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8 05, 2014

Keys for Firm-wide, Best Practice Scanning

2019-02-27T17:20:03+00:00 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
31 01, 2014

Scan v Store for Law Firms – Study and Whitepaper

2018-06-28T00:36:02+00:00 January 31st, 2014|Steve's Blog|

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.

Scan v Store White Paper v 1

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.

3 08, 2013

Scanbition Framework 5: Start with Accounting

2013-08-03T16:59:01+00:00 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+00:00 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+00:00 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.

2 06, 2013

Scanbition Framework 2: Target Image Enthusiasts

2019-03-09T00:50:07+00:00 June 2nd, 2013|Paper2Digital Blog, Steve's Blog|

Target Image Enthusiasts 

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 second of these Scanbition Frameworks, is called ‘Target Image Enthusiasts.’

Target Image Enthusiasts is an effective Scanbition Framework for firms with these objectives:

  • Measured rollout of enterprise scanning, based on user advocacy
  • Soften the cultural change by dealing with scanning-eager practice groups first
  • Generate independent internal success stories for practice groups enabled with imaging

This framework is based on the principles of adoption, specifically that eager participants in document scanning and image viewing are going to be the most successful, and that laggards are going to need collegial success stories to embrace the change. Using the Target Image Enthusiasts framework, a firm implements an approach of profiling and scanning to the DMS all incoming paper documents, but only for the practice group(s) that are eager to remove paper from their operations. Then, based on project success in these practice areas, the rollout begins to each of the next practice groups who want to hop on board.

This is a ‘farming’ approach to enterprise scanning and image viewing, but don’t confuse it with a trial. A trial implies that the decision to proceed is dependent on results or impressions. Target Image Enthusiasts presumes a commitment to enterprise scanning, and uses this method to contain cultural resistance while a rollout spreads. The practice groups who start scanning go digital, replacing their paper files with images integrated to the electronic DMS matter. Attorneys get the big benefit of integrated images in the electronic matter, where they belong. And the staff fits the scanning workflow into their daily disciplines.

DocSolid’s account, Mendes & Mount, LLC, is an example of the Target Image Enthusiasts approach. Their Scanbition Framework was based on a commitment to enterprise scanning, with a plan to roll out based on practice by practice steps forward.

Target Image Enthusiasts gives eager adopters the image solution they’ve been clamoring for, and engages them in the success of the overall project as participants, an active source for solution improvements, and advocates. They become the stakeholders that spark the project forward. This is a safer approach than the imposition of a Scan and Retire the File Room framework, but the ROI is softer because the rest of the firm is still dealing with paper records in the conventional manner.

For more information on this and other Scanbition Frameworks, connect with us on the Contact Us page at our web site.

3 05, 2013

Scanbition Framework 1: Scan and Retire the File Room

2018-11-17T18:00:53+00:00 May 3rd, 2013|Paper2Digital Blog, Steve's Blog|

Scan and Retire the File Room

As part of our series on enterprise scanning initiatives, DocSolid documents five different approaches that our customers have used successfully, to get started and grow serious scanning across the organization. Our first of these Scanbition Frameworks, is called ‘Scan and Retire the File Room.’

Scan and Retire the File Room is the most aggressive approach to an enterprise scanning initiative. The premise is that all incoming paper headed for the file room will instead be scanned, profiled and stored in the DMS. Then the paper is retired (a process that leads to shredding), along with the file room. Workflow is established to channel inbound paper documents, usually to the legal secretary, but possibly through Records or an extended mailroom operation. After documents are scanned, profiled and stored in the DMS, they are distributed electronically, if required. After scanning, the paper proceeds through a process that applies records retention and destruction policy. Quality controls check that the scanning process has properly captured the paper digitally. The few types of paper documents that must be retained physically are separated out. Eventually, based on a firm’s policy, the bulk of the paper can be shredded.

The result is that previously managed paper records are now available digitally from the DMS, as part of the active electronic matter file. Attorneys and staff become much more efficient because the entire matter is managed, retrieved and shared from the DMS. File room operations become largely unnecessary and can eventually be shut down, or greatly reduced. The square footage dedicated to file space is eventually erased, as is the corresponding cost for such real estate. And the flow of paper to offsite storage is shut off, along with that cost. Lots of ROI in cost reduction and productivity improvements.

