Optimizing Paper Intensive Processes

Topics: Paper to Digital

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A Guide for AP, HR, Contracts, and Compliance


As companies work to increase efficiencies and better leverage resources, they are increasingly embracing Shared Services structures for key business functions. Initial success in Finance and Accounting means companies are looking to take the same model to other departments.

Whether your company currently has a multi-function Shared Services model, is contemplating a move toward this model, or wishes to retain independent departments but outsource specific tasks, chances are you still have paper-centric business processes in these models. Iron Mountain can help streamline your paper-centric processes. We can help improve efficiencies, eliminate redundancies, cut costs, and increase productivity.

As you learn more, you’ll discover how our customers have benefited from integrated programs based on our best practices and information management expertise. You’ll find examples of how organizations in different industries – Banking and Insurance, Energy, Federal, Healthcare, Legal, Life Sciences, and Media and Entertainment – have gained from partnering with Iron Mountain.

You will also see how our customers gain from process improvement when the document management needs are spread across multiple departments and storage locations, how time spent searching and recreating material can be better spent.

We are confident that these stories will resonate with you and help you re-think your business processes across your organization.

Shared Services
AP, HR, and Contracts

Iron Mountain and Shared Services

As demonstrated by hundreds of successful engagements with companies like yours across a wide array of industries and geographies, Iron Mountain’s innovation and best practices-based services provide organizations with the means to streamline paper-based processes so that organizations can redirect their focus to optimize their most valuable internal resources.

Iron Mountain will help you develop and manage a secure, fully integrated document management program that delivers complete visibility and access to your business records – no matter the form they are in (physical or digital) or where they reside. In many cases, by helping to fully automate the business process with, for example, our Accounts Payable solution, we can (almost) completely eliminate paper from the process.

The Iron Mountain Advantage

Iron Mountain helps companies adopt a unified approach to records and information management, wherein all records – regardless of format (digital, microfiche, paper, tape) or location – are brought under a single set of policies, procedures, and management oversight. This expertise is at the core of gains made by customers and how they are able to smoothly transition from paper to electronic records.

Once implemented, your program will help:

  • Lower Your Costs
  • Speed access to the information your organization needs to be productive
  • Minimize your compliance risk
  • Improve Litigation Support and Discovery

Additionally, you’ll be able to effect a smooth transition from paper to electronic records. The benefits of removing paper from the system include:

  • Improved process productivity
  • Faster response to customers
  • Improved access from anywhere
  • Improved sharing across the organization
  • Less space taken up for onsite storage

Making A Difference
Departments Where Shared Services Can Have A Substantial Impact

Accounts Payable & Procurement

If your organization is like most, a majority of your Accounts Payable (AP) invoices originate in hardcopy form. This can result in you being overburdened by paper, which in turn can lead to longer processing times, more manual effort, higher costs, and reduced visibility and reporting quality. As a result, AP is often viewed simply as an operational cost center – increasing the pressure on you to trim expenses and do more with less.

The fact is, however, that there are two highly strategic roles that only your department can fill:

  • Providing the last line of defense against savings leakage caused by uncontrolled spend
  • Serving as an enabling force for improved cash flow management

Policing the spending departments and acting as the last line of defense before funds leave your company, AP alone can ensure that the savings negotiated by Procurement are actually realized by Finance. But it’s a challenge to do so when you struggle to manage the payment cycle and capture early payment discounts. Under these circumstances, improving your organization’s cash flow and bottom line results becomes a formidable challenge.

How does Procurement negotiate from a position of strength when it comes to your suppliers, if it lacks the information and visibility about your spend and spend categories needed to manage those negotiations effectively?

Treasury may not be getting the best returns on short-term cash if your current payables process is burdened by manual, paper-intensive activities that increase processing time, reduce productivity – and leave you little time to focus on more strategic tasks.

How do you take control of your current Accounts Payable process, and provide the information and insights to Procurement and Treasury that will help you unlock – and prove – the strategic value of AP?

With Iron Mountain Electronic Invoice, you’ll free up resources to focus on your critical issues. By eliminating paper and automating your workflow, you’ll be able to take control of your invoice processing. With the help of straight-through processing and smart routing, you’ll be able to manage by exception, creating more time to focus on your most strategic priorities. You’ll also have access to a self-service, cloud-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that will help you stay nimble.

With Iron Mountain, you’ll be able to seamlessly support your organization – whether it is growing rapidly or seeking operational efficiency – and address future concerns with minimal effort.

