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Taking document management to the next level
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Outsource magazine: thought-leadership and outsourcing strategy | March 27, 2015

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Taking document management to the next level

Taking document management to the next level
Martyn Christian

Making outsourced document capture a strategic part of day-to-day operations

Document management is evident in every business today – be it in the form of paper-based filing or an automated electronic archiving system. But many businesses are still failing to make the most of outsourcing to improve efficiencies and move beyond ‘scan-to-archive’ processes in order to manage the influx of paper and electronic documents. Outsourcing document capture and classification can now increase businesses efficiency, saving both time and money in the document management process.

Document capture today

When forced to make a decision on document capture, many C-level executives still view the process as one-dimensional; just a form of archiving information from payable invoices to medical records. Historically this has indeed been the case. However today document capture has evolved and is expected to contribute to businesses productively, giving them the ability to extract key content at will.

Document capture can now harness a range of unstructured sources including emails, invoices, faxes to handwritten letters. Adding capture intelligence to the front end of a business, where the documents are automatically classified and mechanically processed as soon as they enter the business, can provide far more in the way of business benefits than simply making it easy to archive documents.

Reducing the time and cost associated with manual processing

Document capture benefits companies that handle large volumes of information, particularly if this content is still manually processed to multiple locations. Intelligent capture can then identify documents, classify their content and then extract the relevant information. This content can then be passed on-demand to teams across the organisation. This reduces the time and cost associated with manual workers keying in the relevant information across different departments.

At first, it may seem hard to trust a computer with the process of extracting and accurately classifying sensitive content; however, manual processing is more likely to create inconsistencies as the concept of human error comes into play.

Improving the speed of document recognition

Many businesses now have a greater need to quickly process documents and select specific information. Intelligent capture at the point of entry will make this process more time- and cost-effective as it reduces the need to re-key in the information and thus improves the quality of the content and its usability. Document capture has in the past been considered expensive and unnecessary. However the process has matured to the extent that implementing the procedure at point of entry can actually save money. Scanning the information at point of entry makes it much easier to utilise the content as it can be electronically passed quickly to numerous office locations and updated accordingly. The ability to collate information from such a wide range of document sources streamlines the workflow.

A reliable audit trail

A key driver for businesses with document capture is the need to meet corporate governance and regulatory compliance regulations. Hence, business information must be easily accessible for any regulatory audits that may take place. Intelligent capture of documents allows an organisation to meet the compliance policies that need to be in place to support its day to day running.

Efficient workflow processes 

Today, implementing document capture can be critical to the success of a company. For example, for a financial services company faster access to information can make for a more streamlined workflow hence this increases the company’s revenue. In healthcare, faster access to documents and the quality of the medical information can really make a difference: it can save lives.

Improving the workflow of documents by saving them at point of entry rather than having to add content further down the process makes the chain more time efficient. It also improves the quality of the information as the electronic record only has to be updated as new content is received.

Much like ensuring your email or phone system is up and running 24/7, early capture of documents should be seen as a strategic part of day-to-day operations, forming part of a standard checklist. For many businesses using the outsourced process of document capture is vital as there are multiple business benefits, such as increased time efficiency in processing the information and the improved quality of the content collected by intelligent capture. This in turn can save the company money as the previous manual process of document capture has evolved to be more streamlined and coherent with everyday business needs. The clock is ticking and early capture is the critical success factor.