Goodwill Industries Document Retreival Case Study

Goodwill Industries Solution Case Study

Goodwill Industries Uses KnowledgeLake to Streamline Financial Document Management

The Goodwill Industries organization serving Central Virginia and Hampton Roads needed a better way to manage thousands of finance-related documents. It deployed a KnowledgeLake Enterprise Content Management solution on top of Microsoft SharePoint, resulting in fast, easy document access and greater security and availability for important information.


Goodwill Industries serving Central Virginia and Hampton Roads is a part of Goodwill’s large North American network of 165 community-based, autonomous member organizations that serve people with obstacles to employment through education, training and job placement services. The non-profit Goodwill Industries helps people become independent, tax-paying members of their communities by giving them opportunities to work, earn income, and enjoy a sense of pride and self-esteem.

The Central Virginia Goodwill runs 27 retail stores, a production center, five community employment centers, 13 attended donation centers, and an auction center. In 2012 it served more than 16,000 individuals through career development, training, and support services.

The organization had problems dealing with a large and growing number of paper documents related to finance and accounting activities, particularly accounts payable and human resource documents.

“We needed a solution for digital file management of our accounting and payroll records and documents. It had to be affordable, and it had to work with our Microsoft SharePoint system,” says Helen Dow, controller for the local organization. “We looked at a number of possible solutions like Kofax and Fortis, but needed a technology that would provide the best integration out of the box with SharePoint.”


The regional Goodwill decided to implement a KnowledgeLake enterprise content management (ECM) solution. It deployed the full suite of KnowledgeLake products, including KnowledgeLake Imaging for SharePoint, which is used for retrieving, viewing, and annotating documents; KnowledgeLake Connect, which enables direct upload of documents into SharePoint from Microsoft Office and other business applications; and KnowledgeLake Capture, which is used with the organization’s Fujitsu fi-6130 scanners to scan paper documents.

The initial deployment was done for the organization’s finance department, which uses the KnowledgeLake ECM solution to scan and store a variety of documents, including invoices, vendor statements and communications, employee expense reports, contracts and W9 forms.

As part of the deployment, Goodwill integrated KnowledgeLake with its Sage 100 Fund Accounting software to assign vendor data in the metadata information used for organizing and accessing within SharePoint. A Vendor ID or Vendor Name field is linked from the metadata field to the vendor database in the Goodwill accounting system, allowing users to select from a vendor instead of having to manually enter vendor names.


Dow notes that the KnowledgeLake ECM solution has proven its value to the Goodwill organization because it provides powerful functionality-including easy document access, fast searches, and document security-in one integrated package.

“The beauty of KnowledgeLake is the fact that it is simple to use, yet provides all of the functionality we were looking for in a document management solution,” she says. “With KnowledgeLake, all of the functionality, workflow, security, and accessibility of SharePoint can be leveraged to further manage our documents. This brings a lot of power and accessibility without additional cost.”

Document Access

The documents that Goodwill employees use are now much more accessible than in the past.

“It wasn’t long before everyone in the finance department realized it was faster to pull up a scan of a document rather than the original,” Dow says. “Not only do we find it is easier to pull documents, but we don’t have to spend the time re-filing, and documents are available from any of our locations. In the past documents would get lost or otherwise be inaccessible. Also, our auditors accept the digital scans, so we do not have to spend as much time pulling and re-filing.”

Fast Searches

Searching for documents is easy using the KnowledgeLake and SharePoint system.

“With traditional filing,” Dow says, “you have to rely on the accuracy of the information in a single file. If the information is entered incorrectly or put in the wrong file, it could take an employee many hours to find it. With digital document management, our users can now find a document based on any metadata input, such as vendor name, or date, or P.O. number. Documents can be filtered and sorted based on any input field, which dramatically streamlines the document-search process.”

Improved Security and Availability

Securing the information in documents, particularly financial information, is important for any organization. Dow says the new ECM solution enhances the security of sensitive information.

“SharePoint helps us control access to the documents entered into the system using KnowledgeLake,” she says. “Documents can be opened up by or kept secure from any employee or group of employees. And because our SharePoint site is backed up offsite nightly and has an hourly differential, our IT department can restore virtually all of our documents in the event of a disaster.”

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