Sean Baird, senior manager, product marketing, EMC Corporation
Paper remains an integral part in businesses today, but paper continues to slow business transactions
and limit access to information. For many years now, document capture has been used in a department
or high‐volume centralized environment, where documents are captured, turned into intelligent
information, and delivered to various backend content repositories and business systems.
But with the availability of new devices – including low-cost desktop scanners, multi‐function
peripherals and mobile captures devices – companies are increasingly taking the next step by moving
capture closer to the source, scanning and processing documents at the point of entry. There are many
examples of where this is taking place, from loan officers scanning loan documents, to accounts payable
clerks scanning invoices, to insurance agents capturing claims or policy related documents.
One of the more obvious benefits to capturing documents at a branch office is that you can eliminate
most, if not all, of the costs of shipping documents to a centralized facility. These savings can be
significant, but businesses also benefit by eliminating delays in the process, by providing immediate
access to information across an entire organization, and by ultimately improving customer service.
Take, for example, a new investment account opening process. By capturing the new account
applications and supporting documents immediately, the application is immediately processed, and the
new investment account is opened and ready for trading within a matter of minutes. If the application is
mailed to another location to be scanned, delays of a day or more elapse before the application can be
But before you rush out and invest in a front office capture solution, here are five key steps to consider
that will help guarantee success.
Consider the “big picture”
While front office capture offers a quick, simple way to convert paper documents into electronic
information, it is only one of the ways that documents can be captured today. Centralized mailrooms
still receive and capture a large number of business documents. In addition, fax and e-mail contribute to
how paper enters and is captured within a business. To use capture across many departments and
throughout the organization requires an intelligent enterprise capture strategy that encompasses
connecting many devices and sources, supporting both centralized and distributed capture, and
providing document capture automation that can deliver significant value to an organization in the form
of cost reduction and time savings. Considering only what is needed for front office capture limits an
organization’s ability to scale and meet its future business needs.
A well understood business case is important
The best way to identify where front office capture should be used and ensure its success is to
understand exactly how the implementation will benefit the business and how quickly a return on
investment can be realized. While some software solutions deliver benefits that improve processes and
make users more productive, these benefits are often difficult to measure. In most cases, however,
document capture reliably delivers measurable benefits in the areas of cost reduction and productivity.
Front office capture can impact the business case directly in terms of reducing shipping costs and
eliminating delays during transit.
Standardize capture rules to save time and heartache
Successful distributed capture implementations require a firm understanding how and where content
will be stored in your business systems. There is a lot of truth in the an old saying, “garbage in, garbage
out,” and this becomes even more critical when using capture in the front office, given several hundred
users, or more, may be scanning documents…and creating potential risk. By defining rules for consistent
scanner settings, required index fields, data formatting, document types allowed, and how and where to
store documents, front office scanning is done consistently. As a result, organizations are confident that
remotely captured documents are properly captured and delivered to the correct repository, systems,
Make It Simple – Scanning is my second job not my “day job”
In a centralized capture environment, dedicated scanner or data entry operators perform the scanning
and indexing of documents daily. But when capture is pushed to the front office, the scanning process
involves users that have limited scanning experience. In order to successfully deploy front office capture
environments, knowledge workers need user interfaces and processes that are both simple to use yet
powerful enough to meet their business requirements. Unmanageable or complex capture applications
will only lead to mistakes, frustration, and ultimately, lack of adoption.
Gain user adoption
New procedures typically encounter some resistance, and rolling out capture to front office employees
is no exception. One challenge that organizations face is that document capture may be a new concept
to some or the perception is more work is being asked of them. “What’s in it for them?” Often, the
benefits are significant: for example, by scanning the invoice into the capture process, accounts payable
clerks are able to reduce most of their manual data entry responsibilities. By sharing the benefits of the
document capture process and demonstrating how it will help them do their job more effectively,
organizations can gain faster acceptance and better results.
So remember the five key steps to ensure success: consider the big picture, build a well‐understood
business case, standardize capture rules, keep it simple, and gain user adoption.
In a time when organizations are looking for effective ways to reduce costs and improve their processes,
intelligent enterprise capture’s support for front office capture delivers real, measurable benefits,
making it easier for your organization to better understand the business impact and to prioritize your IT
Read more on EMC Captiva intelligent enterprise capture solutions at
Sean Baird, Senior Manager, Product Marketing
Sean manages marketing for EMC Captiva document capture products and technologies. Since joining
the company in 2004, he has held a variety of product marketing and management roles. Sean has over
fifteen years experience managing software products, holding a variety of technical, marketing, and
product management positions at Adobe Systems, Aldus Corporation, Allegiant Technologies, and
Chrystal Software. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University