Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Creating the Efficient Paperless Office

By Mark Brousseau

There’s a school of thought that the data capture and document imaging industry should have made more progress by now. “We’re talking about the same issues today that we were years ago,” Chris Preston of EMC Corporation said during a keynote presentation this morning at TAWPI’s Capture Conference in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. But the economic downturn may accelerate the pace of change.

“The technology has substantially improved, and we’re moving to the right direction, but we’re not getting the paper out of the organization entirely,” Preston told conference attendees. “The challenge is to more efficiently handle the paper once it’s in an organization.”

Preston noted that the economic downturn is driving the push to more efficiently handle paper. “What’s driving organizations are three basic things, and they will continue to drive organizations even in the recovery: reduce operating costs, better serve customers, and reduce risk,” Preston said.

“Organizations want to know how to deliver value faster, better, cheaper than before,” Preston said.

Preston pointed to a study conducted by EMC and The Economist that cited agility as the top priority for 88 percent of executives worldwide. “Agility is not just about speed, it’s about adaptability and the ability to adapt quickly,” Preston said, noting that agile companies grow revenues 30 percent faster according to the study. To improve agility, Preston said organizations must:

… Improve process efficiency (change management, outsourcing, automation and satisfaction)
… Improve knowledge management and information sharing processes
… Encourage and extend collaboration across the business and beyond

“Doing all of these things will provide a foundation for becoming a more agile company,” he said.

To this end, organizations are moving from an application approach to information-centric infrastructure, with a common, virtual pool of information that applications have access to, or contribute to. “This is what organizations are trying to aspire to,” Preston explained.

Standing in the way of this migration is information. “If you look at information, there is lots of it (1.8 zetabytes), it is mostly unstructured (95 percent), mostly unmanaged (85 percent), managed by organizations (85 percent), and becoming more regulated,” Preston said. “The consequences of not managing information are severe – everything from regulatory fines, impact on customer service.”

And the paper challenges facing organizations aren’t likely to change anytime soon. Preston noted that more than 20 millions of office paper is produced and consumed each year in the United States and Europe. “Paper is, and will continue to be, a critical component of business transactions. In order to drive efficiency you’ll have to find better ways to manage paper,” Preston told attendees.

“The opportunity is to look at document imaging and data capture to transform paper into business-ready information so the organization can do something with it,” Preston stated, adding that the greatest opportunity to reduce costs and enhance services lies in transactional content management.

What do you think? Post your comments below.

No comments: