by Kevin Craine | 11/2/15

Capture technologies have been around for quite some time. We’re all familiar with scanning paper documents to make digital images and extracting key bits of data along the way. Indeed, most organizations use capture systems to ingest and process documents to support many important functions like claims processing, accounts receivable, or human resources. But a new breed of capture solutions is spurring a second wave of capture strategies that are helping organizations find new value using tried-and-true capture techniques in more wide-ranging ways.

Distributed Capture with MFPs

One approach to capturing new value with capture is the growing trend toward using multifunction printers and copiers (MFPs) to capture data and documents mid-process. Instead of regarding capture as strictly a front-of-process activity, more and more organizations are discovering how capture can be used within day-to-day processes to improve performance. For many, that effort starts in the hallways and cubicles of departmental workflow via MFPs.

Common Tools, Uncommon Application

Turning a common multifunction copier/printer into a capture workstation is a valuable capability for organizations of all sizes and types, especially when collecting and capturing information and documentation is critical to the process. One example is found in financial services where a growing need to reduce the burden of paper in branch operations is stimulating the adoption of distributed capture with MFPs. Bank branches traditionally assemble and ship paper documents to be scanned at a central processing location. But banks pay the price in courier expense, printing costs and the inherent complexities of a paper-bound process. Distributed capture with MFPs changes all that.

Existing Investments, Extended Value

MFPs with capture capabilities allow employees to use existing printer/copiers to capture and enter information directly, where it is then automatically processed, converted and archived as needed based on any number of predetermined workflows. Advanced systems prompt employees through the process, requesting each document that is required to complete the task. Once completed, the system automatically triggers further actions and case management, initiating continued process activities down the line. Best of all, this activity is performed by simply pushing a button on the front panel of the MFP.

Knowledge Workers Capture Improvements

Organizations benefit from making “non-capture” people part of the capture process since it speeds the pace of business and improves customer service. While paper-intensive organizations such as transportation firms, banks, insurance companies, and mortgage brokers are early adopters, companies of all kinds find they save time and money, reduce errors, and increase the efficiency of knowledge workers. And as companies become more widely dispersed with regional offices, remote employees, and geographically distant customers, distributed capture via MFPs surfaces as an important tool for improvement no matter where employees are located. What can you do to move forward?  Look for partners and suppliers with the right mix of experience, expertise and vision to help you capture the value of capture and MFPs. 


Guest contributor Kevin Craine is the author of the book Designing a Document Strategy and a respected authority on document management and process improvement. He is the managing director of Craine Communications Group. For more information visit