Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fax to Email to ECM

Fax cloud services make it easy to convert fax transmitions into email and attachments. These attachments can TIF or PDF and the email can include a cover sheet. This service eliminates the need to use a traditional fax machine altogether.

The trick is integration with your ECM. Hyland's OnBase subscription service allows you to poll an Outlook inbox form incoming emails. Once an email comes in, the service imports the email's body and attachment. It will import both as seperate doc types and then if necessary place the files in a scan queue. This automates the manual email and importing steps in the invoice process for example.

Aspects to consider

Gather requirements around how to route incoming faxes. For example, typically a department like accounts payable will have on inbox which caters to multiple types of requests. In order to route and organize the incoming invoices vs. complaints vs. receipts vs. backup documentation, rules need to be put in place. These rules should start at the inbox level. This means breakout the major types of the incoming emails, for example, invoices and backup docs. Then look at common values in the email's subject, to and from, and body text. Each of these will help tag incoming content with pertinent metadata.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fax to ECM

Many companies still rely heavily on faxing paper for accounts payable, legal transactions, and signed documents for finances and medical records. These docs consume a lot of paper just to end up being scanned into a document management system. The metadata associated with the documents gets lost every time it is faxed and has to be recreated on the other end manually. This manual process is time consuming and costs a lot of money in the long run.

Document Templates

Laying out a document's design to conform to the way fax machines and scanners read and recognize characters on the page is crucial to get to the next steps in the pathway to fully electronic transactions. The template must be consistent and have distinct features that set it apart from other documents. If there is a logo or header be sure to place it within the margins of the page far enough to that the shifts in the scanner do not sometimes cut it off. This unique identifier will come in handy at the advanced capture stage of scan capture. If the document is an invoice, design it to print out the line items on one line, or within a fixed box per line. This again will help with recognition. If the document is a form with boxes, make the boxes large enough so as not to cut off any data that is printed into them, such as, a date or vendor name. Scanners do not read words with lines between them very well.

Fax Configuration

Make sure the resolution of the scanner's printing is as good as possible. If there are blotches or spots that characters will not be read as well as expected.