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Northumbrian Water Group Case Study – Accounts Payable Automation

Northumbrian Water Group case study

NWG (Northumbrian Water Group) provides water and sewerage services to 2.7 million people in the North East of England as Northumbrian Water, and water services to 1.5 million people in the South East of England as Essex & Suffolk Water.

  • Invoice Management Solution
  • Location: Northumberland
  • Sector: Utilities
  • Finance System: Oracle E-Business


NWG wanted to replace the existing hybrid mix of applications, some of which were nearing end of life support and therefore took the opportunity to review the current processes with a view to broadening the automation and encompassing more AP processes including supplier communications.

NWG were looking for a cloud-based solution with full integration with Oracle E – Business. Their invoices were 80% PO, 20 % non-PO and they were looking for a solution that could handle both. They wanted to achieve a high level of straight through processing.

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Once Documation was selected as the preferred solution provider the biggest challenge the team had was the time the implementation took. As the tender process started pre-pandemic and the project kick-off was just as the pandemic hit, there had to be a change of project plan to encompass the teams, as both Documation and NWG were working from home. A rapid change to new working practices and project approach had to be agreed and established. Delivering the design phase of the implementation remotely, was slowed and Microsoft Teams presentations and workshops resulted in an elongated design phase.

Following the solution implementation and user training, there was a comprehensive and well-planned testing phase by NWL. An outcome of this testing resulted in quite a few changes of processes. For instance, the way the solution handled credits, which previously had not been processed by their automation solution suite. There were potentially 20 different scenarios to be worked through which required ongoing consideration, automation, demos, implementation and testing.

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Documation have worked with NWG to deliver a full invoice management solution that integrates fully with Oracle E Business to meet the solution objectives established during the supplier selection process.

Using intelligent data capture, it enables straight through processing for PO invoices with an exception workflow for query management. Non-PO invoices are also managed through the solution. With secure audit, history, and document storage integration, including SharePoint, there is full visibility of all documents at any time.

Power BI reporting allows for continuous improvement of processes with real time reporting for invoices, by supplier and can also be used for measuring KPIs for internal improvements.

Being able to control the delivery of features, test and subsequently change the solution to work with the organisation is a unique feature of Documation’s finance process automation solutions. Providing ‘out of the box’ powerful solutions that can adapt to individual organisational processes is key to our partnership with our customers.

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