Archive for March, 2011
Every organization strives to grow in terms of profit, revenue, consumer base and geographic or global presence. However, an organization can achieve its business goals only if the growth is managed carefully. For instance, a company growing at a fast rate may not be able to handle increased workload or capital costs successfully. Modern technology such as automatic data capture incorporated using optical character recognition is aimed at helping small, medium and large companies increase productivity and profitability.
The very first image scanner was developed and built in 1957. Earlier image scanners consisted of a single photo detector along with a rotating drum. Image scanners have undergone a variety of changes in terms of their size, quality and speed. With technological advancements image scanners now come in compact format and can be easily placed on your desktop. Apart from this, modern image scanners can be easily integrated with document management software to capture and store data automatically.
As your business grows, the number and types of documents handled by your company will also increase. Imagine a situation where your office receives thousands of invoices and remittances per month. Even if the entire system of documentation is computerized, there may be instances where managing data can become problematic. For example, a customer paying multiple invoices with one check can complicate document processing. In fact, this would involve manual entering of the amounts against each invoice. One small error can lead to repeat work, wasting precious time and effort. This will also reflect on the productivity of your company and seriously hamper its growth prospect.
Document management software coupled with technologies such as optical character recognition (OCR) helps simplify document processing. OCR software is an artificial intelligence system able to recognize, scan and store sequences of characters or lines. The characters are scanned, checked against a database and relevant information is stored for later use or forwarded for further processing. Automatic data capture using OCR and other such technologies can be of tremendous help to organizations that receive large number of documents on daily basis.
Every office has a document management system in some crude form or other. For instance, there may be some naming convention in place so a particular type of document or information can be easily searched in the computer. Similarly, your computer systems may have different folders for different types of documents, aimed at easy search and retrieval. However, how many times has an employee accidentally deleted a folder or forgotten where a certain information has been stored. It may also happen that a document has been stored in the wrong folder, resulting in unnecessary search or recreation of the document. Document management software greatly reduces such errors by automating the entire data processing system.
A document management system can be programmed for automatic data capture to scan and store data in certain format and location. The data is indexed so it can be easily retrieved whenever required. Such a system usually has a document feeder that feeds paper documents into the scanner. The document scanner then captures required information and stores it on the computer in a systematic manner. This stored data can be easily backed up reducing the time wasted in searching or recreating deleted or lost information.
Both information and time is of great importance in the success of any organization. Document management software provides a combination of different solutions with the sole aim of leveraging the process of document creation and retrieval. Such a system helps provide accurate information in a timely manner, thus increases productivity and helps manage growth effectively.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
Computer technology was incorporated by many companies and organizations throughout the world as a means to automate information management processes. However, many still continue using paper based documents for a variety of reasons. For instance, many companies receive documents in paper format or have important archived documents in paper format. Even if receiving paper documents cannot be helped, filing, storing and sharing of such documents has to be done manually. This turns out to be quite inefficient, unsustainable and costly, compared to an automated system using document management software.
Many enterprises do not realize the loss they incur when handling physical documents. The loss of time and human resources in manual processing of documents is rather staggering. Apart from this, carelessness when handling critical documents, albeit unintentional, can prove to be disastrous for your business. Any organization can take care of common hazards and errors encountered while processing important documents, simply by adopting an electronic documentation system. Document management systems come with automatic data capture feature that can be programmed to scan and store data systematically. By doing this a well-organized approach can be incorporated to create, update, change, store, search and retrieve important information.
Some important features of document management software include:
Import document: The performance, usability and sustainability of a document management system entirely depends on how quickly and efficiently documents in different formats, from wide range of sources, can be imported into the system. Automatic data capture is one of the most important features of a document management system. The entire purpose of automatic capture of information is to reduce manual work and resulting errors.
Automatic filing: The document management system can be easily automated to capture and organize data, so that every document is saved in the right place. Document management software offers a variety of methods of integrating index data obtained from different sources such as databases, text files, address books and forms. Some of the methods are standard to all software while others can be customized depending on the requirements of your business.
Integrated system: A document management system offers an integrated platform to manage both paper and electronic documents. For instance, your office may receive invoices in both paper and electronic format. The document management system can be used to extract information from both types of documents and process it as required by company policy.
Disaster recovery: This is again an important part of electronic document management system. Though most companies find it easier to handle paper documents simply because they are used to it, paper is vulnerable to errors and hazards. For instance, a paper document can get completely destroyed in a fire or misplaced when passing from desk to desk. On the other hand, electronic documents can be easily stored, backed up and retrieved.
Apart from the benefits it offers in terms of document processing, document management software also helps cut costs. On an average, a company spends $20 per hour in searching for misplaced or non-existent files. Similarly, many man-hours are wasted in recreating lost documents. Using automatic data capture you can reduce manual handling of paper documents. Along with this, the information now in electronic format can be easily shared and backed up, reducing the hazard of losing or recreating documents.
Photocopying and printing paper documents are again costly, and this is greatly reduced when you use digital document management system. Apart from this, you no longer require bulky filing cabinets eating up your office space. Every piece of information in your paper files can be imported onto your computer system and organized using document management system. This reduces the need for physical storage space, both inside and outside the office.
