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Capture Beyond the MFP: The Convergence of Mobile, Automation, and Conversion

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 then.


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.