Capture begins with process
As a prelude to an upcoming series of blog posts I will be posting on the topic of “Building an effective capture solution” I wanted to preface these posts and focus on the question of ‘where do I start if I want to build an effective capture solution?’.
More education, less self promotion
With information capture being such an obvious way to decrease operational costs, increase efficiency, reduce risk and assist with compliance, then it begs the question of why wouldn’t everyone be using capture? I think the answer lies in the fact that as an industry we have done a dis-service to our community. Every vendor’s product is the best *sarcasm*. Everyone can offer the complete solution *eyeroll*. Vendors compete for business on a list of features instead of a genuine desire to assist their customers become more productive *disgust*. Of course this is a generalization and not every vendor, or person, is so self-centered but my point is that a resource such as the AIIM community, which is rich in educational information and maintains a genuine vendor-neutral stance, are too few and far between. We need to breakdown the components of a capture solution to their lowest common denominator and share with others how to achieve an effective capture solution so that everyone can benefit from a technology that has a proven track record of success. Breaking down the components of a capture solution involves three basic parts: User Interface, Processing and Storage. It’s really that simple. Of course this is an oversimplification but those are the basic three components.
Eating my own dog food
Having spent nearly my entire professional career in the document capture/ECM industry you would think that someone like me might suggest that a ‘solution’ starts with consideration of capture hardware or capture software. Not true. An effective capture solution, to the contrary, does not start with capturing information from an image. Rather it starts with a well-defined process. Capture is an extension of a process that makes things more efficient.
To give some specific examples I would like to provide four different business processes and breakdown the ‘Activity’, as it might happen in a manual process, and the ‘Benefit’, which is the result of what we are trying to achieve. You will notice, while it’s pretty obvious, that the ‘Activity’ in each case can be slow, costly and inefficient yet many organizations continue to operate in this fashion because it’s the traditional way of doing business. However, if you truly consider the ‘Benefit’ and know that in each ‘Process’ example below there are well established document capture solutions that can drastically improve these processes then hopefully this will drive more adoption of such a fantastic technology:
|Contact Management||Typing the information from a Business Card into Contact Relationship database||You want to be able to organize and retrieve contact details|
|Expense Management||Entering the information from a receipt into an Accounts Payable system||You want to get reimbursed for your expense|
|Invoice Management||Manual Data Entry of vendor, terms and total information into ERP application||The organization would like to realize pre-pay discounts|
|Inventory Management||Keying the line item details from a Packing List into inventory system||The business can be more efficient by making product available for sale quicker|
Building an effective capture solution: