CloudStreet PortalChanging the way documents are shared

Live Demo Site

CloudStreet Portal Demo Site

Access our live demonstration site for CloudStreet Portal, where you can work with sample invoices and statements as well as the data within those documents.

Demo Video

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Explore the power of CloudStreet Portal! View a demonstration video illustrating how users interact with invoices and statements, and take advantage of the data within their documents.

eBrochure

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Visit our eBrochure, where you can learn about CloudStreet Portal's features and view screenshots showing how users take advantage of the Document Delivery Cloud.

  • Documents & More
  • More Cash Flow
  • Low Maintenance

CloudStreet Portal is an intelligent, CLOUD-BASED document dashboard that can be accessed by users working from desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile devices. Streamline your traditionally-cumbersome business processes using CloudStreet Portal to provide customers, employees, vendors and partners with timely access to important documents and associated data.

Looking for ways to REDUCE THE COSTS associated with printing, mailing, and faxing invoices and statements? Customers connect with your organization’s Document Delivery Cloud and they have access to interactive, digital documents. With CloudStreet Portal, customers can view their statements and invoices, analyze the numbers, create reports, and import the data directly into business applications.

Increasing cash flow can be more important than MAXIMIZING PROFITABILITY. Your employees spend untold hours each month working to bring revenue into your organization, and you are constantly looking for ways to increase profitability. Yet even when revenue looks good, costs associated with billing customers and collecting payment can dramatically affect your bottom line.

What if you could trim the costs associated with mailing invoices and statements, REDUCE THE TIME employees spend answering questions about invoices so that payment can be authorized, and most importantly, GET PAID FASTER? These goals are achievable because CloudStreet Portal enables you to give your users immediate access to real transaction data, not just scanned copies of invoices and statements.

CloudStreet Portal is licensed as a hosted, subscription service that does not require an investment in new hardware or software. Compared to document scanning solutions, CloudStreet Portal delivers your documents faster and at lower cost, so you can FOCUS ON YOUR CORE BUSINESS. Transactional documents delivered by CloudStreet Portal have a significantly smaller data footprint, leading to dramatic improvements in delivery efficiency as well as cost reductions related to document-intensive business processes.

Your IT staff will appreciate the low-maintenance design of CloudStreet Portal. The SELF-SERVICE USER SUBSCRIPTION model is similar to the Facebook “friending” model and makes users responsible for requesting access to the Document Delivery Cloud.

COMING SOON

CloudStreet Portal Demonstration Video

The CloudStreet Portal demonstration video is currently being revised for the latest version. Please check back in a few weeks.

In the meantime, visit our CloudStreet Portal live demonstration site.

Customer Testimonial

Smyth Automotive

INDUSTRY: Wholesale and retail sales for the Auto Parts after-market.

LOCATIONS: 20+ locations in Ohio and Kentucky.

COMPANY DESCRIPTION: Approximately 370 employees, including counter personnel, drivers, warehouse personnel and corporate office employees. Serves a customer base of more than 12,000 customers, consisting of  walk-in trade, jobbers, dealers, installers, repair and paint shops.

“There is a theory that, ‘He who gets his bill to the customer first, gets paid first.’ I don’t know if that’s really true, but we do know that the sooner you can get your billing out, the faster the money comes in.”
     Chuck Smith, IT Director at Smyth Automotive

Interview with Chuck Smith of Smyth Automotive

Q. Why did you choose Cloudstreet Portal?

Most importantly, we get paid faster! However, postal rates are also increasing. The postal service has changed its policies regarding sorted-rate discounts, now requiring a printed postal barcode to receive the discounted postage rate. The added expense of printing barcodes to receive sorted-rate discounts has become cost-prohibitive.

CloudStreet Portal allows customers to retrieve invoices online, so we have been able to reduce the time that our Accounts Receivable staff spends making copies of invoices and mailing, faxing or emailing them to customers. The ability to maintain re-printable statements (from any given date) on the portal, is something that our software doesn't easily handle without additional disk storage of monthly files. Also, our salespeople can have access to customer documents, so as they visit the customer, they know the collection status and how much they are spending with us.

Many of our vendors have already moved to using cloud-based portals, and like it or not, that is where the future is moving. We want to stay ahead of our competition in technology. Soon, we hope to add the ability to have signature capture, which will make our need to warehouse old copies of paper invoices unnecessary, and again save us money for data storage costs. And in the future, we will probably use CloudStreet Portal to store reports for our stores, sales personnel, and for management.

