Is Shared Services Making a Comeback?

By Lawrence Wischerth posted 09-16-2010 15:48


Is Shared Services for capture making a comeback? Or maybe it never left. Has anyone else noticed that the term Shared Services seems to be finding its way back into our capture vocabulary lately? 

It seems to me that the Shared Services concept for document capture is being discussed more frequently in trade publications and white papers these days.  The idea is simple really; create a centralized capture facility that serves the scanning and indexing needs of the entire company.  Shared Services for document capture moves responsibility and control away from individual departments and allows those departments to focus their time and resources (financial and human) on their core business competencies. Shared Services for Capture provides many benefits like:

  • 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

So, is the resurgence of Shared Services for capture  a new trend or just part of the normal centralize-decentralize cycle that businesses seem to go through regularly. Are there other factors driving the shift? Has an increase in regulation or the need to mitigate risk forced companies to reconsider centralized capture services? Is cost the major driver?

If your organization is considering a Shared Services model for Image Capture, here are some factors that should be part of that evaluation:

  1. Are you getting inconsistent results from your departmental capture functions? Will implementing Shared Services help achieve consistent, high quality results?
  2. Does your company operate in a highly regulated industry where consistent, repeatable processes will help achieve compliance?
  3. Is chain of custody and control over document flow a concern?  Will the Shared Services model for capture provide the necessary control and responsibility for your documents?
  4. Does your company want to be in the document capture business?  Are your capture needs better served by a third party vendor?
  5. Are security and privacy risks a concern particularly with distributed capture from remote locations using Multi-Function or field scanning devices?

I think that Shared Services for capture is worth considering for these reasons:

  • Allows companies to retain better control over their document flows and reduces chain of custody touch points and security risks
  • Centralizes responsibility for proper document disposal after capture as well as creating consistent procedures and responsibility during capture. Proper disposal is a primary consideration especially for highly regulated industries.
  • Third party service bureau services can be added to supplement Shared Service capture services to support certain business functions, increase capacity when needed and to conduct back-file conversions when requested.
  • Internal departments can focus their time and resources on their business function.  Image capture is probably not a core competency that departments want to develop.

What are your views on Shared Services for capture?  Does the model work for your organization?  Has the Shared Services model been considered and discarded?

I would love to hear your thoughts.


Note:  Healthfirst employment is listed for identification purposes only.  Opinions expressed are personal opinions and not those of my employer   

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