How to Overcome the Key Obstacles to Your Capture and Workflow Project
John Mancini

By: John Mancini on August 16th, 2017

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How to Overcome the Key Obstacles to Your Capture and Workflow Project

Business Process Management (BPM)  |  Capture and Imaging  |  Paperless Office

In a recent AIIM survey, we asked organizations a simple question: “In the following processes, is the volume of paper increasing or decreasing?” The answers might surprise you.

Process % where paper is decreasing
Records management 63%
Mortgage origination 62%
Customer loyalty programs 61%
Technical documents 60%
HR (Recruitment and Applicant Tracking) 59%
Supply chain management 57%
Customer on-boarding 56%
New account opening 55%
HR (On-boarding, Employment Management, Off-boarding) 54%
Patient care administration 52%
Claims processing 52%
Loan processing 51%
Order fulfillment 50%
Logistics 49%
In-bound mail and forms 47%
Contract management 46%
Accounts Payable 46%
Accounts Receivable 44%
Manufacturing 44%
Legal 35%

The reason I say the answers may surprise you is twofold. First, in an era in which most organizations at least claim that they are moving to digitize their business models, the percentages indicate that far from “digitally transforming,” many organizations still have a long way to go when it comes to automating the basic back-office processes that are the guts of any business.

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The second source of surprise is that there are a number of core processes that frankly have been the “meat and potatoes” of the ECM industry for a long time – contracts management, accounts payable, accounts receivable, digital mailroom, and legal, to name a few – in which the majority of organizations have yet to attack the paper problem seriously.

Why is this?

I would argue that the “past” of ECM and process automation projects cast a long shadow. In the late 1990s, Enterprise Content Management became a mainstream technology (at least for large organizations) by first focusing on early adopters eager to automate high-value, mission-critical, and document-intensive processes critical to gaining competitive advantage. In this high-stakes environment, it didn’t really matter whether the technology was expensive, custom, and complicated.

A LOT has changed in the past five years as core content management, workflow, and capture technologies have dropped dramatically in cost, and pressures from mobile technologies and the cloud have made all this ECM stuff a LOT easier and more accessible to organizations of all sizes. Consider the following:

  • 65% of organizations say the demand by customers for digital/paperless communications is increasing.
  • 56% say an immediate priority is to “automate more manual processes with document classification,” and an additional 20% say they must “Improve security and compliance.”
  • For 35%, the initial driver to go paperless was “cost-saving in specific areas, e.g., AP/invoice processing.”

Let’s consider the most important business drivers for capture and workflow technologies. AIIM asked end user organizations to pick their top three:

Improved searchability and shareability of business documents 51%
Improved process productivity 46%
Reduced physical storage space 45%
Enabling anytime, anywhere content access 32%
Improved collaboration 30%
Records security and compliance 26%
Faster response to customers/citizens/staff 26%
Business continuity 15%
Enabling content analytics/big data 8%
Reduced postage/transportation and document logistics 8%
Sustainability/environmental initiatives 7%
Building move or facility rationalization 5%

So what’s the hold-up? One traditional obstacle has been the “signature” problem. 30% of organizations say, “We need physical signatures on paper,” even though for the most part they really don’t, and for 22%, signatures are the primary reason why paper is retained.

Another obstacle has been truly understanding process flows and the need to keep documents that are “born digital” in digital form. 40% of organizations say, “Most of the documents we scan are unchanged from printer to scanner,” begging the question of why they were ever printed in the first place. 30% say, “Most of the electronic invoices we receive still get printed at some point.”

AIIM asked experienced end users to identify the top three difficulties encountered in their capture and workflow implementations, and the results are revealing:

  1. 75% -- “Re-orienting staff/change management”
  2. 50% -- “Educating/persuading staff to comply with classification and compliance.”
  3. 33% -- “Defining the processes clearly.”

The good news is that these aren’t technology issues. Core capture and workflow technologies are mature and they work. For organizations just getting started, the core capture and workflow requirements necessary to address the above issues center around security, productivity, efficiency, and simplicity.


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About John Mancini

John Mancini is the President of Content Results, LLC and the Past President of AIIM. He is a well-known author, speaker, and advisor on information management, digital transformation and intelligent automation. John is a frequent keynote speaker and author of more than 30 eBooks on a variety of topics. He can be found on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as jmancini77. Recent keynote topics include: The Stairway to Digital Transformation Navigating Disruptive Waters — 4 Things You Need to Know to Build Your Digital Transformation Strategy Getting Ahead of the Digital Transformation Curve Viewing Information Management Through a New Lens Digital Disruption: 6 Strategies to Avoid Being “Blockbustered” Specialties: Keynote speaker and writer on AI, RPA, intelligent Information Management, Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation. Consensus-building with Boards to create strategic focus, action, and accountability. Extensive public speaking and public relations work Conversant and experienced in major technology issues and trends. Expert on inbound and content marketing, particularly in an association environment and on the Hubspot platform. John is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of William and Mary, and holds an M.A. in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.