Sometimes we have to stub our toe to understand what needs to be moved. Like a stack of filing boxes blocking the firm’s hallway everyday, we have to gain awareness of the problem before we can solve it. Ouch!
So here’s the first thing I learned: every law firm is scanning. They have various capabilities spread across their firms – but they aren’t scanning in a way that could make a big difference for their organizations.
Firms seem to scan for convenience, as in “this document must be digital” rather than to improve their process or productivity.
This information was reinforced on our ILTA road shows. We’ve visited Phoenix, Washington DC, Chicago, New York, New Jersey, LA, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley. In every city we’ve asked these questions:
Do you scan more paper than you file? NO
Do you scan more paper than you store offsite? NO
Over 95% of the firms say NO. Today’s law firm battles the onslaught of incoming paper with the tools of a prior century: redwells and boxes. Filing it onsite, then moving it to offsite storage. Meanwhile, those paper files are disconnected from the electronic matter files, and from the other systems that automate the firm. Paper wins. The firm loses.
But the big realization, what really hit me: firms are complacent about their ability to scan. Obviously the scanning is getting done because scanning is ‘enabled’ at the copiers, right? There seemed to the general impression that this was enough, my work is done. Ouch! Awareness time. Obviously simply enabling scanning at the copiers isn’t enough. If it were, paper wouldn’t be winning.
Having stubbed my toe at the ILTA Conference on this complacency about scanning, I realize it’s time to start talking about…
- The Return on Investment for a serious scan capture solution, that unifies the electronic client matter by putting scanned images in the DM alongside related emails and Word documents.
- That serious scanning can and should be reducing file room and offsite storage, creating real savings for the firm.
- Demanding that our investments in scanning technology provide game-changing productivity gains and cost reductions is achievable and necessary.
Paper has a major head start, let’s catch up.