Efficient enterprises today have seen significant value in automating their document processing, ranging from paperless initiatives and reduced operating costs to higher profitability margins. But CIOs and IT directors are also very aware that document processing is just part of a broader process often consisting of other technologies from several vendors. It begs the questions, “What happens to the documents and data you’ve captured after they leave your document capture system?”

This is really interesting because organizations using multiple technologies as part of a wider document process have issues gaining a single reporting and analytics view across the entire process. Sure, each system can give you individual reports, but there isn’t a way to get a holistic view of the entire document lifecycle, from receipt to final archive.

Perhaps you don’t even realize the latent pain in not seeing the entire document process picture. These may include:

  • When an action in one system has an effect on another yet there is no way to check whether each process has been completed.
  • An inability to provide the compliance officer a full ‘cradle to grave’ audit trail of each document.
  • No real-time insight into whether your organization is close to being in violation of compliance guidelines.
  • A lack of confidence that the document/data will actually arrive from one system to the other.

Most organizations aren’t able to view statistics and analysis of the entire document life cycle in one place, nor can they envision the benefits. Once the issues are uncovered, identifying how to solve them can seem daunting.
Having insight, or document processing intelligence (DPI), into the document life cycle addresses these pain points. Following are three reasons you need document process intelligence:

1. Full document process visibility.Often called ‘cradle to grave,’ process visibility gives you one single place that can track the lifecycle of every document you process, across every system it (or its data) travels on its path to final archive. 

How to get it: Organizations can employ a set of owners who will manually manage the document every step of its journey. In a mortgage application, for example, the document’s owner will change after each step – from loan origination, underwriting, processing and on to servicing. Organizations such as financial services companies and others that have stringent compliance guidelines are looking for ways to automate document process intelligence. BPM tools can show you the overall process and require a business analyst to track documents’ processes.  

2. Compliance. Visibility isn’t nice to have…it’s essential. Without a full audit trail and process accountability (remember, across allsystems in the process) you are breaking compliance rules regardless of the industry you are in, especially those involving Sarbanes Oxley and invoicing. If you can’t prove the exact steps an invoice has been through, across all processes and all systems, you are breaking the law and your CFO could go to jail. The key here is the spanning of multiple systems.

How to get it: Do-it-yourself spreadsheets with sophisticated micros enable compliance managers to track and record documents’ processes to fulfill audit trail requirements. It is reliant on knowledge workers, such as accounts payable/receivable, to consistently and accurately update multiple systems with manual data integration. While this information is typically at least 60 days old, it adequately meets compliance requirements. Organizations looking to be more agile with their data and identify areas for cost savings, including early payment discounts in invoicing, are turning to automation tools that provide graphic workflows for insight on who last touched a document, how long they had it and where there are any bottlenecks.

3. Process efficiency. Document process intelligence can proactively identify parts of the process that are inefficient or not working optimally. It allows for immediate and preventative process improvement before a problem becomes a bottle neck. DPI can provide full process analytics to proactively identify areas for improvement to end users and managers alike.

How to get it: Proactivebusiness line managers are able work with their team and dedicated programmers to incorporate data from multiple BPM and content management systems to create spreadsheets that give hindsight on performance metrics. While typically at least 60-days old, this data provides senior management a foundation to work from. Organizations that are continuously digitizing and automating processes are deploying smart process application platforms that can incorporate document automation, BPM and case management, data integration, analytics and mobile capabilities.

Traditional standalone BI and BPM systems will continue to have their place and benefits within the document processing and workflow ecosystems, however not one system in the entire process has full visibility or the ability to monitor an audit trail of the entire process (scan, workflow, archive), only its component parts. By incorporating process intelligence across these systems, you will have the ability see exactly where your documents and their data are – from capture to archive – among each system they travel. This new insight will be the start of gathering new information and gaining the subsequent value that document processing can deliver to your enterprise.

Russ Gould is senior director, product marketing, Lexmark.

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