This guest blog was contributed by Michael Rich | 7/7/13
Process optimization has become much more than an industry buzzword; it is a real customer problem. Businesses today are faced with many challenges: the transition to digital and mobile computing technologies, the need to accomplish more with fewer people and fewer assets, and the mandate to reduce costs while improving worker productivity. Streamlining certain business processes and simplifying the work environment is key to addressing all of these issues.
There are many facets to driving process improvements, but the first step for any organization is digitizing paper-based content. As a result, workflow optimization begins with a fully integrated document capture solution.
But it is important to understand that document capture is much more than simply scanning paper documents and converting those into electronic files. Resellers investigating adding document workflow services as a part of their portfolio of offerings should start with a highly integrated document capture solution. A truly integrated scan/capture workflow solution will allow your customers to work with paper-based information much more efficiently.
The most effective document capture solution allows users to process and manipulate the information that is captured, keeping it in electronic format so that it can be extracted, edited and manipulated. This requires a built-in OCR engine to convert paper into useful data – not just static, electronic pages.
Users should also have the ability to scan directly into standard office document formats like Microsoft Word, Excel or an editable PDF format. This makes the data more accessible for anyone in the organization who needs it. Better yet, it provides employees with the information they need in the proper format for their own workflows so that they can manipulate it as needed.
In order to drive further process efficiencies, users need to be able to connect their document capture solution into existing front-end and back-end office information systems, such as content management, document management or corporate ERP systems; cloud-based services; or document repositories. Refined document capture solutions are integrated into MFPs, so these scan-to features can be performed with the single touch of a button right from the user interface on the device.
With this type of cohesive document capture solution, resellers can help customers not only with digitizing paper-based information, but also with integrating that content into the applications and information management systems that are critical to their business – the crucial first step in driving business process efficiencies.
According to a study published by Gartner, the average office worker spends 20 percent of his or her time simply looking for information. This is why automating workflow and streamlining paper-based business processes is an essential capability to end-users.
Scanning technologies and document management solutions can help reduce paper and even eliminate some paper trails, but true workflow automation begins with capturing the highly valuable business information that is trapped in paper.
Michael Rich was named senior vice president and general manager of Nuance Communications Document Imaging Division in April 2012. Prior to that, Rich served as senior vice president of worldwide sales for Document Imaging and Dragon. Previously, he was president and chief executive officer at Equitrac Inc.