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5 myths about document capture

Oct 6, 2011 9:09:15 AM by John F. Mancini

[As is the case with our 8 things series, the opinions expressed in the 5 myths guest columns are those of the guest contributor and not necessarily mine or AIIM's.  This guest post is by Bill Galusha from EMC. As usual, contra perspectives welcome.]

Myth #1: Desktop scanning works well enough for digitizing my paper documents

Reality: Digitizing your paper is really just a small piece to the solution and does provide some value, but the scope of your business problem will determine whether or not a simple desktop capture solution is going to do the job.  For small organizations or businesses that are looking to do a simple back-file document conversion project, a basic capture system might satisfy their requirements.  But for mid- and large-sized organizations, the requirements are often more complex and require advanced document automation, distributed capture, and connectivity with a host of business systems.

In this case, organizations need to consider an intelligent enterprise capture solution that delivers a full range of capabilities including the ability to capture documents from anywhere within the organization, automatically connect information to your business systems, and deliver both scalability and high availability for those mission critical processes.

It is time to think big and bold, and get beyond simple scan and archive. Doing so has the potential of bringing significant benefits in the form of operational cost savings, streamlined business processes, and improved productivity.

Myth #2: Intelligent document recognition sounds great, but it is too expensive to implement

Reality: Simply making a decision based purely on price is not always the best choice. In the case of intelligent document recognition, customers receive a significant return on investment, often driving value that is several multiples larger than the purchase price. As Brian Babineau stated in an Enterprise Strategy white paper, The Strategic Value of Information Capture, “The question is not whether an information capture solution will provide an ROI; it’s how big it will be.” 

Depending on the business requirements – volume of paper, variety of documents and amount of data being captured, operating budget constraints, how time sensitive documents are, and importance of information – you can quickly understand if advanced capture capabilities like intelligent document classification and data extraction is something you really need.

When you have established that there is a business case for intelligent document recognition, the ROI can be significant. Take for example, an investment and asset management company, who is intelligently classifying and capturing data from 5,000 mail items (40,000 pages daily) which includes deposit documents, applications, and other financial related documents. By taking advantage of the advanced capture capabilities available to them, they require 30% less staff in their document services group, and are saving 1.1 million annually from decreased maintenance, capital, and labor costs.

Myth #3: We invested in capture years ago; we’re doing as much as we should be doing with scanning.

Reality:  Remember, when you bought that old station wagon back in the 1970’s, you thought it was the best family investment you could have made at the time. If we fast forward to today, we now have the minivan and other cars geared towards families. These cars are more economical in terms of fuel efficiency, longer lasting, safer, better for the environment, more options, and so on.

Like cars, software technology does not stand still rather software is constantly advancing and getting better. A case in point are advanced document and data captures solutions that can automatically identify hundreds if not thousands of different document types and extracting data at a very high confidence resulting in lower costs and more efficient processes. Today, many businesses are choosing to reinvest in better and more advanced capture technology and replace systems that have outlived their benefits. Why replace what has worked for years? Simply put it makes your processes become more efficient, less costly, and directly impacts the services you are able to deliver.  

Take a look at Canada’s largest credit union and you will find that by replacing an aging capture system, the credit union has cut document preparation and data entry by 50%. Just imagine being able to reduce data entry by half - you would be able to do more with less, or reduce your operational budget. It is no wonder why analysts like Gartner, IDC, Forester, and others see document imaging as one the safest IT investments a company can make.

Myth #4: Paper is a problem of the past; our company is committed to electronic communication and forms

Reality: This is definitely one of the best myths that I’ve heard over the years. But the fact remains, paper is still used to support critical business operations. According to a recent AIIM Industry Watch Report, the consumption of paper and number of photocopies is still growing in 27% of organizations, and 39% of organizations are seeing a decrease somewhat.  If you posed the same question to employees in an industry like government, chances are the use of paper is much higher.

There are several reasons why paper is likely to continue to remain important in businesses including the fact that much of the paper businesses receive comes from outside of the business, which means that you have little control over it. Other reasons include industries like government must support paper as an accessible way of doing business, paper often supports an electronic process, and some document driven processes remain very complex making it difficult to flip a switch and go all electronic.

While the use of paper will most certainly continue to decline over the next decade, our best recommendation to businesses is don’t try and boil the ocean when it comes to changing up your business processes. Look for ways to convert paper into digital information, and connect the content with existing and new electronic processes. 

Myth #5: I’m just not scanning enough paper to be interested in enterprise capture.

Reality: This goes back the first myth in which some companies think scanning paper is “good enough” and that enterprise capture is more than they need.  Maybe this is true if you are a small business where you have only a few hundred documents a day, but for any mid to large size company, basic scanning is not good enough.

In fact, enterprise capture means more than just high volume document capture. It is about supporting distributed capture, intelligently identify documents and extracting data, and connecting information to many different systems. Whereas in the past, capture was primarily used for digitizing and archiving content; today, capture plays an important role in streamlining critical business processes likes claims, new account opening, deposits, taxes, criminal case records, and many others. In these cases, processing information fast and with the least amount of resources is what most companies set their sights on.

Go cheap and settle for a much smaller ROI, and you will likely be disappointed. 


About the Author:  Bill Galusha joined EMC in January 2007, and is a Principal Product Marketing Manager for the Captiva intelligent enterprise capture solution. Mr. Galusha has 20 years of experience in marketing and managing various software products including document capture, eForms, and business process management. Prior to joining EMC, Mr. Galusha held a variety of senior product marketing and product management positions at Cardiff Software, Mitek Systems, and Alignent Software. 


Have you signed up for the new AIIM Conference March 2012 in San Francisco? For solution providers, almost all the premium slots are sold - get moving! For attendees, mark your calendars!

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Topics: ecm, Compliance and records management, 5 myths, Industry statistics and research

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