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AIIM White Paper Jump Start your Paper Free Journey

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The business case for kicking out paper is overwhelming - it takes up space, slows processes down, creates costs and limits flexibility. AIIM's research has shown that most organizations need strong …

The business case for kicking out paper is overwhelming - it takes up space, slows processes down, creates costs and limits flexibility. AIIM's research has shown that most organizations need strong leadership to steer the business towards paper-free workflows. This paper reviews how paper clogs up business processes and the potential benefits of going paper-free.

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  • 1. Jump-start your paper-free journey AIIM White Paper Sponsored by
  • 2. Jump-startyourpaper-freejourney 1© AIIM 2013 www.aiim.org / © Swiss Post Solutions AG 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com About the White Paper As the non-profit association dedicated to nurturing, growing and supporting the user and supplier communities of information management Systems and services, AIIM is proud to provide this research at no charge. In this way the entire community can take full advantage of the education thought-leadership and direction provided by our work. Our objective is to present the “wisdom of the crowds” based on our 80,000-strong community. We are happy to extend free use of the materials in this report to end-user companies and to independent consultants, but not to suppliers of Information Management, products and services, other than Swiss Post and its subsidiaries and partners. Any use of this material must carry the attribution – “© AIIM 2013 www.aiim. org / © Swiss Post Solutions 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com” Rather than redistribute a copy of this report to your colleagues, we would prefer that you direct them to www. aiim.org/research for a free download of their own. Our ability to deliver such high-quality research is made possible by the financial support of our underwriting sponsor, without whom we would have to return to a paid subscription model. For that, we hope you will join us in thanking our underwriter for this support: Swiss Post Solutions AG
 Pfingstweidstrasse 60b 8080 Zürich Switzerland Email: solutions@swisspost.com Web: www.swisspostsolutions.com Process used and survey demographics The survey results quoted in this report are taken from a survey carried out between May 10, and June 26, 2013 with 562 responses from individual members of the AIIM community surveyed using a Web- based tool. Invitations to take the survey were sent via email to a selection of AIIM’s 70,000 registered individuals worldwide. They cover a representative spread of industry and government sectors. Results from organizations of less than 10 employees and suppliers of ECM products and services have not been included, bringing the total respondents to 455. About AIIM AIIM has been an advocate and supporter of information professionals for nearly 70 years. The association mission is to ensure that information professionals understand the current and future challenges of managing information assets in an era of social, mobile, cloud and big data. AIIM builds on a strong heritage of research and member service. Today, AIIM is a global, non-profit organization that provides independent research, education and certification programs to information professionals. AIIM represents the entire information management community: practitioners, technology suppliers, integrators and consultants. AIIM runs a series of training programs, including the ECM Master course. www.aiim.org/training/ECM-Enterprise-Content- Management-Course About the author Nick Geddes is a senior analyst within the AIIM Market Intelligence Division. He has over 15 years marketing experience in a variety of industries. Nick is also a Six Sigma Blackbelt with 10 years’ experience working on business improvement projects. He has a BSc in Information Technology, an MSc in Marketing and is a member of the CIM in the UK. © 2013 © 2013 AIIM Swiss Post Solutions AG 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1100 Pfingstweidstrasse 60b, Silver Spring, MD 20910 8080 Zürich, Switzerland (+1) 301 587-8202 solutions@swisspost.com www.aiim.org www.swisspostsolutions.com
  • 3. Jump-startyourpaper-freejourney 2© AIIM 2013 www.aiim.org / © Swiss Post Solutions AG 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com About the White Paper: About the White Paper......................................................................................................................... 1 Process used and survey demographics............................................................................................... 1 About AIIM.............................................................................................................................................. 1 About the author..................................................................................................................................... 