part of bundled payments in 2016. This figure is expected to explode to 50 percent by 2020.

Quick, easy and streamlined access to healthcare information and content will be vital to demonstrating the value your organization and its staff provide in the ongoing care of a patient. Unfortunately, significant barriers exist that currently impede providers from being able to meet this objective.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle is the fact that so much patient information is trapped in silos throughout a healthcare organization and this content isn’t easily shared between (largely proprietary) systems. Discrete clinical data is stored in an EHR, and there are often several EHRs in use throughout a healthcare enterprise. Financial information is managed by revenue cycle management systems. Clinical documents are stored as electronic files in an ECM system, paper files in a physical records room or, most likely, a combination of both. Medical images are kept in a PACS, VNA and/or any of several specific modality systems. The list goes on and on. The point is the information healthcare organizations need to create a complete picture of the medical history and journey of a patient (and therefore prove the quality of care delivered and its impact) are scattered throughout the enterprise. Submitting this information to a payer for value-based reimbursement is currently a lot like an Easter egg hunt. It’s time consuming and, more often than not, key items are overlooked and not included in the claim, which can negatively impact the payment the provider ultimately receives.

Today, healthcare providers are pressured to provide higher-quality care for less compensation in return. Healthcare systems that can’t optimize their reimbursement levels in this new environment will have a difficult time staying afloat. Streamlined patient information access, management and reporting is essential to securing the highest payment possible and improving your bottom line.

Today’s healthcare organizations need to focus on creating a “single point of truth” for all patient content — one location where all clinical stakeholders can quickly access all relevant patient content without all the hunting and gathering. Providers should focus on investing in technologies that enable patient-centered content from any variety of source applications to be connected to, and integrated with, the core applications that key stakeholders in the value-based care process use every day — whether that application is an EHR, an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system or even a RIS/PACS. The infrastructure created should be capable of managing and connecting all types of data — both discrete and unstructured, including images and video. Open, scalable, standards-based and tightly integrated ECM and Enterprise Imaging solutions will be the foundation of this infrastructure. When these tools are implemented effectively, you can create a platform for true content visibility, collaboration and exchange and blaze a clear pathway to success in the new value-based reimbursement paradigm.        

Rachel Spear

Live from the 2016 Ryder Cup

Managed print services

Follow along as Lexmark hosts more than 200 customers and partners as the Ryder Cup tees off. More than 90 Lexmark devices will support the printing operations including the Media Center, Business Center, locker rooms, the clubhouse, security, IT operations and staff operations. Join the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn, where we will be be posting updates using #LexmarkPGA. 

Check back here for the latest from this year's Ryder Cup and learn more about the Lexmark and PGA of America partnership.

Sunday, October 1, 11:15 am

PGA Hope (Helping Our Patriots Everywhere) introduces golf to veterans with disabilities to enhance their physical, mental, social and emotional well-being. Today, Lexmark hosted eight Minneapolis-based veterans and their guests in our chalet for the final round of the championship.

“Giving back to the communities where we live and work is embedded in Lexmark’s core values as a company,” said Ron Binkauskas, vice president and general manager, ISS North America. “We are honored and proud to share the experience of this major sporting event and our Lexmark chalet with veterans in recognition of their commitment, dedication and sacrifice in serving our country.”

This marks the second year that veterans and their guests will join Lexmark customers, channel partners and employees at the Ryder Cup.

Saturday, October 1, 2:35 pm

In 2008, Dave Puterbaugh had an idea. The Ryder Cup was taking place at Valhalla Golf Course in Louisville, Ky. near Lexmark’s headquarters in Lexington and Dave saw an opportunity in the making. He reached out to the PGA offering Lexmark’s imaging services and a partnership was born.

The 2016 Ryder Cup marks Lexmark’s 17th tournament and the 3rd Ryder Cup as the Official Printing and Solutions provider of the PGA. More than 2 million pages have been printed during our tournament support for the PGA.Dave has been there for all of them. He is on the grounds of every tournament helping meet the expansive printing technology needs of the PGA. He helps problem solve and implement new solutions to get information where it needs to be as quickly as possible.

If you see Dave around Hazeltine, stop to say hi. Thanks Dave, for all your hard work.

Friday, September 30, 1:15 p.m.

