BCE takes the pain and paper-handling out of payroll processing

The headaches of handling paper forms and records can quickly add up when managing payroll for an organisation with more than 11,500 employees. A successful backscanning and digitisation project at Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE) has removed a lot of the pain from payroll administration.

The BCE Head Office in Brisbane is responsible for a vast education network including over 139 school communities and over 72,000 students from primary to secondary. When it came time for a renovation of the head office the inordinate amount of floorspace required in storing more than 500 boxes of paper personnel records was viewed as an obstacle.

Brisbane solution provider Avantix came up with a proposal to bulk scan the records into BCE’s SharePoint repository. This included optical character recognition (OCR) to allow for indexing and instant search.

BCE’s SharePoint environment is the second largest in the southern hemisphere and provides an intranet for more than 250,000 users including, staff and students.

The wide range of documentation required by the payroll department such as leave requests, contracts of employment, certifications, allowances, etc. would typically arrive in paper form for manual processing into BCE’s payroll application, Ascender Pay.

As a state educational institution, it is required to retain such records for varying periods ranging from 7 years from date of last action to 85 years from date of birth.

BCE’s SharePoint deployment provided the ability for individual records to be scanned and uploaded, with a template form to allow relevant metadata to be added individually. However, there was no ability to undertake bulk ingestion of thousands of individual files.

Avantix CEO Duncan Lord, said, “We were able to come up with a compelling solution for BCE utilising the PSIGEN PSIcapture capture platform.”

“This required us to work closely with the business unit, records management and IT to ensure a successful implementation.”

To complete the backscanning project, Avantix provided bureau services accomplished with two OPEX Falcon mixed document capture workstations.

The project needed scanners that could handle mixed-media as well as capture.

Falcon is a one-touch document scanning workstation that allows operators to scan a broad range of document sizes and formats with minimal labour, which makes it easy to prepare the documents for imaging.  Each page is evaluated for image quality, correct order, and orientation as the documents are processed.

As part of the scanning workflow, a data extract was received from BCE’s payroll system to validate and populate employee numbers, first names and surnames to ensure uniformity across their software systems.

“Many of the individual employee files had grown over tens of years when different policies and records management procedures were followed, so content within records often held surprises,” said Lord.

“By configuring direct connectivity from OPEX to to PSIcapture and PSIcapture to BCE’s SharePoint libraries environment it gave us end to end automation and created efficiencies which would not have been otherwise possible. Using PSIcapture not only was the upload of the data and documents automated and seamless we were able to dynamically create folders and metadata columns for each employee record and use BCE’s Folder and document content types that were already available in BCE’s SharePoint environment.

“With end to end automation being a key component of meeting the deliverables. the connectivity between OPEX and PSI capture was very important to us. From scan - data capture - QC and exception handling - ingestion into SharePoint was automated in a single workflow platform for maximum efficiency and consistency across large volumes of images and data.”

As these were live personnel records, overall project timeframe and accessibility to records during to project was critical. For emergency retrievals during the backscanning project, individual employee files were able to be located and uploaded to SharePoint within 2 hours.

“The project went very smoothly and provided a great result for BCE. They now have secure digital records that are searchable,” said Lord.

After the backscanning project was completed in January 2017, a complete catalogue of the contents of the 500+ boxes of historical records was supplied to be barcoded and linked to BCE’s long term storage suppliers retrieval system.

Each employee’s historic record is stored as a single multipage PDF/A file in their individual folder in SharePoint.

The payroll office has now implemented day forward scanning of new records utilising a Kodak alaris i4200 scanner and Kodak Capture Pro software.