1 Introduction: Introduction...........................................................................................................................................3 Kicking out paper: Kicking out Paper.................................................................................................................................3 Issues and blocks: Issues and blocks................................................................................................................................5 Getting outside help: Getting outside help.............................................................................................................................6 Positioned for the future: Positioned for the future......................................................................................................................8 Conclusion and Recommendations: Conclusion and Recommendations................................................................................................... 9 Recommendations................................................................................................................................. 9 References............................................................................................................................................. 9 Underwritten in part by: Swiss Post Solutions.............................................................................................................................. 10 AIIM........................................................................................................................................................ 10 Table of Contents
  • 4. Jump-startyourpaper-freejourney 3© AIIM 2013 www.aiim.org / © Swiss Post Solutions AG 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com Introduction The business case for kicking paper out of the organization is overwhelming – it takes up space, slows things down, creates costs and limits flexibility. Despite this, AIIM’s research1 has shown that most organizations need strong leadership to steer the business towards paper-free workflows. Lack of confidence for change often stems from assumed - or real - issues about paper-free working as it relates to specific industry segments. Sometimes it’s a case of not knowing where to start – paper records, inbound documents, paper in the process, outbound printing. Some processes may be better candidates than others - what is the experience of other businesses in the sector? It may also be an expertise issue: the concepts of scanning, capture, and process workflow may be completely new – both in technology terms, but also in business change management. Using outsourced services to achieve business change can overcome both inertia and a steep learning curve. An established outsource provider will bring experience from other similar businesses, including any compliance issues. The starting point for the project is likely to be a look at the current pain points in the business, as well as areas where paper-only communications are holding it back. Existing processes will be studied with objective recommendations as to which would be the best candidates for change. Document Process Outsourcers (DPOs) are likely to offer a range of options: upfront capture of inbound mail using the digital mailroom concept, the addition of multi-channel electronic communications, data capture and integration with in-house transactional systems, and the replacement of some print outputs with electronic content. Some may actually provide a substantial element of the core process itself. This paper will review how paper clogs up business processes and the potential benefits of going paper-free - as well as some of the challenges. In particular we will look at the factors that hold organizations back from taking the paper-free step. The paper will then discuss the pros and cons of outsourcing various document-oriented processes, including the need for both parties to fully understand the requirements and current processes, and to work together to deliver real business benefit and ongoing process development. Kicking out paper Paper is a problem for business: it is costly to process, difficult to manage, gets lost, can’t be accessed remotely and takes up space – lots of space. There are many other issues such as version control and finding the information you want, the list goes on. In the drive for business process excellence, removing the paper can be a major win in terms of process efficiency and improvement. AIIM research1 shows that paper is being reduced in 41% of organizations, although for 19% it is still increasing, suggesting it is something that needs to be closely monitored to ensure once a process has been redesigned to be paper free, it stays that way. Figure 1: What would you say are the three biggest issues caused by paper-based processes in your organization? (Max THREE) (N=447)1 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Time spent re-keying data, searching for paper copies and filing Storage volume and outsource paper store costs Inability to monitor workflow progress “Lost” paperwork or case files Compliance and audit issues Poor access to case or process documents for front-office/call-desk staff Inability of staff to work from home or on the road Delays introduced by post, courier or mailroom Difficulty of re-allocaƟng or re-locaƟng workloads 0% 20% 40% 60% 80%