Green is good. Check out how a hotel a few miles from the Hazeltine golf course was transformed to a Lexmark office during the Ryder Cup to welcome our customers and prospects. 

Friday, September 30, 9:00 a.m.

David Reinsel from IDC talks about the digital transformation going on in business today. In this video, he provides a two-minute overview of the most important takeaways from his presentation. What has been the biggest adjustment you’ve made to embrace this digital transformation?

Thursday, September 29, 6:45 p.m.

After a fun, but long, day at the Ryder Cup course, our hospitality suite at the hotel has a great spread (can you say mac and cheese station?) where you can get re-energized with some great food and even better company. At every tournament, we look forward to this time to continue conversations with our customers and prospects in a relaxing and comfortable setting. 

Thursday, September 29, 4:00 p.m.

We're cheering on the Ryder Cup teams from the perfect spot at our chalet on the 17th hole.

Thursday, September 29, 3:15 p.m.

From Tee to Green - More than 90 Lexmark printers and MFPs power output operations throughout the Hazeltine National Golf Club. From the media center and security to IT operations and the clubhouse, check out this map of the course to see the impact Lexmark's printing operations have at the Ryder Cup. 

Thursday, September 29, 12:00 p.m.

Lexmark has planted more than 2000 trees in tournament cities with the PGA of America to offset paper consumption from its 16 major championship tournaments throughout the U.S. since 2012.

Lexmark helped plant many more tress than it would take to offset the printing from those tournaments. We researched the local communities where the championships were being held and found areas that were needing reforestation due to devastation by the emerald ash borer or in towns and parks that were being revitalized.

In addition, more than 90 percent of the materials used in Lexmark hardware products by weight are recyclable. Our goal is simple – to make our communities better places now and for generations to come. 

Thursday, September 29, 10 a.m.

Hear Ron Binkauskas share how hosting our customers and partners at the Ryder Cup  is a win-win providing an opportunity for our teams to learn more about them and they can learn more about our products and solutions. 

Wednesday, September 28, 4:00 p.m.

Enjoy a few shots from today's practice rounds:

Wednesday, September 28, 2:30 p.m.

Our chalet sits on the 17th hole and offers a place to take a break from the action on the course and have a drink and a snack. But the real value comes from the face-to-face time we have with our customers, prospects and partners. Listening to their business needs in combination with catching up builds lasting relationships. And it's not every day we can take our office to the links and enjoy the world-class hospitality at the Ryder Cup. 

Wednesday, September 28, 10:30 a.m.

Lexmark and The PGA of America have been sharing the links since Lexmark supported the 2008 Ryder Cup with printing technology and solutions. Our partnership has continuously grown and expanded and now Lexmark manages mission-critical operations to keep the Senior, Women’s and PGA Championships and U.S.-based Ryder Cups performing with accuracy and efficiency.

With approximately 90 Lexmark devices here at Hazeltine, nearly 200,000 pages are printed over the span of tournament action. Lexmark devices offer the capability to print on a wide variety of paper types, a feature perfectly suited for the distinctive printing needs to host a championship. Parking passes, grounds passes and food vouchers are just a few examples. At the 2016 Ryder Cup, Lexmark devices are ready to serve the print needs and differing paper sizes of both teams.

We proudly serve the PGA with the latest innovation in imaging and printing technology to connect the media center, contestant scoring, business centers, hospitality marketing areas and the administrative offices with real-time Championship information across the course.

On the links, in the back office or along the front line - Lexmark’s hardware and software solutions act as the driving factor behind the overall IT infrastructure at every curve of the 2016 Ryder Cup.

Wednesday, September 28, 9 a.m.

The day begins at the Hazeltine Golf Course for today's practice sessions for the 41st Ryder Cup. Lexmark is catching the action from our chalet on the 17th hole. 

Sarah Bajek

Live from Oracle OpenWorld 2016


Kofax from Lexmark was in San Francisco for OpenWorld 2016, Oracle’s annual conference and one of the largest meetings of Oracle customers. At booth #511 in Moscone South, we reimaginied financial processing in Oracle and showed off our broad range of automation solutions for Oracle E-Business Suite and PeopleSoft. With the combined technology innovations of Kofax, ReadSoft and Perceptive Software in one booth, we presented the most complete offering yet for end-to-end process automation.

