When it comes to predicting the ROI from investing in Electronic Content Management (ECM), we can tell you one thing for certain: doing nothing will cost you more in the long run than a strategic investment in ECM will cost. In business, it just doesn’t pay to stick with “technology status quo” when everyone around you is embracing new ways of doing business. To begin realizing the potential ROI of ECM for your business, first evaluate what it currently costs you to do business today. The hard costs of doing business include: employee time, cost of processes and cash flow. If your employees still rely on paper and paper-based processes, you’re paying more than your automated competition just to get the work done, plus you’re paying the costs of paper and storage.
An ECM solution removes paper from your business and adds technology. Digital documents, along with workflow automation, artificial intelligence and software ‘bots supercharge your processes and enable your employees to be more productive.
Where Can ECM provide the biggest ROI in your organization?
The answer is anyplace where paper-bound processes slow productivity, slow data access and cause your employees to spend more time than they should achieving the desired result. ECM drives process efficiency, improves data accuracy and access, while increasing customer and employee satisfaction.
Doing nothing ends up costing you more than doing something. The ROI of ECM is apparent and positive for your business.
In previous articles we’ve talked about the roll that scanning plays in converting to ECM. If you missed those articles or just need a refresher, please download our scanning white paper to help you start analyzing your paper-based systems. Taking a look at where time and money are being are being wasted on inefficient processes will bring you little closer to understanding the advantages of ECM.
Still, you want to be sure that scanning your documents and going digital is right for your organization. Just how do you get your money’s worth from Electronic Content Management?
It’s important to understand that even if your team has been working with the processes you have in place for years and has gotten very efficient at handling paper-based documents, you may be underestimating how much time, effort, and money is going into your management system. When considering the big step of converting to ECM, remember the main reasons why organizations go digital:
- Paper can be expensive
- Paper can be time-consuming
- Paper can be less secure
- A lot can go wrong with paper
Digitized documents are much safer than paper documents. Digital documents can be encrypted and password-protected. When the information is accessed, it leaves a digital trail that you can follow. Even if your bricks-and-mortar business is destroyed, digitized documents can stay safe and sound, letting you rebuild.
A successful Electronic Content Management strategy starts with a well-thought out and professionally managed document imaging plan that takes advantage of the latest scanning technology and capture processes. Without a solid approach, an organization's document management strategy may become document management chaos, with poorly scanned documents that are difficult to find and hard to read once they are found.
Your company can avoid these frustrations by being aware of the latest trends and technology in document imaging and scanning as well as in optical character recognition (OCR) and AI. Seek expert advice on best practices in those areas. We also recommend talking to other companies who have implemented and updated their document management system in order to be aware of the document imaging challenges that they faced.
Here is checklist of strategies that can help you plan for ECM:
- Consider how to implement ECM efficiently
Implementing an enterprise-wide document imaging project can be time consuming and costly. Many organizations find that using a departmental approach is far more efficient and helps to spread the cost over time. With a scalable cloud-based document management system this method is very doable. Starting with smaller, scalable projects gets the ball rolling with minimal disruption, and allows time for you and your employees to become comfortable with digital workflows.
- Integrate document capture with existing best practices to minimize disruption
Many organizations approach their document management process with small-scale implementations. Depending upon the structure of the organization, this may mean implementing a document imaging and document management strategy one department at a time. For other organizations, this may mean taking one type of document, like email, that is used throughout the organization and begin by archiving email and attached documents into a searchable ECM that can be merged with departmental workflows. The goal is always to make important documents quickly and readily available to employees who need to see them.
- Automate systems and processes for the best information workflow
While archiving email may be an easy place to start, many organizations need to move quickly beyond simple archiving and document imaging into a system that enables intelligent searches and team collaboration, with automated workflows.
The ability to do intelligent searches is the basis for both collaboration and workflows; and the basis for intelligent searches starts with expert imaging. Digitizing documents for use in an ECM requires more than simple scanning of a document. The imaging process itself needs to be more intelligent and more sophisticated – for instance, using OCR software, appropriate indexing strategies and intelligent PDF.
What’s Your Final Goal?
Even when you’re starting small, it’s best to have the final goal in mind, so that the correct imaging process is employed at the outset. This is where a document imaging professional can help. A professional can analyze your business’s workflow needs and choose the best tools for doing the imaging, as well as the best ECM solution to provide the ultimate results that you need.