How to Intelligently Manage Your Documents and Data

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Data is the lifeblood of every organization. When it flows freely, businesses can grow, attract new customers, and prepare for the future. When it is restricted, stagnation sets in. Time and money are wasted and emerging opportunities are missed.

In too many businesses, critical data is locked on a printed page, kept in a box, or on someone’s desk when they’re not in the office. It’s difficult to get this information to flow without dozens of people transcoding it into an electronic format so it can be more easily shared, analyzed, processed, and manipulated.

These outdated practices are driving the adoption of intelligent document management.

Why conventional document management falls short

Document management has been around for a while. It generally refers to scanning all the slips of paper in an office to understand what a company has so it can decide what to keep and develop an indexing system that allows other employees to retrieve information.

Companies used to index documents manually, which meant a human would look at a piece of paper, refine the supplier name and account number, and enter them into a database. Advances then used optical character recognition (OCR) to aid in indexing. That’s when software is trying to figure out what each character is, for example a machine reading six digits in a calculation and coming up with the number 123456. The problem is that a “6” looks like a “b” too, so OCR isn’t very accurate.

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Conventional document management falls short on one important point: Information is only useful if it is inserted into workflows. This is where intelligent document management comes in, which is crucial for digital transformation.

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A change to information management

Intelligent document management is more than just a better way to scan documents as it enables information management. Thanks to its “intelligence”, intelligent document management offers automated classification, routing, measurement, monitoring and multi-channel information management powered by artificial intelligence (AI).

Automatic classification means that scanners use AI to make intelligent decisions about a page’s content (e.g. recognize a bill of lading versus an invoice) and categorize it.

Next, according to the company’s internal workflows, it routes the electronic version of the document to the right person based on a combination of roles and rules (e.g., Mary, the auditor, must approve all invoices over $10,000, while invoices under $5,000 go to Fred). Approvals can be simultaneous or follow a strict, sequential order.

Monitoring is essential. What if Mary is on vacation for two weeks and that bill needs to be paid? A smart document management tool will have timers that will detect when a deadline is approaching and will notify and route the document to a specific person for editing. It also oversees the overall process and reports to management.

Finally, intelligent document management supports multi-channel information – be it a piece of paper from a supplier or a bill of lading generated by an order management system. AI ensures data is captured correctly and routed through the right workflows.

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With intelligent document management, about 90% of a document’s processing is done by the computer – reducing administration, eliminating human error and saving money.

Entry into intelligent document management

We believe that the first step in intelligent document management is to fully document someone’s current workflow information management Experience, not just IT experience. This is called Business Process Analysis (BPA) and a solid understanding of how business is conducted is essential. Additionally, experience of rolling out future ECM (Enterprise Content Management) initiatives in a finance department, an HR department, etc. is essential if you want the end result to be a durable solution that meets your needs.

Then you have to decide what you want to digitize. Most organizations store more documents than they need. This scenario can create unnecessary risks in the face of new data protection laws and requirements to protect certain types of information.

A document review is required before digitization even begins. For example, if a document such as B. an employee contract, its storage obligations or do you no longer have to store it? In the latter case, it is probably better to destroy this document. Another consideration: every page scanned costs money, so checking will increase cost-efficiency.

Next, you need to develop a content roadmap for document filing so current and future employees can easily retrieve information. You have a photo of the Statue of Liberty. How should it be classified as a statue, a national icon, a New York tourist attraction, or a gift from France?

You want to choose a vendor that will work with you to guarantee successful outcomes and eliminate the risk of making the wrong technology investments. Too often companies underestimate the effort and complexity of a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach.

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Many tracking systems offer similar functionality, but your experience with them can be heavily influenced by the vendor. Is the vendor willing to do the critical document review for you? Is the vendor willing to painstakingly document your workflows so the system can reach its true potential? Does the provider offer service level agreements (SLAs) that you can use to hold the company accountable?

Finding the right solution at the right price is key to every consideration. Intelligent document management vendors charge for a pre-analysis performed by highly qualified, certified experts. This is followed by a monthly subscription fee for using the platform and a customization fee for implementing your specific needs. If you want to add more files to the system, there are charges for scanning, extracting and indexing those files.

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If the analysis is done correctly, you will know what it is costing you now, where your bottlenecks lie, where your risks and efficiencies lie, and what it will cost to improve. The BPA offers a quantitative payback period that allows you to make a heads-up decision based on facts.

Switching to an intelligent document management system will deliver immediate returns on investment and pay off well into the future. But when you map all incoming information to your unique workflows so that it can be processed with minimal manual intervention, you save more than just time and money. It ensures your business has the agility it needs to thrive in a fast-paced economy.

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