There was so much happening at our booth and around the Moscone Center during the conference, and we captured a lot of it here in our live blog. Check out the photos, videos and information below for a look at all of the happenings from OpenWorld 2016. 

Thursday, September 22, 8:00 a.m.

Oracle OpenWorld took over AT&T Park last night for a concert we won’t soon forget! Gwen Stefani and Sting rocked, while everyone enjoyed drinks and the ballpark snacks. It was a great way to end a great conference. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth, thank you to Oracle for hosting and a big thank you to San Francisco for the beautiful weather and backdrop this week. See you next year! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2:00 p.m.

3 questions about automating financial processes in Oracle

We asked Sales Engineer Prem Vadlamudi about the top three questions he’s been asked while demonstrating AP automation at OpenWorld 2016. According to Prem, there’s been a lot of interest in Kofax MarkView for AP this week.

1. Does MarkView work with the latest version of Oracle E-Business Suite?

“Yes, MarkView works with the latest version of E-Business Suite. What’s great about MarkView, is it’s tightly integrated with it, but has a small footprint. This means, you’ll have a single source of truth for your information, yet when it comes time to upgrade Oracle there is very low risk because there aren’t many things you’ll need to change for MarkView.”

2. How can I get better visibility into our invoice processing?

“Kofax Analytics for MarkView offers dashboards and reports pre-built based on best practices to help you gain insight to optimize your invoice processing. The best example of this involves seeing where the process is breaking down leading to late fees and missed discounts.”

3. What’s new in the latest release of MarkView?

“Mobile approvals and mobile capture for invoice processing are some great new features in MarkView. The potential for increased efficiency is huge when users have approval capabilities on the road or at the airport.”

Wednesday, September 21, 12:00 p.m.

No matter how far along you are in automating purchase-to-pay and order-to-cash processes, there is still enormous potential for further cost savings and improved efficiency through the use of robotic process automation (RPA). During OpenWorld sessions this week, we’ve heard talk of exciting technology innovations in the cloud, through the Internet of Things, AI and now the use of intelligent software robots.

Using RPA, repetitive business processes can be handled across applications, portals, websites and virtually any data source in the same way a business user does them. This offers incredible opportunity across the financial supply chain from supplier network automation to a faster financial close process. One company has even used RPA to automate the process of gathering price comparisons from suppliers and sending quotes and invoices to customers. The best part of adding RPA to your financial process automations strategy is your ability to leverage your current investments in Oracle and other business systems.

Stop by booth #511 today and see RPA in action for yourself. You can read more about Robotic Process Automation, here.

Wednesday, September 21, 10:15 a.m. 

We are helping OpenWorld attendees Reimagine Financial Processing in Oracle. Mike explains how Lexmark Enterprise Software solutions enable end-to-end financial processing.

Tuesday, September 20, 5:00 p.m. 

We’ve had some great conversations today at the Kofax from Lexmark booth #511. A lot of people are inquiring about Kofax MarkView for Oracle E-Business Suite, and we’ve been showing them how easy it is to reduce cycle times, increase control and visibility, and enable mobile access for accounts payable. Finally, there’s no better way to end the day than spending time with colleagues at our booth Happy Hour.

Tuesday, September 20, 2:30 p.m.

This afternoon’s keynote kicked off with Dr. Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys, starting an interesting discussion around how technology is changing the world we live in – disrupting the way we do business, creating new challenges and opening up new opportunities to drive value throughout the organization.

The world around us is becoming increasingly connected. Everyday objects such as cars and smartphones seem more like computers these days, and virtual reality now offers new ways to interact with our information. With all of this change, famous American computer scientist Alan Kay, reminded us in a recorded message that we must keep learning and moving forward with innovation, so we can move on to invent or harness what’s next. “We’d all rather live in a future we can invent than one that’s an endless extension of the present,” Kay said.

Innovative companies are harnessing these advances in technology and connectivity and using them to improve the way they operate and serve their customers, while at the same time moving on to the next innovation.

This was a great reminder that we aren’t ever done. This week at OpenWorld we are asking our booth visitors to Reimagine Financial Processing in Oracle. Whether it’s through robotic process automation to automate manual tasks, or through the use of mobile to capture information from anywhere much faster, there are many ways to go further with process automation and many opportunities to innovate across finance and beyond. 