  • 5. Jump-startyourpaper-freejourney 4© AIIM 2013 www.aiim.org / © Swiss Post Solutions AG 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com There are many possible candidate processes for paper-free re-design. The first two processes that many organizations target for paper-free working are accounts payable, and the expense claim process. The accounts payable process can be lengthy and prone to error, with invoices traveling around an organization until they find a manager willing to sign them off for payment. In a paper-less system, with each manager regularly viewing their invoices awaiting approval and either accepting, rejecting or redirecting them, the process is much faster, easier to monitor, and removes a bottleneck in the finance department. In fact previous AIIM research has shown an average reduction in processing costs per invoice of 33% from automating the accounts payable process, with the top three benefits given by users as better transparency of the process, improved record keeping for audit trail, and faster payment turnaround. The expense claim process can also be an easy way to show how a paper free process can work across an organization. This can remove another common finance department bottleneck, with users completing an electronic expense claim form, scanning their receipts, and sending them electronically into the workflow for manager approval and payment – and this is increasingly being used as a SaaS web application. Figure 2: Have you made any of the following processes capture-enabled or paper-free (N=272) Careful management will be important to retain the benefits of paper-free processes. It is critical that information is routed to the correct person and can be easily re-routed if an error has been made. In an approval process, decisions must be made in a timely manner and if not, escalated to the next-level approver. The workflow itself needs to be flexible, and able to deal with exceptions. On completion, the records archive will need to be updated in order to remain compliant. One of the ultimate goals of going paper-free is the electronic mail room. All incoming paper correspondence is scanned as it comes in and is identified and categorized, along with other formats such as faxes and e-forms (from the web or even from mobile devices). This correspondence then enters the relevant process and is directed to appropriate personnel for processing. This can seem a huge step for many organizations but with the appropriate technology and skills it can certainly be achieved. Moving paper forms and correspondence from physical paper to electronic as soon as possible in the process cuts out the mailing delays caused by to-and-fro requests between customer and back-office staff. It also provides the opportunity to recognize data from the forms, avoiding the need for re-keying, and if integrated with transactional systems, it allows automated matching to orders or customer records. In the AIIM Paper Wars1 report, we asked “By how much do you think driving paper out of the process using scanning and capture, including digital mailroom and mobile capture, would improve or has improved the speed of response of your organization to customers, suppliers, citizens or staff, and would improve or has improved the productivity of your process staff.” The answers indicate a startling potential for improved services and Time spent re-keying data, searching for paper copies and filing Storage volume and outsource paper store costs Inability to monitor workflow progress “Lost” paperwork or case files Compliance and audit issues Poor access to case or process documents for front-office/call-desk staff Inability of staff to work from home or on the road Delays introduced by post, courier or mailroom Difficulty of re-allocaƟng or re-locaƟng workloads 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Internal HR: expenses, Ɵmesheets, on-boarding, etc. Finance, accounts payable (invoices) Customer correspondence, help desk Specific line-of-business, forms-based, external Contracts, procurement, shared-services Other internal processes, e.g., approvals, quality, etc. Finance, accounts receivable (credit control) Case-based, claims, invesƟgaƟons, consultaƟons New applicaƟons, mortgages, members, accounts LogisƟcs, delivery, manifests, etc. Plant records, inspecƟons, engineering change 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Physical signatures on paper are obligatory Too much investment in scanning and capture needed Legal admissibility will be compromised The process workflow will be too inflexible for excepƟons Prefer to write notes and amendments onto paper It’s a major change/jobs may be lost Captured data will not be accurate, leading to mistakes Scanned forms may not be easily readable Documents and forms will be less reliably accessible than with paper filing Can’t take work or reference documents home, on the train or out on site
  • 6. Jump-startyourpaper-freejourney 5© AIIM 2013 www.aiim.org / © Swiss Post Solutions AG 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com reduced costs – and on the whole, those who are using these technologies indicated even higher benefit than those merely contemplating it. n The average improvement given for customer response times is 4x, rising to 4.6x for those with such systems. This is a dramatic leap in customer service, reducing weeks to days. n Respondents suggested an average of a 30% improvement in productivity by taking the paper out of the process, rising to 35.4% or those who already have. n There are still massive opportunities for organizations to move more of their processes to paper-free, with 47% reporting they have made no better than 5% progress on their paper-free improvement journey. Any project to deliver a paper-free process could require considerable investment, although the use of an outsourced solution could reduce this depending on the scope of the implementation. The return on investment for these types of projects is consistently strong. Regular AIIM research has