This time of year, your e-mail is flooded with prognostications and ideas on how to lose weight, how to be healthier, how to be a better employee, a manager and generally be more effective. I personally have seen several articles about getting my e-mail Inbox to zero. In fact, January 2nd was unofficially known as Email Overload Day, though ironically enough, you might not have known about it if your email is overflowing.
This got me thinking about the other "Inbox" that exists in every corporation. It's the old school tray of papers, stacked up in the "Inbox" on the desks of those that are handling business transactions using paper forms, faxes, scanned images and other files. For most business process professionals, this stack of papers is a key first step in a longer transaction that ultimately results in payment to a customer or vendor, receipt of funds from a customer or partner, or any other of many possible business processes.
The same principles that apply to your personal e-mail and the ideal of an empty Inbox should apply to how inbound documents are handled. In fact, given the financial impact on the business when these are not processed optimally, getting these processes running smoothly is MUCH more important. If you agree with the premise that paper-based processes need to be running as fast as possible, WebCenter can help you achieve the needed improvements.
The key to all this is automation. Automation of the "ingestion" process - how files are captured, scanned, received and then recognized. Form and character recognition has matured significantly over the past few years and today, with Oracle Forms Recognition technology as an example, inbound forms can be recognized as contracts, invoices or many other form types and then have the line item details automatically identified and associated with the right vendor, customer ID, PO number or other value. Instead of having a pile of paper on an employees desk, waiting to be re-keyed into an ERP or related system, now it happens automatically and only the unrecognizable exceptions will require human intervention.
As you can imagine, the cost savings in automating repetitive transactional processes are significant. Most imaging automation deployments see a return on the investment in 18 months or less. Human error is also greatly reduced, to say nothing of the additional archiving and compliance benefits.
To help companies understand the benefits of automating business processes, we've put together a number of assets in a single location that showcase how Oracle WebCenter Imaging can help your business... and how we have already helped others.
Getting your "Process Inbox" to zero is an achievable goal. The onslaught of incoming documents may never stop, but at least you will have a vastly superior way of managing the flow of information going forward and be saving significant sums in the (pardon the pun) process.