Tuesday, September 20, 12:00 p.m.

One of the largest privately held corporations in the United States, Minneapolis-based Carlson needed to streamline AP operations to efficiently process 3.3 million invoices per year. They turned to MarkView for Accounts Payable from Kofax, seamlessly integrated with their Oracle system to automate the entire AP process. In addition to tripling their productivity, increasing accuracy and lowering audit costs, Carlson was able to recoup its investment in MarkView in less than one year. Stop by booth #511 to learn more about how they did it. Not at OpenWorld? Read their story, here.

Tuesday, September 20, 10:30 a.m.

How can you take back office automation further? Dennis explains how AP and AR benefit from robotic process automation.

Tuesday, September 20, 9:00 a.m.

What is end-to-end financial process automation? It’s about extending the value of your ERP to automate across purchase-to-pay, order-to-cash and record-to-report. A recent report from The Hacket Group explains how document process automation solutions are optimized for complex activities like invoice matching, shipping, and discount data making them an excellent fit for end-to-end processes throughout the financial supply chain.

Enhance your existing investment in Oracle E-Business Suite and PeopleSoft, automate any size operation, reduce manual processing, and improve controls and process visibility. Stop by booth 511 at OpenWorld this week and see our innovative solutions for end-to-end financial process automation and reimagine financial processing in Oracle.

Monday, September 19, 4:00 p.m.

We’re mixing and mingling this afternoon during Happy Hour in our booth! It’s is a great chance to unwind as we approach the end of our first day at OpenWorld. Solution experts have been on hand all day offering demonstrations of AP automation, robotic process automation and mobile solutions. Didn’t make it today? Don’t worry, demonstrations are available tomorrow and Wednesday, and there’s still time to catch happy hour at booth #511 tomorrow from 3:00 – 5:30 pm

Monday, September 19, 2:30 pm

What's happening at booth #511? Katie and DeAnne fill us in. 

Monday, September 19, 1:00 p.m. 

AP automation on your mind? It’s certainly a hot topic here at booth #511. Lexmark recently partnered with Shared Services Outsourcing Network (SSON) to collect survey responses from 181 Finance and Accounts Payable professionals about current capabilities and future plans for their AP departments. Not surprisingly, the findings highlight three major areas of focus for improvement in AP over the next 12 to 18 months: invoice processing time, workflow and visibility. In fact, 48% of those surveyed put faster invoice processing at the top of their list of priorities while nearly the same number (49%) plan to invest in or improve their workflow automation over the next year. When it comes to visibility, 40% of survey respondents would like to improve process visibility and 37% are planning to invest in an analytics solution to do just that in the next 12-18 months.

Kofax MarkView for AP automates the AP operations for organizations using Oracle E-Business Suite, reducing cycle times and enhancing process visibility. Stop by at OpenWorld and check it out. Read more about our survey findings here.

Monday, September 19, 10:15am

If you’re in San Francisco this week for OpenWorld, make sure you stop by booth #511. The next few days will be full of chances to win an Apple Watch, experience your own digital transformation with our caricature artist, and learn how to redefine financial processing with Oracle. We’re going to have a lot of fun this week, but we’re also here to demonstrate our powerful combination of capture, content, process, robotics, mobility and analytics software for end-to-end financial process automation.

Monday, September 19, 8:00 a.m.

We’re off to a great start! And, what an incredible set up around the Moscone Center. Last night, the General Manager of theData Center Group at Intel, Diane Bryant, and Oracle Chairman and Chief Technology Officer, Larry Ellison, kicked off Oracle OpenWorld 2016 at the Welcome Keynote. Diane discussed exciting innovations in enterprise solutions that harness the wealth of data made available today. According to Diane, all of this data means massive amounts of opportunity for organizations that can harness it through innovations such as AI. Technology innovations such as AI and robotics are transforming how business operates and enterprise IT should seize this opportunity. Later in the Welcome Keynote, Larry shared the vision for Oracle Cloud. 

Sarah Bajek

What mix of invoicing is right for you?

Accounting and finance

With so many invoicing methods from so many vendors, determining the best and most cost-effective method can be difficult. Invoices come in a variety of formats: paper, eInvoicing, EDI, XML, and from a variety of sources: networks, email, web portals, etc.

