UNIform – From big paper to big data

The change of focus from paper to data should not start with reducing the paper but on how the data can be collected and used across multiple applications.  Collecting data without paper will follow naturally and make the data intelligent in that it connects to your applications and databases. This type of approach to business process is crucial and the adoption of this focus on data will make moving from paper to data a much easier transition. Remember, the easy spaper_to_datatarting point is to consider how to collect the data, the next step is how to use the data and the final process how to manage the process, not a thought about paper.

ITQ were approached by Wellington College (one of the world’s top coeducational boarding schools) with a scenario that fitted this thought process perfectly. Wellington College wanted to manage better and reduce the forms used in the school’s admission process. Previously the process involved the College sending out a pack (by courier) of 28 forms that had be completed by the parents, data was repeated on many of the forms. ITQ’s answer was UNIform a web based data and forms solution designed in partnership with the College.

Parents can now sign in to UNIform’s web portal and complete all the forms, automatically replicating data where required. Wellington College parents are located all over the world and the presentation and user experience of the admissions portal was crucial to the reputation of the College.

Data is now collected easier, the parents only enter data once and can come and go to the site as often as they need as they collect the potential students details. There are no bulky packages to send and return but the paper did not figure in the solution, it was all about the data.

But what makes UNIform unique is its flexibility in that it can be tailored to individual requirement in terms of presentation, collecting data and output options. The flexibility means UNIform can be completely customised for any business or organisation, not just educational; to create workflows, to manage data, to segment and route data to the appropriate administrator for processing. Processed data can then be analysed and exported to an existing document management system, database or electronic folder structure.

This bold example of forward thinking shows how you can move from paper to data, removing data entry, improving the customer experience and creating the ‘paper light’ office.

For more information visit our web site or,

Download a brochure UNIform

12 signs you should invest in electronic document management

Is this your business?

Is this your business?

Electronic document management has been around for a long time.  In spite of its longevity there are still a large number of companies who have not considered it as a tool for improving their business operations.

This is largely due to an inertia that just leaves companies doing what they have been familiar with for many years.  Unfortunately they miss the signs that point to a need to consider a new way of dealing with their short term and long term records.

Signs that you might be missing in your office.

  1. Paper filing cabinets never seem to get cleaned out.  The need for new ones keeps growing and growing.
  2. Office workers find themselves hunting each day for important files they need to do their work.  They might even go to the step of posting on a white board the      details of what they are looking for to enable others to help in the hunt.
  3. You find yourself looking for new multi form printers.  Even using dot matrix impact printers so you can create paper forms to route to various departments.
  4. The pile of back filing that grows on the filing cabinets never goes away since it is no-one’s job.
  5. No-one is charged with the responsibility to determine when old files can be shredded.  They just get boxed and stuck in the back warehouse with a date on them.
  6. When someone goes on holiday the ability for others in the office to deal with their files is a big challenge.  Often the work just gets delayed till they return.
  7. Shipments get delayed because the paperwork for matching POs and inventory is not available on time.
  8. Dealing with pdf files from outside contractors and suppliers leads to increased print loads so the system can access the information on them.
  9. You are still highly dependent upon fax in your office.
  10. You get daily enquiries from your account reps wanting to know the status of their account deliveries.
  11. You begin to see your customers broaden their supplier base and dealing with competitors on some products you used to supply to them.
  12. You have several employees who don’t regularly come to the office but work out of remote locations while still needing access to client files.

There are probably other signals which you might recognise in your office as well but the above twelve are common ones.  In some offices you will see all twelve while in some others a handful of these signs will dominate your workflow.

If you go down the list and identify with six or more, then you should look seriously at the potential to move your systems over to a structured electronic document management software platform.  The effort to do this will be well rewarded by improved productivity, less risk and happier employees.

Don’t decide based only on perceptions

Determining that there is a need for change is not a big challenge.  With some assistance it is possible to quantify the impacts of your current systems and figure out what the level of benefit that would be required to make the changes viable and cost effective.  Sometimes you may be surprised by the level of challenge that is created by how you are currently working.

The investment level required to be able to implement a move to electronic document management is much less today than most companies will expect.  Hardware and software costs are substantially lower than historically was the case.  Working with ITQ will also help you avoid many of the pitfalls which can be experienced when inexperienced people try to build their own solution.

Original article on Leppert

BIG PAPER to BIG DATA

seminar

Paper-based information is not often thought about in today’s BIG DATA picture, which tends to focus on the proliferation of unstructured data from sources such as blogs, social media and video that is growing at exponential rates compared to traditional enterprise data. Yet paper documents are an important part of corporate business operations, often containing valuable information that must be captured, stored, organised and analysed.

Digitising paper documents through document capture is an important first step in business process automation. Document capture solutions are designed to remove the bottleneck paper creates at the onset of many business processes today.

When captured at the point of origination, paper documents can be directly integrated into business-critical processes. The full capture process includes scanning, data extraction from scanned images, document classification and sharing of content across electronic content management (ECM) systems. Documents become more accessible and easier to find, distribute and track. This increases productivity and streamlines processes, while supporting record retention, document security, and privacy requirements. Consequently, paper documents become part of the wider BIG DATA picture, enabling organisations to extract value from information to support faster decision making, for instance through business intelligence or big data analytics.

However, the challenge of document capture and processing can be daunting for many businesses, requiring specialist skills and resources. Despite the clear benefits of integrating all types of information into business processes and eliminating paper from these processes, employee attitudes and existing departmental systems can make it difficult to know where to start. Working with your provider can assist with the introduction of systems and solutions to integrate BIG PAPER into your business process.

Deploying tools and technologies to minimise wasteful printing is a proven approach to reducing printing costs by optimisation of complex printer fleets. As businesses move to next generation systems they are working with their provider to digitise paper workflows. Many organisations having already invested in Multifunction Printers (MFPs) are working to enable them to leverage these devices as sophisticated document capture and processing hubs.

By accelerating the transition to digital workflows, paper based information becomes better integrated with enterprise data enabling organisations to extract business value from all data – both paper and digital.

ITQ is holding a seminar looking at the issues of BIG PAPER to BIG DATA, please register here