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18 01, 2021

Three Keys to Remodeling Your Digital Mailroom

2021-01-19T17:33:19-07:00 January 18th, 2021|Paper2Digital Blog|

Three Keys to Remodeling Your Digital Mailroom

Congratulations! You weathered the onslaught of the pandemic and transitioned to distributed work from home offices. That home office relocation is looking permanent for much of your workforce so it is time to harden the systems that make a work-from-home (WFH) law firm function. A digital mailroom is one such system. Using existing scan-to-email utilities at the outset of the pandemic is not an effective permanent solution for a law firm’s mail operation. It was never intended to be, but most legal practices are just beginning to reconsider how essential operations like daily mail will function with a distributed workforce. It is now time to remodel your digital mailroom into a permanent, effective operation.

Your firm isn’t going back to paper mail delivery distributed to desks in the city offices. That was a faulty, antiquated process anyway. Digital is better – you just need some finishing work to make it a reliable, secure operation. Your attorneys and staff need to stay productive anywhere they work. Legal technology professionals are now considering the daily mail operation as one of their firm’s greatest opportunities to improve. It’s time to make your digital mailroom a permanent fixture of your remodeled law firm.

Here are three keys to remodeling your digital mailroom:

  • Deliver legal mail to the document management system (DMS)
  • Embed quality controls, monitoring and reporting
  • Make the mailroom operation simple and efficient

Deliver legal mail to the DMS, not to email. Legal mail is mission critical and time-sensitive, and it contains confidential client information. Once mail items are scanned, the PDF files are destined for the DMS, their permanent home. It’s easy to set up daily mail folders for each DMS user, and when scanned mail items arrive, the DMS provides a Move function so that users (or support staff) can place the PDFs into the proper matter folder. Routing scanned legal mail items through the email system is inefficient, and it’s a multi-faceted security risk.  Using the email system to distribute scanned legal mail is not an acceptable long term solution.

Embed quality controls, monitoring and reporting in the digital mailroom solution. Perfectly scanned mail items delivered reliably each day to waiting attorneys – that’s the standard. Attorneys working at home don’t have nearby staff to fix errors or tweak process for them. The digital mailroom should have embedded software and process to ensure quality. Did every received mail item get scanned, with all pages and image quality checked, and the envelop scanned as a last page? Is the mailroom technology connected to a help desk to assist when needed? Can we run reports to track volumes and productivity, so that peak days, growth and operational efficiencies can be anticipated?

Make the mailroom operation simple and efficient. We hear many stories about how all sorts of exceptions and process variations were put in place to accommodate attorney requests when a firm first put a makeshift mail scanning operation in place. The result is spotty performance, jagged quality, and a high reliance on clerical staff memory and Post-it Note bulletins. A remodeled digital mailroom needs a best practice approach with software designed expressly for this operation, and repeatable workflows like scanning stacks. This reduces dependency on staff heroics and it establishes much needed reliability in the operation. It also enables repeatability across multiple law office locations, or a better path to mail centralization across offices… A game changer for law firms embracing distributed work.

There you go. Three keys to remodeling your digital mailroom, for the better future we’re starting to see. Of course, you will want a good contractor with the proper tools to do this remodeling job. That’s the unmatched expertise you get from DocSolid along with the Airmail2 software you need to create your Digital Mailroom.

Learn much more in this white paper
7 Reasons to Upgrade to a Digital Mailroom

30 09, 2020

Law Firm Scanned Mail Should Not be Delivered by Email

2020-12-28T08:46:23-07:00 September 30th, 2020|Paper2Digital Blog|

Also published on LegalTech News
Also published on LegalTech News
View on LegalTech News

When the pandemic sent the workforce to home offices, most law firms quickly started scanning daily mail to email inboxes. Facilities management or mailroom staff went into the office and cobbled together a new work process to accommodate this method of digital delivery. But delivering scanned mail via the email system compromises the security, compliance and the integrity of the process.

Email is a highly susceptible point of security and compliance in the lifecycle of matter documents and client information. And it has proven to be a poor workflow management tool and perhaps more importantly, nearly impossible to govern.

