Buried Under Paper Processes? Leverage Automation to Dig Yourself Out.

By Mike Butts posted 02-06-2014 10:38


Paper is here to stay. 

Despite the long-predicted promise of a paperless business, every enterprise continues to generate, receive and process large volumes of paper documents. Almost every enterprise across multiple industries struggles with at least one paper-intensive, document process such as accounts payable, human resources, healthcare records, insurance claims, loan processing and others. These archaic processes are literally sucking the profit, productivity and efficiencies out of their enterprise.

Gartner coined the term “Transactional Content Management” (TCM) to categorize these types of document-intensive business processes.  In fact, Gartner officially defines TCM as a “system of record for managing process-related documents”. 

Enterprises that solve their document-intensive process challenges are able to not only deal with an ever-increasing paper document workload; but they also have the power to reduce operational costs, improve business outcomes, reduce risks, and increase compliance and productivity. This is all possible through process automation.

TCM automation is not simply scanning paper documents into a data repository. Sure, it may be the first step, but TCM demands that enterprises create a system of record for the paper documents that automatically triggers business processes that are acted upon by the right employees at the right time - without the need for employees to reenter data and route the document(s). In essence, it’s the ability for employees to make quicker and more informed business decisions.

An excellent example is the accounts payable process.  Think about this process. An invoice comes into the office where an information worker scans, indexes and sends the paper document to a data repository.  This process kicks off a workflow that notifies the purchaser to review the invoice and then approve, disapprove or perform another action with the invoice. In this case, the purchaser approves the invoice. This approval starts a business workflow process where an accounts payable clerk is able to check for a duplicate invoice, match and code the invoice for the ERP system, and get the invoice processed for payment. According to an Aberdeen Group study (completed in April 2012), enterprises that process at least 2,500 invoices per month can save nearly $100,000 a year by reducing the cost to process an invoice from an industry average of $6.20 per invoice to $3.00 per invoice. These types of cost saving and productivity improvements are very real and can obviously have a dramatic impact on the bottom line.

Other benefits of TCM automation can include greater consistency, more reliable business processes and increased management visibility across the entire organization regardless of where employees are located around the world. The increased visibility for management allows your managers to effortlessly monitor, measure and continuously improve business processes while driving higher levels of accountability and transparency throughout the entire enterprise.

Lessons learned. Paper is here to stay and expect paper volumes to continue growing.  You can unbury your critical business processes and realize more profit and employee productivity by automating document intensive business processes.  Might as well get started now, the cost of delay is costing real money too.

Till next time,



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