Q. Did you consider competitive products when you were looking at the Cloudstreet Portal software?

Yes, we considered a company that works with the same database that our applications uses, but their solution was to convert documents to searchable PDF files. At first we thought that would be a good idea, but the PDF files take up so much more room than the XML files (used by CloudStreet Portal), and therefore, either you are spending more in hardware to store everything or you are limiting the amount of data that you provide to a customer. Storing document data in XML files also allows you to export data; you can't do that with a PDF file! You can also build other databases from the xml files.

Q. How has your experience been with Blue Prairie?

Bruce Decker is one of the most patient people that I know. If you call him with an issue, he's not the kind of person that takes offense trying to defend his work or code. He always is willing to double-check and see if there is an issue that may not have surfaced in the past. He understands the user's perspective, and at least for us, knows the automotive after-market industry. Bruce also has great resources for solving problems, even if it's something that he's not familiar with.

Q. What do your customers say about CloudStreet Portal?

We have customers who really love the product, and with the directions we want to take this product for them, they see it as a useful tool.

Q. What benefits or cost savings has this product brought to your business?

Cost savings in the long run will be more than management realizes right now. No longer will we have to purchase expensive, perforated statement forms. The added postage savings is another significant factor, but I feel that the biggest savings is the time it takes to manually fold and mail statements out every month. When we start to electronically capture our invoices and signatures, we will be able to discontinue storing paper copies of invoices, which will result in even more savings.

Q. What are the three most positive things about the Cloudstreet Portal Software?

Reduction in hours spent folding and mailing statements each week, the expense of paper forms and postage, and the time used to generate invoice copies for customers.

Document Delivery: Working with Invoices & Statements

CloudStreet Portal will transform the way your business shares information – with employees, customers, vendors and partners. Using data available from your ERP system, CloudStreet Portal gives users immediate access to documents generated by business transactions, without compromising the security of your back-end application or the associated database.

While CloudStreet Portal can be used to share many different types of business documents, most implementations will initially focus on providing access to digital invoices and statements from the Document Delivery Cloud.

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Figure 1: Digital invoice and statement produced by CloudStreet Portal.

Who needs access to your invoices and statements?

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Figure 2: Your Document Delivery Cloud will be accessed by many different types of users.

Your Accounts Receivable manager can deliver invoices and statements to customers through the portal, and can see whether customers have viewed the most recent statements. Accounts Payable managers at your customer sites can view digital invoices and statements, rather than mailed or faxed documents. Your sales staff can use CloudStreet Portal to track orders placed by customers. And, company management will have important information at their fingertips whenever they need it.

Individuals within and outside your organization need access to documents, and this need equates to potentially hundreds of users. With most document publishing systems, user management is an implementation nightmare for IT staff. Not with CloudStreet Portal! Instead, users manage themselves. Your organization issues an email to employees and customers, announcing the availability of digital invoices and statements from CloudStreet Portal. Users gain access to documents available on the portal using a simple, two-step process that does not require involvement from the site administrator. From the CloudStreet Portal website, users complete a simple registration process that requests only a username, password, and email address. Once registered, users utilize the subscription system to request access to invoices and statements.

To request document access, users complete the short Add Subscription Form, entering their user role (e.g., client employee), the document type for which they’d like access (e.g., invoice or statement), and their customer ID number. Once the user has submitted the subscription request, the next step is approval by an authorized individual. The subscription system’s approval process ensures that only individuals authorized to view invoices or statements will be granted access to the Document Delivery Cloud.

Figure 3: Users request access to documents using the Add Subscription Form.

Who approves subscription requests?

The CloudStreet Portal site administrator will decide who is authorized to approve subscription requests. Depending on the size of your portal user base, subscriptions might be reviewed and approved by the site administrator. However, if you'd like to offload that responsibility, a customer service representative within your organization or a client administrator located at each customer site can be appointed to approve subscription requests. The authorized individual will review each subscription and they will approve or deny the request. Why should a real person validate subscription requests? Users may be allowed to view one type of document (i.e., invoices), but not all document types (i.e., executive reports). In addition, it is possible for a user to inadvertently enter an incorrect customer number when completing the Add Subscription Form. The approval process intercepts these problems.

Site administrators have the ability to view all subscriptions submitted by portal users (approved, pending approval and denied).

Figure 4: Administrator view of site-wide subscriptions.

Working with documents

Once a user’s subscription request has been approved, they have direct access to the Document Delivery Cloud. From CloudStreet Portal, the user will be able to work with any document for which they have an approved subscription.

