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02:32 PM
Monica Simms
Monica Simms
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ADP Turns to docHarbor for Financial Document Archival and Web Access

Newcomer docHarbor Inc. makes auspicious debut since opening for business.

Newcomer docHarbor Inc. has made an auspicious debut since opening for business in February. With less than eight million dollars in 1999 revenues, the Herndon, Va.- based electronic document delivery ASP has already added the crown jewel of financial transactions processing companies, Automated Data Processing Inc. (ADP), to its growing list of customers. But why would transactions processing giant ADP turn to tiny docHarbor for electronic delivery capabilities?

Given the ever-shrinking settlement cycle and the growing global trading community, firms like ADP have been looking for ways to securely archive printed transaction documents like trade confirms and make those documents available over the Web in HTML or PDF format. But the terrain is delicate given the SEC's stringent guidelines surrounding financial document storage, management and Internet distribution. For ADP, taking the necessary steps was like an elephant trying to tap-dance: size was not an advantage.

So in December, ADP's Brokerage Services Group (BSG) sent out RFPs to six contenders. ADP BSG's senior vice president for integrated distribution and fulfillment services Robert Barsky said docHarbor offered the most complete solution, particularly given docHarbor's heritage in archiving sensitive legal documents. "We chose docHarbor because of their technology," said Barsky, "and because we thought we could easily integrate two other products into their platform. The combined pieces give our customers a tremendous advantage in terms of customer relationship management." ADP will integrate a report mining tool and workflow engine into the docHarbor platform.

docHarbor converts hardcopy materials to magnetic disk form for fast access or unalterable optical disk form. (Certain financial documents must be stored in unalterable format, such as optical, for SEC compliance and audit purposes.) Barsky says ADP's previous platform wasn't as fast as docHarbor's and only supported line mode text documents while docHarbor supports a wider range of image types including IBM's AFP (advanced function printing) format or Xerox's Metacode format.

The deal is a major coup for docHarbor since all of ADP's brokerage customers will now be able to make printed or scanned documents available to consumers over their Web sites. Yet the young company's outlook is by no means assured. Prior to hanging out its shingle as a new ASP this spring, docHarbor was Adesso Inc., which had been providing electronic delivery products to financial services firms. Adesso was purchased in August by Anacomp Inc., a microfilm management company that had been looking to branch out into Web document hosting. However, now reeling from potentially massive restructuring charges, Anacomp nonetheless plans to continue its investment in docHarbor, and has retained outside financial advisors to raise new capital to help fund the venture.

Yet Anacomp's debt debacle doesn't seem to have dampened docHarbor's debut. In addition to ADP, docHarbor has signed up several new ASP clients in the financial services vertical, which makes up about 70% of docHarbor's business, including CS First Boston and Salomon Smith Barney.

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