Planning for Now and for the Future
Still, the truth is that despite all of the possible benefits companies can receive through innovative forms-processing initiatives, many organizations won’t ever (or not at least for many years) eliminate the paper form entirely. O’Brien notes that while many companies do roll out automated solutions slowly, even those with highly automated and sophisticated processes will still use paper. Because of this, organizations need to be able to keep both the print and online processes working together to ensure data is captured accurately (regardless of its native format) and effectively utilized.
“In this enterprise content management industry, we collectively need to recognize that there is a growing online contingent of forms being filled out and there is a remaining high percentage of paper,” says Brian Ball, VP of forms processing for Parascript, LLC, an image analysis and pattern recognition technology provider. “If you have an online capture method, it needs to be tightly coupled with your paper mode so that you’re consistently branding yourself and consistently supporting your customers as they’re filling out forms to order your product or register your services. You [need to] use the same kind of infrastructure to integrate with the data to maximize the efficiency of capturing that data both online and offline.”
Kelly adds that organizations need to implement practical and nimble solutions to handling forms-processing tasks, “solutions that are going to address specific needs but have the flexibility and infrastructure for future growth and aren’t going to be too expensive,” he says. “They need to be practical from a cost standpoint and from an implementation standpoint. I think we’re seeing some of that focus come out in the market now.”
Companies Featured in This Article
BP Logix, Inc.
Upside Research, Inc.
Sidebar: Problem Solved: Claims Processor Achieves Operational Efficiencies, Cost Savings
For OwnerGUARD, traditional paper forms were a real problem—there were too many of them. “We were inundated with paper,” says Colby Giles, IT director for the California-based insurance and financial services provider. The fax volume per day for the company’s claims department averages about 2,200 pages a day. “We were going through reams and reams of paper. Documents would get misplaced; people would end up searching for papers,” says Giles. “It was wasting their time.”
OwnerGUARD implemented Xerox’s DocuShare enterprise content management solution, which helps OwnerGUARD claims analysts locate necessary data more quickly. The company’s paper-based forms are scanned and turned into digital files. They are then sent to a DocuShare workflow solution where the claims analysts can find the appropriate documents they need to complete their work. “Even before the paperless solution, the faxes were coming in to the fax software we had and we were printing out all of the faxes,” says Giles. “Now we have software that gets the faxes automatically and puts them in a place where people can break up the faxes and automatically file them into our various systems.”
Giles says he thought that employees would need some time to get used to the new system and recognize its benefits. He was wrong. “We figured a buy-in time of about 2 weeks before they were really comfortable. It took 3 hours,” says Giles. “Everybody just loved it. It was in that first day that people saw the value.”
OwnerGUARD employees can process information 40% faster, and Giles recognized a savings of $5,000 a month in paper and toner costs. “We estimated our users were spending between half an hour to 2 hours a day looking for information,” says Giles. “Now we’ve got that down to seconds.” The system enables employees to focus more on customer service. “You want to take out anything that’s a repetitive task from a paper perspective and get rid of it so [employees] can just focus on the document and what information they need to get from it,” adds Giles.
While Giles is obviously pleased with the efficiencies and cost savings DocuShare has afforded OwnerGUARD, he says the company has plans to improve such processes even more in the near future by automating the workflow—how the documents are routed and approved. “Right now, we have an internal system that does some of that but not to a true workflow and document-routing level where there’s complete accountability across the board,” says Giles.