Evaluating EDMS: How to Automate Your Document Approval Process

Document approval process with two individuals holding puzzle pieces

Our final blog in this series is related to automating your document approval process. A process that, at first glance, appears very simple: Handle – Approve – Post.

In reality, the overall document approval process is comprised of complicated, manual procedures to handle, approve and post documents such as sales invoices, purchase orders or requisitions. Frequently, it involves classic brown envelopes and/or lengthy email chains drifting between business units.

In our first blog in this series, we pointed out that manual paper and email-based processes result in reduced visibility, limits overall monitoring and provides several opportunities for process breakdown or delay. In addition, ungoverned approvals reduce a company’s ability to prevent policy breaches and implement an environment of governance and compliance.

Document approval processes, including posting documents, is a core-business process and a paramount bookkeeping task but is often regarded as a necessary evil outside the bookkeeping department. And if the necessary evil is also inefficient, time-consuming and requires manual work, the task of approving documents is put to the bottom of the pile.

it.approval is an itelligence solution for approval of business documents in SAP. Our solution automates the document approval process, ensuring that documents are distributed to the right approvers, at the right time, and displays the pertinent information in a friendly user interface (UI).  Our solution, developed with our customers’ needs in mind, focuses on driving overall purchase process efficiency and decreasing the approval timeline.

Evaluating EDMS? Document Management System from itelligence

Besides shorter approval cycles and reduced costs per document approval, it.approval will also add full traceability and transparency of documents handled, including a full history of each step. A built-in analysis tool provides an overview of current and historical documents and ensures efficient usage and fewer errors.  Many of itelligence’s customers, leverage this for approval KPIs related to time tracking, identification of document approval process deficiencies, and ultimately for process optimization.

it.approval consists of the following sub process:

  • Handling
  • Document control with account assignment
  • Approval
  • Posting

Companies have different requirements, and each sub process can be customized in regards to workflow, user determination, automation and possible actions. For example, a customer can choose between posting an invoice based on the amount automatically or whether to perform a workflow initiated manual posting.

The solution is able to handle PDF files, scanned files, and Optical Character Recognition (OCR)-recognized paper documents and electronic invoices. Regardless of the source, it.approval converts the document to an SAP format and handles approval and authorization flows, in accordance with the company’s established policies. When creating the document in SAP, the system links to an image of the document and secures the transparency and easy access across the organization. it.approval is delivered either as a standalone application or bundled with it.smartSCAN.

Out of the box, it.approval supports the following document types: Purchase requisitions, Purchase orders, Invoices (with and without reference to purchase order), release of quantity, and price block on purchase order-invoices. Other business document types can be supported as well, and can be jointly scoped and delivered as a part of the project proposal.

The module is based on SAP standard workflow, with a number of improvements. A standard SAP technology which ensures that everything will dovetail with the customer’s existing SAP environment, leading to lower total cost of ownership.


SAP ECC 6.0 with SAP Netweaver 7.0

SAP Gui 7.10 patch 3 or newer

Content Server (archive link compatible)

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