I found an interesting item in my RSS feeds today: Hans Dickerscheid, independent advisor and owner of DaDoLog Consultancy & Interim Management wrote an article on docufacts.nl about ECM and the move towards output-management (in dutch).
In short, the keypoints he adresses are:
– in recent past, focus was on the incoming items: all paper items were scanned and send to the owner via workflow. Then it was digitally archived
– customer records are not complete without outgoing documents
– modern customers also want communications via other channels as email and sms, those items have to be archived as well
– making this archive available to the customer is appealing: this way the customer can help himself in most cases resulting in more satisfied customers. Callcenter calls will decrease and have more deep questions.
The most interesting part of the article is the following: the outgoing documents can influence your incoming documents. By sending out documents with the right metadata or tags, you can steer your incoming documents and provide a quicker and more intelligent way to handle these.
I do think this is important. As Hans states, only early adapters have their incoming documents digitalised. It proves to be efficient to automate the handling of these documents, but on the other hand you must not forget the outgoing documents, to create a full customer dossier. Linking these documents together in a dossier will have a lot of value for both the customer as the supplier.
This will have an impact on the way an ECM project must be dealt with: the project will be larger as you also take your outgoing documents with you, but it will provide a bigger ROI if you can automate the handling of these documents.
In my experience, the handling and steering of incoming documents proves to be the bottleneck in digitalising documents, and with a correct handling of tags and metadata, this could result in an increase of bandwith of document flow capacity.
A small thought though: “think big, start small” is as always applicable on these projects as well: start with a pilot on a few document types, and grow from that start.