Universal Document Processes from Input to Output
Desire vs. reality
Output management is responsible for creating documents from data streams, and preparing and formatting the documents for distribution through various channels. Those channels include not only regular mail but also electronic ones such as fax, e-mail, electronic letter, mobile systems (Smartphones or tablet PCs), SMS messages, and web portal publications. Output management is also tasked with creating documents and text for individual departmental correspondence, printing, postage optimization, and inserts management.
Input management begins with document receipt and is also tied to various input channels - postal as well as electronic. It also provides software-supported content recognition, classification, and the transfer of data to processing. Any number of systems may be involved in processing, e.g., ECM, ERP, BPM, CRM or proprietary data processing systems.
Input and output: When the goal is to build efficient and universal processes, input management, data and document processing systems, and output management must be carefully dovetailed. What do these systems and organizational units need to accomplish? BIT surveyed a number of suppliers and experts from the document processing community.
Six Questions on “Input Meets Output”
Logical business processes for linking input and output:
What business processes lend themselves well to interlinking incoming and outgoing customer communications?
Mainly those processes that a company uses to send documents designed to elicit a reaction or response. The communication channel used is irrelevant. These types of documents include business reply cards, contracts, policies, or meter readings.
What do you think are the primary technological roadblocks to combining input and output management?
Ingrained business and IT processes that evolved over many years. Typically the products/solutions available come from specialists in input management (scanners/OCR services) or output management (OMS solutions). When processes were set up in the past, projects and solutions did not span departments. Before input and output processes can be combined, processes generally need to be standardized.
What requirements must systems meet in order to form a control loop that serves a comprehensive strategic concept?
The ideal system is one that controls and monitors all the input and output channels. Furthermore, the plethora of data sources and data sinks in a company need to be reduced and standardized. That is the only way to successfully cope with the ever-growing number of communications channels in future years.
In general, process workflows in the company systems must lend themselves to conversion.
Standardization and normalization:
Do you think it wise or even necessary to standardize or normalize input and output processes to effectuate a control loop?
Standardization makes sense up to a certain point. Standardized processes allow producers of software solutions to build compact solutions that are easier to manage and maintain day to day.
However, experience has also shown that integrating an input or output management system must address the topic of customizing. Process workflows in an enterprise do differ considerably in the details.
A reasonable approach is partial standardization.
Does the issue of the controlling system need to be addressed (input, ECM, ERP, BPM, output)? Does it matter which system takes the lead?
There is no pat answer to this question. Systems are usually not built on undeveloped turf. The choice of leading system requires a thorough analysis of the current state of the system and process landscape.
Input and output management systems must have interfaces to the company’s ERP and CRM systems. The status of all communications with the end-customer over any channel must be accessible through the CRM system.
How is your system prepared for seamless interaction of input and output management?
Compart has many years of experience in the field of output management. Our solutions and products are used in numerous areas of output and document management. Compart solutions can archive, prepare for print and dispatch, and digitally distribute documents via e-mail, De-Mail, or E-Postbrief, and manage and control dependencies between channels.
Compart’s wealth of successful global projects has given rise to products and solutions with standard interfaces.