Have you noticed how information just keeps popping up all over your business? It’s enough to make you feel like this trying to keep up with it all. You solve one issue, only for another to just pop up: via GIPHY Information has to enter the process from somewhere. And knowing where it comes from can make a difference by allowing you to make certain assumptions about that information: its format, its quality, its state of approval, and so on. With some information-centric processes, the fact that a piece of information has entered the organization may start certain workflows or responsiveness requirements. Wherever it is, we always teach our training students that it’s important to capture information as close to the point of origin as possible. Now that we know why it’s important, let’s take a look at where our information is, or our Process Entry Points.
The concept of a digital mailroom has been around a while. The idea is pretty simple - all incoming mail is scanned on entry and delivered electronically to the appropriate department or process. In reality, only mail with business value is likely to be processed. This will predominantly be documents with a structure such as forms, orders, invoices, delivery dockets, and vouchers. In many situations, particularly in consumer or citizen-facing businesses, it will also include handwritten letters, application forms, change of details, supporting certificates, etc. Circulars, brochures, magazines, and junk-mail will not be scanned.
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Before we get into how to tame your Information Chaos, let’s take a step back and look at WHY so many of us are experiencing it.
While digital information accuracy is important to all document preservation, some institutions benefit from it more than others. Intelligent Information Management (IIM) and paperless offices are sufficient for most businesses, but if the content is important for historical or informational purposes rather than a backup, the quick and easy options for digitization don’t always do the trick. There are serious pitfalls of intelligent capture, especially if a precise representation of the document’s content is important to a collection, such as legal documents, documents used for research and reference, or a historical document collection like a digital library. In these cases, human factors can never be replaced by technology because of the intelligence and problem-solving care experts possess. Whether the end result is for a paperless office or a collection of documents, the metadata, organization, and hands-on human approach can make the resulting digital library much more accurate and efficient.
What is Capture? Despite technology, most companies continue to struggle to manage the burden of paper in many important business processes. And while there are many technological approaches to digital transformation, the first step is often scanning. Also known as “capture,” this capability is characterized by the ability to scan paper documents to store and use them in digital form instead of paper. First developed over 30 years ago, capture systems have evolved from simple solutions for basic scanning into sophisticated and expensive systems for enterprise-wide document automation. Therefore, it's important to understand and leverage scanning as a fundamental tool for business today.
According to AIIM research, 75% of the organizations we surveyed view digital transformation as “important” or “very important” to their organization. Survey respondents point to techniques like advanced data capture, machine learning, and process automation to provide the powerful potential to reengineer and improve core business processes. The trouble, however, is that that the majority of information capture and content management solutions on the market have been built to work with highly-structured and pre-determined information and workflows. Feedback from our AIIM community of practitioners tells us that working with unstructured information is one of the biggest barriers to digital transformation.