Monday, June 24, 2013

Paper to scanner to ECM

The first step to automating the processing of paper is throwing it in a scanner and indexing it. Most companies that deal with paper invoices either have this technology or want it. Scanning and manually indexing the image file produces a document and metadata that is usually stored in some type of content management system. As more departments hear about the scanning in AP, they will want to acquire scanners and start processing that way.

The folks involved with preparing paper and scanning grow comfortable with this paradigm. Depending on the industry and type of document, the scanner and IT sides are more than likely looking for ways to expand the scanning aspect of the solution vs. requiring that vendors and form designers think about the many identification, character recognition, and indexing issues to stream efficiency.

Instead of forcing outside vendors and print shops to deal with issues of accuracy and formatting, many scanners and managers are happy to keep certain personnel busy, thus justifying their jobs and their departments.

What suffers with this status quo mentality is the ECM solution. The ECM software can be very good, however, it is only as good as the information coming in. This is the initial configuration of documents and minimal descriptions associated with them. The real power of ECM is force to lie dormant as learning and budgets grow to realize better, more accurate solutions.

So, how to light a fire under the very department that was created to solve the paper issues? As you get comfortable with scanning, the issues of accuracy and automatically capturing more information start to reveal themselves. More on this in the next blog…

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