ECM, BPM, BPA … technology is changing the way that we do business. Enterprise Content Management, Business Process Automation, Workflow, etc …
These buzzwords confuse us and every sales person that walks through your door is using them. What do they mean? As a line of business manager, a business owner or CFO all you want is to be able to do more work, while spending less money and using fewer of resources.
Forget about all of these buzzwords, and find the bottlenecks in your business. We spend days and nights in meetings, now is the time to make these meetings matter. Let's talk about money and business processes. As an example i'll touch on a business process that every business deals with, Processing invoices.
I have done business with hundreds of different organizations, and they all process their invoices differently. That's because every business is unique. We have the 80-20 rule, we have rules on paying invoices over $ 5,000, and we have business processes that determine whether this invoice should be paid or directed to quality control, as there is no purchase order in the system. These rules never end but they're all manageable.
Enter Data Capture and Imaging solutions. In the past three years, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology has advanced. I mean really scary stuff. You, as a business owner, manager, or controller need to determine what your business rules are and answer the following questions.
How many people are currently manually entering invoice data?
What's the current volume of invoices per year? Expected growth?
What percentage are PO based invoices?
Do you receive early payment discounts?
Are you mailing invoices / shipping from remote locations?
What are the perceived advantages of automated processing?
How will the problem get worse over time without an automated process?
Again, for each organization these answers will differ, but it's important to remember that we're talking about increasing revenues, decreasing expenses and significantly impacting efficiency in processing forms that enter your organization. Regardless if you're company ABC and have 3 people keying 40,000 invoices per year or you're company XYZ and have 28 people keying 2 million invoices per year, this technology can and will save you money and help you to control your costs.
As a very conservative estimate, invoice processing solutions will provide you with 50% automation from scanned and faxed images. For company XYZ that's 14 less people. At an industry average of $ 30,000 per year for AP clerks, you just trimmed $ 420,000 from your bottom line in year one. One last thing … data capture and imaging software never calls in sick and never takes vacation.