Legal documents arriving in daily mail should not be delivered via scan-to-email for these reasons:

  • Scanned documents are stored residually in the email server, unmanaged. Sensitive client information delivered as attachments violates basic principles of information governance regarding storage and access.
  • The email inbox is not a workflow tool and cannot be easily shared with other workers to manage the multi-step process of review, profiling and notification. And there is no way to monitor that every item was properly processed, or even reviewed.
  • Scanned images create larger documents that may violate attachment and/or Inbox size limitations. Not to mention bloated message stores that create headaches for IT managers.
  • Email messages are a key attack vector for phishing attempts while email attachments are a significant source of malware. Building a mission-critical application on arguably the weakest link in the IT infrastructure would never be advised if starting from scratch.

Clients pay attention to this.  Year over year, the ACC survey of Chief Legal Officers show that the governance and management of their information is a top concern. Accordingly, law firms have invested heavily in document management systems (DMS) to store client information. The DMS has become the primary productivity and governance tool for firms to service clients and protect their information. Therefore, the DMS should be the delivery platform for scanned daily mail.

Lawyers and law firms storing documents outside of the DMS expose the firm and its clients to multiple layers of risk—financial, ethical, regulatory and security risks. Such exposure is magnified by a new scan-to-email delivery of legal mail to remote workers.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that our shift in operations to include a home workforce is not temporary. Therefore, law firms need something better than the patched together scan-to-email process established earlier this year.

Forced to use existing copier-based technology, law firms are jamming mission-critical mail delivery through a system designed for ad hoc use where scanning occurs one document at a time. Quality checks are difficult and unstructured, evidenced by the fact that scanned mail is still retained in makeshift filing boxes, or delivered to empty desks for later pickup and review.

If the firm’s existing scanning system and email platform is not well suited to take on this important application, what does a modern, compliant mailroom operation look like?

The modern mailroom is a digital operation, comprised of software, process and clerical workers. The operation is founded on productivity, security and reliability. Software and process enables current clerical staff to work efficiently and with minimal training. They scan, QC, and securely deliver daily mail as searchable PDFs to a legal practitioner’s daily mail folder in the DMS, e.g. iManage or NetDocuments. Digital mail delivered into the DMS should accommodate the options of delivering to attorneys, their assistants, profiling staff, or even directly into the matter when teams are sharing work.

Mailroom software should make DMS deliveries using existing secure methods, but not require mailroom operators to have DMS logins. Nor should mailroom operators need to learn complex profiling procedures, or unique and changing delivery preferences and notifications for mail recipients. The solution must support batching of work – such as profiling, stack scanning, and QC checking. It should enable scanning with in-place multi-function copiers or scanners, without adding hardware, software, or requiring complex or error-prone keystroking while standing at an office machine.

To provide operational integrity, firms will also need automated quality controls for the process, a remote help desk and reporting.

The good news is that a digital mailroom, run optimally, now routinely digitizes the biggest remaining flow of inbound paper documents – daily mail. The better news is that longstanding Paper2Digital® initiatives will now accelerate, without the pushback from attorneys who insist on paper files. A digital mailroom now becomes the driver towards a conclusive Paper2Digital® transformation.

About the Author
In his role as VP of Customer Success, David Guilbault provides strategic vision and management for the Customer Success program and the Consulting Practice. Dave is a U.S. patent holder with a degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern Maine with more than two decades of experience in document solutions.

David Guilbault, VP of Customer Success

David Guilbault

11 02, 2019

This Is Not Your Father’s Paperless Law Firm

2020-11-05T19:25:07-07:00 February 11th, 2019|Paper2Digital Blog|

In the beginning, “going paperless” was thought of as an archiving process – a way to preserve paper content for the long term, by converting the paper to digital format. Things have really changed since that first initiative to shrink paper. Going paperless now means digitizing your paper content so it is easily merged with all of the other electronic processes that keep your law firm humming.

Perhaps “going paperless” is in your strategic plan for 2019. No doubt you are carefully sifting solutions providers, considering hardware, and thinking about the details of implementation. What you’ve likely found during your investigation is the range of options in all areas of this project, are vastly different than just a few years ago.

