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e5 Integration with SharePoint: What and Why?

Craig van Zeyl, e5 CEO

On October 19th, I interviewed Craig Van Zeyl, e5 CEO, to discuss e5’s integration with SharePoint and specifically what e5 Business Workflow delivers above and beyond SharePoint 2010 or 2013.

Therese: Good morning Craig, I’d like to focus this interview on the specific features and benefits that e5 delivers above and beyond what a business user gets with SharePoint 2010 workflow (or version 2013) alone. Let’s assume the audience for this interview is line-of-business executives / managers in areas such as medical claims processing, medical billing, loan origination – areas of the business that are controlled by the people process. Lets’ also assume that the reader has a basic understanding of SharePoint as well.

Therese: First, let’s talk about the content repository. What does e5 provide that SharePoint doesn’t?


Craig: SharePoint provides content repositories that can comfortably handle up to 5 million records per repository. What SharePoint can’t do, and e5 does, is manage multiple repositories in a way that the users view it as a single repository. This can be important in cases where, for example, the claim is stored in one repository but the prior claim history may be archived to a second repository. For larger systems, the repositories can be split allowing SharePoint to handle significant volumes of documents using the free repositories. Even more important, e5 allows you to mix SharePoint and 3rd party repositories within the same user experience. This allows you to preserve investments in existing legacy document management or image management technologies.

Therese: On that note, does e5 always require a SharePoint content repository?

Craig: No, e5 doesn’t have to have a SharePoint repository at all but can work with other 3rd party repositories such as IBM, FileNet, EMC, Alfresco, Appian to name a few. This way, the business gets the benefit of their current ECM /BPM system plus the benefits of building an e5 solution to handle complex, unstructured, dynamic work allocation, management and reporting.

Therese: Let’s talk about document images and document workflow? Compare how SharePoint handles the capture process versus e5.

Craig: As you know, Microsoft doesn’t offer a scanning solution with SharePoint so users need to integrate 3rd party scanning solutions. With e5, you get a framework that allows users to connect to any in-house or 3rd party scanning solution such as Kofax, EMC/Captiva, etc. The e5 viewer handles any document format, but has specific capabilities for handling TIFF and PDF and provides the standard image handling functionality such as zooming, fit to page, redaction, and so on.

Once these documents are captured in e5, they are attached to a work item and the work allocation logic handles prioritization, reporting, etc.

Therese: One of the things we hear from customers and prospects is the importance of a single portal – one unified business user view across multiple back-end solutions. Can you talk to how SharePoint and e5 handle that?

Craig: Let me briefly talk about what makes SharePoint a valuable portal. First, the SharePoint portal provides user security and access to a structure or framework so we can determine which parts of the final solution the business user is allowed to access, view and edit. Second, the SharePoint portal provides a development framework where you can use Lego-like building blocks – what SharePoint calls Web Parts – to assemble and configure the solution. SharePoint, out-of-the-box provides a perfect platform on which to build simple solutions. e5 provides more sophisticated functionality for finding, listing, displaying, managing priority processing and delivering dashboards, plus all of the workflow building blocks to leverage SharePoint as a foundation for complex applications such as medical claims processing, loan origination, medical billing, underwriting, pensions, and so on. This allows the business to rapidly create SharePoint pages, populate them with e5 Web Parts, and get a complete solution.

So to summarize, SharePoint Web Parts are designed to provide functionality for relatively simple applications that are easily created and broadly used. e5 provides additional sophisticated Web Parts to design and manage high volume, back-office work delivery while monitoring service level agreement timelines, performing priority processing, assigning and managing work allocation, managing multi-tiered cases and so on.

Therese: It sounds like you are big fan of SharePoint?

Craig: We, at e5, did a lot of research when building our product and it became very clear, very fast that building and exploiting the strength of SharePoint was the best architectural decision we could make. Why build a base-line content management and workflow platform when Microsoft provides one for free? I can’t speak more highly about SharePoint because it provides the unified portal page structure so that e5 users can add more customized Web Parts. It’s a fabulous place to build applications and the end user experience is simple and elegant. With e5, we chose to develop the right Web Parts to fulfill the needs of  a niche area which is the people process, back office, high volume, transaction processing. Our many customer successes prove both the worth of SharePoint and the added value of e5.