measured positive results over many years, with two-thirds of businesses reporting payback within 18 months or less, and half in less than 12 months. Issues and blocks There are many reasons why an organization may be reluctant to remove paper from its processes. The main reasons that are usually given for not going paper free are: the requirement for physical signatures, the cost of scanning and capture equipment, and that legal admissibility will be compromised. It is surprising that the need for physical signatures and other legal issues continue to feature as blocks, as the issues in this area were resolved over ten years ago in most countries (such as the ESIGN act of 2000 in the USA or the Electronic Communications Act 2000 in the UK, both of which confirm the legal status of electronic signatures). If we set aside these two issues, then the cost of the equipment, managing process change and a potentially inflexible process become the main issues that should be addressed. These issues are understandable, but should easily be resolved as part of a comprehensive business improvement project. A paper-free solution provider will suggest cost savings for the business case based on other contracts, as well as having experience of business change. An inflexible process is an issue that will need careful analysis and planning, involving those who understand the current process best and its variances. If the newly designed paper-free process imposes too many restrictions on the process administrators it will have little chance of succeeding. Figure 3: What do you think are the main concerns about work-flowed, paper free processes? (Max THREE) (N=412) Inability to monitor workflow progress “Lost” paperwork or case files Compliance and audit issues Poor access to case or process documents for front-office/call-desk staff Inability of staff to work from home or on the road Delays introduced by post, courier or mailroom Difficulty of re-allocaƟng or re-locaƟng workloads 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Internal HR: expenses, Ɵmesheets, on-boarding, etc. Finance, accounts payable (invoices) Customer correspondence, help desk Specific line-of-business, forms-based, external Contracts, procurement, shared-services Other internal processes, e.g., approvals, quality, etc. Finance, accounts receivable (credit control) Case-based, claims, invesƟgaƟons, consultaƟons New applicaƟons, mortgages, members, accounts LogisƟcs, delivery, manifests, etc. Plant records, inspecƟons, engineering change 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Physical signatures on paper are obligatory Too much investment in scanning and capture needed Legal admissibility will be compromised The process workflow will be too inflexible for excepƟons Prefer to write notes and amendments onto paper It’s a major change/jobs may be lost Captured data will not be accurate, leading to mistakes Scanned forms may not be easily readable Documents and forms will be less reliably accessible than with paper filing Can’t take work or reference documents home, on the train or out on site
  • 7. Jump-startyourpaper-freejourney 6© AIIM 2013 www.aiim.org / © Swiss Post Solutions AG 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com As we can see in Figure 4, attitudes of different professionals and departments within the business can vary considerably, with many line-of-business managers dragging their feet, particularly in finance. The key to removing the blocks is senior management buy-in, and sponsorship of such projects. Leadership from these executives, who are likely to strongly support cost-saving improvements, will help ensure resistance can be overcome, and paper-free projects are a success. Having the right skills and knowledge to undertake such a project is also critical to success, and these may not be available in-house. Figure 4: How would you describe the attitudes of the following staff in your organization to replacing paper in your key processes? (N=418) Getting outside help It is likely that many organizations will not have the internal resource to undertake a paper-free project. Freeing up good project managers with sufficient expertise will always be difficult. Getting an outside organization to advise or run the project can be an excellent way of driving the project forward as well as benefiting from industry best practice. An external advisor with expertise in this area can offer support in many areas including: n Scoping the current business or process for suitability towards paper-free working n Analysis of potential cost savings n Advising on process change and industry best practice n Knowledge of the legal landscape and how to remain compliant n Sourcing the most appropriate technology - hardware and software n Project and change management n Delivering the project along with agreed on-going process performance A further extension to using outside expertise is to actually outsource the process entirely. Many organizations outsource the storage of their paper records, and paper-free processes can benefit from similar arrangements. Scanning and capture of information held on paper, and then being entered into ECM or RM systems is also widely outsourced, with different models used including scan-on-demand and back-scanning for historic information. 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% 125% 150% C-level execuƟves IT operaƟons Records Management/Compliance Line of business managers Line of business operaƟonal/admin staff Finance managers Finance operaƟonal staff Legal counsel Business improvement consultants OperaƟons/FaciliƟes/Post-room managers Strongly Resistant Resistant Neutral In Favor Strongly in Favor 50% 25% 0% 25% 50% 75% -10% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Box store Scan-on-retrieval from store Back-scanning of paper records Inbound mail services, their premises Inbound mail services, your premises Scanning to image, post-process archiving Scanning to image pre-process Scanning and data capture pre-process Outsourcing elements of the process itself SaaS services for ECM Use Less Use Same Use More 30% 20% 10% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Fed to the capture system and processed together