HARDWARE

To start at the beginning, consider your scanning hardware. In many implementations, a high-volume scanner is essential for the “central scanning team” in the copy center. Meanwhile, “convenience scanners” are time savers when placed in close proximity to desks throughout the office.

MFP LOGOS

For the high-volume scanner, consider these features:

  • Blank page removal. Makes dealing with a mix of double and single sided documents much easier.
  • Scanning tab inserts. Yes indeed, there are scanners that can accommodate scanning tab inserts (feed the hole-punch side into the scanner). This can be a tremendous time-saver, otherwise you are removing tabs in inserting 8 1/2 x 11 pages with the corresponding tab number.
  • Hole punch removal. Speaking of hole punches, some scanners can detect-and-remove the image of the 3-hole punch, producing a nicer scanned result, especially if you might be reprinting the document.
  • DPI choices: smaller (or less) DPI is better in terms of scan-document size, as long as the scan is legible. Experiment with your scanner of choice to see how well you like 150, 200, or 300 DPI.
  • Deskew and Despeckle: these features can really clean up scans that go through misaligned, scans of older documents or scans of 3rd or 4th-generation prints that have lots of “artifacts” on the pages that often originates from residue on the machine glass. These features are worth testing to assure they perform as expected.
  • OCR is a typical feature of most scanners today, but quality can vary when compared to OCR tools (like Acrobat for example). Be sure the OCR feature can be turned on/off because you may decide to have OCR performed by software outside the scanner itself.

SOFTWARE

There are several software components to consider when planning your paperless office project:

  • Scanner Controller: Almost any scanner you select today, will have an accompanying piece of software to control scanner functions. On lower-end scanners, this software will operate on a workstation connected to the scanner. On higher-end scanners, the software is “embedded” in a built-in device hardware panel.
  • Process Controller: This piece of software is the “heart” of your paperless solution. The process controller should let you define workflows so that scanning tasks can be moved among staff.

In either case, take a look at how the software operates. Can you create scan “profiles” for faster access to features? Can you boil down the process to one click or the press of a button? Ease of use is essential. Be sensitive to the end user who is not technically savvy. Other people may not achieve proficiency because they have a role with infrequent usage needs.

What are the tasks in the process? Selection (incoming paper, open file paper, closed file paper?), classifying, document prep, scanning, quality control checking, and disposition. Assignment of paperless office “tasks” to different users so that the work matches the pay grade. That sounds indelicate, but tasks like coding paper documents or doing document prep work need to be performed by employees who are paid much less than knowledge workers.

Look carefully at how the process controller facilitates quality control. Someone should be comparing scanned documents to the hard copy. This is done to confirm the scan is legible and not missing any pages. This is usually done by visual inspection. Random sampling is effective so that checking every scan is unnecessary.

  • The system of record for the electronic document: You have one, whether it is Dropbox, a formal case management application or a document management system. Your Process Controller, the core of the scanning solution, should integrate directly with your system of record. Extra steps to move scanned documents into the system of record are a waste of time and money.
  • OCR: There are several choices – but OCR is an essential step and a huge value-add when scanning paper. In the ideal world, your core scanning solution, the Process Controller, includes an OCR solution to make the OCR step seamless.

EFFICIENCY

Gains in efficiency can lead to significant gains in productivity, especially when those gains are reflected across the firm with a repeatable process like document scanning. Imagine the number of steps each person completes when scanning and multiply that across number of paper documents and the number of people involved in the scanning process. You get the picture.

Henry Ford discovered this first: Doing work in batches makes a difference. The scanning process in this context looks like an assembly line. Recall the steps recited above:

  • Selection (incoming paper, open file paper, closed file paper)
  • Classifying
  • Document prep
  • Scanning
  • Quality control
  • Disposition

Each of these steps may be composed of several tasks. Arrange tasks in batches wherever possible and assign steps to the right pay grade to achieve significant gains in productivity.

Here are a two examples:

SCANNINGMFP

The actual process of scanning paper is much more efficient when documents can be scanned in batches. Imagine a solution that allows users to select, classify, and prep paper documents, and accumulate multiple documents into a batch for scanning.

