E-discovery of E-docs

On any given day, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based American Document Management (AmDoc) assists its thousand corporate and government customers by tracking down their e-documents with the tenacity of a TV sleuth. Its customers are dealing with litigation and compliance cases large and small?from divorce proceedings to major corporate lawsuits?which means accessing e-docs is often key to a case?s outcome.

?With today?s wealth of electronic devices, so many documents are stored on laptops, cell phones, digital cameras and GPS systems that there could be enough [information] on each device to fill a 4-foot-long filing cabinet,? says Karen Unger, AmDoc?s president and CEO. ?We find the critical files for our clients and get them organized, even if they?ve been deleted. We?re like a CSI for computers.?

Given that AmDoc?s business is based on content and documents, the company has taken its own advice by maximizing efficiency when it comes to generating and tracking its own sales reports. In the past, however, Unger and the sales teams often found themselves buried beneath solutions that required excessive personnel resources. There was also a glut of customer-related contracts to stay on top of manually, and contract-renewal deadlines were sometimes missed.

?We dealt with several vendors that offered automated solutions for these needs,? Unger says, ?but when it came to the basic things we wanted?like finding out how many calls a salesperson made in a week?we couldn?t automatically retrieve it. That should be part of the basic package, shouldn?t it??

AmDoc found a better way through a solution called QuickBase from Intuit. Unger no longer has to manually retrieve and send sales reports: An e-mail-based application now automates that process. There?s also a template that allows Unger to see whether sales tasks and goals are being met in real time, versus having to wait until the end of the quarter. This allows for quicker corrective action, if needed.

Similarly, reports relating to sales lead generation, calls and meetings are produced electronically for easier retrieval and oversight. Sales teams now save four hours a week on time that used to be spent manually producing these reports. The solution also sends e-alerts to staff members when customer contracts need to be renewed and when payments are due, so there are no more missed lease payments or contract renewals.

AmDoc is even expanding its use of QuickBase to serve its HR and inventory needs. ?Now, when employees are hired, we?ll be able to track their hiring date, the date when their evaluation and raises are due, and when their tax status changes,? Unger says.

?With inventory, when a computer maintenance agreement is expiring, we?ll find out about it two months in advance. That way, we can budget for the renewal ahead of time instead of being hit with it by surprise.? ?D.M.