The digital, paperless office can potentially save businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

Sean Morris, director of sales at Digitech, goes so far as to estimate a savings of $676,000 annually — but only of you adopt the company's new Magic Forms tool.

Of course, that's just a mythical number, subject to the size, scope and complexity of a hypothetical business. But all guesstimates aside, it is just more efficient and economical to use digital processes.

What's more,  there is no shortage of technologies that can ingest, classify, manage and direct documents into digital workflows. Many of them are on display at the Association of Records Managers and Administrators 60th Annual Conference and Expo, which runs through tomorrow in Washington, DC. 

Based on conversations with representatives from a few of those vendors, it seems the digital office may have reached a tipping point. 

Pushing Past the Obstacles

Archive Systems CEO Gordon Rapkin said organizations have historically been slow to embrace digital capture because of cost and operational challenges. 

Zia Consulting’s Vice President and co-founder Pat Myers said another factor has been user resistance. “The adoption is key to compliance, service level agreements and reducing costs," he noted.

But if you can persuade your employees to use the solution you create — and create one that is effective and easy to use — then you save time, money and the risk of being passed by your competition. 

In a blog post for IBM recently, Kevin Craine, author of Designing a Document Strategy, said effective intelligent capture technology includes:

  • Distributed and mobile capture
  • Multichannel input
  • Multi-language data extraction
  • Text analytics-based document classification
  • Integration with case management and business process management
  • Document and data storage, archive and retrieval

Getting Smart

In fact, intelligent capture means intelligent infrastructure and systems.

“The trend in the market is to make the technology smarter and smarter and lower the friction and cost of converting imaged documents into useful information with no human involvement,” Rapkin said.

“Organizations are looking to the vendor community to make this process affordable, flexible and supportable on a continuing basis so that the back-file can be economically converted, and the hybrid environment (which includes digital documents and legacy paper documents) is efficient and cost effective."

Pat Myers, EVP of Zia Consulting, said users want seamless processes, "whether it's real time classification and extraction on a self-service portal or to get the documents into a system of record immediately or to integrate capture process into wider digital work processes."

Just yesterday, Archive Systems and Ephesoft partnered to put Ephesoft Smart Capture into Archive Systems' FileBRIDGE technology.

Smart Capture provides automated classification technology that increases the speed and accuracy of processing documents, the company said. Archive Systems converts millions of documents each month from paper to digital files, it noted.

“We are seeing a growing demand to classify documents faster, more accurately and at a lower cost,” Rapkin said.

Digitech claims it became the first company to apply machine learning to document capture when it added it to Magic Forms last month. The Magic Forms technology is available as a component of PaperVision Capture, the company’s scanning and indexing software.

Morris said the idea resulted from customer demand. He said much advanced capture technology is built on legacy code and offers poor accuracy rates for capture and classification. By adding machine learning, the classification and capture accuracy rates jumped from an industry average of about 70 percent to 90 percent, he said.

That's means faster, more efficient capture — and estimated savings of some $676,000 a year, he added.