This batch could be handed off to someone using a high-speed scanner, making the scanning step much more efficient. Some scanning must be done immediately for individual documents. This is referred to as convenience scanning and that is what a desk-side scanner is ideal for.

QUALITY CONTROL

Another example is quality checking. The person doing quality checking must be in possession of the paper that will be compared to the scanned image. This implies that the person doing the scanning is also doing the quality checking, but that is not the case with batch scanning. Once you have a batch scanning process in place, it is logical that quality checking is executed in batches as well. Designate a QC person to perform the inspections and approve the scanned results. They will set the paper documents aside for shredding once they are approved. Otherwise, a paper document is set aside for a repair process when it is rejected for any reason.

Look carefully at your scanning workflows and consider which steps can be “batched” because that is the essential part of any workflow, especially one like scanning.

PAYOFFS

Why go paperless at all? Law firms have operated perfectly well for years using paper as the currency for information, but a confluence of factors makes this change necessary. Here are some reasons why:

  • Space: Reducing office square footage is a common priority these days. Whether it’s the cost per square foot, or a desire to design better more efficient work spaces, a move to offices that do not accommodate rows of filing cabinets is a clear trend. To squeeze into less footage usually requires a hard look at document polices and an aggressive and concerted effort to digitize relevant paper.
  • Redundancy and security: If someone said… “Make a copy of every paper document and lock it all in a vault.” You would ask; “How?” It is simply not feasible. But once paper is digitized, it is an easy feat to accomplish. To rely on the paper record as an official matter file is risky for a number of reasons, including misplaced, lost, stolen or damaged documents. Paper is a great user interface for the 2% of the time you are using it while it is actually in your hands, but for the other 98% of the time, paper adds risks, costs and inefficiencies for your law firm. A physical paper file does not meet today’s standards for information governance.
  • Any information anywhere any time: Lawyers and clients are mobile. Making relevant documents available to mobile users simply cannot be achieved with paper. Only when all documents are digitized, can they be accessed remotely within very secure electronic confines. Then you can you meet the needs of mobile lawyers and mobile clients.
  • Velocity: Ever since the invention of the telegraph, the time factor between an information request and the information retrieval/response has been shrinking. Today, the expectation is an on-demand “instantaneous” response. The velocity of information is impeded by paper and enhanced by digital information.

Think of it this way: Paper is like the cholesterol of information flow… Digitizing removes the sludge.

  • Information Governance: There are a raft of information governance issues beyond the scope of this article that drive us to digitized paper, but a central issue for law firms is establishing the official record for a matter. This means that all relevant information about a matter should be collected in one source. For law firms, that is the document management system or case management system. To get there means digitizing the paper so it can join the collection of “already digital” content you create or receive each day for any given matter.
  • Profitability: If for no other reason, go paperless because it is profitable. Even with the up-front cost to transform your systems to support a paperless office, the returns are significant.

What are some of the benefits besides those discussed above? Searching through pages and pages of digitized paper in ways that simply cannot be accomplished with a hard copy. Re-use of documents, access and sharing of documents, and controls … all mean lower costs, greater efficiency, and substantially stronger information security. Then there is the data.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure” That is certainly true with your paperless office.

Your paperless office “process controller” software should be able to collect and report on a raft of paperless-process statistics. A few examples:

  • Who is cataloging paper documents into your system of record? And how many documents are they cataloging? The “who” might be viewed as individuals or practice areas.
  • How many documents are identified for shredding? A percentage measure is important because it will disclose trends. How does this compare to the “before paperless” shredding practices?
  • How many documents are identified to be returned to practice or filed in records? Why are these paper documents being “preserved”?
  • What volume of printing is sourced from documents in your DMS or records management system?

Data can paint a very clear picture of what is happening inside your paperless office. Don’t overlook this when selecting a solution.

SUMMARY:

We’ve come a long way since the days when scanning was the means, and archiving was the end result. Today’s paperless initiatives are transforming firms into agile, efficient, and profitable organizations that are connected by digital information.

