‘Tinker Tailor Soldier – Scan’ is the story of how law firms scan their paper.
In a shameless rip-off of my wildly popular blog themes, it appears there has been a recent movie release of a similar title, ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’, and a 1974 British spy novel of the same name by some hack named John le Carre. My attorneys will handle that matter. Let us regain our focus…
Scanbition™, as soon-to-be-defined by Webster’s New World Dictionary, is an organization’s ambition for enterprise scanning.
Law firms have a persistent inflow of paper burdening their business process. How they apply document scanning to fix this condition is the measure of their Scanbition. All law firms need document scanning. And all firms already have some type of baseline scanning at their office machines. Most firms don’t have any clear Scanbition. Scanbition establishes the critical objectives for scanning, and ultimately determines the benefits derived.
Back to our story, about law firm scanning as a Tinker, Tailor, and Soldier.
Tinker – Some firms just use whatever scanning comes with their office machines, as is. They don’t apply controls, productivity techniques, security or any standards to their scanning activity. At best, this tinkering approach is risky and inefficient. At worst, this approach to scanning results in lost information, compromised work, and related liability. Tinkering with scanning is like using email without folders or archiving – it appears to work on an ad hoc basis but it is not sustainable for the business. The Tinker is a stinker when it comes to enterprise scanning.
Tailor – When a practice, an attorney, or a particular matter demands scanning of related paper documents, job-specific requirements emerge. Scanned images must be profiled and stored in the related electronic matter in the document management system. Ongoing work must be done by the people who know the documents, when and where the documents arrive. Because the scanning solution is tailored to a specific set of job needs, and because this approach often is built upon existing hardware and software, the tailored solution tends to be narrow in scope, and often lacking in the robust features found in an enterprise class solution.
An example of Tailor scanning would be integrating a specific copier keypad to the network, security system, and the document management repository so that users at that machine could login and type filing instructions for each individual document to be scanned. This process can work, but it is tedious and error prone to type at a copier keypad, and of course it’s not feasible to replace the file room with scanned images using this type of firm-wide, machine-dependent technique. But at least the Tailor is helping to clarify the challenge and rewards of enterprise scanning.
Soldier – The firm declares war on paper. It decides to integrate scan capture with the document management system, the accounting system, and the records system, firm-wide. It uses scanning to replace the file room, and to eventually eliminate off-site record storage. That comprehensive, long-term battle plan defines the enterprise scanning Solider. A Soldier understands the challenge, and prepares to win or avoid the battles that lead up to winning the war on paper.
In our last blog, “What is Your Scanbition for Enterprise Scanning?”, we defined Enterprise Scanning and outlined the methods for achieving it. This is the work, and the reward of the Soldier. Ultimately, every firm must become the Soldier, unless it is acceptable to operate a paper file room that separates information from the electronic document management system. Ultimately, every firm must become the Soldier, unless it is acceptable to grow offsite paper records storage and retrievals, endlessly.
Conclusion – Paper capture is an information management process. It requires a best practice approach, implemented as an enterprise scanning platform. What is your firm’s approach to scanning firm-wide? Is your firm a Tinker, or a Tailor, or a Soldier?