SAP Module Solves Invoice Woes

SAP has teamed up with Seeburger to solve a small but potentially worrisome issue: invoice errors.

SAP AG, of Walldorf, Germany, has teamed up with Seeburger Inc. to solve a small but potentially worrisome issue: invoice errors.

The companies announced last week that they are developing an add-on application to SAPs MySAP ERP (enterprise resource planning) invoice management system that automates the process of detecting and handling errors in incoming paper-based invoices.

Seventy percent of all invoices are still paper-based, according to Seeburger officials in Atlanta.

The new module, dubbed Add-On for MySAP ERP, combines components from SAPs Enterprise Services Architecture and Seeburgers Paper2ERP software to suss out errors on paper-based invoices as they are scanned into the MySAP ERP system.

Seeburgers Paper2ERP software combines the companys OCR (optical character recognition) technology, data validation and exception handling functionality with AI (artificial intelligence) to help minimize the need for manual exception handling, according to officials.

Add-On for MySAP ERP uses Seeburgers OCR technology to scan paper-based invoices, and it uses the data validation technology to interpret and validate data by cross-checking it against a database. Results from the initial data scan are posted in MySAP ERP as structured XML documents while exceptions are routed through a user-defined workflow for resolution. Invoices with resolved issues are then submitted to MySAPs Accounts Payable module.

Seeburgers AI software is used to create supplier templates. It also automates learning procedures, which, in turn, serve to continuously improve interpreted results.

Add-On for MySAP ERP, which is expected to be released with MySAP ERP 2005 later this year, is also designed to accommodate different business models, such as outsourcing or hub deployment.

Also, Seeburgers Paper2ERP software currently is available as a stand-alone option that can plug into any version of SAPs R/3 ERP suite.

"The idea of extending a back-end application to partners is nothing new, but because of Web services and advances in SOAs [service-oriented architectures], to now host more functionality on the B2B [business-to-business] gateway is a precursor of all the wonderful functionality were going to be able to do with business partners," said Frank Kenney, an analyst with Gartner Group Inc., in Stamford, Conn.


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