This White Paper outlines a plan for a law firm’s Paper2Digital transformation. Keeping paper records is a major expense, and a relentless cause of inefficiency and risk. About half of all attorneys still prefer to work with paper, so most law firms continue to accept the precedent of files, folders, boxes, file rooms, and offsite records storage. We need to fix this. We need a fully digital matter file. We need a plan to get there. This whitepaper provides guidance for that plan.
The prestigious Law Journal Newsletters, LegalTech Edition 2014, features DocSolid’s Scanbition Frameworks white paper, describing various approaches to a law firm’s paper-to-digital transformation.
ILTA’s 2020 Peer to Peer issue featured an excerpt from Scan v Store White Paper.
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Recently we collaborated with a consulting group to document keys we identify for a successful, firm-wide, best-practice scanning solution. Here goes:
- Attorneys, Paralegals and Secretaries should be able to get a paper document profiled, scanned and QC’d without leaving their desk.
- The division of work involved should optimize process integrity, productivity and labor costs
- Alternatively, for immediate jobs they should have a simple method to do this entire job by themselves
- Enable use of all existing scan devices as scanning on-ramps, including all makes/models of existing or new mfp’s, copiers and scanners.
- No proprietary (built into the machine hardware) scanning process
- Simple user interface at the device – as few buttons as possible to complete a scan job
- Integrate with Accounting as well as DMS scanning, and integration with other firm workflow and repository and business software. This allows support of a single scan platform for DMS, Accounting and other firm needs.
- The system helps manage disposition of paper documents after scanning. This enables paper retention or destruction.
- Set custom, document-based disposition, or apply standard post-scanning disposition for all paper documents entering the system. Disposition is customized to the firm’s policy, and applied on a per document basis during profiling.
- Optimize productivity and throughput for the overall process.
- Division of labor applies to the work (profiling, scanning, QC) and enables match up of required skills or lowered labor costs, while ensuring optimal throughput
- Scanning and process QC can be performed by Records, or the FM, or skilled staff
- Scanning can be done in stacks
- Profiling is done from existing DMS and Accounting screens
- Users have the simplest possible way to get the work done
- Quality Control (QC) is integrated in the capture software and workflows, with automatic and custom audits and reports. QC affirms:
- The document was captured
- All pages got scanned
- Image quality is good
- Image file was written to the DMS
- Paper document disposition is applied
- Accountability and audit of the process
The thinking that ‘it is cheaper to store paper records than it is to scan them’ is misguided, simplistic, and just plain wrong. As our study shows, the comparative hard costs of scanning and storing are close enough to consider the choice, and give weight to the digital advantages of scanning. Most firms today are looking to reduce the costs of paper records storage, and this study’s findings provide a framework to quantify your paper storage costs, and consider the digital options.
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DocSolid worked with Records and Technology executives (the Working Group) from nine large law firms, to quantify the full cost of records storage, to bring the storage cost and contents model down to the box level, and to compare a production scanning operation that would substantially eliminate the flow of paper to offsite records storage. DocSolid called this a ‘Common Sensium’ to distinguish the project from an academic study with a definitive finding. Instead, this study developed a framework to guide a firm through its own analysis of the topic. There are variables and estimates in the data templates employed, and the soft benefit considerations are as important as the hard cost conclusions. Yet the study succeeds in establishing a usable decision framework for any firm to apply to its own unique data and situations.
DocSolid and GLC Team for Facilities and Records Management Scanning Solution
GLC Adds Integrated Scanning to Its Records and Facilities Management Offering
ROCHESTER, NY (August 19, 2013) – GLC Business Services today announced a new partnership with DocSolid, a leader in enterprise document scanning solutions for the legal market, to integrate the KwikTag Legal scanning solution with GLC’s facilities management and records management services. As part of its standard services offering, GLC provides the KwikTag® Legal solution, system administration, and related labor to capture incoming paper digitally. GLC clients reduce the costs associated with paper records, enabling image capture integrated with the firm’s Autonomy iManage, Open Text EDOCS, Worldox, NetDocuments, Elite and Aderant systems.