Resources to Learn More

Postmark Scan by DocSolid
Learn More: Postmark Scan
Postmark QC by DocSolid
Learn More: Postmark QC

12 12, 2018

Why QC Documents? A Practical Approach for Law Firms

2019-02-27T17:12:55-07:00 December 12th, 2018|Paper2Digital Blog|

Every law firm scans important documents, but performing quality control on the digital file is typically an informal process or done only on request. Why should a legal practice perform quality control on scanned document images at all? Or, to what extent is it even necessary?

As with many things, the real answer has many shades of gray. The question is not “do, or do not,” but “when and to what extent?”

Quality

Scanned Document Image Quality

Industry associates would argue that without a formal image QC process, the end user ends up doing the QC at the moment the scan is being used! Some have tolerance for this and others not so much. How many times have you asked for a better copy of something in the past because it is not legible or missing a page? This is irritating for the user, and it can be embarrassing for the sender, but it is not uncommon. In this instance, the QC done by the end user is “post-inspection” instead of “pre-inspection.”

Technophiles will argue that scanning hardware and software is so good, and improving, that the instances of errors are extremely rare events. This is simply not true and even low error rates are not an acceptable excuse for managers in Information Governance (IG) or the Records Department to have no quality control in place.

Truthfully, these attitudes rely on the fact that the original paper version still exists “somewhere.” What if we want to encourage getting rid of the paper altogether – either during the scan or at a later time in the process? Untold fortunes have been spent on offsite document storage because it serves as a guilt free trash can that is generally unseen. It is a costly example of “out of sight, out of mind” in a legal practice. Law firms and corporate legal departments are losing patience with the large and ever-increasing expense for offsite document storage services. Unfortunately, this problem won’t go away unless you fix it. The prerequisite for the Records Department to employ a consistent policy of shredding documents is to give everyone in the firm full confidence in the quality of the scanned image.

This is the moment when scanned image QC matters. Though laissez faire is the common attitude towards casual scanning, there are plenty of important documents scanned this way, so it does not enable a firm to proceed with confidence to shred that paper. The unsaid assumption with informal QC is that the original document is kept. However, once your law firm decides to adopt a less-paper initiative where only critical paper docs are kept, now QC is an essential part of the process. Read: actually shred and recycle paper instead of store it!

The decision in some projects is to immediately jump to the other end of the spectrum. “Let’s check every page of the original to the image.” While this is certainly thorough, have you actually tried it for more than a few documents? Tedious to say the least… and after hundreds of documents? Alternatively, is it really worth $20+ per hour, forever, to hire it out?

A Practical Approach

For each document, inspect only the first AND last page. Doing this QC with every document contains the possible errors in the process. It provides confirmation of the most essential results with three quality control checks. This is a practical approach that only takes seconds, and anyone in the firm can do it.

3 Essential QC Checks

  • The image was processed and delivered

  • The image quality is good… The inspected pages are readable and the file is not corrupted

  • The document feeder or PDF creation process was not interrupted

Rather than a binary, all-or-nothing choice, think of QC as a spectrum of options taking into consideration the casual scanning, structured scanning and even automated scanning in some cases.

A jammed document feeder caused by dog eared pages or torn pages will be the reason for the largest number of scanning errors by far. So, any completed scanning procedure (a scan that started and also finishes), will generally produce good image results because the technology is pretty good.

If a person somewhere, either the end user or an assigned person, at least touches the hard copy to compare it with the image results – however quickly – that is far better than the alternative of no quality control procedure at all. Just tracking any exceptions or issues as they are found provides the metrics to discover if a more detailed quality review procedure should be considered.

Other Best Practices:

  • Preview all pages in a thumbnail view: Dark or crumpled pages are easily seen
  • Page count before and after the scan: Can be semi-automated
  • Proactively look for probable challenges in the original physical paper document and inspect those images
  • Adopt a scientific sample size approach to testing: Inspect one document in each batch of ten, then inspect all documents in a batch if an error is found

When this approach is institutionalized, there are a few other considerations. Who does these QC steps? One answer is the person who brought the document to the party. There are other methods of quality control with structured scanning, but that is a topic for another article.