KwikTag Legal is used by a top 50 law firm customer, Dechert, LLP (See: Case Study) in the Scan and Retire the File Room method, and they have surpassed their original ROI targets, based on real estate cost reductions related to file room square footage and on-site paper storage. This firm has also applied their scanning operations to pull back and scan the most recent years of offsite records, and has achieved significant long term cost reductions in this area as well. For attorneys who still want to work with a paper file, a request is sent to Records, who re-prints and delivers the paper – but this method of work is in continual decline.

Scan and Retire the File Room delivers a high-impact ROI. Its aggressive approach to enterprise scanning requires strong executive backing because of the change and cultural adjustments it brings. And this framework needs a powerful new scanning operation, and tight workflows for capture. KwikTag Legal’s separation of profiling and scanning workflows enable the kind of productivity, integrity and automatic process audits necessary for such a big undertaking. The customer mentioned above uses their facilities management company, DTI, to run the scanning and QC operation – like clockwork.

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

  • Reduce the real estate and other costs for paper file rooms and storage
  • Office moves to smaller square footage space
  • Improve the efficiency of the attorneys and staff by building a fully electronic matter file

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.

18 04, 2013

Scanbition Frameworks – Your Plan for Enterprise Scanning

2013-04-18T04:00:17+00:00 April 18th, 2013|Paper2Digital Blog, Steve's Blog|

When a law firm determines it wants to get serious about scanning (the onset of Scanbition), it generally has an initial and a long term objective. For long term objectives we hear of 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.’

‘Start’ is the key word. ‘How do we start?’ How do you move from tedious, one-document-at-a-time scanning, to scanning all the 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. Enterprise scanning 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?

–          Can we receive and manage it so that our scan capture workflow is sure to get it all?

–          Who profiles the documents into the DMS? Who scans?

–          How do we apply security, process integrity and QC to the overall job?

–          How do we intersect with Records policy?

–          When do we engage the Records staff?

–          Do we shred? How? When?

–          How do we measure our productivity in the project?

–          How do we measure ROI?

–          What staffing, infrastructure and application resources are required?

–          Who owns this new operation?

To tackle these constructive questions, and others, you must develop an approach to the project that marries the overall objectives with the firm’s culture about paper, with the ROI targets, and investment resources. To jump start the approach, DocSolid offers our Scanbition Frameworks. These frameworks put your project into an operating context, based on your objectives. How do you start? Pick a Scanbition Framework!

  1. Scan and Retire File Room
  2. Target Image Enthusiasts
  3. Scan and Maintain the File Room
  4. Scan and Shred Closed Matters
  5. Start with Accounting

Our upcoming blogs will detail each Framework.

25 03, 2013

Wake Up from Scanesthesia!

2018-04-04T17:32:30+00:00 March 25th, 2013|Paper2Digital Blog, Steve's Blog|

Scanesthesia is the latest addition to our Scanthology dictionary of scanning terms. Scanesthesia is a common condition in law firms, characterized by a sleepy acceptance of the relentless accumulation of paper,  despite the general availability of scanning. So, almost all law firms have casual (walk-up) scanning at their copiers and mfp’s, and this type of scanning has been in place for years. Yet paper burdens continue, taking up space in offices, hallway boxes and file rooms. Growing the mountain of offsite storage. Straining the attorneys and staff with slow, unreliable and un-automated paper file retrievals. This is about a big cost that can be reduced. This is about productivity drain that can be eliminated.

Our 2013 ILTA Roadshow addresses Scanesthesia head on, explaining why we have it, and what we can do about it. In addition to case studies on enterprise scanning – as a best practice, we’ll pass on tips about:

  • How to wean attorneys from paper file dependency
  • How to get the staff to go ‘all-in’ for scanning
  • How to incorporate paper document destruction in your records practices

And we are accumulating tips on these topics from our audience, and assembling a summary Field Report at the end of the Roadshow.  Or write to me at sirons@docsolid.com with your Field Report!