I have been thinking about the future of document management, and electronic document scanning specifically, for a couple of months now. As an employee of a managed business process services organization, this aspect of Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is of significant interest regarding the direction to be taken over the next several years. Specifically, what does the future hold?
There are two areas of our economy that I believe provide insight as to what that future direction will be. First, look at the USPS and its current struggles. Overall mail volumes are declining steadily year over year. This means that there are fewer documents, i.e. paper, that must be scanned by organizations. Less paper means less onsite scanning opportunities for business process outsourcing (BPO) providers. The future from this perspective does not look promising. Second, web-based and mobile technologies are expanding exponentially. I read today of a new app for iPhone that allows the user to take a picture of a document (piece of paper), crop the image down to size, and email the image in PDF or two other file formats. That type of functionality, and convenience, coupled with the ability to do anything and everything on the web - means that paper documents are becoming obsolete.
However, because not everyone has access to technology, or necessarily trusts technology, paper will not be going away totally anytime soon. In matter of fact, paper documents are still a critical conduit of information in today’s society ─ just not as important or prevalent as in the past. So, where does that leave businesses struggling with the legacy of paper? How does all of this impact BPO providers, and how can they continue to provide a valuable service to business?
Business still must rely upon content, hence why ECM is more important today than ever. Only today, and in the future, organizations do not have to rely on the vehicle – in this case paper – coming directly to them. Organizations today should no longer dedicate valuable space to the capture of paper documents. Rather they should entrust other, specialized organizations to provide the digitization resources and just forward to them the all-important content within those paper vehicles.
BPO providers thereby have the opportunity to provide shared services environments to digitize the paper. This environment affords the organizations using their services economies of scale and lower cost structures. Lower costs for businesses result in improved profitability and operating efficiencies. The BPO provider is able to exercise its expertise and provide valuable conversion (and hosting) services. And the content – which is king – still is available.
The future is still bright for the BPO world, it is just evolving. And those that do not evolve do not survive. The evolution is upon us now and will continue for some time, but rest assured content will forever drive both business and service.
A strong BPO offering from a proven document process management outsourcer can not only improve operating efficiency but also have a significant positive impact on the bottom line. If you are interested in learning more about effective document management strategies, our website (http://www.ocesolutions.com) offers insight in to the management of the full document lifecycle.