  • 8. Jump-startyourpaper-freejourney 7© AIIM 2013 www.aiim.org / © Swiss Post Solutions AG 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com Adopting a digital mail room to go paper-free can be an ideal candidate for outsourcing, given the significant expertise and management required to deliver such a solution. Having correspondence, either paper or electronic, intercepted directly by a digital mail room will enable all formats to be consolidated, categorized and entered into the appropriate workflow. This can eliminate duplicate processes for different information types. Such outsourcing can bring many efficiencies and cost savings, with information being quickly available and distributed to those who need it, allowing them to respond more quickly and improving customer service. Traceability and compliance are also improved as information in an electronic format can more easily be tracked and traced, helping with an organization’s compliance activities. Using outside specialists can be a real benefit to an organization, helping them understand their processes and how a paper-free project could help. It is important when selecting a supplier to work with on such a project that they really understand the business, and will work as a partner. They not only need to bring current best practice but also continuous improvements, further enhancing the process change benefits. Figure 5: What use do you make of outsourced document services and what are your plans? (N=379) We can see from Figure 5 that although there is still a considerable amount of back-scanning from paper records to be done, scanning and data capture pre-process shows considerable potential growth as organizations position themselves to achieve the benefits, but without taking it into their core operations. European businesses have a much higher take-up of digital mailrooms, partly because flexible and efficient cross-border postal services allow consolidation of, for example, accounts payable services in cheaper labor areas. It may also be because outsourced services are better developed in general, with more of a history of offshore processing. It is important for any organization to consider rationalization and potential consolidation of document processes, across business divisions as well as geographical locations. Once consolidation plans have been drawn up, the choice of in-house or outsourced provision becomes a straightforward one of cost comparison, core focus, and, of course, impetus for change. 0% 25% 50% 75% 100% 125% 150% C-level execuƟves IT operaƟons Records Management/Compliance Line of business managers Line of business operaƟonal/admin staff Finance managers Finance operaƟonal staff Legal counsel Business improvement consultants OperaƟons/FaciliƟes/Post-room managers Strongly Resistant Resistant Neutral In Favor Strongly in Favor 50% 25% 0% 25% 50% 75% -10% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% Box store Scan-on-retrieval from store Back-scanning of paper records Inbound mail services, their premises Inbound mail services, your premises Scanning to image, post-process archiving Scanning to image pre-process Scanning and data capture pre-process Outsourcing elements of the process itself SaaS services for ECM Use Less Use Same Use More 30% 20% 10% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Fed to the capture system and processed together Processed separately Printed out and fed into the capture system Printed out and dealt with by hand We only have electronic forms We only have paper forms
  • 9. Jump-startyourpaper-freejourney 8© AIIM 2013 www.aiim.org / © Swiss Post Solutions AG 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com Positioned for the future Paper moves around an organization slowly and then gets lost. Today’s organizations need to move quickly, respond to change, and accommodate variation in customer requirements. Multi-channel communications require businesses to deal with information in many formats, not just paper. Having different processes depending on format is seriously inefficient, and causes discontinuities in customer interaction. Modern business processes need to be efficient and agile, supporting the core business function and not distracting from it. Figure 6: How are you dealing with electronic document types, PDFs or web forms feeding into the process? (N=276) Investing in paper-free processes and capturing information electronically at the earliest opportunity, can put any organization on the front foot when competing in their marketplace. As far as the process is concerned, it should not matter if inbound communications arrive as paper, emails, faxes, PDF files, web forms or even text messages, they should all be converted, stored and available to the process in the same way. With efficient paper-free processes that can quickly