Demand for information can come from many sources including upper management and regulatory authorities. Keeping control of proliferating paper and electronic documents can become quite a hassle, especially when making critical decisions for your business. With document management software you can take care of all your document processing needs and ensure consistency in work, thus achieving your business goals.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
Computer systems were incorporated by many businesses and organizations with a view to automating document processing and reducing administrative burdens on their staff. However, without particular types of software systems, electronic documents are no better than paper files. For instance, even if you save all your documents in digital format, you may still end up searching for the files in the numerous folders on your computer. Document management software provides the very solution to such problems.
With computerized systems most businesses started dealing with electronic documents in every possible way. However, many were still handling paper documents created prior to adoption of a digital system. Organizations usually require older files such as contracts, agreements and other legal paperwork, client information, policies and financial documents. With automatic data capture feature of document management software, paper files can be easily converted into digital format. In fact, such files are also easier to save and store, eliminating the need for massive storage spaces needed for archival files. Apart from this, digital files are also easier to search and retrieve when required.
Many businesses thought it impossible to have a system that requires minimal manual intervention. The macro and coding options provided by some database management systems and customized software based on them, were thought of no less than a miracle. However, with digital imaging incorporated into document management systems, the automatic data capture provides a system which minimizes manual entry to a large extent. Software with form recognition facility captures relevant data from a document and automatically enters it into a tabulated format. For instance, fields on an invoice such as date, invoice number, order number, number of items and so on, are captured through a scanner or OCR system and fed into the software. The software then saves this data systematically for later use.
There are tremendous possibilities presented by such a system. Ask any employee the amount of time taken in manually entering scores of invoices or order forms coming in every day. The amount of time saved with automatic data capture is truly phenomenal, where the time saved can now be utilized for better purposes. Such a solution also helps in streamlining the documentation process. With document management software, your employees and administrative staff can concentrate on achieving the business goals and work towards better services for your clients and customers.
Some processes that can be achieved using document management software are:
· Scanning and capture of relevant information from printed documents
· Capture of electronic documents including emails
· Systematic saving and indexing of data captured
· Easy storage and retrieval when required
· Integration with existing hardware and software systems including spreadsheets and word processing solutions
· Document processing including auto-submission of final draft or delivery of an item to clients
Document management systems were usually associated with large organizations dealing with thousands of documents, which is true. However, timely and accurate information is of utmost importance to every organization, no matter how big or small. Every decision is virtually dependent on how fast information can be retrieved and processed for use by higher management and your clients. In this regard, every establishment handling documents will require a document management system at some point in time. Usually thought of as expensive, document management software have become more affordable and accessible today. They have also become more user-friendly and easy to incorporate into the existing system.
Apart from remote access, data backup and disaster recovery, document management systems is one of the top ten technologies that businesses must adopt in order to stay ahead of the competition. Clients and customers today expect quick solutions to their problems and faster delivery of information or items. The work environment has also become more competitive. With professional document management software, your staff is equipped to handle such an atmosphere and you can surely hope to achieve success for your business.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”
In today’s dynamic business environment, the need for technology to increase productivity and profitability cannot be emphasized enough. When computers were first introduced as a means to automate various business processes, technology was seen as something that would streamline the workflow and reduce or completely remove the need for paper. The dream of paperless office is yet to be realized by many businesses throughout the world. However, document management software comes as a solution that can clear up cluttered offices and create a better working environment.
Searching for important documents is one of the most time-consuming activities that employees carry out, no matter what the organization or type of business. Ample amount of research and surveys have shown that an organization with a strength of about 1000 workers wastes close to $2.5-$3 million per year simply searching for documents that do not exist or recreating lost documents. Professionals spend more than 50% of their time searching for information, both on computer and paper files. On an average, $20 is spent per document, for searching as well as recreating. Whether your business is large or small, you can imagine the impact this can have on your ROI.
Document management software is one solution that can benefit your business tremendously. In fact, most organizations use business document management in some crude form or the other. For instance, many professionals try to organize the data on their computer by saving it in different folders. So they may have different folders named Invoices, Images, Audio Clips, Presentations, Order Form, and so on, created with a view to manage document better. Though such a system may work well for one person or even for a team with 10-15 people, it becomes difficult to maintain when there are many departments involved.
Although going from paper to an electronic system for recordkeeping is a step in the right direction, complete automation cannot be achieved unless every paper in the office has been converted in the digital format. With the data capture facility available in document management software, you can convert every file in your office into an electronic file and simply do away with the filing cabinets. Once everything is on your computer, not only is your office less cluttered, electronic records are also easier to manage. You need not rummage through a file cabinet looking for files anymore. Simply type in the keywords for your files and it will be retrieved by the document management system.
Apart from being easy to manage, electronic data is also easy to update, modify, share and distribute. This can be achieved by setting up a centralized document management system for your entire office. Once your office is connected through a network, it will be easier to streamline the flow of information between various sections. For instance, a document goes through several phases during its life cycle, from creation to storage or deletion. With thousands of documents to handle every day, business document management system helps organize and simplify the process.
Records or data or information is no longer needed just for internal functioning of an organization. It has now become one of the critical and strategic aspects of a business. Most businesses today are required to share their progress and change in business dealings with various parties including shareholders, clients and customers. With a professional document management system, correct information is available at the right time and your business is definitely headed for success.
Steve Breault “DocMeister”