Manual Labor and Capture: The Thorn in the Side of ECM

Every rose has its thorn.” So croons Bret Michaels in the famous Poison song of the same name.

When it comes to relationships, he has a point. But is it also true of your enterprise content management (ECM) solution? If ECM is the beautiful rose, what is its thorn?

Two simple – and expensive – words: manual labor.

Yes, after we settle in to enjoy the beautiful return on investment (ROI) of our ECM solution, we soon realize that the labor involved with manually typing document index values (names, addresses, account numbers and so forth) into our ECM system takes a lot of time and effort. It begins to feel, well, thorny.

Even the study materials for the industry-recognized ECM certification CDIA+ tell us that manual labor associated with scanning and indexing can be the most expensive part of an ECM project.

Why?  Because manual data entry is slow, tedious and error-prone.

And those keyed-in errors can be very costly.

Costly errors in many locations

Much akin to someone misfiling a paper document, badly indexed electronic documents make your information difficult to find later on. This dramatically increases business process costs and can even lead to wrong decisions made due to incomplete information.

Now consider that your ECM system is only one of the places that this information is manually entered.  Duplicate data is often typed into several business systems, often by a variety of people across your organization.  Every time the same information is manually inputted, your risk of error increases.

And that just leads to added costs. Many organizations spend a ton of money on manual labor associated with indexing, but then turn around and spend more money on QA processes to make sure that the information is entered accurately.

So is there any way to extract this thorn from the side of ECM?  Yes, and it’s easy – stop doing manual data entry. It’s just painful.

Option 1:  Add ‘Advanced Capture’ technology to your ECM solution

People are not the only ones who can read and write, you know. Technological advancements allow computers to recognize relevant characters from a page, either typed or hand written, translate these into words, verify that they are correct, and fill in data fields for you.  What’s amazing is that this information can then be used to update ALL your other systems, simultaneously.

Option 2: Outsource your scanning and indexing.

This option takes the manual labor associated with scanning and indexing off your hands altogether!  Instead of buying and maintaining scanners, and employing people to load them with paper and manually type in the index values, you can simply pay a fee for an organization with a Imaging Services department to do this for you.

Through this process, you send your documents to a central location where the scanning and indexing can be done for you, allowing you to instantly upload the documents and relevant data into your ECM and other relevant systems.

This option can be a very cost effective approach for converting all those dusty boxes of documents into clean, easily accessible digital images.

So there you have it, there really is no reason to feel the pain of manual labor with your ECM system.  Depending on your business needs, you have two very good options to choose from.

In the end, it seems that Bret Michaels was actually wrong.  When penning those famous words in 1988, he had obviously never heard of the quite beautiful and thorn-less Lady Banks Rose.

It’s likely that he hadn’t heard of Advanced Capture technologies out-sourced scanning providers either.

Glenn Gibson

Glenn Gibson

Glenn Gibson is Director, Global Technology Evangelist at Hyland. With 20 years working in the IT industry, he’s collected several certifications over the years as a VMware Certified Professional, Citrix... read more about: Glenn Gibson