BPO Bulletin

Leverage Automation to Digitize Documents and Drive Business Transformation

by Ken Neal
February 16, 2021

Your business is rife with documentation — mail, contracts, applications, invoices and claims, to name only a few. If handled manually, processing, tracking and delivering this correspondence to stakeholders can be massively inefficient and costly. These impacts can also reverberate throughout the business and amplify negative issues.

Fortunately, document management presents an ideal opportunity to leverage automation and digitization. With the right tools and partnerships, document management can hone process workflow throughout the enterprise and be an accelerant to your overall business transformation. The benefits of digital document management are dramatic:

  • Cost Savings. When you automate manual tasks, it helps centralize some of the most mission-critical information in your organization. It also increases processing velocity while decreasing resource allocation for basic and repeatable tasks. Automation reduces the errors in document management that have major downstream impact in departments like risk management, customer service and business intelligence. Taken together, these benefits have shown to reduce information-related costs by as much as 92%.[1]
  • Intelligent Data Capture. Unstructured data accounts for up to 80% of your overall business information assets, and a great deal of this is data exists in documentation. Automating and digitizing document management allows for intelligent data capture, which extracts this unstructured data to make it actionable. This data can also be seamlessly integrated into workflows and reporting across the business, creating faster insights and driving better collaboration.
  • AI and Machine-Learning Ready. Digitizing your documents automatically doesn’t simply give structure to your unstructured data. It also vastly improves overall data quality and velocity, meaning your critical information can be further enriched with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning capability. This means that automated document management is a core pillar of your overall digital transformation and a true creator of new business value.

Digitizing Your Mail Can Streamline Internal Business Processes

One critical opportunity to automate and digitize documentation is in the mailroom. Mail is often a chokepoint in a business and has major impact downstream — to manually receive, sort, classify and deliver your mail is labor-intensive and subject to error, all of which can be costly and detrimental to productivity across the enterprise.

A digital intake center is an automated, digital mail processing solution that addresses these challenges in the following ways:

  • Reduces Costs. When you automate and digitize your mail intake, it reduces the need for manual interaction — hand-sorting and delivering. This means that critical information can get into the right hands, and begin working for you in a fraction of the time, controlling your overhead and liberating talent for revenue-driving tasks.
  • Enhances Efficiency. Digitizing mail helps you systematize your processes; intake, processing, classifying and delivering happens automatically, creating a more frictionless experience across the organization.
  • Strengthens Security, Compliance and Risk Management. Digital intake centers help ensure that your mail and sensitive documentation is secure. The increased visibility afforded by digitization allows you to remain compliant with strict audit requirements, allows your organization to pivot quickly in the face of new privacy regulation and strengthens the backbone of your risk management strategy by centralizing and classifying unstructured data.
  • Improves Customer Service. Today’s digital customer demands rapid response time. Manual mail processing slows down the flow of business-critical information and delays action that matters to your most important clients. By automating and digitizing, you can increase your response times, better serve customers, and increase your top-line growth.

Managed Print Services Can Provide Cost Savings and Efficiencies

Automating your document management systems and digitizing mail are key drivers of transformation, but the reality is that these efforts simply can’t eliminate the need for paper entirely. And the same factors that hinder manual document management — inefficiency, inaccuracy and high costs — also apply to your paper management. Managed print services (MPS) not only help tackle the necessary evil of paper, but they also work hand-in-hand with your digital transformation efforts.

Such services help fortify your security by managing your printers and other physical endpoints while also reducing the risk of document theft or the loss of intellectual property. MPS give you greater visibility into your resource uses, and ensures you meet printing needs without overspending. MPS can also give you visibility into usage patterns to help you refine processes and even control your environmental footprint — which matters to your customers and employees.

Finding the Right Managed Services Provider

For most transforming organizations, automating document management systems is not a core competency — nor should it be. But there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to managed services providers, and choosing the wrong partner can often hinder rather than help. As one of the primary engines fueling your business transformation, it’s critical to find a provider that can meet your needs and match your ambition. Here are some factors to consider when selecting your partner:

  • Visualize the Roadmap. The right managed services provider won’t approach your needs ad-hoc. Transformation requires a comprehensive approach to people, process and technology — and aligning these forces requires a clear, systematic game plan. Your services partner should be able to assess your current state, quickly identify opportunities for improvement, and implement a plan in phases so no steps are missed, ensuring that capabilities grow organically.
  • Value Expertise. Your document management needs are complex, and the right services provider will understand the unique circumstances of your organization and your industry. Look for a partner who has worked across industries, especially those with a high level of controls and compliance needs like financial services, insurance and healthcare.
  • Leverage Straight-through Processing. The right managed services provider can perform data validation and enrichment routines to update extracted data. This can eliminate the need for manual verification and validation steps downstream.
  • Seek Flexibility. An integrated delivery model is a critical feature of the right services provider. Rapidly growing, transforming businesses must partner with providers who can meet those evolving needs and provide maximum adaptability — whether you need document management on-site, off-site or offshore.

The Partnership Difference — Document Management in Action

A major North American insurance company was able to leverage the transformative impact of the right managed services provider when it partnered with Canon Business Process Services (Canon). As the insurer looked to grow and scale its business, the company found that its existing partner couldn’t deliver the expertise, cost-savings and innovative potential they needed. Canon stepped in and immediately created a long-term roadmap, built on automated and digitized document management.

Insurance companies remain paper-intensive, but the Canon team created a centralized system to rapidly digitize documentation and reduce the resources necessary to meet the company’s specialized printing needs. The creation of a Digital Intake Center digitized the mail, which increased productivity and transformed the physical workspace, creating a more open and collaborative environment while also reducing time, liberating talent for high-impact activity and cutting costs.

Even more importantly, document management with Canon opened the door for a host of other innovative opportunities. By reducing manual processes, opportunities for full robotic process automation (RPA) arose; centralized, digitized documentation created new sources of actionable data, allowing the insurer to leverage analytics tools for better decision-making. Eventually, these new data streams could be enriched by machine learning and artificial intelligence to drive additional insights. And Canon’s integrated delivery system (ability to provide solutions onsite, offsite and/or offshore) gave the insurer maximum flexibility for however and wherever the company needed to grow.

Transformation doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires a strong roadmap built on great fundamentals. As the insurer found out, it also requires the right partner with the right expertise. Document management driven by automation and in conjunction with an MSP like Canon is a core building block of transformation, allowing you to reap the benefits of greater efficiency, better security and compliance, cost reduction, data-driven insight and a launch pad for innovation.

[1] “Beyond the Bounds of Human Capability,” Conduent, 2020

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