AP automation vendors and consultants tend to recommend one solution for the best return on investment. One vendor might say your solution is optical character recognition (OCR) for invoice data capture of paper and PDF invoices, while another will claim that a supplier portal will make it easier on your vendors and solve all of your challenges.

But how can just one solution make sense for both your organization and your suppliers?

What’s at stake?

Invoice processing times, cost per invoice processed, and your ability to capture early payment discounts all rely on your invoicing mix.

According to a recent report from Ardent Partners, 41% of AP departments say one of their top priorities is reducing processing costs. In the same report, Ardent found the average cost to process an invoice in 2016 is $13.04. Meanwhile, best-in-class AP teams are managing to achieve per-invoice processing costs that are 81% lower and processing times that are 77% faster than their peers.

This is why it’s important to put together an invoicing strategy that makes sense across your supplier base with the ultimate goal of minimizing the total cost of the invoice lifecycle.

Understanding the cost

How do you calculate the right invoicing mix to drive the lowest total cost of ownership? First, look at where your invoicing costs come from: your process choices, people, technology fees, storage, third-party fees, suppliers, penalties for late payments and missed discount opportunities. It’s important to think about, and account for, all of the tasks involved in processing an invoice when you’re calculating the cost.

You can use this formula to get your cost per invoice: 

*If the technology has implementation fees, calculate the total cost over an anticipated lifespan of the solution.

The solution: A commodity approach

Lexmark solved the invoicing mix dilemma by thinking of invoices by commodity. Instead of basing our invoicing strategy on the source or the format of the invoice, we match our process to the commodity class. Here’s how it works:

Example 1: General Purchasing

At Lexmark, general purchasing covers a lot – from staplers to coffee. There are almost no contracts and there’s high supplier turnover (70% turnover). With this commodity, spend is less likely to be P.O.-based. This accounts for 67% of our vendors and 45% of our transactions, but only 1% of our spend. With 5,600 new vendors every year, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time onboarding these suppliers. Therefore, Lexmark uses an invoicing mix of mostly email, and some supplier portal, for general purchasing.

Example 2: Logistics and Warehousing

Logistics and Warehousing at Lexmark accounts for 6% of our vendors, but these are typically long-term strategic suppliers with contracted or quoted rates and lower turnover (3% turnover). There’s a higher volume of invoices with limited mismatches, and this accounts for 30% of our spend. For Logistics and Warehousing, it makes more sense to spend the time to onboard suppliers and for Lexmark to use a Supplier Portal for invoicing.

One size does not fit all

In summary, your invoicing mix strategy can’t be driven by your suppliers. Approach invoice needs by commodity classification and realize that a “one size” solution may not drive enough cost out of the process across your organization.  The key to making your strategy a success is working closely with procurement to align on a strategy that delivers the best return for your organization.

Grant Johnson

Five stages of digital transformation: Stage five

Digital transformation

A significant number of customers consider themselves mobile bank users these days, completing tasks like cashing checks, transferring funds and paying bills via website or app. In fact, 75 percent of Millennials self-identify as at least “somewhat reliant” on a mobile banking app. Still, these customers haven’t necessarily given up on more traditional banking channels. A 2016 Gallup survey shows that 79 percent of mobile banking users have also visited a physical branch in the last six months, and 84 percent have visited an ATM. Separate research found that for every 100 mobile interactions, there’s an average decline of only 16 branch interactions.

This means that to create the best possible experience for your customers, every aspect of your services needs to be faultlessly, digitally integrated.

Now that we’ve made it to the fifth and final stage of assessing digital transformation for your organization, it’s time to tie together all the offerings you’ve built along the way – informational customer service at your physical locations, transactional self-service, a personalized mobile web experience and mobile app engagement – into a holistic, intuitive digital brand your customers can  engage with easily and reliably.

This higher level of transformation is known comprehensively as the omnichannel – and it’s also the fifth stage of digital transformation. More than a buzzword, focus on the omnichannel is vital to success. 

According to Invesp Marketing, “companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain on average 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement.” Perhaps that’s why earlier this summer, one major American bank invested in a seasoned customer experience veteran to lead its omnichannel experience team.

