Understanding the Value of ECM – Three Reasons Why You Need It Now

First developed over 30 years ago, scanning and imaging systems are a popular way to capture and digitize information that would otherwise be locked on paper. Indeed, it is common to scan a physical page, make a digital image, and automatically extract bits of printed information so that the newly created digital version can be more easily stored and found.

This “scan and store” approach reduces paper and improves access to information. But according to a study conducted recently by AIIM, most organizations are failing to cash in on the full value of capture and Enterprise Content Management technologies. Now is the time to take a fresh look for new advantages and benefits.

Here are three reasons why:

Get Full Value from Your Investment

Most organizations do not use ECM systems in ways that live up to the full potential of the technology. In a recent study, AIIM conducted a survey of 385 companies and found that while most of the organizations participating (90%) had imaging systems in place, only half employ any kind of text recognition technology.

And although 40% indicated that their inbound forms contain free form and handwritten data fields, very few are attempting to capture this information, either deferring it to manual keying or ignoring it outright.

This trend may be changing, however. The study shows also that a majority of companies (67%) feel that handwriting and annotations will “play a key role” and are “quite important” for their future ECM strategies.

Find and Utilize Dark Content

Organizations today are looking for ways to shed light on “Dark Content” – which, among other things, includes ad hoc information that exists on forms, contracts and documents but is overlooked in the data capture process.

Despite the increasing digitization of business today, a great number of business forms still contain handwritten entries, and a variety of replies, notes and signatures, that are vitally important, especially when you begin to look at this data from an information governance point of view.

Legal discovery, privacy, compliance, process improvement, archival and retention, and a host of other aspects and applications all point to the importance of this often overlooked content.

Leverage the Growing “Intelligence” of Imaging

In any organization there is information that is never noticed, never leveraged, and no one ever thinks about.

The question becomes: How do you know what you don’t know…and how it is hurting you?

Organizations can no longer afford to ignore this valuable content, especially as demands for improved information governance increase. The good news is that a new breed of more intelligent imaging and ECM systems gives organizations wider ability to capture, understand and manage content that would otherwise be lost or that is generally not used in intelligent ways.

In financial services it could mean checking for completeness of new account forms and for signatures on compliance statements. In healthcare it might mean finding and redacting sensitive and private data for HIPAA privacy compliance. For a utility or telecom company, it might mean the ability to collect and analyze log comments and include that information for use in data analytics.

Time for a Fresh Look

ECM systems have evolved significantly in both their technical capabilities as well as their importance to enterprise performance. But many organizations could find more value in their investment. Now is the time to take a fresh look at next-generation ECM solutions. You can no longer afford to ignore the advancements, especially as demands for improved information governance increase.

Look for partners and providers with both the vision and the capabilities to help you tap into the full value of the technology.