Summary

Dakota Financial, LLC, is an asset-based direct funding source with a focus on funding trucks, trailers, construction and agriculture equipment, and machine tools. Dakota Financial’s national programs are specifically designed to provide funding solutions for customers that have prior bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, repossessions, or slow pays. The organization funds traditional leases, sale-leasebacks, private party sales, start-ups, and owner/operators with loans from $10,000 up to $400,000.

Looking for an efficient scanning and file management system, Dakota Financial turned to SkyLite Systems to implement a custom solution built on Microsoft SharePoint, using PowerApps and Flow.

Challenge

To ensure they have adequate information for auditing and servicing their loans, Dakota Financial needs to scan and store anywhere from 20 to 40 documents for each loan they fund. Ranging from one to fifty pages, the scanned documents contain an abundance of information that requires long-term management.

Like many other companies in the financial sector, Dakota relied upon on an expensive, proprietary scanning and file management system to manage all of the scanned files associated with their leases.  The system was very rigid and hard to customize.  Dakota’s president Michael Green knew there had to be a better, more cost-effective solution. After Dakota migrated to Office 365, Michael saw the potential of SharePoint and knew he could leverage his investment in Office 365 and replace his expensive scanning and management legacy solution with a modern, cost-effective cloud-based solution built around Office 365.

Strategy

Michael Green sensed that Office 365 could form the core of a solution that could store their hundreds of thousands of scanned documents.  He contacted a few companies and soon found trusted Microsoft Silver partner, SkyLite Systems, and asked them for ideas and ways to enable his vision. SkyLite Systems worked closely with Dakota to build a solution using a SharePoint application integrated with scanners and software from Aleris/Kodak. While SkyLite initially envisioned a SharePoint only-based solution, they worked with Dakota and transitioned to a custom solution using SharePoint Online, PowerApps, and Flow.

Using PowerApps, Flow, and SharePoint within the new app

The application uses a combination of PowerApps, Flow, SharePoint, and scanning software from Alaris/Kodak.

  • SharePoint: Dakota uses a combination of SharePoint lists and a document library to store their lease information, scanned files, and other files relevant to the leases they managed. Because all data is managed within SharePoint, employees can search for the documents related to a loan via the search engine within SharePoint. This enables searching of every scanned file saved as a searchable pdf and all files that have a data connector.
  • PowerApps: Skylite created an embedded PowerApp form within the SharePoint list of leases. It allows users to easily access information about a lease in addition to all files related to a lease via a gallery within the embedded form.
  • Microsoft Flow: The solution uses Flow to set up folders in the document library and clean up data as needed each day.
  • SkyLite Systems Scan Upload Utility: Dakota employees use this upload utility to review, tag, and upload scanned files into the document library within the solution.
  • Kodak/Alaris Scanning Software – The solution uses Kodak/Alaris scanning software to drive the scanners, format the scanned files, and save the scanned files to a specified location for upload into the new application.

Results

Dakota Financial’s new scanning and file management solution (built around SharePoint, PowerApps, and Flow) offers significant improvement over their previous proprietary solution. Without any deep coding skills, the team can easily modify the solution using PowerApps, Flow or SharePoint. Because the solution uses SharePoint lists, Dakota Financial can leverage the capabilities of SharePoint with more reliability and the ability to easily backup stored information. Best of all, the organization can easily access all scanned files from their mobile device.

 

The Future

Dakota continues to grow rapidly and plan on working closely with SkyLite Systems to improve the solution. Their current application has more than 35 users and well over 1 million scanned pages managed in the SharePoint document library associated with the leases. While performance is fast and reliable today, SkyLite and Dakota know they can easily migrate the app to a Common Data Service (CDS) for Apps to store and manage data when they decide it is time to dramatically increase to nearly unlimited scalability and the even higher performance of CDS. Dakota Financial CEO, Michael Green says, “Our company relies heavily on this app. I sleep better at night knowing that the new solution is operating great today and I have the option to quickly ramp up storage to CDS as we continue to grow and service our customers. The added benefits of a mobile option and massive data storage are unmatched in the industry and reinforce our commitment to Office 365 and Microsoft as a platform for our business needs.”

We love the new app. It is easy for us to maintain and the transition was smooth and seamless. We still leverage our Office 365 subscription and are now starting to investigate a mobile component that was not possible before."

- Michael Green

CEO
Dakota Financial