The scope and value of document and data capture is changing. Once regarded as a world consisting only of centralized scanners, high-volume documents and specialized teams of administrators, next-generation capture tools and solutions include more expansive capabilities that go beyond the confines of process-specific applications to perform as an enterprise-wide platform for operational improvement.
Using MFPs, organizations of all sizes and from all industries are becoming aware of and realizing significant operational advantages by scanning documents at the point of origination instead of shipping them to a central scanning facility. This is an important distinction because scanning and data capture has traditionally been a centralized function. In contrast, distributed capture is an approach that enters documents into the business process in decentralized locations, where they originate.
Multiple Locations, Multiple Advantages
For organizations with a variety of paper documents being generated in these varied decentralized locations, using multifunction devices for scanning and indexing at the point of origin makes good business sense. Organizations can save on mail and courier expenses, help speed the input of data into workflow and processes, and expedite the archiving and retention of critical business documents. In this way, distributed capture forms the foundation of an efficient document management system across diverse offices and locations, whether between various floors of a building or across the world.
Banking on Improvements
Turning a common MFP into a capture workstation is a valuable capability, especially when collecting documentation is critical to the process. One example is found in financial services. Banks traditionally assemble and ship documents to be scanned at a central processing location, but they pay the price in courier expense, printing costs and administrative overhead, while branch performance suffers from the inherent delays and complexities. A growing need to reduce the burden of paper in branch operations has led to the adoption of distributed capture, which gives each branch location the ability to scan and capture documents using local MFPs, eliminating the need to ship them to a central facility.
MFPs Perform a Critical Role
It is not just banks that can improve their return on investment through MFPs. Employees in branch locations and departments in any number of industries can scan documents and insert important information into the system directly where it can then be automatically processed, converted and archived as needed based on any number of predetermined workflows. Advanced systems even prompt employees through the process, requesting each document and piece of information that is required to complete the task. As a result, organizations benefit from making “non-capture” people part of the capture process since it can help speed the pace of business, increase accuracy, save money, and improve customer service.
Distributed Capture Beyond the Organization
Additional benefits of distributed capture can be found beyond the edges of the organization. Imagine you have filled out all the paperwork for your new mortgage. You’ve left the meeting and continued on with your day only to get an email later that afternoon indicating that a few things were overlooked. But instead of asking you to return to the bank, your loan office simply asks you to scan your documents at your local MFP(whether at home or at work), click on a link in the email, and upload the images. Behind the scenes the system automatically includes your uploads in the case file and triggers actions moving the process forward. The result is better service and the elimination of an unnecessary delay in the process.
Scanning documents to eliminate paper, capturing data for advanced processes and activities, and the ability to populate extracted data in a variety of business systems are all significant benefits of distributed capture. Using copiers and MFPs as capture devices helps drive valuable process improvements and innovation, as does incorporating captured data within more widely varied applications to improve business performance. As companies become more widely dispersed with regional offices, remote employees, and geographically distant customers, distributed capture surfaces as an important tool to ease and facilitate the processing of mission critical information.
Distributed capture is changing how organizations collect, convert and collaborate with information. Are you ready to move forward? Here are a few ideas to get you started. Work to extend the value of capture beyond the boundaries of centralized scanning operations. Increase your focus on business content and leverage the value of capture to better serve customers and speed the pace of business. Embrace distributed capture as a platform for increased collaboration and cost savings. And look for providers and partners with the right combination of capabilities, expertise and vision that will help you make the most of distributed capture.