Guest Column | June 19, 2017

How To Make The Move To Automated Document Management

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By Sharon Varalli, senior industry marketing manager, Nuance Document Imaging

What differentiates great companies from also-rans is the ability to maximize productivity and superior customer service. Organizations can gain a significant competitive advantage by adopting automated document management.

When it comes to creating a new and sustainable competitive advantage for your business, document management, workflow process, and storage may not be the first things that come to mind. However, successfully automating document capture and processing systems can lead to a number of significant business benefits in many key areas.

To understand the overall impact and potential to realize these gains, let’s take a closer look at the challenges automated document processing can help solve, using an example in the financial services industry.

In this scenario, envision a credit collection clerk in charge of processing new loan applications from customers. The volume of applications can number in the hundreds each day and each application must be processed carefully to ensure the data is highly accurate and secure. Some applications and supporting documentation are sent as email attachments, but the majority of applications are still paper-based, making the entire process tedious and filled with manual work.

In order to process documents electronically, you could use your company’s multi-function printer (MFP) to scan applications and send them to yourself via email. Or there is a better way: You can process these documents electronically at the MFP, scan them directly to a loan processing or document management application, and then tag the documents to route them to existing workflows or back-end document management systems. These documents then arrive at your desktop or in a group folder as electronic PDFs for easy editing and collaboration.

Yet, while the loan applications are now in a digital format, you are still responsible for manually keying specific data into the company’s finance system including customer profile information and loan requests. Accuracy is absolutely critical; errors are costly and can cause delays for your process and company as well as for the customer.

It is incumbent on organizations to provide their employees with the tools to be successful. The benefits in cost-saving, productivity, and information accessibility are readily available by incorporating document capture and processing systems into existing workflows. Unfortunately, businesses can experience trepidation when faced with the decision to embrace automated document management.

Overcome Internal Pushback

A typical reason some companies hold off on installing automated document capture into their processes is the worry about losing contact with the physical paper documents, whether due to nostalgia or fear of affecting their workplace’s culture. This is why the decision needs to be made holistically with buy-in and direction from Senior Leadership and other internal stakeholders.

Organizational leaders should identify who they would be helping by adopting automated document capture and workflow software. Who is going to be using it? Including these employees in training sessions and explaining the rationale behind the move will set their expectations and increase willingness to embrace the new technology.

Overwhelmed By The Magnitude

Leadership can also be concerned they don’t have the resources available to make a significant change in their internal work processes. Changing the entire IT infrastructure might prove to be too massive an undertaking to prove successful. Finding a solution that integrates with the current infrastructure makes the transition easier. Employees are used to the current system and the way it works, so it becomes less intimidating.

Organizations can begin with a pilot program. For example, focus on shifting a discrete task, such as purchasing or expense reports, into an automated document management process. Start with one or two workflows that are heavily paper intensive and methodically incorporate automation into other processes. Find the successes and have the employees who have benefited from the new process become your evangelists.

No matter the business, all companies deal with information — whether it’s on paper or electronic. The idea of bringing all that information into a new digital workflow sounds overwhelming. But enhancing the optimization of processing will cut hours of manual labor and allow the flow of information to be streamlined, freeing up resources to make the leap to become a great company.