American workers spend almost 500 hours per year, or 25 percent of their time on the job, searching for files and information, according to one study. Every misplaced document costs $120 in expense and lost productivity.
Document imaging has been around for years, but only recently has the cost and the technology become practical for banks. But the most significant gains from an imaging system are in the improvement of workflow processes. For example, a $16 billion regional bank saved over $350,000 on paper, toner and copier supplies in one year after installing a workflow-enabled imaging system in its business banking division.
But before jumping on the imaging bandwagon, an organization should review its entire set of processes. Many processes are sub-optimal, and when poor processes are sped up, the procedure goes awry sooner. Many organizations fall into the trap of looking at data in a silo fashion and miss the true benefits of imaging.
Some issues to consider at the outset are: What to keep and what to throw away? What to image and what to maintain in paper format? Where to store paper, on-site or off-site?
A well-grounded plan will enable the bank to optimize the lending process, thereby increasing revenue and decreasing costs. For example, a new loan may involve the following steps: Customer signs document at the branch; branch faxes document to loan center; fax server captures and forwards to booking; booking server indexes the package; loan is reviewed, funded and booked; loan is archived and documents forwarded to recording agencies.
In this very attainable example, we have improved the speed of delivery to the customer, controlled same-day funding and increased information access between departments.