And contrary to the digital transformation a strong omnichannel can lead to, omnichannel development isn’t really a technological undertaking – it’s a customer experience undertaking. After all, the omnichannel succeeds when every other piece of the customer experience and every interaction, from the bank branch to the mobile app, works together seamlessly.

For example, an omnichannel experience could allow a customer to quickly make a branch appointment with a representative about a new investment opportunity from their smart phone, chat with a remote advisor from their laptop, or withdraw funds from an ATM and see the transaction immediately in their personalized mobile app.

Answer these questions to assess your organization's stage five progress toward true digital transformation:

·         Can you get a single view of your customers, so you can best serve them and easily recognize high-value customers?

·         Can a customer access a single view of their accounts – including savings, checking, credit cards and investments – all in one place?

·         Do you ask customers if it’s okay to save information so you can personalize communications and they don’t have to resubmit info when applying for a new product or service?

If you answered yes to all three of these questions, you’ve achieved innovative status and can consider your organization on the forefront of the customer experience in the realm of digital transformation. If you answered no, take heart. Because you’ve put the effort into your branches, self-service capabilities, mobile web offering and mobile app optimization, you already have all the building blocks you need to deliver a world-class customer experience, redesign the organization and operations of digital banking, and reinvent the bank of the future. From here, the sky – and the cloud – is the limit.

Ready to learn more? Download your free copy of Banking on a Digital Future: A Guide to Digital Transformation in Banking.

Grant Johnson

Five stages of digital transformation: Stage four

Digital transformation

There’s an app for that … right? When it comes to your bank’s offerings, there better be. According to 2015 Smart Insights findings, apps now account for 89% of mobile media time.

According to the 2015 Forrester North American Technographics Online Benchmark Survey, the percentage of global smartphone owners who used apps at least monthly increased from 29 percent in 2011 to 64 percent in 2015. A “2016 Special Report: What Millennials Expect from Their Banks” from Salesforce finds that 75 percent of Millennials are at least “somewhat reliant” on a mobile banking app, and 27 percent categorize themselves as “completely reliant.” What if their bank’s mobile app isn’t up to snuff? Millennials aren’t afraid to go searching for one that is. The 2015 North America Consumer Digital Banking Survey found 18 percent of Millennials switched their primary bank within the past 12 months, compared to 10 percent of those 35 to 54 and just 3 percent of those older than 55.

And it isn’t just Millennials who are becoming increasingly mobile-reliant. Customers of all ages are depending more and more on “mobile moments,” as Forrester refers to them – those instances in which a consumer pulls out a mobile device to find the answer he wants, immediately and in context. These critical touch points in today’s consumer journey, when added together, ultimately determine how the journey unfolds. Simply put – the more your customers are able to do via mobile, the more they are going to do, and the more likely they are going to stay with your organization.

Now that we’ve made it to the fourth stage of assessing digital transformation for your organization, you’ve likely realized the importance of allowing users to engage at their convenience, via their preferred channel, and guide themselves through all the services they used to expect only from a branch location.

If you’ve determined your mobile website is optimized to allow for this level of self-service, you’ve reached the fourth stage of digital transformation: the mobile app stage.

A mobile app provides a self-contained, personalized mobile experience that even the most optimized mobile site just can’t match. Examples of activities customers want to be able to complete from your mobile banking app include:

  • Using: Depositing a check, changing personal details, setting up and managing alerts, paying bills, making payments, checking account balances, registering for services, viewing past transactions
  • Asking: Seeking advice, looking up the location of a branch ATM, getting in touch with customer service
  • Engaging: Using a money management tool, receiving alerts, getting a quote
  • Discovering: Researching financial needs, exploring your brand
  • Exploring: Researching product details, comparing financial products, looking up internet rates, deciding which product is the best fit, reading ratings and reviews
  • Buying: Applying for a financial product, buying a financial product

Building an app that allows customers to do all that can take time. Don’t be discouraged – your app can start small. Answer these questions to assess your organization's stage four progress toward digital transformation:

  • Is your onboarding experience frictionless via your app?
  • Does your app use biometrics and does it offer the latest native mobile technology?
  • Does your app provide appropriate out-of-the-box feedback to a user, including alerts when there are credits and debits to their account?

