Originally posted on Nuance What’s Next Feb. 15, 2017
Looking back on the early days of document capture, scanning documents
primarily existed for archival purposes & the fax machine was the main tool
for sharing images. Fast forward to today & a young employee – who depends
on multifunction printers & smartphones to get a job done as efficiently as
possible – could not fathom the simplicity of document imaging technology back
The workplace has
evolved over the years, driven by innovations in business technology,
flattening organisational structures, & changing team dynamics. People &
information are constantly in transit. The value of documents depends on much
more than storage & retrieval – with documents measured on how they enhance
collaborative work streams. And the nature of scanned documents themselves has
changed, transformed from static content to dynamic digital information.
Scanners in Our Pocket
All of us carry a lightweight mobile capture device at all
times, which also happens to let us call a family member or hail an Uber ride.
At the very least, mobile capture
solutions need to allow for taking high-quality pictures of a document,
receipt, or invoice, as well as process native electronic documents. Going a
step further with advanced features like fillable forms, e-signatures or even
the metadata that tags an image instantly is a natural evolution. Mobile scanning certainly will not replace
scanners or MFDs as a primary capture device method, but it makes sense for ad
hoc situations, like capturing a receipt for an expense report while out of the
office. Mobile capture is a natural step
forward in enabling your end users to be even more productive.
Integrating with Workflows
The changing nature of work presents new challenges to
organisations. Whether employees work from home or are in the field, it’s
evident that people want to get their
jobs done quicker & easier.
Consider the broader definition of capture: we must not only
view it as a paper archiving process, but rather the strategic compilation of content that has some kind of business
purpose. Because 80% of content coming into an organisation is unstructured
(e.g., email, text messaging, etc.), it has become increasingly difficult to
organise & securely store information.
That’s where capture comes in: to integrate with & simplify business processes & workflows
in order to increase efficiency well beyond just digital storage. Artificial
intelligence & natural language processing technology can do much more than
simply read through an invoice to extract a piece of information, like a PO
number. Nowadays, you can actually query
into your business systems & it can flag any account issues or
variances at the same time it’s putting in the PO number.
This will not only save time for your employees who
previously had to read through documents, but also reduce manual errors associated with non-automated workflows.
Conversion & Editing
Capture software is also important for converting documents
to another format without having to re-create it from scratch. Employees simply
don’t have time to retype documents or edit images that did not scan properly, &
having these files in a useable format is critical to what they do. This is
where an end-to-end capture solution can make
your work count by making it simple to convert, edit & share documents
from any location – & then back again!
PDF (Portable Document Format) is the standard format for
business document collaboration. Yet, most
business professionals lack adequate tools to enable true productivity &
teamwork. Including desktop PDF software in your capture strategy can help
you eliminate document format-dependency bottlenecks that hinder your workflows
& slow down business. Your team will be able to scan paper or convert
electronic documents into searchable, editable PDF files, allowing markups &
comments while retaining secure control over the original.
Have the ROI Discussion Now
At the end of the day, automating workflows via advanced
capture solutions will help you gain significant business benefits. Your
business solution provider’s role in all of this is to determine the stage of
your document imaging evolution. Are you
simply trying to control costs? Are you starting to just manage the scanner?
Embark on ROI discussions now to help
your bottom line in the near, mid & long term.
When discussing the benefits of capture in terms of
mobility, automated workflows, & document conversion, remember that the
main reason you need to have an established capture workflow is to always ensure reliable processes.
Additionally, they can increase the efficiency of that business process. Your scanned
documents may already be going to their proper repositories, but streamlining
the process with converging technologies will result in less time wasted for your
end-users & fewer headaches for your IT department.
Ricoh Canada has over 25 years of experience enabling people to work smarter, better & faster than ever before. See what we can do for you.