Can Touchless Processing at the Point of Origination™ End the Paperless Office Debate?

By Joel Mazza posted 04-30-2012 16:52


Like the proverbial dead horse, the “paperless office” is a term that still elicits endless beatings.  What a sad state paper is in. We love it.  We hate it. Some days we even love to hate it. Some claim it’s renewable, it’s clutter, it’s a major cause of pollution or it’s nostalgic. Subjectively paper is many things, but at the end of the day it’s a tool, always has been and probably will be for a long time.

Like any tool, product or service, we hire paper to do stuff for us, to perform a job. Given all of the angst and pain associated with paper, it’s pretty clear that the heat that surrounds the paperless office debate reflects the frustration that many people feel about the gap between the job that paper performs today and the job that we really want documents to do.

Our business and personal lives move fast, as fast as we can make decisions and complete tasks. The last 20 years of computing innovation have shown us the light. The potential for immediate access to valuable, insightful information in the form of documents and data that can drive accurate decisions can literally be placed in the palm of our hand with smartphones and tablets. Customers, partners, and suppliers all want to simplify how they interact with each other, pushing information access closer and closer to the place and point in time where product and services requests begin. It’s at this point, the Point of Origination™, where documents start to drive critical decision making business processes.

Paper documents are key drivers at the Point of Origination and the “office” is one of the critical locations where business processes begin. We can easily turn paper into electronic documents. We have access to OCR text conversion capabilities, we have document and content management solutions and process automation solutions, and we have capture and Touchless Processing, but still no paperless office. So if the problem is not paper, could it be something that’s missing in the “office” that is holding up the paperless era, increasing the stress and latency in decision making processes?

When we look at how people process paper and documents in general, one of the critical problems has been the difficult challenge of manually extracting data and content to import into process automation solutions and make them work. In recent years that problem has been solved with capture based Touchless Processing solutions.  BUT those solutions were initially designed and deployed in production environments that are manned by trained, skilled users. Could that be THE problem? Is manual data entry at the Point of Origination, including “offices”, the last major barrier to the paperless office and faster, more accurate decision making?

Let’s think about it for a moment. The only way office workers can extract the critical and insightful data and content from documents, paper or electronic, is by reading each document and manually keying in the right data. That job sucks and it just creates more problems through human error, inconsistent processes, etc. Touchless Processing solutions solve that problem but weren’t originally available in a form factor that meets the requirements for customers and customer facing employees.

Wait a minute; why not just ship everything to a central source or third party for processing? Do customers, suppliers and partners care if they have to wait three more days or three more weeks for a decision?  I guess if we are feeling lazy, have no competitors and like the status quo that would be fine. But most organizations can’t afford that luxury and office workers are the people who tend to initiate those critical processes that actually generate revenue and profits or deliver critical services. But with traditional Touchless Processing solutions they aren’t managing the capture and entry of the information.

The optimal time and place where the discussions begin and data and information in the form of documents are first gathered, the Point of Origination, is where the power of process automation delivers the greatest potential.  Remember we all move fast and are constantly trying to move faster. Mobile devices and 24/7 web portal access to most of what we seek to buy and manage set an expectation that the companies we do business with should be able to provide fast accurate answers to our requests. If an organization wants to be in the purchase discussion with its customers, its customer facing employees need to be ready when each customer shows up at a website or walks through the doors of a branch office. Without capture at the Point of Origination and Touchless Processing, customer facing employees will be left to their own devices to scan and manually key in data, breaking security and compliance policies as they go, rightfully whining about the inefficiency of it all.

But isn’t Touchless Processing only available for production environments? That was true a few years ago, but this is 2012, change happens fast. As it turns out, organizations can enable document capture with Touchless Processing at the Point of Origination for just about any process. Current capture platforms with these capabilities have been integrated to support mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, multifunction printers (MFPs) and network scanners, web portals and even personal PC connected scanners and MFPs. These common office and personal scan enabled device platforms provide access to the critical automatic data extraction and transparent business rules that perform the core job we most want to do when managing documents. With Touchless Processing deployed at the Point of Origination, we can efficiently unlock the critical, insightful data we’ve always needed from documents, deliver accurate decisions at internet speeds and finally let the paperless office rest in peace.

To find out more about capture at the Point of Origination and see some sample use cases, you can read this related blog on

#mfp #Capture #Security #TouchlessProcessing #NetworkScanner #PointofOrigination #compliance #InformationGovernance #paperlessoffice #mobile #ScanningandCapture
1 comment


05-02-2012 17:26

We use a service we found at they do all this for us in the back ground 24 hours a day. The paper goes from clients and vendors (by scan, email, web form or fax) to our system, they name and manage the work flow for a flat rate of $97 a week including hand naming pages. They even do our bookkeeping since they have the documents for 97 cents a transaction. From what I understand it only works for small companies with 3 to 99 employees.