By Jennifer Van Lent, Channel & Solution Marketing Director EMEA, DICOM
In my last blog for the DM Collaborators, I shared feedback from our clients, channel and technology partners about why automation still has such a long way to go – and some shocking figures about the massive opportunity which document and process automation presents to radically transform businesses.
Today in part two of my blog, I’ll share insights from numerous projects in the UK and across Europe about how to kick-start projects and create an environment for sustainable success in automating paper-intensive processes. In our discussions with many clients, we found that – with a few, simple steps and a targeted approach for identifying projects – virtually any organization can easily improve processes and increase efficiency.
Have a multi-channel approach for onboarding content As with any project, you need to understand the environment and define the scope. However, although paper is typically an easy place to start – by digitizing inbound documents like invoices, contracts, applications – it’s even better to have an infrastructure which can capture and analyse content from different sources – like fax, mobile, and MS Office. And don’t forget about content from social platforms such as Yammer, Facebook, YouTube, Jive and other sites. If you don’t have a huge amount of traffic from these sources today – watch out,because you soon might have.
Automate as close as possible to the source Yes, this means digitizing documents and capturing information at the point of arrival – such as mailroom, email, fax. However, those documents may have been created by a client, potential customer, partner or supplier outside of your company. When reviewing ways to automate processes, analysis often starts within the “four walls” of the organization. However, new technology – such as cloud and mobile – enables process improvement to start at the point of origin. This can begin anywhere – wherever the supplier creates the invoice, the client completes the application or the customer submits the insurance claim.
Use the right technology for the job Don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole – you may need to consider a mix of technologies to suit your needs and price. If your current system isn’t capable of doing exactly what is needed within a reasonable budget, then there are numerous options available in the market. Or, if as a vendor, you find your solution’s functionality hasn’t kept in step with market needs, find a way to change this – and fast.
Don’t Forget your Mailroom Yes, Virginia, mail stills exists. And processing and delivering incoming mail can be a time-consuming, manual-intensive process. This can have a major impact on the business processes efficiency even for small organizations – especially for client-facing services such as processing applications for new account opening. Scanning incoming mail and automating the delivery process is a practical, easy to implement way to streamline delivery of incoming mail any organization – whether it is managed by the office manager with a desktop scanner at the front desk or through a centralized mailroom.
Use solid planning methodology to implement the project Even smaller projects need proper planning. Make sure your project workgroup and evaluation team includes a wide selection of contributors. Gather input from sales, finance and HR. Understand and properly address concerns – especially about how long to keep a document (ie. managing its lifecycle) and the legal permissibility of digital documents. Finally, as with most projects, create a small community of “super-users” to support the test and rollout phases. And identify early adopters or technology innovators who manage document-intensive processes and where you can find quick wins for your business.
If you follow these five tips, then driving document automation should become a lot easier.