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Making the shift to paperless processes

Enterprise content management started out as document imaging in the early 8O's with the first systems that allowed companies to scan paper documents and electronically retrieve them in user workstations.

The early 80's was forty years ago, and if you were around you probably thought that you would be flying your car to work by now. You also problably thought that we would have gotten rid of paper by that year, but paper is still very much alive in 2022 and it slows down your business procesess.

This is from Blade Runner, the year is 2019

This is Lima, 2022. flying cars not pictured

There are still thousands of business out there that have scanners and ECM ( (Enterprise Content Management) platforms but still conduct their business like it's 1971: with papers travelling from desk to desk. If this is your case read on, we can help!

Real life paper based process

Not too long ago we were contacted by a leading life insurance company in South America. Their business was thriving but they knew that their current processes would not withstand their growth rate. They wanted to increase throughput without increasing headcount.

Life insurance policy underwriting requires thoroughly assesing your potential customers risks and this involves paper documents that must be reviewed by several different people.

This insurance company had a document management system in place already and had outsourced document capture. Their process looked like this:

  • Life insurance applications were routed to the policy underwriting unit in folders.

  • Application files were routed to several different roles within the unit for review, including an M.D.

  • Once the applications were processed the application files were handed over to an external company for scanning, indexing and physical storage.

Here's a diagram!:

As you can see the technology was there (3/4) but the impact was very low. They were able to retrieve application files very quickly for post-mortem analysis and audits but their main workflow (2) remained the same.

If it's not broken it may still need fixing

Here's a diagram of the improved process:

  • Document capture (converting paper documents into electronic documents) was moved to the very beginning of the process (2) . Documents were now scanned at the first point of contact. They kept the same company that was already scanning their documents.

  • We integrated document retrieval and visualization into their existing application (4) for quick access

  • Every participant in the process has now inmediate and simultaneous access to the application file. No need to wait for application folders to arrive at your desk or to deliver them to the next participant in the process.


The new improved process is now paperless, policies are underwritten without any paper documents which translated into the following benefits.

  • Immediate access to the documents needed to make decisions

  • All tasks related to physical movement of documents were removed from the process increasing productivity

  • No documents are lost in the approval process, improving customer experience

  • No need to print or copy documents, reducing costs.

  • No need to convert electronic documents into paper to add to the application file. Electronic files such as e-mails are added to the electronic file in their native formats

  • The application file can be viewed by several roles simultaneously.

Wait!, Didn't we just get rid of paper during the pandemic?

Partially, while taking photographs of documents and e-mailing them is a cheap, quick way of getting rid of paper, but it is just a workaround:

  • Photographed documents stay as attachments in e-mail messages and are rarely saved or classified for later access

  • Downloading attachments from several different e-mails and creating a digital file in a shared folder becomes a repetitive manual task

  • Your inbox constantly grows and as time passes it will take you longer to find a document than to have the original sender repeat the whole process.

In summary snap and e-mail is a great solution for emergencies but it not a sustainable way of managing documents that are key to your business procesess. A professionally designed capture process and a document management system will serve you better?

Interested in going paperless. Feel free to conctact us: click here


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