ECM and document management all begin with the capture of information that can then be stored and processed accordingly. Did you know that there is a whole world of information capture beyond just scanning and imaging? Although document scanning continues to be an effective way to process your information, it still treats only the symptoms of a paper driven world. Let us walk you through some of the latest scanning and electronic capture solutions, including Batch Scanning, E-Forms, Email Capture, Social Media, etc.
Although technology provides us the opportunity to convert paper documents to active electronic records, why must they ever be printed? Deploying a simple capture strategy at the beginning of a document’s lifecycle can keep that printer from ever turning on. It’s time to treat the causes of paper, rather than just their symptoms. We welcome you to come check out our webinar on May 11th at 11 a.m. CST where we we’ll cover these topics a bit more in depth and show you what such solutions look like.
Batch Scanning – Timing and processing
Scanning paper documents and converting to electronic records has been the standard strategy for most organizations looking to go paperless, and it is really the only choice when it comes to digitizing older paper records and film. When addressing scanning effectiveness there are at least two important questions to ask yourself: (1) Am I scanning at the right time, and (2) am I wasting time by manually processing data from paper records?
Timing – Many organizations chose to scan a document when it is finished being processed, simply for archival purposes. This approach may decrease the need for file cabinets, but brings none of the benefits of technology to “processing” the document. It can still be lost, damaged, unsecure, etc. Scanning a document immediately upon receipt, or creation, and processing the electronic version can take full advantage of scanning efforts and existing software, provide better security and tracking from the start, and improve the speed at which processing occurs. Whether this occurs in a content management system like Laserfiche, or simply via email, it is a move in the digital direction and will decrease costs.
Processing – What exactly does happen when a document is scanned? Indexing information accurately off a document can be a tedious and demanding process. Often this results in minimal levels of indexing, due to the labor required to index fully. This becomes a problem when experts leave the organization and/or when repositories of information become very large. With an automated batch scanning tool information can be indexed off documents automatically and their naming/filing also done without human intervention. Documents can often be typified, and indexed based on document templates automatically, reducing manual scanning efforts to small varying groups of documents, or perhaps none at all. But then again, why are we still dealing with paper?
E-Forms – Purely Digital Documents
Electronic forms are a nice follow up conversation to batch scanning strategies, as it aptly poses the fundamental question of “Are we just chasing treatments of paper-based inefficiencies?” The answer is often, at least partly, “Yes.” Replacing paper based forms and various other internal and external data collection techniques with electronic forms immediately puts your data in context and allows for purely digital document lifecycles. Information collected in an electronic form can then be transmitted anywhere, in full or in part, and can be even more secure than paper. Information can be automatically filled in to printable forms and create the documents we are used to viewing, just with perfect information that has now also been routed to Accounting Software, CRMs, Inventory, ERPs, etc.
Email Capture – Compliant, Secure Communications
Email capture is both new and old. For many years software packages have “tracked” emails, but rarely in a contextual or meaningful way. Emails are both communication and documents, documents and files, files and images, depending on your industry. Universal to us all however, is the need to be able to search, browse, track and use email attachments effectively. Many of the email archival solutions available today solve only one side of the email equation: communication (tracked like a phone call) or documents (stored like a file).
Two possible options emerge that serves both of these seemingly opposing needs: system integrations and email archival to a CMS. It is often difficult to prioritize one need over another and an integration can make archived documents available to you in your Communications Software (i.e. CRM, SharePoint, Outlook, etc.), directly from your CMS (document storage). This eliminates juggling between software systems and brings the power of a content management system like Laserfiche into your primary applications.
Furthermore, Cities Digital has developed a tool to address the document archival needs surrounding email: MagniMail. We know of no other tool that currently addresses the need to automatically archive email (.eml files) directly into a CMS based on Exchange Server monitoring. MagniMail can archive emails based on keywords, addresses and domains, eliminating SPAM; and archive both the email document and the file attachment within an electronic document or content management system. This brings the power of search, archival, WorkFlow, Tracking and Auditing to email, now within your existing ECM and document management systems.
Social Media – Where do we even begin!?
These days it seems that as soon as we wrap our heads around one new type of information, yet another emerges. Social Media Capture is a hot item in all industries, with both internal and external concerns. Information that goes out on social media channels should be viewed as just as binding as an email and similarly tracked. Furthermore, commentary and responses to information about your organization are just as critical and should be reviewed frequently and in a timely manner. No organization can afford to miss the online conversations about their name and brand. Fortunately many social media channels are reduced to simple feeds that can be tracked and recorded in a CMS. To avoid the junk, a good social media archival tool will allow you to utilize keywords and sender/recipient, to hone in on the information you want, and eliminate unwanted info. We are just finalizing a tool that will archive social media streams into Laserfiche. Stay tuned and check out our Webinar on May 11th at 11 a.m. CST.