Do these solutions resonate with you?

Do you see how your organization could benefit from a secure information management plan?

Then you should know that it’s something Iron Mountain excels at. Working in close concert with customers like you, we forge highly customized solutions that combine practical advice with advanced technology.

IDC estimates that a 1,000-employee organization will waste between $2.5 and $3.5 million simply searching for nonexistent information, failing to find existing information or recreating information that can’t be found.1

These figures provide telling and dramatic proof that many organizations are still struggling to optimize people, processes, and technology resources. Employees the world over waste valuable time each day on these unproductive efforts – sharply reducing the time they can devote to critical needs and urgent assignments. If this trend is to be reversed, companies must rethink how they access, manage, and store the countless physical records found across departments and locations.

1IDC. “The High Cost of Not Finding Information: An IDC White Paper.”

Success Stories: Accounts Payable / Procurement

Parker Hannifin Corporation

Customer Challenge
The accounting department of Parker Hannifin Corporation, the world’s leading manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, needed a way to cost-effectively manage hardcopy receipts from its purchasing card program, while eliminating manually intensive, paper-based processes and efficiently meet audit requests.

Iron Mountain Solution
Iron Mountain now images P-Card receipts as they are submitted and uploads them to the Digital Record Center for Images — where they are centrally located for indexing, storing, and auditing. For the physical receipts being stored in a records center, Parker Hannifin takes advantage of the Image on Demand service, where Iron Mountain personnel locate, scan, and submit only those receipts necessary for each audit.

With these capabilities in place, Parker Hannifin’s accounting department gained a centralized repository of digital images and eliminated the need for contract labor – providing greater efficiencies and visibility and faster information access. They realized a 60-70% reduction in the average cost per audit request.

Schering-Plough Corporation

Customer Challenge
Schering-Plough Corporation, a major international pharmaceutical company, wanted to modernize a microfilm based accounts payable system to shorten processing time, improve productivity, and provide its employees with self-service capabilities.

Iron Mountain Solution
Citing the successes Iron Mountain has had helping similar companies securely and efficiently scan and store critical documents, Schering-Plough turned to Iron Mountain to guide the project. We designed and implemented a solution that digitizes and stores roughly 6,000 accounts payable documents each day, making them available on demand to hundreds of authorized employees at company locations throughout the world.

Iron Mountain’s document management solution helped Schering-Plough reduce costs and improve operational efficiency. In addition, the company has extended the solution to support asset forms, property and equipment processes, approval authorizations, and a number of other applications.

Waste Pro

Customer Challenge
An increase in the volume of paper flowing through accounts payable made invoice approval and processing difficult to manage with its current staff.

Iron Mountain Solution
Waste Pro implemented an AP Automation Solution to streamline the invoice process. With the ability to approve invoices via mobile devices through a single portal, this solution allows for approvals by users anytime, anywhere. The need to keep paper in file cabinets at each location is reduced as the information is available electronically. We also worked with the company’s suppliers to get them on board with the program, which helped increase adoption.

The Iron Mountain solution adopted by Waste Pro streamlined the company’s electronic invoicing and removed paper from the process, resulting in quicker reviews and approvals and, ultimately, faster payments. In addition, the solution was flexible enough to support a gradual rollout to the entire company. AP Automation has been adopted providing greater accountability to the process as well as substantial time savings.

“Waste Pro has grown rapidly since our creation in 2001, expanding both organically and by acquisition throughout seven southeastern states,” said Don Phillips, CFO of Waste Pro USA, Inc. “That growth has greatly expanded our network of suppliers and business partners and increased the volume of paper flowing through our accounts payable department.”

Broken Sound Club

Customer Challenge
Eliminate paper from all accounting functions across departments. A long-standing relationship with Iron Mountain, combined with learning more about the services we offer, led Broken Sound Club, a private golf and country club community, to an interest in removing all paper from their accounting functions and implementing an end-to-end automation solution for accounts payable.

Iron Mountain Solution
This solution, the Iron Mountain Electronic Invoice, includes a virtual Shared- Service Center for centralized receipt of invoices via mail, faxes, and email; scanning and indexing of invoice data; smart routing of invoices to approvers; mobile access for “on-the-go” review and approval; and an online repository for archives. All of this is managed from a single dashboard with self-service for users, offering information on demand, an online audit trail, and workflow status and history — in short, “paperless accounts payable.” The executives and the accounting team were “100 percent on-board from the get-go.”