If you answered yes to all three questions, you’ve achieved engaged status and are ready to move on to the stage five assessment questions (at which time you can consider your organization truly innovative in the digital transformation realm). If you answered no, it isn’t too late. You can begin building an app that takes the best pieces of your bank’s mobile presence and makes them even better. No matter what your customers want to do via mobile, you can create an app for that and increase customer engagement and loyalty.  

Interested in learning more? Download your free copy of Banking on a Digital Future: A Guide to Digital Transformation in Banking.

Beth Politsch

The face of AP is changing. What was traditionally a department with a tactical, task-oriented focus is transforming into a leaner operation with a stake in strategic business outcomes. A new study from Ardent Partners calls accounts payable “a function that, when improved, drives financial and operational value on a grand scale.”

Lexmark recently partnered with the Shared Services Outsourcing Network to collect survey responses from 181 Finance and Accounts Payable professionals about both the current capabilities of their AP departments, as well as their plans for improvements in the near future. The findings highlight three major areas within these accounts payable departments that are slated for upgrades, including invoice processing time, workflow and visibility.

Not surprisingly, these areas fall in line with the aggressive push to change traditional perceptions of the AP department by the best-in-class organizations highlighted in the Ardent Partners’ study. Let’s dive in and take a closer look.

No more hurry up and wait

The first two areas flagged for upgrades by survey respondents, faster invoice processing and workflow, are actually not two separate areas at all. A sub-system in the overall invoice-processing framework, workflow enables the routing of invoice information for validation and approval. Even if an AP department has capture technology for getting documents into their systems, a basic workflow that relies on a manual system for routing the information will stall invoice processing times and keep them from taking advantage of early payment discounts. 

48% of those surveyed by Lexmark and the SSON put faster invoice processing at the top of their list of priorities. Almost the same percentage (47%) called out an improved workflow as a top target and 49% plan to invest in or improve their workflow automation in the coming year.

With only 25% designating their cycle time as good or excellent, the need for improvement is clear. And Ardent Partners’ ePayables 2016 report agrees, explaining that “over the next 12 months, more AP departments are focused on improving the activities around invoice processing than any other area.” Invoice approval and workflow as a whole were also the largest priority in that survey, which gathered data from professionals in over 24 industries worldwide.

You might be wondering how invoice processing time and workflow relate back to the shift toward a more strategic AP department. Reducing manual tasks and increasing the amount of invoices that can be processed straight through doesn’t just increase efficiency. Improvement in these areas gives AP teams the ability to take on more strategic roles, learn new systems and have insights into more data than ever before.

More than analytics: Visibility

The third area of improvement prioritized by survey respondents is “increased process visibility.” But what is “visibility”? 32% of those surveyed had implemented analytics for workflow to monitor straight-through invoice processing. And analytics can certainly give you insights into metrics like per invoice cost and volume.

But there’s more to it than that. 

Visibility is a clear view into all of your financial data streams and processes with up to the minute access to critical information. Analytics solutions that provide such a high level of clarity with business processes are becoming a major priority for enterprises, with 37% planning to invest in a solution in the next 12 – 18 months.

According to Ardent Partners, top performing AP teams are more likely to use analytics for tasks like “forecasting, budgeting and planning; understanding the impact of cash; and developing better payment strategies.” A view into audit trails and the ability to perform ad hoc reporting are two more areas where analytics for true visibility can prove invaluable.

Respondents to the SSON survey demonstrated a clear alignment with these areas for implementing analytics, with “predictive analysis” coming in as the top driver for adopting or improving analytics solutions. Monitoring straight-through processing of invoices, productivity and compliance followed closely behind. 

The road to greatness

Let’s face it, twelve to eighteen months isn’t much time. But the fact that companies have set their sights on these major areas of improvement in the near future has some big implications. Not only do they recognize that processes can be more efficient, they see that Accounts Payable has big potential to become a source of deep insights and intelligence for their companies. With the availability of advanced technologies that align with these goals, AP departments are positioned to become strategic collaborators that can influence a company’s overall financial outlook.

Get the full infographic here.

Lyle McMillin

Turning data into value


Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to attend the Big Data and Healthcare Analytics Forum held in San Francisco. This forum describes its mission as an environment to help organizations “translate data into real dollars and make a measurable impact on clinical care. Through healthcare-focused insights, successes and lessons learned discover the most effective paths forward to conquer the transition to value-based care.” With this mission in mind, healthcare data science found an excellent environment in which to exchange ideas and learn from the experiences of others in this ever-changing industry.