Therese: Can you elaborate on how e5 adds value to SharePoint Lists?

Craig: A SharePoint list is an easy way to define and manage a simple case. With e5, you get 3 pieces of additional functionality.

First, you get the specific functionality required to support high volume production workflow and back office processing such as managing assigned work, merging or cloning tasks, pending cases until a future date or activity, and so on.

Second, the e5 case structure allows the user to create a parent / child cascading work structure with inheritance. This provides the ability to run complex workflows in parallel without the workflow structure itself becoming too complex. A good example is in P&C insurance where a claim can spawn several sub-workflows for each of the quotations to be requested. The winning quotation can spawn a sub-workflow for the repair of the property. The people engaged in the sub-workflow can only see the limited information contained within their area while the case manager is viewing the entire case from the context of the parent workflow. The primary benefit with e5 is that each child work item can run its own independent workflow and can also operate in parallel, maximizing user productivity and minimizing service level agreement timelines.

Last, is that e5 manages all work items across all processor groups and makes every status immediately visible via the dashboards.

Therese: Let’s talk about what I think is one of the most important features of e5 – the dashboards. Can you elaborate on how e5 provides that functionality?

Craig: e5 provides out of-box graphical monitors and out-of-box reports allowing you to monitor three key areas.

The first area is the Service Level or Service Level Agreement (SLA) achievement. e5’s SLA Monitor shows the real-time pulse of the business so you know how well you are performing to agreed service levels. Service levels determine your customer’s experience. Setting the right level and consistently achieving the timeline provides metronome-like regularity that your customers can rely on.

Second, e5 tracks work volumes allow you to identify workload peaks and troughs so you can better manage resource requirements. Third, e5 tracks resource productivity – a visualization of key performance metrics which allows you, as a manager, to perform business process analysis and take the required actions to continuously improve productivity. e5 is designed to collect and recall every single action that is taken on a work item in minute detail so that we can calculate sophisticated activity-based costing about the process and productivity metrics. SharePoint doesn’t record this level of detail. This is another example of e5 functionality that is absolutely required in complex application areas such as medical claims processing, medical billing, etc.

Therese: Thanks Craig for your insights on this. I found it helpful in differentiating SharePoint from e5 and I am sure that business people reading this article will find it helpful as well.


e5 CTO Speaks at Microsoft TechEd Australia 2012

TechEd is Microsoft’s ultimate technology geek fest and was held in September. e5 CTO, Chris Wessels, presented to an intermediate audience about e5 and Microsoft Azure.

Click here to view this presentation

Wessels’ presentation focused on porting the e5 workflow solution to Azure IaaS roles. e5 Workflow is an enterprise application that leverages the Microsoft stack, particularly SQL 2012, .Net 4.0, Office 365 and SharePoint 2010 workflow to deliver highly adaptive and scalable workflow and case management solutions. Traditionally deployed on premise or via privately hosted cloud, the Windows Azure IaaS offering provides the ideal platform on which to leverage the cloud to maximize the opportunity to deliver the power of e5 process management as a Service. The session discusses e5’s experience in porting real-world e5 deployments to Azure VM Roles including the integration and security challenges of hybrid deployments.

e5 CTO, Chris Wessels, comments, “I remain convinced that the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model is the future but it required a significant re-architecting investment in order for us to leverage it. The addition of state-full virtual machine roles to the Azure offering enables us to forklift our current stack to the cloud now. This translates into faster ROI for our clients and significantly reduces project risk by removing the barrier to entry that the high cost of on-premise provisioning represents.”

About Chris Wessels:

Chris Wessels – e5 Workflow CTO

Chris is CTO of e5. Chris’ earliest career was in aerospace when the software industry captured his interest 12 years ago. Joining the e5 team in 2004, Chris has been promoted from senior developer to product manager and now CTO where he has responsibility for the product roadmap and incorporating the latest technological developments into e5. He is an ardent proponent of developing high-quality, robust software tailored to deliver exceptional business process improvements for clients.



RML Realizes a 50% Productivity Improvement with e5.

Tempe, AZ – October 4, 2012 – Regional Medical Laboratory (RML) of Tulsa, OK implemented enChoice e5 Medical Billing Revenue Manager (MBRM) to improve the speed and quality of medical billing. Today, RML announces that the e5 MBRM system has improved productivity by 50% and service level agreement (SLA) timelines by 66%.

