Our company provides Records Management software called RecFind 6 that includes extensive document imaging capabilities. We have thousands of customers around the world and as far as I can see, most use RecFind 6 for document imaging of one kind or another and most save money with document imaging.
This certainly wasn’t the case twenty-five years ago when document imaging tools were difficult to use, expensive and stand-alone ‘specialized’ products. Today however, almost every document management or records management product includes document imaging capabilities as a normal part of the expected functionality.
Most also include the ability to convert images to PDF or PDF/A and most also include forms processing (the ability to capture data off scanned images). Document imaging has gone from being an expensive, specialized product to just a commodity, an expected feature in almost any information management product.
This should mean that most of you already have a readily available, easy-to-use and cost-effective document imaging tool at your fingertips. That being the case, there should be no excuse for not utilizing it to save both time and money. I guarantee that I could visit any one of your organizations and find unrealized opportunities for you to increase productivity and save money by using document imaging functionality.
So, why aren’t you making best use of the document imaging capabilities of your already purchased software?
In my experience, there are many reasons but the main ones are:
Lack of knowledge
To the uninitiated, document imaging may look simple but there is far more to it than first appears and unless your staff have hands-on experience, there is unlikely to be an ‘expert’ in your organization. For this reason, I wrote a couple of previous Posts for the benefit of my customers; Estimating the cost of your next imaging job and The importance of document imaging. This was to add to the knowledge base about document imaging and to assist our customers obtain more value from our products.
Lack of ownership
The need for document imaging transects the whole enterprise but there is rarely any one person or department charged with ‘owning’ this need. This often means that no one person is charged with the overall responsibility of applying best-practice document imaging policies and procedures and ensuring that the organization realizes maximum benefit and value across all departments and all divisions. It tends to be left to the odd innovative employee to come up with solutions just for his or her area.
Lack of consultancy skills
We often say that before we can propose a solution we need to know what the problem is. The way to discover the true nature of a problem is to first deploy an experienced consultant to review and analyze the supposed problem and then present a report that includes conclusions, recommendations and a cost-benefit analysis. In our experience, very few organizations have staff in-house with this kind of expertise.
Negative impact of the Global Financial Crisis that began in 2008
Since the downturn in 2008, we have seen our customers cutting staff, cutting costs and eliminating or postponing non-critical projects. Inevitably, some of this cost cutting has been self-defeating and has produced negative results and reduced productivity.
One common example is the cancelling or postponing of document imaging projects that could have significantly improved efficiency, productivity and competitiveness as well as reducing processing costs. This is especially true when document imaging could have been combined with workflow to better automate business processes. To try to address this problem, I wrote a Post for the benefit our customers to better explain just what business process management is all about called Business Process Management, just what does it entail?
In answer to the original question I posed, “Can you save money with document imaging?” the answer is yes, you can save money utilizing simple document imaging functionality, especially if you combine the results with new workflow processes to do things faster, more accurately and smarter. It should be the easiest cost justification you have ever written.
We have already seen how most modern information management solutions have embedded document imaging capabilities so most of you should have existing and paid-for document imaging functionality you can leverage off. If so, there will be many opportunities for you to add extra value with no additional investment other than your time.
All you really need to do to save your organization money and improve your work processes is look for and then analyze any one of many document imaging opportunities within your organization.
“wherever there is a large collection of paper, there is a document imaging opportunity.”