SER Blog  Customer Stories & Use Cases

Central ECM platform at Aareal Bank

Bärbel Heuser-Roth

The Aareal Bank Group is a leading international provider of financial solutions and services, particularly for the real estate sector. The bank supports national and international customers from the Structured Property Financing segment in their real estate projects in Europe, North America and Asia. In the segment Consulting/Services, Aareal Bank helps its customers to manage their properties in Europe more efficiently and service-oriented with state-of-the-art banking and software solutions and innovative digital services.

The users decide

Working with an independent ECM consulting firm, Aareal Bank first compiled a list of requirements for the new solutions. "We involved the users early on in the ECM selection process," Petra Haas, Project and Department Head of Organization Management. Aareal Bank also placed high value on the look and feel and on the extendibility of the new ECM system. "At the end of the day, these were the primary reasons why we chose SER and Doxis."

Electronic organization manual, files and archive

In the past years, the Doxis application landscape has been continuously extended into the areas of archiving and electronic files. After the legacy archive was replaced in mid-2011, the bank-specific solution for written rules of procedure was implemented based on the Doxis electronic organization manual (blue book). Documents from the written rules of procedure regarding the organizational structure and processes are set up, managed and archived in Doxis through workflows. Features such as voice recognition, comprehensive search functions and a web connection to the bank's intranet support users in their daily work. This group of users includes employees in special departments, internal and external auditors, and the organizational department in their quality management tasks.

Electronic housing files

After the positive experience with the electronic organization manual, the project to launch the first electronic file for the housing segment was started in 2014. The logic of the portfolio management system was applied to the Doxis electronic housing files, which made it easier for users to use the new solution. With these files, the employees of Aareal Bank can now access partner files, account files and more from anywhere and at any time. They can also file documents in relation to a specific property and work on them later. By linking the various subfiles, employees always find the right document.

Workflows facilitate contract generation

In the second project step, a series of workflows were set up to automate contract generation with Doxis. The goals were to lower the error rate when filling out contract information (e.g. account numbers), to speed up contract drafting, and to track and follow-up on existing contracts. Aareal Bank has been deploying Doxis contract management since 2012. The bank uses the centralized ECM system to manage all contracts, including contract data (e.g. contract periods, deadlines, etc.) of external service providers.

To start the process, Doxis automatically gathers the required documents for the contract; 80 percent of which have been filled out already with information from the account management system. In the end, the electronic contract documents go through an automated two-tier release process. Once the contract is released, the system triggers the finals steps, which include printing the contract with a barcode and sending the contract to the customer. After the customer reviews the contract, it is sent in the mail to Aareal Bank, where it is immediately digitized through scanning. The scanned documents are assigned to the corresponding contract file in Doxis based on the barcode. Document modifications are transparently logged via versioning and can be viewed at any time.

Not a single invoice is lost

Aareal Bank also decided to implement automated inbound invoice processing with Doxis InvoiceMaster, which is integrated into SAP. The aim of switching to automated inbound invoice processing was to digitally and centrally manage inbound invoices that used to be entered decentrally and were manually processed. "Before electronic inbound mail and invoice processing were initiated, invoices sometimes took more than three weeks to be processed and they were no longer legible for cash discounts," as Petra Haas explains.

Doxis seamlessly captures invoices centrally in any format and from any channel — be it mail, fax or email — and places them in inbound mail for further processing without media disruption. Not a single invoice is lost. After invoice receipt, the invoice is verified by both the accountant and by the employee familiar with the invoice item. Integrated release workflows make sure that only verified invoices are approved in SAP and released for posting. "Case processing has become much faster, as the transportation times and idle periods have basically been eliminated," reports Gloria-Johanna Brasch, Project Head and IT & Organization Services Manager. Doxis invoice processing was then launched at the subsidiaries, which means that invoices are now automatically processed throughout all Locations.

Bärbel Heuser-Roth

For many years now, Bärbel Heuser-Roth has been dealing with a wide variety of ECM topics, from information logistics, process management and compliance to the use cases of intelligent processes for automated information management. She has also spent her career researching and writing about the implementation of ECM projects at companies and organizations.

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