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Vast amounts of back-office data pour in every day for areas such as AP/AR, claims processing, invoicing, in-bound and out-bound mail. That data is in many different formats: paper, fax, email, mail and more. Back-office is not your core competency, but it is a critical factor that could mean the difference between success and failure.
Unfortunately, many businesses operate in a constant state of information overload. A lack of digitization and organization results in time-consuming and error-prone manual data entry, poor processes, too much paper, delays in mail, high storage costs, no visibility into information and an inability to get information to the right place at the right time.
The key is to digitize, organize, manage and distribute all this information so it’s useful for the back-office.
It’s a massive undertaking, but in the end it pays off. A powerful mix of tools, systems and resources can turn raw information and paper documents into digital data that fuels your day-to-day back-office functions. The first step is to examine and ask some questions about your back-office operations:
– Are there manual steps in your existing processes and workflows? How much time, resources and paper is involved?
– Is AP/AR or claims processing operating efficiently or slowed by roadblocks?
– Are you able to digitize paper, forms and mail?
– Are you SLA compliant?
– Is mail delivered to its intended recipients in a timely manner?
– Are outbound communications — mailing statements, invoices, etc., delayed?
– Is back-office data integrated into enterprise content management systems (CMS)?
– Do you have the infrastructure needed for imaging, digitizing, indexing and processing?
– If not, do you have the space — and the budget — to expand and modernize?
If your location isn’t quite up to par, you’re not alone. Many businesses don’t have the necessary tools. Using legacy applications, manual processes and paper documents increase costs and cause delays and errors.
One option is business process outsourcing (BPO) services, which can help improve back-office efficiency with no investment in additional infrastructure or resources. If you are considering a BPO partnership, here are some capabilities to look for in a provider:

Data capture and conversion

Paper is pricy to process, store and manage throughout its lifecycle. As more data is created every day, moving to a digital business has become a necessity. Digitization and data processing convert it all into useful, accessible and searchable information.
Information is in so many different formats. Systems must be able to scan any type of document, convert paper, extract data, categorize documents and incorporate business rules.

Back-office automation

Automated workflows help accelerate the speed of business with more efficient ways to get the job done. Reduce manual steps to prevent bottlenecks, remove redundancies in processes and eliminate time spent searching for or recreating information.
Back-office functions from AP/AR and claims processes, to invoices, inbound and outbound mail, can be more efficient. Another important component of automation is the ability to integrate data into workflows, business processes and CMS. With automation and integration in place, information flows throughout your organization based on what it is, who needs to access it and what they have to do with it.

Digitization and processing location

The physical location where digitization and processing is performed varies widely by business. Some organizations have dedicated space and infrastructure on-site. Others have some infrastructure and limited real estate, so they choose a hybrid of on-site and off-site processing. Still others don’t have the infrastructure, real estate or resources in place for such a massive undertaking — nor do they want the cost of putting one in place, so their full operations are outsourced and happen at the partner’s location. Take a look inside one of our Business Information Services centers to see digitization and processing operations in action.

Back-office reporting

Your system should not only capture and move information efficiently, but also deliver a view into your back-office operations. Turn raw data into actionable insights that help with informed decision-making and better business performance.
In a world dominated by information, ensure you have the tools to be predictive and proactive — not reactive.

Compliance and security

Going digital mitigates the compliance and security risks associated with paper documents and manual workflows. Your digital data should be accessible to those who need it, but that doesn’t mean it has to be more vulnerable. Don’t risk the safety of your confidential information. Look for security features like password-protected access, version tracking, backup and recovery, anti-virus and 24/7 protection.
Also, get in-depth knowledge of compliance requirements for your business and industry, to develop and implement a compliance plan.

Be free to focus on your core business

Our proven business platform, decades of experience in automating document-intensive processes and the ability to manage the back-office from beginning to end sets us apart from other providers. We can help you decide what functions can be outsourced successfully, and work with you to develop and implement a measurable BPO solution that aligns with your goals and business needs.

Ready to overcome back-office information overload?  Visit RicohChangeMakers to get actionable ideas you can use today.