One of the first questions that I get asked by IT professionals when they are evaluating a document management solution is can they use their existing Multi-Function Peripherals (MFPs). The short and easy answer is yes. This typically sets them at ease as they have usually made a significant investment into machines that will scan, print, fax and maybe even make a pot of coffee (depending on what the salesperson told them). I generally begin with this response because it breaks down a potential barrier and sets their mind at ease.
And then I hit them with, but you should really consider a dedicated scanner and capture software if you really want to be efficient.
If you are considering a document management system for production applications such as Accounts Payable, Human Resources Personnel Files, or any other paper intensive area of your company you need to strategize on the best methods for approaching this issue. This is also true if you have a document management solution but are struggling to keep up with your capture.
Today’s scanners are small, fast, feature rich and inexpensive. For less than $1,000 you can have a desktop scanner that has a scan speed of 60 pages per minute or greater. Consider that this same scanner will scan both front and back at the same time, delete blank pages, auto rotate a page you fed upside down, automatically detect color versus black and white and a whole lot more. Now consider the time savings because your employees no longer need to leave their desk and wait in line for the MFP.
Next let’s match that up with capture software that can intelligently evaluate your forms. It can classify the documents and automatically extract data right from the page. Regardless of the origin of the document (paper or electronic), today’s capture software is fast, agile and accurate. Imagine how much time would be saved if your AP Clerks no longer had to hand key information from an invoice into your accounting software. Documents could flow directly from the scanner through the capture software and kick off a workflow. The efficiency in which your organization processes documents into the system has sky rocketed.
There is a saying in the industry that when purchasing a new document management system, only 20 percent of the cost of the system is spent on capture. However, 80 percent of the ongoing cost to process documents through the new system are dedicated to the capture process. Don’t ignore what could become your largest ongoing cost. Spend time evaluating the proper capture hardware and software.
Already have a document management solution but are frustrated with your scanning process? There are many excellent solutions that you can add. Most are compatible with the main stream systems in the marketplace. It is never too late to evaluate your capture process to save time and money.
Jack Arnston is a Principal at The Priton Group. He can be reached at email@example.com.