Digital Mailroom - Digital Revolution (FMX)


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Keith Holdt of Swiss Post Solutions explains how the mailroom is evolving to play a key role at the heart of corporate information management.

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Digital Mailroom - Digital Revolution (FMX)

  1. 1. 52 | FM OFFICE – Document management DIGITAL REVOLUTION Keith Holdt explains how the mailroom is evolving to play a key role at the heart of corporate information management The current economic climate is forcing every organisation to identify cost reductions, while at the same providing an increased level of service to their clients to clearly differentiate their service and product offerings. In isolation, you may wonder how the mailroom can help with this. At Swiss Post we are working with organisations that now view the mailroom as a digital information hub, rather than just a physical logistics hub. For them it plays an integral role in automating and managing the flow of corporate information into, through and out of their business. By integrating mailroom services into their information management system, organisations are realising significant value across their business processes. THE BUSINESS CASE As many companies have now realised, However, digitisation alone will achieve little and must be combined with far-reaching improvements to optimise how the information is processed and distributed digitising incoming mail and storing it in storing physical documents; and it an electronic format has several benefits demonstrates clear commitment to – it improves business process and staff the environment. productivity; it improves filing and archiving However, digitisation alone will achieve disciplines, supporting compliance and little and must be combined with far- legislative obligations; it reduces the costs reaching improvements to optimise how the associated with moving, processing and information is processed and distributed. This includes assessing the most cost- effective use of physical resources, identifying where services may be centralised or standardised, introducing appropriate technology, reviewing existing business FMX | October 2009 |
  2. 2. FM OFFICE – Document management | 53 model are the lack of available data to analyse current performance, the company’s approach to managing and leveraging information as an asset, and organisational structure. Typically, the implementation of any scanning and imaging is driven by the business as a ‘project’ for specific departments, rather than as an infrastructure solution. By taking a broader view and working closely with the owners of the various document services provided to the business, a compelling case can be built for the processes and investing in staff training. whole organisation that can also win over To realise the full benefit of digitisation, user groups and businesses that would, organisations need to adopt a universal individually, have some difficulty in justifying and consistent approach that integrates the investment. processing incoming mail and paper-based documents within an overall approach for A CORPORATE SOLUTION managing corporate information. The long- So how do you go about putting the term objective should be reducing reliance mailroom at the centre of document on paper-based documents and optimising management? The initial step is to analyse information-based workflows. how the services that support the document Business cases that consider only ‘local’ lifecycle are supported, and in particular or siloed requirements, rather than the full how paper-based documents flow through potential across departmental, business the business and how services are ordered unit and geographic boundaries, will miss and delivered. By doing this at a country, out on the major impact a project such regional or global level, an organisation can as this will have. develop a service model that integrates a set The business case should be predicated of disparate services into a DMC model. on a service model that bundles together This means greater efficiency and more document services that have traditionally effective cost analysis, as well as a change been managed independently of each to existing processes. Activities that were other, such as mail processing, document historically managed by the business scanning and archive and file management. function, such as address changes, payment In the Zurich Financial Services model (see processing and claims and application box), the mailrooms are being transformed document processing, may now be managed into document management centres (DMCs), by the DMC, before the information is where the traditional ‘mailroom’ function is electronically passed to the responsible only one of a number of services. business function. The value to the business grows as an Other activities may now also be centrally increasing number of services is delivered managed, including, for example, courier from the DMC, which has as its focus the bookings, track and trace for deliveries, delivery of improved and cost-effective ordering stationery and other supplies, and service levels, coupled with consolidation of archive management. distributed services into country or regional The Zurich Financial Services case document-processing service centres. study demonstrates that a particular While the financial case for these changes rapidly becomes clear, in our experience the factors that influence an organisation’s ability to develop the business case and supporting total cost of ownership (TCO) | October 2009 | FMX
  3. 3. 54 | FM OFFICE – Document management FURTHER INFORMATION Keith Holdt is head global business development, Swiss Post Document Solutions. appeal of the digital information hub to larger companies is the ease with which it can be rolled out across business units and countries, providing a consistent level of service. It can be managed centrally with just local process variations to support any regulatory or other local demands. The key is to design the infrastructure from the outset as a corporate solution. The business benefits of centralised information handling are self-evident. Case study: Zurich Financial Services Making sure information is accurate is vital, Delivering Zurich Financial Services’ but it will be of little use if it is not accessible document processing services across by the right people, at the right time, in six countries is a significant undertaking order to make the best business decisions. and one of the largest projects of its Successful implementation of a centralised kind in Europe. Swiss Post will digitise process will improve operational efficiency, a high proportion of incoming post increase productivity, and, crucially, and progressively digitise large stores contribute to cost savings. of paper files. In addition, digitisation and centralised Covering Zurich’s General Insurance, processing allows remote or home workers, Global Life and Global Corporate and staff who travel regularly, to have mail business segments, this project will delivered on a daily basis, and to the same provide Zurich with more efficient service level as staff working from the document processing by deploying main business site. state-of-the-art technology from Swiss Post and deliver significant cost savings Knowledge is power. And the digital through consolidating, standardising information hub is one way businesses will and centralising business services leverage it in future. The evolution of the across Europe. decentralised, location-dependent physical After reviewing its core document mailroom into the centralised, location- processes, Zurich identified significant independent digital mailroom, means that opportunities to improve customer with the right approach, and partnering with service and deliver operational and the right service delivery organisations, you cost efficiencies by altering the way can achieve significant results FMX documents are managed. Zurich staff will have access to a hosted document services portal via a web browser, which will allow them to view management information, service performance and order/track courier services. The initial phase of this project includes Zurich’s operations in the UK, Austria, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Swiss Post was chosen as Zurich’s partner due to its global document processing capability, experience in delivering document services to similar organisations, and its ability to integrate and deploy a range of services through a proven technology platform. FMX | October 2009 |