Because the Iron Mountain Electronic Invoice is a cloud-based or Software-as-a-Service solution, there was nothing to install or maintain. In just eight weeks from contract signing, it was up and running. Broken Sound Club’s accounting functions are now paperless, productivity is up 25 percent, and costs have been reduced 10 to 15 percent. In addition, 400 cubic feet of space have been freed up and the Club has seen its overall carbon footprint shrink.

“Broken Sound Club is committed to being a leader in improving the environment. With Iron Mountain as our partner, we have been able to fulfill our environmental vision in our operations as well as on our grounds.“
— John Crean, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer (COO)


Human Resources (HR) is already adopting shared services (internal and external) and outsourcing to improve its service model:

  1. Upgraded services by automating to increase distribution, speed of delivery, and quality
  2. Improved security and control
  3. Achieved better use of resources by eliminating or outsourcing non value-added tasks

HR documents are often created and referenced on a distributed basis, even when managed centrally. Different users, with different access and security requirements, manage various components of the employee file such as benefits, payroll, and the federally regulated I-9. This creates unique operational challenges:

  • Authorizations HR records usually exist in a hybrid environment, with both paper and digital formats requiring strict access controls.
  • Distributed access Field employees and central management require access to the same documents. Searching for, copying, mailing, faxing, and filing increases costs and raises the risk of inadvertent disclosures and lost documents. Just managing hardcopy information equates to five hours a week for knowledge workers.
  • Security If master files are hard to access, users invariably make unauthorized convenience or “phantom” copies, compromising the integrity of employee records.
  • Real-estate costs Maintaining large, secure, onsite file rooms, especially at corporate headquarters, requires a significant investment in space and personnel.

Managing large volumes of active records in a distributed environment is difficult to do in a compliant manner. It makes sense to turn this over to experts who have both the specialized expertise and industry knowledge. The result is secure access to centralized HR documents, using standard, consistent best practices and the latest imaging and retrieval technology. It should deliver on your goals of improved service and security and better use of resources.

56% of HR departments across North America report that the top reason for process transformation is to free internal staff to focus on strategic issues.2

2 Shared Xpertise, “Global HR Transformation Report 2010.”

Success Stories: Human Resources

A Financial Company

Customer Challenge
A rapidly-growing US-based financial services company had embarked upon significant global expansion. The challenge was evolving a paper-based records management process to a consistent and cost effective international model for accessing HR records.

Iron Montain Solution
The solution was to store the HR records at Iron Mountain and scan only those files that were needed, when they were needed. Our Image on Demand™ Service ensured flexible image options for files with lower retrieval activity. Once imaged, Iron Mountain’s Digital Records Center® hosted archive was leveraged to provide centralized role-based access to the electronic files.

By outsourcing its records management to Iron Mountain, the company was able to shift its HR focus from a transactional approach to one which addressed more strategic initiatives.

A Food Service Restaurant

Customer Challenge
Acquisition of a large regional brand required a major restaurant chain to consolidate and integrate a sprawling distributed system of HR records.

Iron Montain Solution
Iron Mountain helped the chain achieve uniform HR administration across the expanded enterprise. By outsourcing the records management of large volumes of HR records containing private and sensitive information, the company gained greater control and improved access to both paper and electronic HR Files. The decision to digitize many of the more active files was based on a range of user requirements which included document type to all, active files to image-archived files, and the authorization to read, edit, or add records.

Having rapid access to HR records is critical both to compliance audits and internal reports to management. Ensuring only authorized access is essential to protecting private employee data. Iron Mountain helped the chain arrive at both these ends.

An International Consulting Firm

Customer Challenge
Faced with restrictions in the space it used to store employee benefit records, this international consulting firm wanted to create a centralized digital archive of these documents for greater overall access and security.

Iron Montain Solution
Due to the distributed nature of the records as well as the sensitive nature of the files, the firm enlisted Iron Mountain to develop a workflow process that managed all preparation, scanning, indexing, and quality-control functions.

By implementing a comprehensive, secure document imaging and storage solution, the firm was able to enhance the control and security of its vital records while saving space.

A Major Airline

Customer Challenge
A major airline needed to protect employee candidate criminal histories while making this highly sensitive information accessible only to authorized individuals.