Figure 5: List of invoices and statements available to the user on the Document Delivery Cloud.

As shown in Figure 5, the list of available documents can be quite lengthy. Consequently, CloudStreet Portal provides you with many intuitive features that enable fast navigation, grouping, sorting, and selection of documents. To view a specific document, simply click on the document ID, document reference, or the View button (magnifying glass icon) adjacent to the row containing the document of interest.

Figure 6: Sample customer statement.

CloudStreet Portal provides numerous methods by which you can navigate within the line items of a statement, features that are particularly useful when working with multi-page statements. In addition, statements are cross-linked to invoices, so users can click on an invoice number listed within a statement and be instantly transferred to that invoice.

Figure 7: Sample customer invoice.

When using CloudStreet Portal, you can do more than view your statements and invoices. Users have access to the data within those documents. For example, clean copy and paste capabilities allow you to export selected data into office applications (e.g., Microsoft Office, Open Office), with appropriate column and row formatting.

Content Management: More than Invoices & Statements

Delivering invoices and statements to your customers is important because your business functions more efficiently when you get paid faster! However, your organization utilizes thousands of different documents. With CloudStreet Portal, you can make any document type available from the Document Delivery Cloud. And you can deliver those documents to any individual with whom you have a business relationship – customers, employees, vendors and partners!

CloudStreet Portal is particularly useful for the delivery of high-volume transactional documents such as purchase orders, RFQs, invoices, statements, and other application-driven content.

A Better Alternative to Resource-intensive Scanning Solutions

Unlike traditional scanned image solutions that focus on the scanning and management of large-format document images, CloudStreet Portal focuses on the storage and delivery of the information within documents. As a result, transactional data can be delivered in a format that is most useful to the user.

For example, an invoice can be delivered in a format that resembles a paper-based invoice or it can be reformatted on the fly to fit the display size of a smart phone or tablet. Likewise, the data can be formatted into a spreadsheet, word processing document, PDF, or email.

Documents ideal for cloud delivery include time-sensitive information traditionally emailed in text or PDF format, such as commission report updates, sales performance metrics, and operational exception reports. Users have access to current and historical documents, enabling them to compare past and present performance, without worrying about storage because document data is stored on the Document Delivery Cloud.

Any type of business document can be made available to users using CloudStreet Portal:

  • Reduce redundant copies: Instead of emailing hundreds of copies of a report, send it to the Document Delivery Cloud and alert users to the report’s availability with an email containing a hyperlink to the report on the portal.
  • Save bandwidth and reduce data plan charges: Sending reports via email consumes bandwidth and creates repositories of redundant information. The situation becomes particularly problematic for smart phone users, as large reports quickly fill up memory and exceed allowed data plan usage. These problems are mitigated when smart phone users utilize the Document Delivery Cloud.
  • Provide up-to-the-minute information: Scanned or paper copies of a status report become obsolete moments after the document is sent. With CloudStreet Portal, you can be assured that everyone is looking at the same report, thereby reducing the confusion often encountered when sharing frequently-revised documents.
  • Deliver readable documents: With CloudStreet Portal, iPhone and smart phone users no longer have to squeeze, stretch, pan and squint! Document content is formatted based on device size and capabilities, so document viewing is a relaxing experience.

CloudStreet Portal excels at bringing many different types of web content together into a rich user experience. While text information from back-end business servers is a major focus, the Document Delivery Cloud also can integrate other forms of data, including images, video, sound and documents in formats such as PDF, .txt, .csv, .doc and others.

Integration of CloudStreet Portal with Imaging Systems

If you have been scanning paper copies of signed invoices into an imaging system and wish to continue that practice, CloudStreet Portal can link the PDF generated by the imaging system with backend invoice data to produce content pages presented on the web. When the user recalls the invoice from the Document Delivery Cloud, they will view a responsive, digital invoice that incorporates an image button or link that displays the scanned, signed copy of the invoice.

Integration of CloudStreet Portal with Inventory or Parts System

Using CloudStreet Portal, you can hyperlink a parts diagram to a part number listed on a digital invoice. The diagram may be stored within the Document Delivery Cloud or it may be located on another system. CloudStreet Portal can convert the part number stored within the invoice into a clickable link to display the associated parts diagram.