When a law firm determines it wants to get serious about going digital and finding a document scanning solution (the onset of Scanbition), it generally has an initial and a long term objective. For long-term objectives we hear aggressive ambitions to “go paperless” in the practice areas or “eliminate offsite records storage.” Initial objectives are more grounded in practicality, such as “start scanning closed matters instead of sending them offsite to records storage” or “start scanning all incoming paper for the IP Practice Group.” Scanbition Frameworks White Paper
“Start” is the key word. How do you start? How do you move from tedious, one-document-at-a-time scanning, to a document scanning solution for all paper? When the only scanning experience has been casual scanning at the copier, best practice enterprise scanning is a big leap forward. It must fit the culture, the workflow, and the operational future of the Firm. This requires a Plan, considering:
- What are our specific goals for paper document scanning?
- What volume of incoming paper will we need to address with this project?
- How does the paper arrive and get managed as it heads to the scan capture workflow?
- Who profiles the documents into the DMS? Who scans? Who QCs?
- How do we identify and serve the range of scanning needs, firm wide?
- How do we apply security, process integrity and QC to the overall job?
- How do we intersect with and apply Records policies? How do we engage the Records staff?
- Do we have physical records retirement policy? Do we shred? How? When?
- What staffing, infrastructure and application resources are required?
- Who owns this new operation?
- How do we measure productivity, and most importantly, ROI?
Start with Accounting
As part of our series on enterprise scanning initiatives, DocSolid summarizes five different approaches that our customers have used successfully, to get started and grow serious scanning across the organization. The fifth and final of these Scanbition Frameworks, is called ‘Start with Accounting.’ For the firm deciding to get serious about scanning and reducing paper burden costs, Accounting can be measured a starting point.
This Accounting Department project automates paper-based workflows by scanning incoming paper invoices and other accounting documents, integrated with the existing accounting software, to facilitate electronic filing and retrieval. After establishing success with this first scanning project, the firm extends its developed scanning, integration and workflow competencies to other areas of the firm – specifically the practice areas. The objective is to get an ROI on scanning in a paper-burdened back-office. Then use the internal case study built by that successful project to inspire the practice areas to pursue similar paper-to-digital advantages.
In most firms, front office (practice) formal scanning projects need to be sold to the users. In Accounting, users can be told that scanning is going to be implemented. So this Scanbition framework let’s a firm get started with the told approach, and build a case for the sold approach.
Note that scanning and image use in Accounting can either be a ‘front-end’ or ‘back-end’ process. Front-end scanning captures paper on the way into the firm, and automates subsequent workflow by using images instead of physical paper. Invoice approvals, matching and overall processing become more productive and more accurate. Back-end scanning means the paper runs through its traditional course of movements, and batch scanning of finished transactions is done after the transactions are closed. Back-end scanning in accounting gives no workflow advantages for processing, generally focusing on digital storage as its advantage.
For a firm looking to maximize the payback from scanning by automating workflows, front-end scanning is the best approach. Its methods must be productive, to reduce overall efficiencies. And this scanning operation must be tightly integrated with the accounting software. Therefore, the project becomes a strong test of the enterprise scanning system, which must later be integrated with the DMS software when it migrates to the practice areas.
Accounting software vendors often have their own integrated scanning solution, but these are one-trick-pony solutions, for accounting only, and therefore cannot be leveraged to an enterprise scanning platform. Scanning to the DMS in the practice areas, in Records, HR and other applications will require another solution, so it’s best to select a solution for accounting that can be rolled out to the rest of the firm.
DocSolid’s customer Duane Morris, a 700 attorney firm HQ’d in Philadelphia, is an example of a Start with Accounting enterprise scanning approach. Their KwikTag system first was integrated with their Elite accounting solution, many years ago. After successfully automating Elite with KwikTag scanning, the firm has moved scanning across the enterprise, to integrate with their Autonomy iManage DMS, and several other firm applications.
Start with Accounting is an effective Scanbition Framework for firms with these objectives:
- Automate Accounting workflows by scanning related paper
- Establish ROI on the project in Accounting, where hard cost reductions are easiest to quantify
- Build an internal case study in the firm by a successful project in Accounting, then use this success to sponsor scanning rollout to the rest of the firm
For more information on this and other Scanbition Frameworks, contact firstname.lastname@example.org , or use the information request form at the Contact Us page at our web site.