In total, almost all of the presentations offered information that could be used to progress the data science initiatives of those who attended, but there were a few key topics that kept appearing through the presentations:

The truth (and the data!) is out there

This theme appeared in several presentations and boards. Many speakers discussed how their access to data has grown exponentially over the years, and growth over the last five years has been staggering.  This access to data is unprecedented in an industry that is ripe for improvement. None of this should be shocking to those who follow the industry with any level of frequency. However, there were a few things I found interesting. 

First, the speakers mostly concurred that healthcare data scientists now have access to the data they require, but the old adage that 80% of the effort goes into data exploration and manipulation still rings true today. Multiple speakers discussed the fact that in an age of constant change in the US healthcare industry, clean, easily usable data still remains a panacea. These numbers bear out for all industries, a fact highlighted in a recent survey of data scientists by Crowdflower. The survey found 66.7% said cleaning and organizing data is one of their most time-consuming tasks. This disheartening statistic and the firsthand accounts expressed at the event will ultimately serve as a beacon for the healthcare industry to drive focused solutions in this as an area of need. The access to data was also raised a challenge that may ultimately delay the industry’s vision of population health. With the core inhibitor to that vision being the access to a patient’s entire medical history as in many cases that content is not available  for a large-scale population health study due to the lack of consistent, useable data across an individual organization and across disparate organizations.

Secondly, Dr. Atul Butte, who was the keynote speaker for the conference, brought up a somewhat alternative view on data availability. He discussed the power that exists with openly-available data and how those with creative minds and the statistical/programming skills can change the world without having to require the backing of a large academic or corporate entity. Dr. Butte  gave the example of then-teenager Brittney Wenger’s work to develop a neural network to enhance breast cancer detection was done with (in addition to a lot of smarts and hard work!) public breast cancer samples.  What’s truly amazing about this story is that the samples and the technology to process them were available, but it took a creative mind to exploit that information for a positive outcome. In today’s world of global data liquidity, these types of studies are happening with greater frequency across the globe, as more and more people begin to understand the tools that are available to anyone who seeks them out.

No one trusts the data

This idea that analytics is still viewed as “voodoo magic” by many in the clinical and administrative ranks was evident in many of the presentations, none moreso than Dr. Jean Huddleston’s presentation on the second day. Many of this inspiring speaker’s topics focused on the effort required to bring an analytics project forward to production, and also the enormous amount of buy-in that clinical data science teams must procure before they gain acceptance from key stakeholders. Combine that with the previously mentioned data exploration and manipulation requirements in today’s world of “big data,” and you see that these projects are really tangible examples of the Iceberg Principle (where most of the effort and information is hidden below the surface). 

This realization (that there’s more to a successful analytics project than just statistical knowledge) was evident throughout many of the presentations. Today’s healthcare analytics executives need many skills to be successful, including political savviness, a working knowledge of IT systems and application, a working knowledge of clinical workflows and a great deal of patience.

Focus, focus, focus.

I had the pleasure of sitting with Dr. John Showalter and Alexandra Castillo from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and then hearing their presentation the following day.  They moved the UMM Medical Center toward becoming a knowledge driven organization was one of practicality, and their success was thanks to their focus on getting wins, no matter how small.

Their ability to tie clinical outcomes to the financial performance of the organization combined with focusing on physician and executive leadership buy-in allowed them to demonstrate some very impressive returns on their initial investments. Their results only reiterated the overall message of focus that many at the conference hoped to impart on the crowd.  

In summary, the HIMSS Big Data and Analytics Conference – San Francisco was a great gauge of where the industry is and the challenges it needs to overcome to deliver on investments made in healthcare analytics and health information technology. Together, presenters and attendees showed that while challenges do exist, when healthcare information technology and data science come together, the results can positively affect the level of care provided to patients. 

This is an exciting field of study with many passionate individuals involved – one that will ultimately yield benefits for all facets of the healthcare industry. We still have a long way to go, as many still struggle to democratize data and standardize the learnings being realized around the globe, but gatherings such as these go a long way in making the journey possible.