Postmark QC by DocSolid
Check Out Postmark QC

17 09, 2018

Top Five Questions About Paper Transformation in a Law Firm

2019-02-27T17:13:46-07:00 September 17th, 2018|Paper2Digital Blog|

So, you have decided you want to become the paper to digital or less paper law firm of the future. But you are not sure where to start. Getting started in the right way is a key success factor. Through our experience, we have defined five over-arching questions for you to consider with care. Answering these questions will help you create a project framework to guide your paper to digital effort.

Implementing the paper to digital law firm means establishing policies and practices at the institutional level. You must study the various areas of your firm (administrative departments and practice areas) to determine what policies and practices can be implemented across the board, and where exceptions must be made. The give-and-take between individual preferences and institutional needs can sometimes be epic.

Question 1 – The Big WHY

Not all ideas are good ideas. Converting paper into electronic format has tremendous benefits, but those benefits only come with effort. A very clear understanding of the big WHY is essential. Let’s step back and ask;

“Why are we doing this?”

Whiteboard Legal Work

Objectives like more efficient operations, access to documents anytime from anywhere, improved information governance, or reduce off-site storage costs are typical tactical answers.

What about strategic benefits? Do you want to be a more agile law practice, or deliver better client services, or simply be the innovative law firm of the future?

Understanding the big WHY, or WHYs plural, means being honest about the burden that paper places on your business. Paper makes an organization sluggish. Think about it… You move it around, you store it, you retrieve it, you even lose track of it sometimes.

In today’s competitive market, there is no room for a sluggish law firm. Recognizing the costs, risks and inefficiencies of paper in your legal practice is how you and your colleagues will come to realize and articulate your big WHY.

Question 2 – Paper Paper Everywhere, but what’s the most important?

Your paper to digital effort will grow and eventually you will consume the entire paper monster. But you cannot begin there… First, you should decide which paper you will focus on when beginning your paper to digital project.

Let’s start with a hard look at which paper makes your firm sluggish. Paper can generally be divided into a back-file, which is paper that you are keeping but not actively working with, and active files, which is the paper used to conduct day-to-day business. Back-file paper typically will not make your firm sluggish unless it is constantly retrieved from storage. If that is the case, it probably means the paper was moved into storage too soon.

The Paper2Digital Law Firm

The paper that makes your firm sluggish is the paper you deal with day-to-day. It exists in the practice and it exists in the back office for administrative purposes. It is the paper received by mail or courier and it is also the paper printed from files received electronically. It is paper that is read, filed, retrieved, marked up, delivered to clients, and more. The paper you will focus on for your paper to digital initiative is related to active files.

Question 3 – Will your people change their habits?

The habits around paper-handling usually start in preschool. The method users apply to managing the paper in an active file are just as permanent and will vary from attorney to attorney, and practice area to practice area. The desire to have the a physical document in-hand, or at-hand, is very strong indeed.

One of the biggest challenges with the digital transformation of a law firm is getting folks to change their habits. Firms must move from a collection of fastidious paper filers, to a consortium of filers who all agree to follow the rules that institutionalize how the firm manages paper. To become both digital centric and paper smart requires everyone to work towards that shared objective. Three ingredients are essential: Senior partner/executive endorsement, Initial training at rollout, Ongoing communication/reinforcement. We will delve into those topics further in other posts.

Question 4 – Will your people use the technology?  

The habits around technology are similar to the challenges around paper-handling. Some users embrace technology, while others choose to avoid it and have as little contact as possible. Implementing a paper to digital initiative in a law firm means implementing technology which moves the firm from individual process and practice to institutional forms of the same. This assumes all participants achieve the same baseline of technology fluency. It will be easy for some users to achieve the required fluency, while others will simply need more help.

Question 5  – Will your firm adopt new policies to support new practices?

A successful less paper effort must be supported by policies that drive paper to digital practices.  A key example is your firm’s policy around shredding of paper. Will the firm sanction shredding? Will it be mandatory? Will it occur immediately after scanning? Will the electronic matter record be the “official record” for all matters?