and easily adapt to change, an organization can focus on serving its customers rather than be distracted by cumbersome physical workflows. At the end of the process, outbound communications streams need to be media-agnostic in the same way – print, email, web and fax, should all be options. If achieving this kind of fast and flexible response to the sheer volume of communications seems overwhelming, any element of the end-to-end flow can be a candidate for outsourcing, or, indeed, all of them. Modern networking capacity means that systems do not need to be co- located, and each step in the process can take place at any location where there are resources available, and where the best levels of expertise can be found. Inbound mail services, their premises Inbound mail services, your premises Scanning to image, post-process archiving Scanning to image pre-process Scanning and data capture pre-process Outsourcing elements of the process itself SaaS services for ECM Use Less Use Same Use More 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% Fed to the capture system and processed together Processed separately Printed out and fed into the capture system Printed out and dealt with by hand We only have electronic forms We only have paper forms
  • 10. Jump-startyourpaper-freejourney 9© AIIM 2013 www.aiim.org / © Swiss Post Solutions AG 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com Conclusion Changing existing business processes to paper-free can be a challenge, but one all organizations should investigate. Paper-free processes can bring cost savings, process efficiencies and improved customer service, allowing an organization to focus on its core business. There are several routes to a paper-free process. The business could undertake the project in-house, use external consultants or outsource entirely. Using the services of an external consultant or outsourcer can be an excellent way to drive the project forward and benefit from other organizations’ experiences, both good and bad. Forming a long-term partnership with an experienced outsourcer could well provide the impetus needed to change mind-sets and finally kick paper out of the process. Recommendations n Look at existing processes and their reliance on paper. Question the status quo and how the paper can be removed. n Does the organization have the internal skills and resources to deliver such a project? If not, look for consultants with the knowledge and experience to kick-start the paper-free journey. n Include outsource services as both consultants and potential service providers, freeing your own business of the need to invest in equipment and skills. n Challenge consultants and outsource specialists to demonstrate how your processes could be transformed and perceived barriers overcome. n Working with service providers should be a partnership driving continuing process excellence. Ensure they understand your company and the market you operate in. References 1 AIIM Industry Watch, July 2013, “Winning the Paper Wars – capture the content and mobilize the process troops” www.aiim.org/research
  • 11. Jump-startyourpaper-freejourney 10© AIIM 2013 www.aiim.org / © Swiss Post Solutions AG 2013 www.swisspostsolutions.com UNDERWRITTEN BY Swiss Post Solutions AG Swiss Post Solutions, a division of Swiss Post, offers a comprehensive range of document and business process outsourcing services. With 6500 people working for us across Europe, North America and Asia and with access to an extensive partner network, we are able to support our clients across the globe. Private and Public sector organizations have chosen to outsource their physical and digital document processing needs to us, utilizing our extensive knowledge of people-based outsourcing and our capability to deliver document processing services on, near or off-shore. Our corporate information management system is a unified delivery platform that provides organizations with the ability to cost-effectively onboard and distribute documents throughout the organization. It provides our clients with the capability to: n Simultaneously improve productivity and reduce operational costs n Take an enterprise-wide approach to automating business processes n Enable improved decision making and customer satisfaction by accelerating business transactions n Reduce the risk of non-compliance and achieving legislative and regulatory requirements n Regardless of document type, physical or electronic medium, format, language or geographic location, Swiss Post Solutions offers an end-to-end solution from document creation to content management, production, distribution and business intelligence. www.swisspostsolutions.com About AIIM AIIM (www.aiim.org) is the global community of information professionals. We provide the education, research and certification that information professionals need to manage and share information assets in an era of mobile, social, cloud and big data. Founded in 1943, AIIM builds on a strong heritage of research and member service. Today, AIIM is a global, non-profit organization that provides independent research, education and certification programs to information professionals. AIIM represents the entire information management community, with programs and content for practitioners, technology suppliers, integrators and consultants. © 2013 AIIM AIIM Europe 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1100 The IT Centre, Lowesmoor Wharf Silver Spring, MD 20910 Worcester, WR1 2RR, UK 301.587.8202 +44 (0)1905 727600 www.aiim.org www.aiim.eu