Document management for SonyATV case study

Music Publishing Powerhouse, SonyATV Leverages the Power of Process Automation Across Multiple Departments

Headquartered in New York, SonyATV Music Publishing is the world’s No. 1 music publishing company with a network of 37 offices in 29 cities and 22 countries around the world. SonyATV was set up in 1995 as a joint venture between Sony Corporation and Michael Jackson, before becoming a solely-owned Sony company in 2016 that now owns or administers more than 3 million copyrights.

Document imaging has always been an integral part of SonyATV. The company must be able to easily store and retrieve key files such as contracts, license agreements, cue sheets, check copies, and many other publishing documents. However, their legacy imaging system was no longer able to meet SonyATV’s document needs. In 2012, SonyATV decided to migrate their documents to a brand new, award-winning system, Square 9’s GlobalSearch document management software.

The benefits of GlobalSearch were almost immediate. IT staff and the Imaging Department were better able to maintain the new application and begin customization to meet departmental needs. With anywhere, anytime access to the document repository, employees are adding more of their own documents to GlobalSearch instead of spending time preparing files for the Imaging staff to scan and index. Now, the Imaging staff spends less time with document preparation and scanning, and more time in creating solutions to improve document management processes.

Before GlobalSearch, SonyATV would produce 2,000 paper check copies monthly that were manually scanned and indexed. This process has been fully replaced with a digital, automated process! SonyATV’s financial system produces PDFs per check run, naming the documents with the required index fields, and saving them in a hot-folder for ingestion into GlobalSearch. GlobalSearch will use the Import by Filename functionality to ingest the documents and automatically index them. Handwritten notes are now replaced with GlobalSearch annotations and in total, approximately 400 hours of manual work has been eliminated!

SonyATV’s Accounts Payable department previously received invoices in paper form on their desks, via email, interoffice mail, fax and other paper-based methods. SonyATV’s US-based offices now use 100% electronic invoices that are submitted for payment to Accounts Payable via GlobalAction document workflows. The system automatically captures the location and department of the user based on the archive where the invoices are initially dropped. Once an invoice is indexed and approved, it is routed for payment. A series of buttons are available to Accounts Payable staff to move the invoice from “Approved” to “Paid” based on invoice status. If an invoice is rejected, the Reject workflow will return the document to the originating subfolder and the user is notified that action is needed.

But Square 9’s solutions have streamlined more than financial processes for SonyATV. On average, 28,000 cue sheets detailing the use of music in films and TV are processed via GlobalAction document workflows every year. These workflows help organize the mass volume of documents being managed. From receipt of the cue sheet, to indexing, and distribution to affiliate offices, GlobalAction enables staff to accurately track the status of any document.

GlobalAction is especially beneficial for employee onboarding at SonyATV, which involves a worldwide workflow process whereby hiring managers submit forms detailing new user access needs. These forms are indexed into GlobalSearch and once approved, emails notifications are automatically sent to IT staff for account setup. Best of all, audit preparation is simplified as GlobalSearch tracks all document history including notification and approval processes.

GlobalSearch has also provided SonyATV with integration capabilities to other in-house applications. SonyATV is now able to pull data from their licensing program into GlobalSearch and update index data for legal documents and associated backup documentation. A simple process of dropping the document into a hot-folder on the file server sets off a chain of events that will ingest the document into GlobalSearch, set values for specific index data, run custom database triggers that pull index data and move the document to an archive folder for final review and approval.

Since implementing GlobalSearch, SonyATV has streamlined many key processes and is seeing the benefits of these efforts across several departments. To learn more about SonyATV Music Publishing, please visit

Interview: Todd Sears, IT Director, SonyATV Music Publishing

Q. What criteria did you have in mind when searching for a Document Management solution?

Todd Sears: Document imaging has always been an integral part of SonyATV due to the need to store and retrieve key documents such as contracts, license agreements, cue sheets, check copies, and many other key publishing documents. We had a legacy imaging system in place, then migrated documents to GlobalSearch in order to automate more processes across several departments. We needed better organization and GlobalSearch has provided the ability for staff to enter their own documents, which has been a huge help as our Imaging department can now spend less time on administrative tasks.

Q. How is your company leveraging GlobalSearch and GlobalAction? Which departments are using it daily?

Sears: Square 9’s solutions are used for a number of documents including processing client checks, production cue sheets, employee onboarding and offboarding, invoice management, licensing and more. For audit purposes, GlobalSearch provides a clean audit trail detailing the notification and document approval processes for our financial departments.

Before using GlobalSearch for invoicing, Accounting was receiving invoices in paper form on their desks, via email, via fax, via interoffice, etc. By using GlobalSearch, all invoices have a single point of entry for payment. Document workflows manage the unattended routing of invoices based on department and user. As the automated process alerts users and moves invoices through the approval flow, document visibility is maintained and the accounting team is able to quickly manage queues of invoices approved for payment, while automatically notifying users of rejected invoices that may need to be resubmitted.

We are able to pull data to GlobalSearch from our licensing program, and update index data for the legal documents and associated backup documentation. We also have the ability to drop documents directly into GlobalSearch, merge individual document types into a single document, and set an index field to a Key License ID.

Q. How has GlobalSearch document management software positively made an impact on your business?

Sears: Since implementing GlobalSearch, our team has streamlined many key processes and is seeing the benefits of these efforts across several departments. The scanning and indexing process of 2,000 monthly paper check copies has been fully replaced with the automatic creation of PDF docs from our Financial ERP system into GlobalSearch. In total, approximately 400 hours of manual work has been eliminated.

On average per year for the last 3 years, 28,000 cue sheets have been processed via document workflows in GlobalSearch. These workflows provide organization to the mass volume of documents that are managed by departmental staff. Over the past year in US-based offices, the submission and payment of invoices has moved from paper invoices to 100% electronic invoices. Additionally, the mass email notification to IT staff for new hire account setup has helped ensure that everyone who needs to be notified can be notified at the same time. For offboarding processes, we leverage the date of the termination to provide mass emails to IT staff on the day of termination such that accounts can be promptly shut down.

Q. Would you recommend Square 9’s solutions and why?

Sears: SonyATV Music Publishing believes we are just beginning with streamlining many manual processes surrounding document imaging. With a Square 9 software upgrade in our near future, we look forward to seeing the functionality of the next software release and additional strides we can take. Since implementation of the Square 9 software suite, we’ve streamlined many key processes and are seeing the benefits of these efforts across several departments.