Opportunities, hints and solutions
Today a large number of businesses run the majority of their transactions electronically. A friend of mine, who runs a graphic design business, pointed out that all his work - from original artwork, the proofing process through to final approval – is conducted online and in many cases he never sees, or even speaks to the client.
Just look at the processes you use in your own business and consider how much information is stored electronically and you’ll see the market for document management is massive, but certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution.
A good document management system has three main components; an optical scanner and optical character recognition (OCR) system to convert paper documents into electronic form, a database to organise stored documents and a search mechanism to find specific documents.
According to Canon, while many organisations are familiar with document capture and scanning – and utilise them in some limited form – there’s still a large untapped market for these devices.
With the increased uptake of business process automation technologies, combined with greater compliance requirements driving document and records management solutions, the need to get paper into a structured and managed format has never been greater.
Canon estimates that, in many companies, up to 80% of data is unstructured. That is, it doesn’t reside in some relational database format. This puts businesses at risk in a number of areas, disaster recovery being one of them.
Although the need for full document management is beyond the needs or capabilities of many SMEs, by digitising paper documents, these companies can start to capture and protect their corporate information.
Scanning to a folder system on a network drive is often an entry level approach and a document scanner is a good start for companies that want to adopt this approach.
Yet, to be effective, the modern scanner has to be like a modern business; extremely productive yet with size kept to a minimum, efficient yet flexible and it has to adapt the moment things change.
HP’s document and content management solutions include document scanning appliances, document processing and routing software, servers, storage, hardware and software, and printing and data output devices — everything you need to capture, manage and share business documents.
In fact Allan Farquharson, HP business development manager, says the only thing HP doesn’t have a product for is cataloguing.
Farquharson says no two document management systems are the same, as it’s entirely dependent on the business outcomes the customer expects.
“One customer might need a multifunction device while another may be ok with a single function printing device. At the end of the day it’s about selling the solution that will save a customer money and boost their productivity.”
Farquharson believes resellers who add a document management solution to their portfolio will find more doors opening.
Resellers, he says, can diversify and differentiate from their competitors by offering something different to their customers.
In the not-too-distant past, businesses were required to hold on to paper documents for seven years. The dramatic increase in electronic communication has led to the need for these documents to also be stored – and easily retrieved.
Compliance requirements aside, Farquharson says businesses with regional branches are also using DM.
“For example, a scanned invoice may be sent to the company’s centralised document library then resent to a particular branch to be signed by the manager. In the old days you’d have to physically have to post that, now it’s incredibly quick.”
Another key area that resellers can now get involved in is selling HP photocopiers.
Farquharson says this is a real breakthrough for the channel, which has often been cut out of the seemingly lucrative photocopier market by other vendors.
“Now a reseller can offer the full portfolio of HP equipment, all with the same network capability. It’s a nice thing for the end user businesses as well as they have the reassurance that comes with dealing with the HP brand.”
Document management made easy
Reduce the time, cost and hassle of capturing, managing and securing documents with HP document capture solutions. No matter how big or small the work environment, HP provides total control with proven, reliable HP multifunction devices, All-in-Ones, Scanjet document scanners and digital senders. Plus you can choose from a range of proven HP and third-party software solutions to fit general and specific workflow requirements.
Benefits to your customer:
* As much as you still hear about a no-paper, all-electronic work environment, paper refuses to go away. So does the burden of paper-based processing: growing costs, inefficiencies and all the risks associated with regulatory compliance.
* HP can lighten the load with flexible, reliable capture solutions.
* Work more efficiently with proven solutions like HP AutoStore, HP digital-sending software, HP multifunction products and Scanjet document scanners.
* HP delivers fast, simple and cost-effective ways to digitise, classify, index and send documents from their source to nearly any destination, almost instantly.
* Minimise processing and storage costs by turning paper into efficient, easily retrievable electronic files.
* HP gives you the flexibility to capture, convert, distribute and store document information in virtually any management system.
* An HP-reliable document capture system protects, archives and ensures the compliance of information throughout its lifecycle.
* Improve document accessibility and distribution among internal or external parties using security controls and audit trails.
Hardware to consider:
* HP MFPs and All-in-Ones are convenient, versatile solutions for electronic management. Economical and efficient, they handle every phase of the distributed capture lifecycle—scanning and converting documents, routing, image cleanup, recognition and indexing, data extraction and exporting to a document management system or other secure document storage/retrieval device.
* HP Scanjet document scanners and digital senders support a broad range of centralised and distributed document capture applications, and in many cases are plug-and-play simple to fit your customer’s present technology environment.
Don’t forget software:
* HP Digital Sending Software 4.0 improves core business processes. Digital sending streamlines critical business document handling and integrates with existing IT infrastructures to maximise return, mitigate risk, and improve performance.
When it comes to an overall document management strategy Derek Austin, Nuance ANZ sales manager, backs PDF all the way.
Austin says PDF is now an international standard that can be relied on to form the backbone of a DM system.
“Organisations can be confident that PDF/A documents will be viewable into the future. These days everyone is concerned about document security as there have been some very high profile mistakes made. Nuance supports PDF standard security roles and encryption in its products,” he says.
Austin says Nuance’s strength is in providing individual and workgroup tools that easily connect with enterprise systems.
He says Nuance’s OmniPage product provides accurate optical character recognition (OCR) that can quickly create searchable PDFs for document sharing or archival.
“OmnPage can convert images into editable documents that include the OCRed text from the original image and also preserve the layout. Workflows can be created to automatically watch for incoming documents from multifunction devices – or other systems – and convert them.”
It can also convert between formats so, for example, it can convert Microsoft XPS documents into PDF or Microsoft Word versions, or the other way around.
Meanwhile, Nuance’s PaperPort product provides desktop DM, including PDF creation and document manipulation.
Documents are stored in the file system of the local machine or network server. As PaperPort indexes scanned documents using OCR capabilities, it allows users to search for both paper and electronic documents.
A simple desktop interface makes it easy to move documents to supported enterprise environments.
“With the advent of Microsoft Vista and its enhanced search functionality, PaperPort provides an efficient way to associate metadata with scanned documents.”
Both products integrate with major EDRM systems; OmniPage with SharePoint and FTP environments and PaperPort includes links to SharePoint, KOFAX, WebDAV and ODMA. Austin says these links make it easier to capture or manipulate documents before moving them to the enterprise system.
Finally, says Austin, Nuance offers three PDF creation tools – PDF Create, PDF Converter and PDF Converter Professional, which provide full functionality for business users at an affordable price.
When recommending these products to customers, Austin suggests highlighting the following features:
* The ability to produce documents in the formats required. For example, lowering the resolution of a large PDF document for web or email use or converting a Microsoft Word document to image-only PDF for distribution.
* When you receive a document in a non-editable format, it’s also helpful to be able to convert it to Word, Word Perfect or Excel for editing. Perhaps you receive a static PDF form and would like to convert it to a PDF or Word form using Logical Form Recognition. OmniPage, PaperPort and PDF Converter products can all help with format conversions.
* Efficient combining of documents to make up the final document you want to send outside the organisation. For example, efficiently combining a letter written in Microsoft Word, a price list in Excel and product sheets in PDF into one PDF that can be sent to a customer. PaperPort and PDF Create make this a breeze.