In today’s digital workplace, more and more companies are utilizing e-mail to receive everything from invoices and orders to employment applications and membership sign-ups. Though this makes receipt more streamlined and fast-paced, it unfortunately does not mean that every document arrives in perfect shape to work with workflow automation. As with paper documents, the preparation process can sometimes involve a few extra steps.
Instead of printing out the documents and re-scanning them, as some companies have been known to do, third-party automation partners can strip electronic documents from e-mails, convert them to the proper file type for processing and insert them into workflow automation software. Electronic mailrooms and document conversion kick off the automation process while preventing problems like lost or misplaced documents. For a wide variety of businesses that receive critical documents via e-mail, it’s a winning modern business strategy.
Digital Mailrooms Convert Files Faster to Kickstart Automation
Delivery of electronic documents for processing is increasing substantially across all industries, with some reports saying at least 50 percent of all invoices are now being received electronically.
The improvements in processing speed possible with outsourced digital mailrooms will have an extraordinary effect on a business’ bottom line as the documents received electronically are converted for optimal processing quickly and accurately.
There are many different digital file types in which electronic documents arrive, but TIFF image files are most compatible with workflow automation software. This means that PDF, JPF, DOC, DOCX and HTML files require reformatting upon receipt before automated processing can begin. So, too, do any documents that are embedded into the body of an email. That’s a lot of documents that need to be properly converted before workflow automation can begin.
Workflow Automation Partners Do the Dirty Work of File Conversion
Given the volume of electronic documents received by businesses, file conversion becomes slow, tedious work. Most businesses have neither the time nor the skill set on-staff to handle it. A third-party digital mailroom partner takes care of everything instead. They set up a dedicated inbox account on their server to receive your emails, monitor it throughout the day and import the emails and attachments into conversion software for processing.
Once imported, the emails are stripped of their attachments and mined for information. In the case of attachments that have multiple documents included in them, these will be manually separated. The re-formatted documents can then be loaded into workflow automation software for routing, approval and processing and the original emails themselves will be maintained in a database for future reference.
With the files properly converted, automated workflow can begin, the benefits of which can be extraordinary for a business. A study done by PayStream Advisors found that 30 percent of invoices handled in this way by third-party scanning partners were processed in 1 to 5 days, compared to less than 5 percent of invoices in that same time frame handled in-house. Another study performed by APP2P 2016 found that without automation, only 48 percent of payments are made on-time, a number that nearly doubles to 90 percent with the incorporation of some level of automation. Without outsourcing a digital mailroom as the first step in the electronic invoice handling process, none of these gains are possible.
Outsourced Digital Mailrooms Speeds Up Automated Processes
No matter the digital document received, handling file conversion with a third-party digital mailroom partner speeds up receipt, approval and processing times, improving a company’s chances for success in today’s competitive business environment. Organizations of every size and scope can benefit from a new, improved, streamlined approach to electronic document processing by outsourcing their digital mailroom and implementing workflow automation software.
is the principal founder of Digiscribe, formed in 2001 to provide companies of all sizes with cost-effective document scanning, document management software and workflow automation services. In 2010, he co-founded Digiscribe New England, an affiliated company serving the document management and business process automation needs of companies and organizations in New England. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him on LinkedIn.