On the most visual level, document imaging appears to involve scanning a piece of paper and converting it to an electronic image. But this simple conversion process is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s what goes on behind the scenes in document imaging software that provides the reason that someone would want to implement the technology. It’s the capture, workflow, OCR, ECM, and other types of imaging-related software that provides the return on investment (ROI).
As we’ve stressed several times in this blog, as a document imaging value-added reseller (VAR), it’s your job to determine what your customer’s biggest paper pain point is. In other words, where do they have the most paper that is slowing down their business? This could be in accounts payable, human resources, patient records (in a healthcare organization), new account opening, order forms, etc. Once you determine that, you can begin to determine which type of document imaging software will best solve their problem and how to configure it.
Following is a look at some of the most common types of document imaging software and how they complement a document-scanning device:
Capture: This is the most basic type of document imaging software. It enables users to manage their scanning processes. Capture software can be used to control and manipulate batches, or large volumes, of documents being scanned. It can be used to track, index, and route images, as well as release them into document-management systems and other destinations. It can also be used to improve image quality. Capture software also typically provides an interface with a document-scanning device, enabling users to set up their jobs before executing them.
Automated data capture: A subset of capture, this typically involves the application of OCR and/or other types of automated recognition to help users extract data from document images. Oftentimes, a document, like an invoice that needs to be paid, is only as important as the data it contains. Being able to improve the capture of this data by making it faster and more accurate, while utilizing less manpower, is a slam-dunk area of ROI in many successful document imaging implementations.
Workflow: This introduces the ability to automatically route documents throughout an organization. Say, for example, an insurance company has to run an application through its underwriting and fraud departments before getting an approval. A workflow system could be used to automatically make sure, determined by the type of application and dollar value, the right underwriter and fraud-detection person see the document. Electronic workflows are especially effective in distributed environments where moving paper around can be time-consuming and expensive.
Records management: Records management creates control over scanned documents. With a properly implemented RM system, users can control access to documents and also monitor who is viewing a document and when. This is especially relevant in regulated environments like healthcare organizations where HIPAA regulations need to be enforced to avoid potential fines. RM systems can also be used to ensure that documents are destroyed after they have outlived their lifecycle, which can help reduce risk and cost of discovery in potential litigation matters.
Collaboration: Sharing document images, once again especially in distributed environments, is much more cost-effective and convenient and probably more secure than sharing paper. Scan-to-e-mail applications are the most basic form of this, but there are also many imaging applications that offer direct connections to popular EFSS platforms like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, and SharePoint.
As you can see, there is much more to document imaging than scanning. As a VAR, it’s your job to be familiar with these software components that produce the ROI related to imaging and learn how to configure them to address your clients’ biggest paper problems.
It is also important to be familiar with the manufacturer lines that carry the products that fit your customer’s needs. The Ingram Micro Document Imaging APP found at: www.imconfigure.com can help walk you to configure a solution your customer may be looking for while on site in the palm of your hands. It will then recommend products that fit that solution based on features, budget, and vertical and allow you to submit the configurator for a quote. Fujitsu, Canon and Epson are just three of the many manufacturers that Ingram Micro supports for scanning/capture solutions. When it comes to an ECM solution, IBM Software has the ideal workflow management product to help with this. Contact your Ingram Micro sales rep for more information, 1 (800) 456-8000.