RML provides testing services for thousands of physicians and hospitals in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri. Primary facilities are located on the St. John Medical Center campus in Tulsa, with several satellite locations in northeastern and central Oklahoma and southeast Kansas.

When implemented, RML had a 72-hour billing service level agreement (SLA), with the timeline starting from the time the physician saw the patient. Within the first six months following deployment of e5 MBRM, the SLA was brought down to 48 hours and now stands at 24 hours.

The 66% improvement in their SLA was directly attributed to RML’s ability to optimize work by measuring both volumes and time to process. When the enChoice e5 MBRM solution was first implemented, a billing representative processed 162 requisitions per eight-hour shift – approximately one requisition every three minutes. Today, a billing representative can process 243 requisitions per eight-hour shift – approximately one requisition every two minutes – a 50% productivity improvement.

RML partnered with enChoice to develop the solution built on the e5 Adaptive Case Management Platform and Microsoft SharePoint.  “enChoice e5 Medical Billing Revenue Manager was implemented in a matter of weeks and provided immediate metrics on department volumes and the daily output of each billing representative,” said Michael Marshall, Manager of Billing. “These metrics were used as an information baseline to re-engineer the process and optimize individual productivity.”

“Our key goal at enChoice is to deliver value to our customers by delivering quality products and solutions,” commented Tony White, enChoice CEO. “The most powerful endorsement of our success is when customers like RML confirm and quantify benefits like this.”

e5 MBRM does not replace an organization’s current billing solution but integrates with, and optimizes their current revenue cycle/financial management system(s) to incorporate case management and implement work allocation.

Michael Marshal speaks more about RML’s experience and the benefits achieved with e5 MBRM in an On-Demand Webinar. Click here to view.

About RML

Regional Medical Laboratory is a nationally-renowned commercial pathology laboratory that provides testing services for thousands of physicians and hospitals within a four-state region. They procure blood and urine samples from patients, evaluate tissue biopsies to determine whether a patient has cancer, perform blood tests to calculate cholesterol levels and rule out disease, perform autopsies to determine cause of death, complete drug and alcohol screenings and much more.  The highest standard of quality is maintained through a vigorous quality assurance program including certification by the College of American Pathologists, the Oklahoma State Department of Health, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and registration with the Food and Drug Administration.

Regional Medical Laboratory employs experienced technologists, pathologists and support staff who use the latest technology and make every effort to ensure that every test result is accurate. Regional Medical Laboratory performs more than seven million procedures each year. The primary facility is on the campus of St. John Medical Center but they have several satellite locations in Tulsa, Northeastern and Central Oklahoma and Southeast Kansas.

About enChoice

enChoice®, Inc. offers the most comprehensive range of enterprise content management (ECM) products, solutions and services available, from our own products solving business needs, system design and installation to deployment, hosting, and single-point-of-contact support. Leveraging our certified KwikWork, BizWiz, CYA SmartRecovery and CYA HOTBackup products, solutions are offered for a wide range of business needs including content management, business process management/case management, records management, data integrity, hot backup and recovery. enChoice solutions support ECM systems including EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet and Microsoft SharePoint. We serve thousands of repositories at more than 300 global organizations including Affinion, City of Mesa, Blood Systems, Advance Auto Parts, McGraw Hill, Anchor General, Gruenthal, Honeywell, RML and the U.S. Army. We are an EMC Certified Partner, IBM Premier Business Partner, Microsoft Silver Certified Partner, resulting in enChoice’s unrivaled ECM expertise. Additional information about enChoice can be found at http://www.enchoice.com.

About e5

e5, a leading production workflow solution designer and Microsoft® Gold ISV Partner, offers e5 Workflow, the leading Microsoft pure-play, enterprise scale, business workflow development tool on the market. Based on LEAN thinking principles, e5 delivers a dashboard-driven solution and incorporates intuitive process mapping software to enable your business analyst to quickly automate and continually optimize the people process. Combined with Microsoft Windows® SQL Server™, e5’s integration with SharePoint and Windows Azure leverages and extends your investment in Microsoft, allowing your organization to improve productivity and quality, reduce cycle time, and realize the best ROI and the lowest TCO of any other workflow/BPM solution. e5 is globally distributed and implemented by selected partners. Additional information on e5 Workflow is available at www.e5 workflow.com.


