Information Management today plays an essential role in digital transformations and end-to-end processes across various business functions and customer-facing operations. Along with the changing realities in the organization, document capture is evolving. Just think about the link between consumerization, virtualization, the web, the cloud and mobile (workspaces) on one hand and decentralized scanning and document imaging/capturing on the other. Or about the evolutions in IT where the focus shifts to systems of engagement and customer/business value on one hand and the growing need to add intelligence in document capturing, processing, conversion, and extraction processes on the other.
Document capturing and (intelligent) data recognition
The first step in automating processes for document input, regardless of their nature (paper or electronic/digital) is capturing data using (intelligent) document recognition. Additional layers of intelligence can then be used for other typical tasks such as routing the data/information, processing it, archiving it, etc.
As per a research conducted by Kodak Alaris Information Management with AIIM (Association for Intelligent Information Management) there is still quite some work on the essential levels. Although 56% of surveyed professionals use data recognition at some point in their document capturing and management processes, this is still just over half and the data recognitions is certainly not used in key processes where it could be.
There are real business benefits to document intelligence, beginning with the actual capture using scanners and with capture solutions. Optimized processes allow organizations to reduce costs and, more importantly, focus on the value and business equation of the information process. This often revolves around customer experience optimization, cost efficiencies and better processes. The focus on customer experience can – and should – go hand in hand with the optimization of processes. The end result? Better efficiency, increased speed and customer-adaptiveness.
Moving from paper to business processes
In an increasingly digital world, organizations are facing entirely new ECM (Enterprise Content Management), information management and data challenges. Even so, it’s easy to forget that many organizations still sit on mountains of paper that need to be digitized and turned into actionable information. In the last two decades, organizations have been busy solving paper problems and they still do.
We have evolved from capture to:
- Advanced capture: extracting data from paper and linking it to systems of records
- Business process management: for instance, invoice automation
- Collaboration: SharePoint and others
Now we’re moving to a fully integrated situation. Yet, at the same time challenges related to documentation still exist. In fact, as new non-paper inputs are coming into the organization we almost by default print and thus convert them to paper. Think about emails with or without PDF attachments, for instance.
- The consolidation of document capture with Enterprise Content Management (ECM)-This is the stage, mentioned above, where advanced capture came into play and enabled the extraction of data from paper in order to link it with the so-called systems of record, which ECM platforms originally essentially were (now evolving to systems of engagement).
- An aggressive movement of hardware vendors into capture software and services-While physical equipment is by definition a solution, a full solution is often more holistic. Solutions can go broader to encompass capture software and services to solve a bigger customer business problem than can be tackled by hardware only. Further, the ecosystem of partners to analyze customer needs and implement an integrated solution is crucial to the mix.
- The emergence of mobile and cloud technologies-The industry continues to evolve with mobile and cloud based solutions. Web-based document capture will change the face of capture and with mobile capture the limits of time and place disappear. The emergence of SharePoint as an ECM platform. This adds collaboration to the equation.
- The acceptance of distributed capture-This is indeed what we increasingly see happening with evolutions such as web-based capture, mobile and of course, the cloud. It’s not a replacement of other forms of capture, but an addition to an evolving contextual mix. As in so many other areas, hybrid here seems to become the IT synonym of “tailored to the individual business, customer and technology context”, with scanning at the point of entry becoming more important.
Mailrooms and BPOs
Much of the document capture work still happens in mailrooms, where we see several evolutions and opportunities for input management in the digital mailroom.
Often, many document capturing processes are done through BPO (Business Process Outsourcing), by service bureaus and by Document Process Outsourcers (DPO). These kinds of partners specialize in document imaging, processing, and management at the services entry point. As customer needs become more sophisticated, BPOs focus more on overall approach where Information Management is part of a larger business-oriented conversation.
Adopting intelligent solutions for Information Management unlocks the power of business information, which is crucial to every organization. It’s a journey that requires multiple steps, but successfully navigating it reaps significant rewards. New and ingenious scanning and data capture technology has empowered firms to progress on the path to digital transformation thereby bringing a business view to vast amounts of paper information.