As part of the electronic document and records management solution consulting practice at DataCaptureExperts, I get to meet information and record management professionals of highly regulated industries ranging from private to large government institutions.
When I meet them one of the first things that I closely observe is what are they currently doing in electronic document and records management area in the business. Then go into analysis of tooling, process and current user adoption etc.
When it comes to document centric business processes automation most organizations have invested in some form of an OCR scanning solution. There are number of OCR scanning solutions with different level of integration with hardware MFD scanners as well as document management systems. Unfortunately in most organizations the tools used in document scanning and imaging area tends to dictate the business process as oppose to adopting the tools to support the precise business needs.
Depending on how well the current solution is aligned to the business needs different organizations are gaining varied levels of business outcomes and ROI. The goal of this post is to highlight the organizational maturity in terms of document scanning and imaging technology and its alignment to the overall business needs.
For the purpose of current state analysis, I like to define the maturity in 5 levels as shown below each bringing incremental business value and competitive advantage from lowest to highest.
Initial: Most organizations have taken the first step right in digitizing the paper documents. They use basic to enterprise level scanning solution to scan to documents and store the document images in a shared folder in a network drive for later retrieval. Other than the scanning operation everything else remains manual in terms of processing and handing the document afterwards. This has serious impact of brining any tangible business value through process improvement other than going paperless.
Managed: The organizations at this level have deployed auto information capture as part of the OCR scanning process. This is the key to driving a process efficiency by capturing and validating information from documents early in the process feed them into transactional processing systems such as ERP, CRM or custom databases. Automated software tools auto classify the documents based on defined business rules and extract the key index data (metadata) from the document. This process significantly reduce the tedious and error prone manual data entry tasks.
Defined: Organizations at this level have integrated their document scanning and information capture software tools with their Enterprise Content Management (ECM) or Document Management System (DMS). As part of that integration the captured data from documents are directly emitted to the electronic workflows for various allocation and approval tasks. This increases the process visibility, user productivity and enhance business collaboration with various parties often distributed in different parts of the business . Obtaining digital signatures from line managers with iPad and tablet devices, lazy approvals from mobile devices via SMS messaging are some of the most popular needs that we often get asked at this level of maturity.
Predictable: While enjoying all the benefits of the defined maturity level organizations at this level has gone a further step and integrated their OCR scanning at information capture (indexing) strategy with their enterprise search strategy. The benefit of this approach is that they can perform high precision enterprise wide search and content discovery. The organizations also have a well defined enterprise taxonomy of how the documents is catalogued in hierarchical manner so it can be discovered as quickly as possible whether it is for operational use or in a litigation or e-discovery scenario.
Optimizing: Organizations at this level enjoys the maximum benefits of what the modern technology can offer to drive a most efficient document driven business processes. Regulatory compliance and document archiving is increasing becoming a very important social responsibility in many industries. At this level the business risks are significantly reduced by automated record managment and archiving policies as per industry and state regulations.
Optimizing level is a result of fined grained alignment of the automated tools (document classification, document information capture, workflow, Taxonomy, enterprise search, records management ) and the business process together in a people focused design. Organizations at this level has competitive advantage by gaining the Highest efficiency, lowest day to day operational costs, Higher process transparency, improved analytical data quality. and regulatory compliance over its documents and records.
The Maturity Model can help you develop your strategic roadmap, and ultimately lead to greater business process efficiency. It creates a greater information assurance and happier, more empowered users.
Where is your organisation stands in the document lifecycle management maturity model ?