‘Attorney at Work’ is an excellent site providing small firms “One Really Good Idea Every Day.” Here’s our article posted with them providing tips for smaller firms who want to implement best practice scanning.
I was speaking to one of our new customers recently. Their rollout had just begun with a pilot of 100 users. As a large corporate legal environment, projects move more deliberately than in our traditional law firm customers.
My contact, David was happily reporting the positive reception the users were giving KwikTag. Our tagging method was proving popular because it enabled the legal staff there do the profiling and their FM to do the scanning. This separation of “church and state”, seen at many of our law firm customers was evident even in the corporate world.
David recounted a demonstration that his boss, Joe provided to some visiting FM folks who were checking on this very high profile account. Besides KwikTag, the FM had included eCopy embedded into many of their new machines. One of its features enables users to profile a document standing at the copier for delivery into iManage.
The demo consisted of standing at the copier and entering the profile information at the control panel using the embedded software and the keypad of the device. This process took 6 minutes, for a single document. Fortunately, Joe only had one document because he would have to repeat the steps for a second.
Joe then walked over to his desk, used his desktop with its iManage client and full sized keyboard to profile a document. Then walked over to the same copier, selected KwikTag as the scan destination and hit go. This process took 2 minutes. he pointed out that he could have profiled multiple documents at his desk and then dropped in the whole stack to send to KwikTag.
Joe’s demo was a way of asking the obvious question: Why would someone stand at a copier to profile, when they could sit at their desk and have someone else scan for them?
Here at DocSolid, we’re proud of the fact that we are able to see the paper problem in a different way. Focusing on people rather than technology. But even we get reminded that our brains make decisions for us without our knowledge.
Holly Green, a contributor at Forbes.com provides us with a short test as an example of this idea.
We’ve had some interesting discussions already in the first two cities of this year’s ILTA Roadshow, “What’s Your Scanbition? Scan with a Plan.“ Scanbition is our latest coined word from DocSolid, intended to challenge our thinking about why the legal industry is still overburdened with paper, despite having a scanner on every corner. Scanbition is a specific plan for firm-wide scan capture. Scanbition is hard to find. In Cleveland, the audience generally agreed that their firms didn’t have an implemented or stated Scanbition. So the question was asked: Why not, you knuckleheads? (more…)
‘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?
Law firms are discovering they need Scanbition to harness the potential of document scanning and overcome their paper burden. DocSolid has presented to nearly 100 law firms in its ILTA Road Show around the country this year regarding enterprise scanning. What do we mean by ‘enterprise scanning’ and why do we even have to define this solution concept?
First, let’s set the stage. We asked our attendees these questions, and got these answers, with at least a 95% answer rate:
|Does your firm scan paper?||
|Does your firm manage a file room, and do attorneys use paper files?||
|Do you scan more paper than you file? Do you scan more paper than you send offsite?||
|Do you operate an enterprise scanning best practice?||
Bottom line: We know law firms manage too much paper, and they all have baseline scanning capability. Yet almost none of the law firms we talk to have an operating plan for enterprise scanning that is intended to overcome their paper burden. They’re not even trying, as if it’s not possible. But it is possible!
Here’s DocSolid’s definition of Enterprise Scanning for a law firm:
Why isn’t your firm doing this?
Here’s DocSolid’s definition of Scanbition for a law firm:
It is surprising that most firms don’t have Scanbition. DocSolid’s upcoming release of KwikTag Legal can help you get there. But, as proven by a few of our Scanbitious, successful firms, Scanbition takes a plan and commitment, and plays out in a multi-year pursuit, based on these ingredients:
Workers in today’s office have access to scan devices, but this does very little to reduce the volume of paper surrounding them. Copiers can scan, networks are fast, image file storage is manageable, PDF viewers are on every desktop… so why are we still burdened by paper records, without so much as a plan to approach the paper-free office?
DocSolid scanthropologists have studied this problem, and define the stages of enterprise scanning evolution as follows:
The first stage, No Scanning, is a stage most offices have moved past. No more knuckle dragging. Digital copiers, multifunctional printers, and desktop scanners gave us basic scanning to move to the second evolutionary state, Casual Scanning. Casual Scanning, the first appearance of upright mobility, is primarily scanning images to our own email inbox or to a network scan folder. This is good for occasional needs to digitize paper. When we figure out how to apply security and application integration to our scan jobs, and add to that the ability to scan stacks of documents, we move into the realm of Repetitive Scanning – and finally get a meaningful group of images onto the electronic platform.
Careful now, because without a best practice approach towards enterprise scanning, Scanarchy is likely to set in as we evolve forward from Repetitive Scanning. Scanarchy ushers in the first appearance of weapons. You can learn about Scanarchy in our white paper (here). When the organization applies the best practices necessary evolve past Scanarchy, it can evolve to Enterprise Scan Capture, and begin to benefit from paper-free operations.
Most organizations today are stuck between Casual and Repetitive scanning. Heavy-duty, process based scan capture is a basement operation, dedicated to one job. To broaden adoption of scan-capture for front office work, you must integrate it into your business infrastructure and human workflows.
Having cultivated the infrastructure necessary for scanning availability, it is important to recognize that there are still evolutionary obstacles to solving scan-capture needs in the enterprise. Identifying and tackling these remaining obstacles users is the next evolutionary stage of enterprise scanning.
Here are the evolutionary challenges to advancing:
Does this sound hard? Why? We’ve done it for copying and printing at the same machines!
The laws of natural selection apply to scanning. Mankind has the tools to evolve solutions to move paper onto our electronic platform. And that, my friends, is Scanthropology 101.
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…
Paper has a major head start, let’s catch up.