Leveraging Capture Shared Services throughout the Organization

Repost: I wrote this blog post for the AIIM Capture Community. You can view it there as well.

I just got back from visiting with a couple large EMC customers, and one topic we discussed was the concept of building a shared services model to support their use of document capture.  Each customer was at a different stage – one had several capture projects in production that involved capturing highly regulated business documents along with non-sensitive documents, whereas the other client was just rolling out their first few document capture projects.  In both cases, a common goal is to leverage their capture investment across many parts of the business, ultimately creating a shared services model for capture.

For some organizations, to get to a shared services model will require standardizing on one enterprise capture platform and moving away from managing several capture products across the organization. The goal being to eliminate the maintenance and support requirements and costs, that go along with having multiple products which frequently provide overlapping technology.

The back office mailroom represents one of the key areas where capture is used today, and from a logistical shared services model, provides a facility where centralized capture can be deployed and expanded as new business units and processes are brought online. On the other hand, pushing capture to the front-office is what many businesses are trying to do with their most critical business processes, but this can introduce other complexities and decisions that need to be made when building out a shared services model that supports distributed capture.

Benefits to a shared service model

As Lawrence Wischerth posted in an AIIM blog back in September 2010,  Is Shared Services Making a Comeback?, he pointed out several benefits:

  • Ability to share and allocate costs
  • Creating a team of document capture specialists
  • Taking advantage of economies of scale
  • Implementing consistent operating  procedures, quality control and security

I would also add that organizations are looking for an enterprise solution that can be tuned to address specific business applications, rather than having to purchase and support several different point solutions. There are also several factors that seem to be pushing organizations to a shared services approach including:

1)      Business units are asking for quick solutions to their problems – Capturing, digitizing paper, and connecting it with business systems and electronic processes is something that many parts of a business can benefit from. By making the right investment into an enterprise capture platform that is flexible and able to adapt to business requirements, IT sees this as an opportunity to be more responsive to the needs of the various business units.

2)      Desire to replace legacy systems – Investments made into document capture seven to ten years ago (or longer) have outlived their functional benefits. Many organizations are replacing old legacy systems in favor of an enterprise capture solution that delivers better automation and value which is making businesses rethink how they deploy and manage capture throughout the enterprise.

3)      Openness and more complete enterprise capture systems – Systems are much more open today, and include a services approach to capture functions like image cleanup, OCR, validation, and export. Secondly, enterprise capture offerings often have a more complete set of capabilities then basic imaging applications. Enterprise capture applications commonly offer automated document classification, data extraction, and tools for developing capture process flows that can address the most complex business requirements.

4)      Explosion of mobility, simplicity, and desire to move functions like capture closer to the source – A new user is entering the workforce, one that expects to be able to use the same devices and applications they use at home. If we combine that new user with the need to still capture and process paper, we see a growing demand for deploying capture closer to these workers whether it is in a regional or branch office, or even a mobile worker. Businesses want to enable these workers to get their job more effectively. This movement is driving the need to standardize on one platform that is powerful enough to handle the business requirements, but at the same time simple to deploy, maintain, and use throughout the enterprise.

What lies in the future for capture shared services?

A shared services model makes a lot of sense for organizations who want to deploy capture across several business areas and the benefits of a shared services model are quite significant  – ability to share and allocate cost, creating a team of capture specialist, the economies of scale, and implementing consistent operating procedures, quality control and security.

Adding to this conversation is discussions around either moving to an on-premise or even off-premise (hosted) cloud deployment model.  A cloud deployment model that is implemented and managed properly can further support the benefits of shared services including:

  • It can save money
  • It can reduce complexity
  • It can transform your business

It really boils down to leverage – the ability to leverage a common infrastructure, leverage pretested and pre-installed product configurations, and leverage experts so you don’t have to use your “time” to find them. As stated in a recent InformationWeek Global CIO article: The Top 10 CIO Issues For 2011, “…if you continue pouring most of your precious IT dollars into internal maintenance and status quo, then you will lose in the marketplace…”

A new class of enterprise hybrid deployment models is being born, and as we move forward, we are likely to see the effect it has on companies deploying a shared services model for critical business applications like capture.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: