This might involve reducing the amount of time it takes a business to pay an invoice, therefore increasing its eligibility for early-pay discounts. Or it could be reducing the number of manual steps involved in approving a loan application, which could both reduce labor costs and improve customer service. These are examples of automating workflows through document imaging, which is one way you can take document imaging beyond simple storage and retrieval.
Following are four ways to find new opportunities within document imaging solutions:
- Automate workflows: We’ve already mentioned this, but it basically involves leveraging electronic images in order to make business processes like invoice approval and loan application processing more efficient. Instead of needing to run a paper copy by someone for approval, imaging enables an electronic image to be sent automatically to the right person, tracked, and escalated if a response is taking too long. If you haven’t implemented any automated workflows for your customers, starting looking for opportunities. Accounts payable and HR are good places to start.
- Implement advanced capture: For a long time, people distrusted using OCR for mission-critical applications. It just wasn’t seen as accurate enough. Over the past 10 years, this has changed, as not only has the recognition technology itself improved, but the application of it has improved dramatically as well. Once confined to use on highly structured forms, OCR can now be applied confidently to semi-structured forms like invoices, and automated classification can be used on completely unstructured documents. If your customers are doing a significant amount of manual data entry from paper, see if advanced capture can be used in order to help reduce (remember—the goal is reducing, not eliminating) labor and provide a greater ROI on their imaging system.
- Look for distributed capture opportunities: Traditional document imaging applications involve stacking a pile of documents in a batch and feeding them through a high-speed scanner. But with the growth of high-speed Internet connections, the emergence of a wide selection of affordably priced, lower-volume scanners—not to mention improved scanning capabilities on MFPs (and even smartphones)—and a new wave of browser-based capture solutions, there is no need to collect all that paper in one spot anymore. Many organizations are still using fax and overnight delivery in order to accomplish these collections, and a distributed document imaging application can be a very cost-effective alternative. Finding your clients’ paper problems might not always involve locating the highest volume of paper in one place, but could instead involve finding the most paper-intensive processes—which, in today’s market, can be spread out over multiple locations.
- Leverage the cloud: Maybe you have clients that aren’t ready to invest in the on-premises infrastructure associated with a traditional document imaging system. A cloud application is a great way to get them up and running without any on-site investment and a quicker time to implementation. Many ISVs even offer “try and buy”–type programs in order to help your clients get over any cold feet they might have about embracing imaging. Cloud adoption rates for document management software are quickly gaining steam, as it makes the technology more accessible to small to medium-sized businesses that don’t have a lot of up-front capital to invest, but would rather look at imaging as an operations expense.
Clearly, document imaging technology continues to evolve, and as long as you evolve with it,you should be able to continue to find new opportunities within the market.