Who is the ideal customer for document imaging? Basically any organization that relies heavily on paper processes can benefit from document imaging. Whether the customer has to circulate paperwork for review or archive business-critical documents, document imaging can save time, space, and money.
Gartner research finds that document imaging can reduce office operating expenses by anywhere from 10 and 30 percent. AIIM research shows that 30 to 40 percent of their time on document related tasks, and 49 percent agree that finding the information they need is difficult. The Delphi Group says that 90 percent of office tasks revolve around gathering and distributing documents. Fast Company notes that executives waste on average six weeks a year looking for lost documents.
All of these issues can be addressed with an effective document imaging strategy. If a customer is pushing a lot of paper around then they are ideal candidates for document imaging. Let’s look at some specific characteristics.
Target Businesses with Paper Processes
First consider professions that are typically drowning in paperwork, such as government agencies, law offices, accounting firms, and marketing firms. These are all prime candidates for document imaging systems. Even manufacturers have to deal with bills of materials, invoices, and other paper that can get lost or misfiled. And, of course, there are highly regulated industries such as financial services or medical services that not only have to keep track of endless reams of paper but they have to securely store it and be able to produce specific documents to comply with government regulations.
So what do these organizations have in common that make them ideal candidates for document imaging?
- The all have paper-driven workflows;
- They all need to track and store large numbers of paper documents; and
- Many of them need to archive paper files for security or regulatory compliance.
How to Identify Document Imaging Candidates
When qualifying prospective organizations for document imaging solutions, you can ask leading questions that will determine their need for document services and make your sales pitch at the same time:
- How many unnecessary photocopies do they generate? The average office document is duplicated 19 times. Rather than circulating paper copies of reports and documents that can be lost of misfiled, document imaging allows you to create a central data repository where documents can be accessed whenever they are needed, without generating more paper.
- How much time is wasted filing and tracking paper documents? According to Delphi Group, 15 percent of business paperwork is lost and 30 percent of employees’ time is spent tracking down lost documents. An effective document imaging and storage system eliminates that problem by organizing scanned documents with meta tags, keywords, and other identifiers. Properly filed electronic documents are seldom misplaced or lost. If all else fails, optical character recognition can render scanned documents into searchable data files.
- Do they have a workable document tracking system? Paper-driven processes are plagued by version control and approval tracking. Contracts, invoices, reports, or other business-critical documents are circulated around for comment and correction, and someone has to reconcile those corrections and create a clean final version. With document imaging a master copy is created and users can access and comment on the document, but the master document remains intact. All changes and comments are captured for review making changes easy to reconcile.
- How much do time and money do they spend on document distribution and tracking? Paper documents are expensive to produce but can be even more expensive to circulate. Using document imaging paperwork can be shared electronically, either within the organization or around the globe. Even contracts and documents that require formal approvals can be scanned and circulated for electronic signatures.
- How much space is wasted on paper document storage? In addition to being expensive to duplicate and circulate, paper takes up a lot of storage space. Office space is usually the second highest operating expense. When you consider that the average file drawer holds 15,000 sheets of paper, the average lateral file drawer 22,000 sheets of paper, and a standard Banker’s box holds 3.500 sheets of paper, the space required to store paper documents adds up quickly. If you could eliminate the file cabinets and storage boxes using document imaging you would save on wasted office space.
- Do they need to archive paperwork for regulatory compliance? One of the most compelling reasons to adopt document imaging is to organize paperwork for eDiscovery or for regulatory compliance. Failure to comply with regulations such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, or FINRA can lead to fines in the millions of dollars. Archiving paperwork using document imaging is an easy way to address secure document storage and retrieval as part of compliance.
- Is the company committed to reducing their carbon footprint? Many companies are adopting more environmentally friendly business practices because they are good for business as well as the planet. Document imaging is an ideal way to show stockholders, board members, and the community at large that the organization is committed to adopting greener business practices by eliminating paper waste.
These are just some of the leading questions to identify, and sell, the ideal document imaging customer. If you perform an audit of the organization’s paper processes and workflows you will probably be able to make an even stronger argument for document imaging.
What are your primary criteria when looking for new document imaging customers?