Independently or as part of an IBM i paperless processing system, document management software provides many significant benefits to an organization. Most organizations can enjoy the following six benefits after installing an IBM i document management package.
- Major cost reductions
- Professional forms design
- Multiple delivery options
- Secure delivery
- Digitized archiving, retrieval, and resending
- Report and auditing capabilities
For the next two weeks, I’ll look at these benefits and explain how a good document management solution can help organizations reduce costs, better service their customers, and become more efficient. I’ll cover the first three benefits this week and the last three benefits next week.
What Does an IBM i Document Management System Do?
An IBM i document management systems digitizes, delivers, and archives electronic forms containing IBM i data. A good document management system provides the following capabilities.
- A forms generation module that allows you to design or import B2B- and B2C-oriented electronic form templates such as invoices, purchase orders, bank statements, and patient forms
- The ability to merge electronic form templates with IBM i data, generating completed documents that can be delivered to customers, business partners, and other entities as PDF files
- An archival and auditing function that stores delivered forms for later review, retrieval, and redelivery
Electronic forms usually have graphical elements such as logos, pictures, bar codes, and signatures. They are delivered and archived as PDF files for permanent storage without alternation.
The Big Six Benefits, Part one
Here’s how each of the major benefits listed above affects an organization.
1 – Major cost reductions
According to various studies, installing a document management system can shave up to 15% off an organization’s annual costs. Replacing paper document handling with electronic documents can have a major impact on the bottom line, particularly in the following areas.
- Continuous and multi-part form costs
- Printing costs
- Mailing costs
- Fax machine costs
- Storage costs for on- and off-site archival document storage
- Staff time for organizing, filing, and retrieving paper forms
- Customer wait time while relevant forms are being retrieved
- Document destruction costs
- Paper waste and recycling costs
To get a feel for just how much an organization can save with electronic forms, check out my post on calculating the ROI for purchasing electronic forms software. Document management systems such as my FormFlex software are inexpensive investments that provide large cost reductions for almost any size organization.
2 – Professional Forms Design
It’s important to remember that IBM i forms are marketing pieces. Whether it’s an invoice, bank statement, or patient record, every document an organization sends out represents that organization to its customers. It’s critical that electronic forms are as crisp and professional looking as an organization’s other customer-facing material, such as brochures, ads, or Web pages.
Most document management systems include form editing modules where an organization can import or create form templates to use when sending out electronic documents. This allows them to use any of the following groups to create high-quality form templates that match the same logos, image quality, branding, and legal standards that apply to its other customer-facing materials.
- IBM i forms design vendors that offer turnkey services – Many IBM i document management vendors offer turnkey services, where they provide professional designers for converting existing pre-printed forms into electronic form templates.
- Professional design firms – An organization can use the same designers they use for their other marketing materials to design form templates, and then import those templates into their IBM i document management system.
- In-house graphics department – For organizations with internal graphic design functions, those same groups can design form templates that can again, be imported into your document management systems.
IBM i document management systems provide organizations with the flexibility to create and use high-quality form templates for sending out customer-facing documents, using the same professional design teams and standards that are used for any other customer-facing document.
3 – Multiple Delivery Options
Most document management packages provide multiple delivery options for IBM i documents.
IBM i forms are digitized as PDF files, allowing documents to be electronically delivered by email, e-faxing, or posting directly to Web sites and file servers. Text-searchable PDF documents can be automatically archived for organization-wide access to quickly search, view, and resend forms.
IBM i document delivery can be automated for unattended generation and delivery in batch jobs, without using the IBM i job scheduler or a third-party job scheduling package. Many document management vendors provide their own built-in job scheduler for document generation and delivery. Documents can also be generated and delivered using standard IBM i functions, including Data Queues and embedded APIs.
Using document management software, organizations can deliver documents using the best delivery method for its customers, reaching customers through several different channels.
Next: Benefits 4 through 6
These are only half of the benefits an organization receives when they implement a document management system. Next week, I’ll look at some additional benefits. In the meantime, be sure to check out the other relevant articles involving document management that I’ve linked to below.
See our IBM i Paperless Products in Action!!