Integration of CloudStreet Portal with other Applications

Sometimes questions are generated when a user views a document. Why was I charged sales tax on this invoice? Why is my product return not reflected on this statement? CloudStreet Portal can provide user links to a customer service portal, and make information within a document’s XML available to an email client, external workflow applications, as well as CRM or help desk systems. The ability for external applications to take advantage of the Document Delivery Cloud will enable you to enhance business efficiency, reduce operating costs, and improve customer service.

Portal Management: Powerful, Easy-to-use Site & User Administration

CloudStreet Portal provides site administrators with a suite of easy-to-use management tools that simplify site and user administration. User management is a particularly powerful and flexible component of CloudStreet Portal as responsibility for user registration is placed in the hands of the users themselves, thereby reducing the burden on IT staff without compromising system security.

User subscription system

CloudStreet Portal utilizes a unique, user-initiated subscription request component that encourages users to manage themselves! Based on the Facebook “friending” model, the self-service subscription system is familiar to users and allows access privileges to be requested by document type.

Users register with CloudStreet Portal, obtain their own logins, manage their own passwords, and make personal subscription requests. The site administrator can review and approve subscription requests or can appoint managers at the customer site to authorize subscriptions. The flexibility of the subscription system also allows for a single login to be associated with multiple customers (e.g., create one login for a customer sales rep with responsibility for all customers in the northeast region).

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Figure 1: List of site-wide subscriptions available to site administrator.

CloudStreet Portal’s unique, low maintenance user subscription system was designed with input from IT professionals. We call it the anti-nagging model of user management! Approval of user subscriptions is fast and simple, and doesn’t require involvement from technical staff.

While users manage most of their own needs, CloudStreet Portal does provide tools allowing site administrators to create and delete users, change user passwords and privileges, block and enable passwords, and log users off the portal. The administration tools also include a control panel that lists users who are currently logged into the system.

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Figure 2: User manager and administration tool.

User roles and security

Adding power to the user subscription system, the User Roles Manager provides site administrators with the ability to view and edit user roles. Roles, in the simplest terms, are a way for companies to categorize different types of users. Depending on the user group associated with a particular role, a user will have access to specific document types and portal resources. For example, a client employee might have access to the most basic documents only because they are not authorized to access more sensitive company data, whereas a site administrator would have access to all document types.

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Figure 3: Management of user roles.

CloudStreet Portal is a web-based content delivery system that is integrated with the popular Joomla Content Management System (CMS). Joomla is an open-source tool that allows developers to build web sites and powerful online applications and CloudStreet Portal has inherited a rich set of functional capabilities and user management options from the CMS.

CloudStreet Portal allows organizations to deliver business documents (such as invoices and statements) to their customers and employees, along with associated transactional data. As a result, it is crucial that administrators have the ability to control who can access the data provided by the portal. Providing flexibility and security, CloudStreet Portal’s user management system extends the Joomla CMS hierarchical user permission system.

The Joomla user permission system includes a set of predefined, hierarchical user groups such as public, author and publisher. These user group definitions allow Joomla to control user access to application resources, such as menus and web pages (aka articles). Explaining the concept of Joomla user groups is beyond the scope of this article; however, you can find detailed documentation about user group definition at docs.joomla.org (the Joomla documentation website). Within the Joomla user group hierarchy, CloudStreet Portal has created four application-specific user groups (i.e., client_employee, client_admin, customer_service_rep, and site_admin). A CloudStreet Portal user group definition inherits capabilities from its parent Joomla user group based on its position within the Joomla user group hierarchy.

For example, the Joomla publisher user group is the parent of the CloudStreet Portal user group customer_service_rep. As a result, customer_service_rep inherits user permission attributes from publisher. Specifically, a customer_service_rep or a publisher can create articles but cannot delete them.

CloudStreet Portal user groups were intended to be used as follows:

  • client_employee: A customer employee who has permission to view specific document types (e.g., invoices and statements); only has access to My Documents menu.
  • client_admin: A customer employee who is authorized to approve (or deny) subscription requests for other employees within the customer organization or a person within your organization who is authorized to approve (or deny) subscription requests for one or more customers; has permission to view specific document types (e.g., invoices and statements); has access to My Documents and My Company menus.
  • customer_service_rep: A person within your organization who is authorized to approve (or deny) all subscription requests; has permission to view all documents; has access to My Documents, My Company and Customer Service Rep menus.
  • site_admin: An employee or consultant of the organization that licenses the CloudStreet Portal service; has the authority and technical skills to act as the CloudStreet Portal administrator; has access to the back-end administrative console of CloudStreet Portal to manage users, define document templates, and create articles; authorized to approve (or deny) all subscription requests and has permission to view all documents; has access to My Documents, My Company, Customer Service Rep, and Site Administration menus.

