DH REAL ESTATE INFO TO BE STORED DIGITALLY

Byline: Kim Ann Zimmermann

NEW YORK — Dayton Hudson Corp. is expected to broaden its use of imaging technology early next year to include the electronic storage of real estate documents, including leases and insurance records, for its Target and Mervyn’s store divisions.
The Minneapolis-based retailer hopes to improve security and streamline access to the records by storing these documents digitally. Dayton Hudson expects to roll out the real estate program to its other units, as well as include other types of documents on the imaging system, such as human resources records, in 1998.
The storage of real estate documents represents an innovative application for imaging technology, which digitizes paper documents for electronic retrieval. Accounts payable is a typical use of imaging technology because it cuts down on heavy paper processing. Dayton Hudson already uses imaging in that area.
In anticipation of the new use for imaging technology, the department store chain last month migrated its imaging system to a Windows NT platform, which provides greater flexibility by allowing more users and streamlining maintenance. The imaging system had been running on an OS/2 computer platform, said Dave Bogdan, senior technical analyst.
The firm has been using a document management system in accounts payable. “Support for the OS/2 platform hasn’t completely dried up, but we’re seeing less and less support for it, which is why Dayton Hudson as a whole is moving toward NT,” he said.
There now are about 250 users on the imaging system. Bogdan expects that to increase as new applications are added.
Among other benefits, the move to Windows NT servers will make system maintenance easier, Bogdan said.
With the accounts payable application, Bogdan said Dayton Hudson currently stores about 2.5 million documents a year. He expects the real estate application to have about half a million documents once all of the company’s operating divisions are brought on line.
“Each Target store averages 50 documents associated with the store’s logistics, including the lease, insurance and other information,” he said.
There are about 900 Target stores and more than 300 Mervyn’s stores.
Once the real estate documents for Target and Mervyn’s are stored on the imaging system, company will evaluate expanding the system to include Dayton Hudson’s other divisions, Bogdan said.
Dayton’s, Hudson’s and Marshall Field’s are the company’s other divisions.
He said an important benefit of using the imaging system for real estate documents will be the ability to provide a backup to the paper documents. “This would provide an extra level of security,” he said.
Dayton Hudson is exploring applications for human resources and employee tax and Social Security information.

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