Capture Isn’t Just a Scanner – Four Capture Strategies for Government
When I designed my government agency’s document management solution, I gave little thought to my capture strategy. I was busy trying to design workflows, add document types and create eForms. I bought two large scanners to electronically capture documents and that was that.
Now, several years later, government agencies are re-thinking how they capture documents. Technology offers more options and staff reductions have made it critical to eliminate any manual tasks during the capture process. Moreover, several initiatives – such as transparency, mobile document access and self-service – require government to continually expand the type of documents digitized. The capture of documents, once less complicated, is now at the forefront and a critical element of enterprise content management (ECM).
In order for government to respond to new trends and realities, here are four ways to think about capture:
1. Align your capture strategy with the way staff works – With so many capture options – electronic forms, machine print forms, paperless processes, etc. – the capture strategy will look different depending on the tasks and the particular way staff need to do their job. Choosing tools that fit in seamlessly with existing technology will be easier for staff to learn and can be leveraged in other departments across your enterprise.
2. Plan for high volume, but don’t forget low volume – In my agency, the scanner was the single point of capture and it was meant to do thousands of pages a day. But what about the daily trickle of information that most staff handles that also needs to be captured in your ECM system? Be mindful of information like vendor invoices and human services eligibility documents that get captured by staff in places convenient to them.
3. Carefully consider the intake location – When your agency has many locations, efficiently capturing documents adds another wrinkle to your strategy. If documents are received in many places and reviewed/used in other areas, capturing the information as soon as possible is critical. By doing so, you’ll ensure the documents are available to everyone who needs them. Immediately capturing documents also saves time and money that may have been used to ship documents to a central location for filing or scanning.
4. Other initiatives may drive your capture – Oftentimes, government utilizes ECM for other initiatives, such as meeting public records requests, providing documents online for constituent self-service and field access for employees. By expanding the reach of your document management solution with capture abilities, you can position your agency to move forward on these efforts – all while driving down costs associated with manual filing and paper storage.
Whether you just implemented an ECM solution or have been using one for some time, capturing documents requires more than simply buying a scanner. Considering the points above will lead to a successful flow of tasks that your agency can easily adopt and, with more and more documents being captured, increase efficiencies and support the critical initiatives of a more effective and transparent government.