Once you have made the decision to go paperless, and you are choosing the right document management solution, one of the deciding factors will most likely be – how easy is it to get documents into the repository? If you end up having to do a lot of manual data entry in order to index your documents, you may decide the solution will be more trouble than it’s worth.
Document capture allows your business to bring in documents from a wide variety of sources. One of the first and most important steps after getting your document into the system is indexing. When documents are indexed, they are given meaning. Rather than just an image, you have information about the document that will be your key to finding that document next time you need it. And seeing documents with matching index values – like PO number or vendor name for example – will allow you to compare and validate the information.
Knowing the different indexing options a solution has to offer will enable you to find the solution that fits your individual needs. Each company will have different requirements, such as needing to get signed documents from a warehouse scanned in, or capturing documents that are generated from their accounting application. To give you some examples of the many ways documents can be captured and indexed, we will go through a few of the ways Altec’s solution, DocLink, can handle indexing.
For documents that are created electronically – in the ERP, Microsoft Word, or Outlook for example – DocLink has a very powerful tool called ERM (Enterprise Report Management) that can automatically capture those documents and their property values at the time they are created. If you generate documents electronically and want to capture them, it doesn’t make sense to print those documents out and re-scan them in again just to be able to automate the indexing. So if most of your documents are created this way, making sure your document management vendor has ERM or something like it will be vital.
Sometimes the process will require printing these documents and getting physical signatures. In this case the solution may be to print a barcode on that document. That way when it comes back with the signature and it gets scanned in, the barcode will be recognized and the document will be automatically indexed.
Some companies have high volumes of documents coming in the mail from a variety of different vendors. In cases like this, the only way to get those documents into the system will likely be to scan them. In order to index them, it could be as easy as typing in one index value that associates it with a previous document and captures all of the appropriate information from it. But if this isn’t possible, it might make sense to consider using OCR (Optical Character Recognition). The smart technology behind OCR takes capture one step further by intelligently recognizing alphanumeric characters. OCR is able to “read” (and learn how to read) the data in your documents in order to find the information needed to automatically index them.
These are just a few of the tools DocLink and similar solutions have to automate to process of “giving documents meaning.” Some of these tools will be included in the base solution, and others will add varying levels of additional costs to the overall price. It’s important to look at your company’s processes, how documents are coming into the organization and what your requirements will be to determine the best solution that fits within your budget.
REGISTER NOW for this upcoming webinar: Introduction to Optical Character Recognition (OCR).