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Emerging Enterprise Forum

Document management simplified

With increasing amounts of money being spent on managing and distributing documents, document management is becoming crucial in enterprises, notes Shivani Shinde

Som Gangopadhyay

In any organisation, time management and total cost of ownership (TCO) is a critical function. Document management has taken up the attention of CIOs almost universally.

Som Gangopadhyay, Marketing Head, Office Systems and Solutions, Canon India, illustrates the need for a document management strategy (DMS): “Organisations spend a lot of their time searching for the correct document. About 10 to 15 percent of an average organisation’s revenue is spent in creating, managing and distributing documents. 60 percent of office workers’ time is spent working with documents, and 75 to 85 percent of business or office documents are paper. The average office worker spends about 50 to 80 percent of his time searching for information.”

This means that organisations are increasingly looking at options to address these issues. From dot matrix to high-end multi functional devices (MFDs), and from black-and-white to colour, the humble printer has come a long way. These devices are changing the workplace environment. According to Gangopadhyay, the importance of colour is due to its ability to attract attention. “Colour increases the reader’s attention span and recall by 82 percent. Colour makes an impression that is 39 percent more memorable, reduces search and error time by as much as 80 percent, and information can be located 70 percent faster. More crucially, colour can improve brand recognition by up to 80 percent.”

In an emerging enterprise, there are three points in the IT usage maturity cycle. For example, a company with an increased networked environment will go in for advanced applications and better implementation services. Organisations are increasingly realising the need for effective management of documents to integrate them in e-systems (seamless document flow), with the emphasis on DMS for efficiency and not just reduction in paper usage.

Says Gangopadhyay, “Due to the improvement in technology and proliferation of the Internet and e-governance, there has been an increase in the number of production scanners that manufacturers are including in traditional copiers.”

Thus, an intelligent DMS would entail gathering documents through scanning, conversion or importing, storage, indexing, retrieval, access control and most importantly, availability as needed.

According to Gangopadhyay, the advantages of DMS are digital archiving, collaboration, improved security (at folder, file or even content level), disaster recovery, space saving and faster retrieval, with digitised searches and fewer misplaced documents.

According to Gartner, while DMS is being promoted by the regulatory climate, the major reasons for adoption are increase in productivity by 42 percent, a 44 percent increase in document access and movement, and reduction in employee headcount by 24 percent.

Pages, Pages, Everywhere

A study by Merrill Lynch stresses the need for a document management strategy (DMS). It states that the number of documents was doubling every five years around 1988, and every three years by 1992. By 1998, it was doubling every 15 months. About 35 to 40 percent of an office worker’s time is spent filing and retrieving information, translating to 25 percent of labour costs and 15 percent of organisational expenditure. On an average, a dozen copies are made of original documents, while 10 percent of all documents produced are misfiled.

Data Transformation

Canon has been in the forefront of technology innovations in the DMS space.

Sidharth Shakder, Marketing Manager, Solutions Business, Canon, says that since documents can be converted into PDFs, the user can search for files using text and the Windows file search functions. MFDs act as communication hubs helping users to scan paper documents and send them to one or multiple recipients through fax, e-mail, or I-fax, making the customers’ work environment more efficient in document exchange. The ability to send documents to FTP, SMB and NetWare file servers also helps digitise paper documents for convenient data access and management.

The prime reasons for implementing DMS are productivity, security, cost and user-friendliness. With enterprises choosing MFDs on their networks, system security is another area of concern.

Many MFDs also provide security features. For instance, Canon’s imageRUNNER series offers various print security capabilities such as enabling-disabling protocols, print job accounting, mailbox printing, data overwrite protection and secure print. Secure print ensures that once sent to the device, only an authorised user can print the confidential document.

With Canon’s MEAP (Multifunctional Embedded Application Platform) architecture, the imageRUNNER devices offer complete functionality and the ability to embed diverse and customisable applications that integrate into every aspect of the business workflow. Customisation of the device will give a business greater control over costs and improve overall productivity. The Java-based platform allows a company to customise systems to its workflow, design an interface specific to its operational flow, and comply with internal IT standards and business requirements. Other features include Web pull print that allows seamless access to standard Web pages from an imageRUNNER device, dual line faxing, single-sign-on and security features.


Documentation At Sahara India Life Insurance

Balram Sarma

Sahara India Life Insurance Company Limited (SILICL) is the first wholly-Indian life insurance company in the private sector. The company received its licence on February 6, 2004, and became operational on October 30, 2004. The organisation has 16 local corporate offices (LCO) and 59 point-of-sales offices, all with VSAT connectivity.

Most SILICL offices are situated in remote areas of the country. Some of the areas are dusty and have erratic power supply. The office area of the point-of-sales is very compact, and average room size is less than 100 square feet.

Balram Sarma, COO, Sahara Life Insurance, explains the need for documentation, “Insurance is all about documents. With our branches spread across the country, even with a centralised data centre we need a repository from where these details can be retrieved for future servicing. Also, under IRDA regulations, the policy holder must receive information within 15 days.” He explains since most of their sites are in remote locations, the average time for a proposal to reach the HQ would be a fortnight.

The only option was to have the proposals and relevant documents scanned at the point-of-sales office, and sent to the head office by imaging software using 15 Kbps VSAT connectivity. Since skilled manpower is not available, the person at the sales office has to do the documentation. Thus, the system has to be user-friendly.

While choosing a DMS what matters is the time of implementation. Does one go for it right from the beginning or after one has a sizeable number of customers? “It might seem that we have overspent on the technology, but if I do it later I will need a separate team to look into the originals and then set up a new system,” explains Sarma.

SILICL implemented Canon’s iR 5570 + VDP software, 2 iR 5570 (110 ppm), and Canon ReportSuite VDP software for tandem printing, resumption of interrupted jobs and maximising the use of A4 pages.

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