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Getting productive with paper and processes

Cássio Vaquero, Regional Director, Information Management division, for Asia-Pacific & Latin America, Kodak Alaris | Oct. 20, 2015
Having a smart document capture system in place to tackle paper digitisation issues helps smoothen a company's information management workflow.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Cássio Vaquero, Kodak Alaris
Photo: Cássio Vaquero

Given our perennial pursuit for increasing productivity, it was only a matter of time before businesses began adopting data-driven approaches to evaluate and enhance their employees' performance. The limitless opportunities from captured data have brought about business development and sales growth.

However, while data is being regarded as the new 'oil' in the business world and its analytics the fuel for actionable insight, data is also a double-edged sword that can clog an organisation's information management processes and hinder productivity.

In theory, an increased influx of data means more extractable intelligence that would benefit the company. However, the reality is that businesses would also have to contend with managing and intelligently capturing the ever-increasing amount of raw information that comes through physical documents, of which a good portion comprises unstructured data.

In the healthcare sector, almost 80 percent of medical data are unstructured and require some form of validation. Paper documents such as invoices, faxes and receipts that organisations encounter on a daily basis, are common forms of unstructured data that, when not handled properly, can reduce operational efficiency.

In a recent study, more than half of the respondents found that paper can be a hindrance to productivity and that digital approaches simplify work, are easy to use, and allow them to be more efficient. Apart from challenges arising from traditional paper processes, the study also revealed that an overall negative attitude towards these paper procedures exists amongst those surveyed.

Contrary to the belief that paper is the bane of organisations, having a smart document capture system in place to tackle paper digitisation issues actually helps smoothen a company's information management workflow. According to AIIM Industry Watch Paper Wars 2014, document scanning technologies continue to play a critical role in speeding up workflow processes. The study also found that improved searchability and shareability of business documents is the biggest driver for scanning and capture.

Yes, we are increasingly going digital, but whether we like it or not, paper is still a mainstay in today's office. That is why it's high time businesses get productive with their paper processes. Here are three key areas business leaders need to pay attention to, in order to enhance the speed of their business:

 

  1. The physical barrier: Actual scanning of paper documents. Breaking down the physical barrier starts with the efficient scanning of paper documents. However, because this first step is so straightforward, most people tend to overlook its potential to enhance the speed of operations. Key factors such as scanning speed, paper size, paper jam detection and quality capturing of image and information are often considerations that are left out when companies invest in scanners. Organisations across the financial, healthcare, retail, public sector, and more, deal with stacks of paper on a daily basis. Fast and precise document capture is essential in ensuring the first stage of information management flows smoothly before organisations can even begin categorising and making sense of the information.

  2. The digital frontier: Making captured data usable and searchable. For the average person, the scanning of hardcopy documents is all there is to the digitisation of paper assets. However, the reality is that simply converting paper into soft-copy formats will be of limited help from an information management viewpoint. The ability to read and capture information so that its contents can be recognised and categorised for further analytics is the true value-add organisations should look out for. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology is key in this stage as it transforms scanned material into fully searchable electronic documents.

  3. The cooperation blockade: Removing silos and improving teamwork. Once the first two points raised above are implemented, raw information from paper assets would have been digitised and converted into usable and searchable data. However, data that is left in silos are as good as information sitting in paper documents on someone's desk. Setting up automated processes to disseminate captured data into the right hands for storage, further processing, or analysis, is essential to promoting coordination between departments. More efficient communication within the company is bound to increase overall productivity.

 

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