My Dad was 75 years old when we insisted he learn how to use a computer so we could communicate via email. Today, at 90 years old, he would be lost if he couldn’t send an email or check his accounts from the comfort of his home. My 20-something kids can’t fathom looking at a map or printing out a document, and I’m pretty sure none of them have ever actually seen a fax machine. As for me, I’m taken back when someone asks me to write a check (do they expire if you don’t use them for ten years?). I don’t want a paper receipt that I can lose. I complete applications online and execute contracts at 30,000 feet from my window seat, and most of us would be hard pressed to say we would prefer to go back to filing our taxes on paper forms. We can justify and embrace digital documents from home base, but why do we resist them and digital data imaging in the workplace?
Why are We Still Pushing Paper?
I work with hundreds of organizations that still push mounds of paper through their AP department. Resources are spent opening mail, routing paper, making copies, acquiring signatures, creating checks, and applying postage. You don’t have to be a CFO to know that our old comfortable processes are contrary to our objectives. So where is the logic? One contributing factor is likely job security, especially in today’s uncertain economy. It’s a fear unfounded and typically based in poor communication at a higher level. Getting more efficient doesn’t always mean a reduction in head count; it means we get more value for our dollar. It’s a lean concept that is widely accepted to address “wasted human talent.” Truth be told, most individuals would embrace an opportunity to utilize more of their analytical skills than they would their dexterity capabilities.
Another reason for the hesitancy to embrace digital data imaging may be one that plagues us in every area imaginable: being burnt. Early attempts at digital data imaging migration may not have been a good experience and access to technology without training and a succinct roadmap leaves most of us lost and frustrated. What do we call it? Where do we store it? How do we access it, and who is securing it? There’s added anxiety with the simultaneous introduction of new software applications and of course the ever-present compliance confusion; “Is a digital copy a copy or an original”? If it’s an original can I destroy the paper? As organizations start to delve into the details of digital data imaging migration, paralysis eventually replaces progress, and if organizations are able to get past the initial deterrents of digital data imaging migration, most will eventually stall out at the budget phase, despite the undisputed value on the bottom line.
Digital Data Imaging Migration Solutions Start with Identifying Your Unique Need
So is there a solution? The answer is “no.” There isn’t “a” solution, but there are “many” solutions. Problems arise when organizations try to align themselves with “a solution” before identifying their own unique need. Technology is a tool not a solution. Policy and processes are tools as well. Scanning documents and workflow and cloud storage are all components that may contribute to a solution, but we can be easily lulled into believing that any one of these components is a stand-alone solution.
Once an organization understands the process of “problem identification”, they can start to build a solution that addresses core business objectives rather than slipping into a “one size fits all solution”.
——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-Anna Stratton is Director of Information Management Solutions at Southwest Solutions Group headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Anna specializes in records management and business process protocols, document scanning policy design, and information retention policies and process. Anna has over 18 years of professional business management experience and provides advice nationwide through the SYSTEC Group’s “Ask the Expert” column. Ms. Stratton is also a dynamic national speaker and conducts private corporate seminars on a variety of topics in addition to providing keynote and educational speeches for organizations such as ARMA and the Lorman Seminar Group. Ms. Stratton has been recognized by Cambridge Who’s Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership and excellence in information and asset management.