The Art of Capture- Step 1, Control the Battlefield

By Daniel O'Leary posted 08-26-2010 11:33


Part one in a series that examines the process of electronically capturing in Web-based forms the information trapped in today’s paper-based processes.

THE ART OF CAPTURE!!!!I’ve spent the last few years helping customers empower their data through electronic forms with LincDoc, an eForms and document automation software product; but the concept is universal. Paper forms are a great place to begin when we look at capture, since according to the Gartner Group, 85 percent of business processes depend on forms. And with few exceptions, most organizations still handle forms in paper.
“Hey Dan, doesn’t quoting lofty analyst numbers seem a bit weak? We know how stats can be construed.” 

To that, I reply simply: look around your office. (Cue Jeopardy theme, or click here)... 

Still think those numbers don’t hold up?
So if you are serious about improving your capture program, it makes sense to tackle the cause of the problem, rather than treating the symptoms.
The first step on embarking on your eForms project is to figure out what forms your team, department and organization use most often. Pinpoint the forms that create the most agony. Like a migraine. It is these pieces of paper that when translated to an online or electronic capture mechanism will demonstrate the most ROI.
However, and this helps further illustrate the depth of pain paper forms cause, you may very well find that the forms at the root of agony for your team are not the same as those wreaking havoc on another department. Human Resources, operations, fulfillment, accounting, marketing and customer relations are all holding up different forms, right? Coffee ring-stained, half-completed and caked in white out. (Stop me anytime.)
When you embark on an electronic forms project, or really any capture process, the goal is to figure out where you can make the most impact. As Sun Tzu says, “You must know the battle ground. You must know the time of battle. You can then travel a thousand of miles and still win the battle.”
Make no mistake capture warriors, you are doing battle against paper forms, and it is your duty to control the battlefield.
As you prepare for battle against your forms, make sure you clearly understand the greatest threats, and plan to attack the weak points of the enemy, err … project. Planning and understanding your enemy is one of the most important steps in winning the war against paper, so start with the ones that you have determined cause the most pain and are easiest to solve.  Make a list of them, start mapping out their life cycles and underlying business processes, and talk within your organization to confirm your findings. Next week, we’ll talk about converting your paper forms to dynamic electronic forms.
So everyone, what do you think about paper forms? Tried this approach and failed? Can you quote Sun Tzu in your sleep? Should you quote Sun Tzu in your sleep? Let me know.
Now, get to the choppa!

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