Today, document capture solutions are primarily deployed at the departmental level, supporting applications such as finance, human resources, logistics, loan processing or medical claims. Tighter integration between capture technologies and business solutions and processes has proven to dramatically improve worker productivity, lower costs and mitigate risks.
You may be missing significant opportunity, but with all the technological solutions available how do you know which one is right for you?
One way to determine your direction is to explore capture systems and capabilities by using a “Five Phase” approach.
Capture systems have evolved from simple solutions for basic scanning into sophisticated and expensive systems for enterprise wide document automation. But not everyone needs an all-systems, enterprise-wide solution.
Use these five categories – the Five Phases of Capture – to determine the features and understand the opportunities of capture technology along a continuum starting from simple scanning and ending at enterprise-wide document automation.
Organizations around the world from all industries are working to eliminate the burden of paper from long-standing businesses processes, especially as the need to control costs becomes more pressing and the expectations associated with regulatory compliance become more challenging.
Core functions like Accounts Payable, Human Resources, Claims Processing and Loan Origination are all good examples of processes being automated with capture and Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies. Scanning documents to eliminate paper is a great place to start, but the goal of current best practices is a fully automated document capture and content management platform that works with all relevant data from any data source.
What is the best capture approach for you? It’s likely that just the right solution can be found on the continuum of these five phases.
The first phase is characterized by the ability to scan paper documents and store them in digital form. It involves scanning hardware and rudimentary software that allows the user to manually enter basic information about the document so that it may be more easily stored and archived. This approach is at the heart of eliminating paper from paper-intensive operations.
Phase two brings technologies into play that can “read” data from document images and enable you to leverage that information in new ways. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) will read and capture key bits of information and automatically populate a variety of index fields. This eliminates the need to manually key-in this information, and simple business rules can be applied that bring further automation to the processes.
In the third phase, systems that go beyond capturing basic index information to the extraction of multiple fields and line item detail. Rather than simply gather data for indexing, intelligent data extraction strategies pull more detailed data from documents where data locations may not be known ahead of time, such as ad hoc invoices or healthcare documents and deliver that information to a variety of back end databases and applications.
After intelligent data extraction, build further advantages by scanning documents at the point of origination instead of shipping documents to a central scanning center. This is an important distinction because capturing paper documents into digital form has traditionally been a centralized business function. In contrast, “distributed capture” is a strategy for entering documents into the business process in decentralized locations – where they originate. More and more, this includes mobile capture, essentially putting document-based data gathering on wheels, using a smartphone, tablet or portable scanner integrated with a repository for secure reception and processing in real time.
Finally, take advantage of the latest innovations in the form of a universal capture portal where multi-channel documents are digitized and stored no matter what form or format they are delivered in. Scans, fax, mobile, data files – you name it; this multi-channel input is a valuable tool for connecting information, process and people in today’s information-intense, global business world. Indeed, Phase Five capture systems are distinguished by the ability accept multi-channel documents in any format to create a single image standard enterprise wide.
So, where do you need to be on the “capture continuum?” Use these five phases to build a perspective and strategies that will help your organization reduce the burden of paper and automate documents across key business activities.
Look for capture solutions and ECM partners that provide the right mix of experience, vision, and advanced capabilities that leverage the full value of ECM technology.
Want to learn more? Download my white paper “The Five Phases of Capture” from DocStar here.
Guest contributor Kevin Craine is the author of the book Designing a Document Strategy and host of the Document Strategy Podcast. He is the managing director of Craine Communications Group. For more information visit CraineGroup.com.