Iron Montain Solution
Iron Mountain was selected to address this privacy need by scanning these employees’ files and providing them via secure FTP transfer to their internal system. The files could be accessed when needed but only by approved users. In addition to the image, the criminal history was maintained at the customer site with a duplicate copy stored offsite in an Iron Mountain record center.

By working with Iron Mountain, the customer solved its HR challenge of ensuring fast, secure access to sensitive employee records. As a result, the customer also implemented solutions that enabled other departments to leverage the secure environment and securely store service and maintenance records and engineering drawings. The customer was confident that these vital records worth millions of dollars would not be compromised and were secure.

A Global Financial Institution

Customer Challenge
Following a compelling event, a worldwide financial institution sought to reengineer its records management program to enhance security and compliance – and make human resource information more readily available to employees in remote offices.

Iron Montain Solution
An Iron Mountain customer since 1989, the company once again turned to us to help it execute this new program. In response, we worked with the institution to devise a hybrid document management solution that scanned and uploaded the most critical documents to an image repository for on-demand access. Following this first step, we helped the company image and store the remainder of its human resources documents for efficient retrieval across the operation.

Since this latest implementation, the institution has imaged over five million documents, electronically backed up each file, and securely stored them all in a centralized image repository to speed response to human resources requests.


The viability of any company is documented in its contracts. Sales contracts outline commitments to customers and revenue expectations. Procurement contracts show the total value of goods and services owed to the company. Yet many organizations continue to record contracts on paper documents with no process standardization and decentralized access.

The result is inefficient, costly, and long contract cycles that make monitoring and managing agreements a challenge. Companies are thus unable to realize negotiated savings and missed revenue opportunities. By providing centralized contract management, improved access, and streamlined workflow, you’ll manage the entire contract lifecycle more effectively. This will help you provide better customer service and stronger negotiating positions to gain better pricing – which in turn can result in substantial savings that drop directly to your bottom line.

A Pricewaterhouse Coopers study estimated that companies could save the equivalent of 2% of their total annual costs by eliminating inaccuracies and non-compliance through improved contract management.

Success Stories: Contracts

A Global Technology Leader

Customer Challenge
With its contracts and agreements created and stored in 20-plus locations worldwide using cumbersome manual processes, a global technology firm needed a means of accessing contracts in a timely manner to better support business initiatives, compliance requirements, and legal actions.

Iron Montain Solution
Iron Mountain helped create an end-to-end solution for capturing, managing, and providing secure, distributed access to contracts and agreements. The solution included a one-time digital conversion of more than 30,000 paper records and the development of a workflow for scanning and indexing 2,500 new records per week. In addition, we provided a robust image archive for easy search and retrieval, and supplied offsite storage at one of our secure facilities.

The Iron Mountain solution facilitates improved access to meet business objectives. In addition, we supported the timely destruction of paper and electronic records – in keeping with the customer’s retention schedule – enhancing compliance while reducing exposure to discovery and litigation risks.

A Major Professional Sports League

Customer Challenge
A national sports organization was faced with the challenge of managing large volumes of confidential paper and electronic contracts across multiple departments – and enabling approximately 100 employees to manage emails as records from their desktops.

Iron Montain Solution
Iron Mountain proposed a solution whereby the sports organization would upgrade to the latest version of Iron Mountain Accutrac® Software, featuring a new web interface that streamlined access to records across the user base. In addition, Accutrac Software includes an imaging integration that provides a unified interface from which to manage digitized paper and electronic records.

By implementing Accutrac Software, the sports organization was able to better manage large volumes of contracts, regardless of format or location, enabling it to more effectively address compliance-driven requirements for legal holds and helping it improve overall business processes.

Reed Elsevier Publishing Company

Customer Challenge
Contracts were in variable formats, including nonstandard information, and were inconsistently indexed. Manual efforts were required to locate, retrieve, process, and re-file contracts.

Iron Montain Solution
Iron Mountain developed best practices guidelines for Reed Elsevier, providing scan conversion of contracts and electronic transfer of documents via secure FTP to Elsevier’s existing content management system on an ongoing basis.

With its processes streamlined, Elsevier’s contracts are now centrally managed and consistently indexed. Additional benefits include increased access by multiple users and reduction in costs and risks, faster royalty payments, and author query response time.

Success Stories: Contracts / Workflow Process

A Financial Services Company

Customer Challenge
A leading US-based financial services firm with operations in more than 100 countries wanted to outsource its information management operations so it could improve compliance, streamline processes, reduce costs, and free up more internal resources in order to better focus on its core mission.