Scan and Shred Closed Matters
As part of our series on enterprise scanning initiatives, DocSolid summarizes five different approaches that our customers have used successfully, to get started and grow serious scanning across the organization. The fourth of these Scanbition Frameworks is called ‘Scan and Shred Closed Matters.’
This framework is based on an initial goal of eliminating long term records storage costs, and establishing Records as the place to start enterprise scanning competency. Using the Scan and Shred Closed Matters framework, a firm scans inactive matter files instead of sending them to offsite storage. Firms get a quantified payback by cutting off the growing cost and risk of offsite records storage, and establish a ‘scanning muscle’ that enables gradual migration to integrated DMS scanning for active matters.
When matters are closed, practice areas review and send corresponding paper files to Records. Records profiles and scans to the DMS all inserts (folders) in the matter Redweld (expanding file). Documents and document groupings are OCR’d to create searchable PDF files. An extensive QC process ensures accurate image capture and storage as archived files in the DMS. Records policy is applied and the paper documents are scheduled for destruction, not boxed for offsite storage. Any subsequent retrievals from the inactive records base are serviced by DMS image retrieval of the scanned files.
Scanning matters after they close does not extend the digital advantage into the active lifecycle of the matter. But once the system is in place and operating well, moving the scan workflow to capture just-arrived documents to the DMS is easier, so gradual migration of scanning from the back office to the front office can fit into a firm’s paper-to-digital culture and adoption patterns.
Scanning closed matters, year one, is going to be more expensive in labor than year-one offsite box storage. But over the years, scanning closed matters will provide a substantial cost reduction compared to the perennial, mounting cost of box records storage. DocSolid’s studies show that the 10-year total cost (labor, supplies, storage / retrieval / retirement fees) of storing a box of records is about $50. Of course that cost gets much higher for storage beyond 10 years, and most firms are storing their records for longer than 10 years, with no operating plan to fix this. Total cost to scan a box consists primarily of labor costs, which are about $30 per box. Therefore, a gradual, then significant payback for scanning can be achieved, both in hard dollars and in bigtime risk reduction, and digital advantage. DocSolid will publish a whitepaper on the cost comparisons between scanning and box storage.
Importantly, DocSolid’s customers who use the Scan and Shred Closed Matters approach consistently flex their developed scanning muscle and begin capturing incoming paper during the active lifecycle of the matter. This lowers the cost of scanning and provides a significant ROI improvement by providing digital advantage during the active lifecycle of the matter. Both active and retired scanning workflows land profiled, searchable PDF images in the DMS. Scan and Shred Closed Matters is the way to start enterprise scanning, establish a scan / capture / QC / destruction competency, financial payback, and advanced retention / destruction best practices.
Lindquist & Vennum, a 200 attorney firm in Minneapolis, spent a year refining physical records policies and practices, and implementing a Scan and Shred Closed Matters solution using KwikTag Legal. The firm virtually eliminated its habit of sending 150 boxes a month to offsite storage. CIO Suzette Allaire then began enabling her active file enterprise scan capture for the practice areas who want it now. Lindquist & Vennum is on the road to a future free from the high cost and burden of paper.
Baker McKenzie, a 4,000 attorney firm based in Chicago, has implemented a Scan and Shred Closed Matters approach in their New York office. They have nearly eliminated their flow of boxes to offsite storage, reducing expense , risk and inefficiencies. Randy Drakes, New York Records Manager, has spearheaded this remarkable achievement through improved records practices and inventory management, and the scanning project. The New York offices is now rolling out scanning to the front office for practices who want to go digital, and is also scanning for the firm’s administrative departments.
Scan and Shred Closed Matters is an effective Scanbition Framework for firms with these objectives:
- Cut off the growth of offsite storage costs
- Build a ‘scanning muscle’ in the Records Department for scan capture competency
- Establish a back-end scanning platform for Records, and scan capture capability for the active lifecycle of the paper, either as a front-office or a Records service function