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Front Office Capture: Five Steps To Ensure Success

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,

and process.


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

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