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How to Assess Your Client's Document Imaging Needs

December 01, 2017

How to Assess Your Client's Document Imaging Needs

Document imaging is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on the market your client is in, their document volume, and their specific workflows, their needs could range from simple scan-to-archive to much more complex automated data capture and workflow. Following are some elements to consider when determining your client’s document imaging needs:

  • Where’s the paper? This is the most obvious place to start. In what area of your client’s business do they deal with the most paper? In a healthcare facility, for example, it could be patient records, it could be billing, or it could be HR/credentialing. In a manufacturing facility, it could be invoices from suppliers. At a university, it could be student applications. The old saying goes: “If you have two pieces of paper, you need a paperclip; if you have thousands, you may need document imaging.” Find your client’s biggest pain with regards to paper and start there.

  • What is the workflow? In other words, what path does the paper take once it enters your client’s organization? If they are dealing with paper invoices, do they need to be sent to individual departments for approval? If the paper is insurance application forms, how do they get to the underwriters? The more complex a workflow is, the more beneficial a document imaging system can be, assuming you can successfully electronify this workflow.

  • Compliance/records management requirements: Does your client have document retention and/or privacy requirements that are being put in jeopardy by their utilizing paper documents instead of electronic? For example, if your client is in the healthcare industry, could a document imaging system help them better comply with HIPAA requirements? If they are in financial services, and retention periods are required to last seven years, is keeping paper around longer than that putting your client at unnecessary risk?

  • How much are they spending on paper storage? This can include outsourcing fees as well as in-house real estate. Could that file room be turned into offices instead of paying to rent out more space? Storing records off site can be economical—as long as you don’t retrieve them very often. Try to get a real figure on how much your client is spending with its off-site storage providers.

  • How long does it take your client’s employees to locate documents? A recent survey by Software Advice revealed that office workers in paper-based environments lose six or more hours per week searching for documents, while workers in digital offices report virtually no lost time at all. In addition to lost productivity, is time spent retrieving documents hurting your clients’ customer service?

  • Data entry requirements: Is your client keying a lot of data from paper into back-end systems like ERP, accounting, and CRM applications? If so, are the data being keyed from structured or semi-structured forms like tax, claims, or order forms—or even invoices? There are OCR-driven applications that can automate much of this data entry and save your client time and money, while also increasing data quality.

  • Are your client’s competitors using imaging? Are there case studies available about businesses in the same market as your client having successfully utilized document imaging? These case studies will often explain the details of an implementation as well as where and how benefits were gained by the end user. Your client’s needs may closely mirror those of their competitors, and document imaging vendors are often happy to provide you with resources in this area.

These are all elements to consider when assessing your client’s document imaging needs. Remember: in any assessment, the most important thing you can do is listen and learn. The client might not have any idea how to implement a document imaging system (that’s your job), but they will certainly know how paper is affecting their business. They might not realize how imaging can fix this (once again, that’s your job), but you can only offer them the right solution if you truly understand their problem.

Ingram Micro's document imaging app can help you while on site with a customer. The app which is available on a smartphone as well as a desktop device can be found at www.imconfigure.com. Need help building a configuration? The app was built essentially for that purpose while also keeping you up to date on manufacturer promotions.