On-Demand Webinar: Improve Medical Billing

View this on-demand webinar to learn how Regional Medical Laboratory improved medical billing SLAs and department productivity by 50+%.

Michael Marshall, Billing Manager at RML, shares his experience and the benefits RML achieved by implementing enChoice e5 Adaptive Case Management (ACM) in support of Laboratory Medical Billing. In 45 minutes, you can learn how your organization can also:

  • Achieve up to a 66% improvement in SLA compliance
  • Measure, control and track requisition volumes to achieve up to a 50% productivity improvement
  • Reduce overall cost per test by 15%
  • Reduce DSO and improve revenue collections
  • Optimize staffing and training requirements

This on-demand webinar is co-sponsored by e5 Workflow and enChoice.


e5 to Present at Microsoft TechEd AUS 2012

e5 will present at Microsoft TechEd Australia 2012.

TechEd is Microsoft’s ultimate technology geek fest. For IT Professionals or Developers, it is an opportunity to experience Microsoft’s latest upcoming technologies.

For Developers, this year’s event is the place to go if you are looking to get ready and create Windows 8 Metro style apps for modern client devices powered by Windows Azure. For IT Professionals, you will find an accelerated path to the skills and certifications you need to deploy, manage and secure a Private Cloud within your organization.

e5’s presentation will focus on porting its e5 workflow solution to Azure IaaS roles. e5 Workflow is an enterprise application that leverages the Microsoft stack, particularly SQL 2012, .Net 4.0, Office 365 and SharePoint 2010 to deliver highly adaptive and scalable workflow and case management solutions. Traditionally deployed on premise or via privately hosted cloud, the Windows Azure IaaS offering provides the ideal platform on which to leverage the cloud to maximize the opportunity to deliver the power of e5 process management as a Service. The session will share e5’s experience in porting real-world e5 deployments to Azure VM Roles including the integration and security challenges of hybrid deployments.

e5 CTO, Chris Wessels, who will be delivering the session commented, “I remain convinced that the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model is the future but it required a significant re-architecting investment in order for us to leverage it. The addition of state-full virtual machine roles to the Azure offering enables us to forklift our current stack to the cloud now. This translates into faster ROI for our clients and significantly reduces project risk by removing the barrier to entry that the high cost of on-premise provisioning represents.”

e5 partners and customers use e5 as the adaptive case management (ACM) development tool to build highly-elastic production workflow solutions for Global 2000 and small-medium businesses (SMBs) alike. e5 ACM automates and optimizes manual back-off processes to improve productivity and quality while reducing cycle times.

Microsoft TechEd Australia 2012 will be held from September 11th – 14th. For more details on TechEd Australia 2012 visit htttps://australia.msteched.com/.


e5 Names Tony Mudie President, North America Operations

San Francisco, CA – June 29, 2012 – e5 Workflow is pleased to announce the appointment of Tony Mudie to the position of President of North America operations.

Mr. Mudie brings more than 25 years of experience in the high technology industry with a focus on start-up business operations working for software organizations across Asia-Pacific and North America. With expertise in new business development and channel management, Mudie has held a variety of sales positions at IBM and Microsoft and various start-up organizations. A native of Sydney, Australia, Mudie relocated to the U.S. in 2009 for his most recent position as Vice President of North America Operations at Zap Technology. In that capacity, Mudie established the North American subsidiary and over achieved revenue goals by recruiting strategic partners and adding a significant number of net-new customers.

e5 CEO, Craig Van Zeyl, commented: “We are fortunate to have someone of Tony’s caliber and experience to lead our North American operations. I feel he provides the leadership to successfully execute our strategies, take advantage of the business workflow market opportunity ahead and establish e5 as a leading adaptive case management solution provider.”

“I am excited to join and lead e5,” said Mudie. “For SMB or large organizations focusing on quickly improving the ‘people process’ with a production workflow system, e5 offers a game changing solution to help organizations rapidly automate and continually improve their business processes. And with e5’s integration with SharePoint, our customers realize the best possible ROI.”