Organisations are getting wise to the benefits of eliminating paper from common business processes
In the digital age many business processes still revolve around the use of paper documents. A recent report* from the professional association AIIM suggests that while there are signs of a slight decrease in the use of paper in the business environment, many organisations are missing out on opportunities to ramp up efficiency in document-based processes and make sizeable cost savings at a time when this is desperately needed.
Paper becomes a problem due to the often underestimated costs of shipping, copying and storing large volumes of documents, but also because locking documents away in filing cabinets quite simply limits an organisation’s ability to fully leverage the business information they contain. Managing paper-based information requires large amounts of administrative time and effort which organisations could use much more effectively.
Invoice processing – a case in point
Invoices are a major source of paper generation. The AIIM report sheds light on some current negative practices in this area. In particular, whilst some organisations may reduce paper usage by sending invoices electronically, this does not necessarily reduce paper in receiving organisations. Among the findings it was revealed that 77% of respondents print out at least one copy of a PDF invoice, while 16% were found to print out invoices and then scan them back in.
How surveyed organisations handle invoices and forms received by email as PDF attachments. Source: AIIM report*. © AIIM 2012, www.aiim.org.
Benefits of document scanning software
It is in addressing these issues that document scanning software is playing an increasingly important role. The AIIM report identifies the key drivers leading organisations to invest in document scanning and capture systems. The top six drivers are:
- Document searchability / shareability
- Process productivity
- Ability to reduce storage space and costs
- Records security and compliance
- Ability to improve response times
- Improved quality and accuracy of data using OCR-based data extraction instead of manual rekeying
Among the respondents who have invested in scanning and capture the report indicates that 57% see a return in 18 months or less, with 42% achieving payback within 12 months.
Trends in document scanning software
Many organisations now use “scan-to-archive” systems, allowing them to archive documents such as invoices electronically as indexed digital images. This delivers the dual benefit of reducing physical storage space and costs, while dramatically improving document retrieval times, security and traceability.
As the sophistication of document scanning software has increased, more organisations are adopting front-end document capture or “scan-to-process” systems. This allows organisations to eliminate paper by capturing documents electronically as soon as they arrive.
Typically this would involve the use of software such as Kofax Capture and Kofax Transformation Modules in a centralised mailroom scanning operation. The actionable business information contained in paper documents is extracted, classified and routed to the right business process under highly automated conditions.
In addition to this, organisations are now getting further milage from their capture investment by leveraging standard office equipment in front office environments. For example, with products such as Kofax Front Office Server, regional and branch offices or field-based personnel can feed scanned documents directly into central capture processes via networked MFD, fax and scanning devices as well as camera-enabled mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs. This has the benefit of getting documents into processes faster with fewer touch points and even better traceability.
DCS - Document Scanning Services
For assistance in assessing and finding the right solutions for your document scanning talk to Data Capture Solutions on +44(0)1753 616720. They expert understanding of the wide variety of solutions plus their many years of experience mean they can help you find the best scanning solutions that will not only improve your productivity, but also save resources. Visit http://www.dcs.co.uk/ for more information.
* The Paper Free Office – dream or reality? AIIM, 2012.