OK – so we’ve all heard of the Digital Mailroom.
But just like the Big Brother TV series it’s a concept that is a little dated right? Wrong!
The digital mailroom, or mailroom automation as it is also known, is having somewhat of a renaissance – and when you look closely it’s easy to see why.
1. Think Bigger
Think about the old fashioned mailroom – which ironically is exactly the thing that many people think of when picturing a digital mailroom. The key point is that the old mailroom processed incoming AND outgoing mail – and a modern digital mailroom should do too. Optimising your inbound mail handling is fantastic – as we’ll see in a few lines time – but it’s a bit half-hearted if you are still sending paper out of the door to other organisations isn’t it!
Go the whole hog and figure out how to do multi-channel output as well as input. Send your invoices electronically, remove the need for pre-printed letterheads, create brand consistency across all outbound communications and much more – truly digitise your business. Not only will you be much more efficient, but your customers and suppliers will thank you to.
2. Everything Changes
The days of all mail arriving at the office as paper have gone. Content arriving into a business is now quite simply, multi-channel. By that I mean emails, faxes (both paper and electronic), paper, EDI streams, XML files and so on and so forth. So those people that think a digital mailroom solution just handles paper to pdf need to get an update to their thinking.
Kofax describe it well with their “First Mile” phrase – basically anything that comes in the (virtual) door needs to be processed by the digital mailroom. That processing should identify what the content is, extract the relevant information if it can, and then route on to the relevant person or process as quickly as possible. The first mile processing almost becomes ubiquitous – just happening as far as the user is concerned – and needs to happen for all of these multi-channel inputs.
3. One Thing to Rule Them All
So onto the last reason for looking at a digital mailroom automation solution – efficiency. Not the efficiency of processing the content – which I think is a given – but the efficiency of the business strategy used to select software. Think about it – when looking to optimise business processes most people look at it process by process. AP, or HR On-boarding, or claims management – the list goes on. As these processes are digitised each one will include a capture element, digitising the content that needs to be passed to the process.
Unfortunately each one will likely include a separate capture element – not re-using what has already been built for the other processes. A digital mailroom however, can provide content to ALL of these processes, from any of the multi-channel sources that I described above. So not only are you getting the benefits of the digital mailroom, but you’re also getting yourself a long way down the road to digitally enabling all of your other business processes.
But don’t take my word for it – Industry expert Harvey Spencer shared his thoughts on this topic in this recent AIIM webinar “Re-imagining the Digital Mailroom for the 21st Century“. The webinar also included expert input from Konica Minolta and Kofax, and customer comment from Winchester City Council. To view the webinar simply follow this link.
Hopefully I’ll have persuaded you that it is time to take another look at digital mailroom automation – I just hope I haven’t persuaded anyone to do anything further with Big Brother!