The polices are not the hard part. Gaining consensus and the promise to support new policies is the challenge. It means that custodians of the paper must commit to new methods, new technology, and new attitudes towards the work they do every day.

15 03, 2017

DocSolid’s 2017 ILTA Roadshow is coming to your city!

2018-04-04T17:21:48-07:00 March 15th, 2017|Paper2Digital Blog|

War Stories – Making the Business Case for Going Digital

The cost and risk of paper records are a severe business burden, negatively impacting the daily workflow of legal attorneys and staff, inflating real estate needs, impeding information governance, and perpetuating offsite records storage. Law firms must address both inbound paper as well as the document prints from the firm’s DMS to close the digital and physical records gap.

We know this, but how can we build the business case and related initiative to solve this? What can you take to your firm’s executive committee to make the case for going digital?

To read more about the 2017 Roadshows and to see dates and locations, click here.

 

8 05, 2014

Keys for Firm-wide, Best Practice Scanning

2019-02-27T17:20:03-07:00 May 8th, 2014|Paper2Digital Blog, Steve's Blog|

Recently we collaborated with a consulting group to document keys we identify for a successful, firm-wide, best-practice scanning solution. Here goes:

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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
3 08, 2013

Scanbition Framework 5: Start with Accounting

2013-08-03T16:59:01-07:00 August 3rd, 2013|Paper2Digital Blog, Steve's Blog|

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 consulting@docsolid.com , or use the information request form at the Contact Us page at our web site.

5 07, 2013

Scanbition Framework 4: Scan and Shred Closed Matters

2013-07-05T12:26:09-07:00 July 5th, 2013|Paper2Digital Blog, Steve's Blog|

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

For more information on this and other Scanbition Frameworks, contact consulting@docsolid.com , or use the information request form at the Contact Us page at our web site.

19 06, 2013

Scanbition Framework 3: Scan and Maintain the File Room

2018-11-17T18:45:31-07:00 June 19th, 2013|Paper2Digital Blog, Steve's Blog|

Scan and Maintain the File Room

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 third of these Scanbition Frameworks, is called ‘Scan and Maintain the File Room.’

This framework is based on the principle of accommodating the old-school culture of paper, while going digital.  Using the Scan and Maintain the File Room framework, a firm profiles and scans to the DMS all incoming paper documents, but still manages a hardcopy Redweld (paper file) during the matter’s active lifecycle. The firm may choose to keep a paper file for every matter, or only for the designated matters for which the attorney has a paper preference.

DocSolid’s survey with over one hundred firms shows that about half of the attorney population today prefers working with a paper file, and the other half wants everything digital and available from the DMS. So the Scan and Maintain the File Room approach runs a dual system during the active lifecycle of the matter, to do both. This avoids any catfights or adoption curve with attorneys who prefer to work with paper.

When the matter is retired, all related paper is already scanned, profiled, and in the DMS, and after a QC and retirement process the paper can be shredded. This results in substantial hard savings by eliminating long term records storage, and unifying overall retention and disposition practices – everything is digital. Operationally, there is less cost reduction up front because a paper file room operation needs to be maintained. But as the years pass, the digital advantages of image retrieval sell themselves across the firm, and paper-preferring attorneys gradually jump on the digital bandwagon.

DocSolid’s account, Royston Razor, is an example of the Scan and Maintain the File Room approach. Their Scanbition Framework was based on a commitment to enterprise scanning, with an integrated scanning plan that actually started in accounting, then rolled out to the practice areas. But rather than force use of images onto every practice, Scan and Maintain the File Room enabled them to accommodate digital and paper preferences from the start. And as you’ll see in the case study, Royston grew their scanning muscle to the point where they tackled their old offsite records as well, eventually eliminating all offsite storage.

Scan and Maintain the File Room is an effective Scanbition Framework for firms with these objectives:

  • Reduce offsite storage costs
  • Accommodate both paper and digital work preferences
  • Establish an enterprise scanning platform for gradual transition to a paper free operation

For more information on this and other Scanbition Frameworks, contact consulting@docsolid.com , or use the information request form at the Contact Us page at our web site.