Iron Montain Solution
Already an Iron Mountain customer, the firm opted to expand the relationship by working with us to develop a fully outsourced information management program. As part of this engagement, we sourced key team members to work directly with the firm at its headquarters and major operating centers. At these sites, Iron Mountain employees are helping the firm with various information management tasks, including defining policies and workflows, developing retention and destruction schedules, and much more.

As a result of this outsourced information management program, the firm is able to help users become more self-reliant, streamline the development and implementation of records retention schedules, and more effectively support office closings and relocations, as well as divestitures and acquisitions.

Manage Information for Compliance and Risk Mitigation

With expertise developed over decades of experience in information management workflows and business processes across industries, Iron Mountain helps customers like you tackle legal, privacy, and security risks with unique and comprehensive solutions. And our solutions and services help companies like yours identify and destroy irrelevant information while preserving records needed for regulatory compliance or discovery.

More to the point, we can help you know what you have so you can find it faster, use it more efficiently, and, ultimately, realize greater value from it. The companies we serve run across a wide vertical spectrum, ranging in size, sector, and requirements. All, however, have improved compliance postures with the implementation of solutions that align business processes, enforce corporate governance, and increase end-to-end transparency of physical and digital information.

Simultaneously with this, standards boards and governing bodies are continually evolving regulations to ensure information is appropriately managed throughout its lifecycle – even going so far as to define what that lifecycle should be. That’s because physical and digital information represents risk in its most fundamental form – and regulators have a duty to ensure that this risk is brought to acceptable levels. Effectively minimizing risk as it relates to legal, privacy, and security compliance dictates bridging the information continuum, from creation all the way through to destruction.

With trillions of paper documents circulating throughout businesses in the United States alone, it’s only natural that a significant percentage will be lost or misfiled.

Securely Store, Manage, and Access On-The-Fly

Securely store your business documents

When bridging the gap in a hybrid office with paper and digital records that need to be securely stored, Iron Mountain combines the best of two worlds – the benefits of an outsourced electronic document storage solution together with the strengths of Iron Mountain’s global leadership in records and information management. We’ll develop a solution that can best leverage your SSO software and process investments and maximize efficiency gains.

Access what you need only when you need it

The fact is that not every paper document needs to be converted to a digital format, stored electronically, and accessed regularly. That’s why Iron Mountain developed Image on Demand, a flexible, document-imaging solution designed to provide fast access to the documents you need – when you need them.

Image on Demand provides a cost-effective conversion solution for paper-based documentation with low retrieval needs. You can outsource your entire document library and have specific documents retrieved, scanned, and made available to you quickly. This pay-as-you-go service lets you reap immediate and long-term reductions in cost and risk, regardless of your evolving information challenges.

You can access images through the use of our highly secure hosted Digital Records Center. We’ll help you get up and running quickly leveraging our industry expertise in such areas as Contracts, Finance, and Human Resources, among others. With no capital investment in technology and only limited training requirements, your team can utilize encrypted web-based access and be on its way to finding documents quickly and securely. All of this combines to help you leverage your SSO software and process investments, maximize efficiency gains, and arrive at real peace of mind.

“It’s stunning to know that 80 percent of corporate employees waste upwards of 30 minutes each day retrieving information, while another 60 percent spend over an hour duplicating the work of their colleagues.” 3

2Kingsley Martin. “Show Me the Money – Measuring the Return on Knowledge Management. http://www.llrx.com/features/kmroi.htm


We’ve helped enterprises evaluate their existing document management environments and related costs, and assess their long-term needs. Iron Mountain customers like you are achieving real competitive advantage and big business results via end-to-end, lifecycle-based document management and storage solutions. They are customized to address your specific needs.

We work with customers like you to develop a managed solution that supports their business goals, while complementing their strengths and resources. With over 60 years of industry expertise Iron Mountain offers integrated solutions to improve employee productivity with fast, distributed, simultaneous access to all records – regardless of format or location.

We are committed to protect businesses with enforced compliance and disaster recovery strategies As a result they are able to implement solutions quickly and with little or no capital investment, thereby saving time and money. Iron Mountain’s solutions integrate physical records management, imaging, and electronic storage, managing your information throughout its lifecycle. Our solutions make your information more accessible and actionable, increase compliance and security, and improve your workflows and business processes, thereby reducing your total cost of information management to help improve efficiencies, decrease risk, and reduce costs.