Now that the second quarter of the year has just ended, companies will be reviewing their P&Ls. Organizations that have implemented document imaging solutions will have visual and empirical data that shows their impact in reducing cost and providing ROI benefits.
An Ingredient of Big Data is Digitized Data (Documents)
It’s true that big data consists of structured and unstructured data. Much of that information comes from existing databases and business applications, where the data can be analyzed to understand customer needs, improve supply chain processes, and determine the validity of inventory collections and SKU’s—all combined to gain efficiencies throughout the entire sales cycle.
Paper documents as a part of a business process defeat the purpose of agility for upper management to have real-time data. A physical document that must be manually moved from point to point before the next step is taken or a decision is made results in a cumbersome and slow practice. Furthermore, data contained on documents tend to be outdated as they move through workflow bottlenecks. Once a document is digitized, not only can that file be readily available online, but additional backup documentation that contains supportive information or corrections can also accompany the original document.
Digitizing documents offers an ROI in that they become an element of the decisions made using big data. The more documents that contain critical business data that can be digitized and made part of the big data crystal ball, the more insight will be available to decision makers as to the pulse of their organizations.
Less Paper Equates to Lower Office Supply and Paper Storage Costs
Staples charges $1,400 for a pallet (40 cases) of paper. Some compliance requirements may dictate certain transactions must be held in a paper copy, so there are circumstances in which you’ll need a business transaction’s paper documents as a matter of record. However, in other instances, once a repetitive document (such as standard forms used in HR, purchasing, sales, and customer service) are scanned and stored electronically for later recall—thus reducing the need for reprints of that form—the costs of printing (ink/toner and printer maintenance) and paper are also lowered.
Moreover, paper documents take up space. File cabinets often can line hallways, have their own office space, and in many cases, are stored offsite in expensive warehouses. The ROI in electronic data storage of images is nickels compared with the cost of storing physical documents. Converting files to electronic copies shifts the cost of these physical space-wasters to other budgetary needs.
ROI Benefits in Document Recovery Processes
People are prone to make mistakes, especially when it comes to filing a paper document in its proper place. Once lost however, someone is tasked with looking for the paper. Let’s give this person the average customer service rate of $12 per hour. Maybe once or twice a day, there’s a document that is missing. It might take the employee several hours to find and locate the missing file—and that’s if it hasn’t been lost for good.
An article from AIIM indicated the cost for reproducing a lost document is $180 (on an average of $12 for an hourly customer service employee, that equates to almost two days of work), but multiply that $180 number, conservatively, by one lost document a day (though more than one document lost is a more likely scenario) over the course of the year. Do the math, and you discover that more than $46,000 of cost could be avoided with document imaging solutions that stop the loss of documents cold and avoid wasted employee labor that is better spent on servicing customer sales inquires or order tracking.
Once that paper becomes an electronic record and indexed, the chances of someone not being able to locate the document is unlikely, as long as best practices for data backups of the document repository have been followed.
The ROI benefits of document imaging solutions are plentiful and can be realized quickly. Businesses are always looking for ways to be more agile in making decisions, and document imaging solutions are a big part of process efficiencies. Losing paper is costly and dangerous if regulatory compliance mandates the document’s reproduction in some form or the evidence of signature.
Wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to spend that $46K for lost records on document imaging solutions that offer expedient information retrieval, document protection, and real-time, valuable business content?