Linking new user roles to user groups is powerful when properly used, but it also can be dangerous if you do not understand the different access permissions availables. While we do not recommend “experimenting” with user roles, Blue Prairie can assist you with the creation of new user groups and user roles if the CloudStreet Portal predefined user groups do not serve your organizations’ needs.

Document type manager

Document types reference the specific documents that you will make available to users on the Document Delivery Cloud. These might include invoices, statements and reports. In addition, subscriptions are considered document types within CloudStreet Portal. Site Administrators have the ability to add, view, edit, and delete the document types that might be utilized by an organization. When a document type is defined, a document template is associated with the definition. This template will determine how the document appears visually to the user within the browser.

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Figure 4: Management of document types.

Event Manager

The event manager logs generation and delivery of documents on a user-by-user basis. The ability to log activities related to documents is a useful feature of CloudStreet Portal. Event logs allow site administrators to understand general system usage trends (i.e., number of documents viewed in a specific period of time or number of times a certain document was viewed). For each document available on the site, an event counter is maintained, making it easy for a customer service representative or site administrator to pinpoint highly active documents or documents with no activity.

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Figure 5: Portal event manager.

When you email a document to a customer, you know that it was sent but not if it was received or read. By contrast, when portal users view documents the activity is recorded in the Event Manager. So, you can easily determine whether a customer has viewed an invoice or statement.

The event manager feature is useful, for example, when you want to know if a specific customer employee (e.g., the Accounts Payable manager) has reviewed a certain document (e.g., the most recent monthly statement). The event log will tell you which customers have not yet viewed their published statements. A prudent use of event logs could help the Accounts Receivable department manage collections, reduce aging receivables, and expedite cash flow.

CloudStreet Portal has security features that stop one user from manipulating a URL and viewing another user’s documents. In addition, attempts to “hack” or manually alter the URL associated with a document are logged as document events so you will be alerted when a variety of security breach types are detected.

Mass email

The mass email feature allows site administrators to send an email blast to all portal users, to users within a specific user group, or to a selected set of to users. Mass email can be used to make general announcements to portal users or to notify them when a new set of documents have been published.

Content creation and document template management

CloudStreet Portal is built upon the popular Joomla Content Management System, an open-source tool that allows developers to build feature-rich web pages. CloudStreet Portal has inherited these content management capabilities, so site administrators are able to create and maintain content, including articles, categories (containers that organize articles), and document templates.

The article manager provides both WYSIWYG and HTML/CSS editors, allowing site administrators to create custom web pages and document templates. For example, you can design different invoice and statement templates, ranging from simple black-and-white table formats to multi-color documents that include a company logo and images – all from your web browser!

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Figure 6: Editing of an Invoice template.

Implementation options

A significant advantage of CloudStreet Portal is that customers don’t need access to your backend system in order to interact with the data available in their invoices and statements. So, you can ensure that the data in your business application remains safe and secure. And CloudStreet Portal is available even when your backend server is down for maintenance! Implementation of CloudStreet Portal is under your control, so you determine whether users work with staged or real-time data and how frequently your backend application feeds data to the Document Delivery Cloud.

Features

  • Cross-linked invoices & statements: Customers can access invoices directly from their statement by clicking on hyperlinked invoice line items.
  • View documents on any device: Responsive document template design enables documents to be viewed on virtually any device, including a laptop, tablet, smart phone or iPhone.
  • Intelligent data exploration: Users can quickly and easily find data within documents using intelligent sorting, filtering, grouping and advanced search capabilities.
  • Clean copy and paste: Use simple copy and paste features to export selected data into office applications (e.g., Microsoft Office, Open Office), with appropriate column and row formatting.
  • Find any document: CloudStreet Portal stores data rather than scanned images of documents, so users can use virtually any keyword or phrase to locate a document or retrieve information from within a document.
  • Non-proprietary, standards-based data storage: CloudStreet Portal stores document data in XML format on the Document Delivery Cloud. Many applications have built-in XML export capabilities, simplifying the process of data acquisition.
  • Accessible: Documents are available to your customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and the Document Delivery Cloud is available even when your backend system is down for maintenance.
  • Flexible: Unlike with scanned and paper documents, the Document Delivery Cloud does not lock data into a specific format.
  • Scalable: The Document Delivery Cloud can serve thousands of users just as easily as it serves ten, yet user support and management is minimal.

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