Should you put the focus on document
production, management or delivery?
As an IT Consultant with more than 16 years experience I am always being asked how to plan the introduction of a paperless office. People might expect that such an introduction will be limited to an evaluation of different document management systems.
Arrived in the 21st century the choice of the document management system is not the most difficult task anymore. There is a broad range of mature solutions available on the market so once the customer manages to write down his needs, budget, expectations, etc a solution is found easily.
What most people never consider is that a document management system might be the engine of the paperless office but to make the introduction a full success and a resulting happy customer you need much more than just an engine.
Be aware that there will be people who have actually to work with such a system on a daily base and exactly these people you need to target. Once they are happy the success of the paperless office will result in a higher productivity and your business partner will become very satisfied.
But how can the daily user being targeted? Well – just think about the daily work of the employees of your business partner. How do they create actually the documents you would like to manage with the new system? How are they being delivered at the moment to the recipient? Visualize the workflow and check how you can optimize it.
People do not like it if they need to create their invoice with application A, print it with B, insert it into the document management system with C and deliver it to the recipient with D. Furthermore every person in that case would need training for X applications which would be an additional cost and source of frustration.
You need to look for a common interface between the user and the different applications. One such interface is the printer itself. Every application and every user “knows” how to print - so why not using the print spooler as the focal point between the different applications and tasks?
The print spooler needs to become so intelligent to produce the electronic documents, delivers them to the content management system and furthermore the spooler needs to deliver the documents to the recipient as fax, email, hardcopy.
With the introduction of such intelligence into the print spooler the introduction of the document management system must be a success. It will be transparent to the user so he does not have to be trained on any new technology since he will know already how to print from his favorite application. All the user will experience are less manual tasks like printing out the invoice to put it into the FAX Machine or converting the document into PDF, sign it and open the email client to email it.
The first time you integrate little tools like the Aloaha PDF Suite into your Document Management Solution you will experience the huge increase of user acceptance of the new system. Aloaha enhances your printer spooler that the printer spooler becomes the main communication point between the applications. Application A will print the invoice. Instead of just making a hardcopy the printer spooler will produce a PDF, digitally sign it, parse the FAX Number and/or email address from the invoice to deliver it fully automatic. The PDF Document itself will be dropped at a pre-configured point to be picked up by the Document Management System. This tiny example shows that not the document management system itself is the main focus but the document production and delivery which makes the introduction to a success.