It’s Digitize India Before Digital India!

by January 14, 2016 0 comments

The full potential of a Digital India can only be realized when all information is made available anytime, anywhere, to anyone, and on any device. Sadly, this is still a distant reality as a lot of information in most organizations continues to lie in silos, and a major chunk of it is still on paper.

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Anil Chopra, Editor anilc@cybermedia.co.in, @anilchop on twitter

Information digitization should therefore be one of the pre-requisites to digital transformation for most organizations, including (and especially) the Govt. It’s an area that doesn’t usually get much visibility in media, but that doesn’t undermine its importance.
Organizations must digitize their records, not only to reduce paper, but to ensure smooth flow of information. This is easier said than done, since you’re dealing with huge volumes of information. It requires careful planning, a robust process right from scanning a document to processing it and making it available where required. Here are 5 key things to do to lead a successful digitization journey:

1. Understand your Key Motivators
In order to frame a digitization strategy, it’s critical to first assess and identify your key motivators. Is it to provide easy access to data and information? Or do you need to simply lower your process costs, like manpower resources that manage your paper based processes, cost of paper itself, etc.? Another motivation could be to empower your customers with access to documents on their own, like an insurance company providing customer policy documents online or a govt. department providing citizen information like ITRs, land records, etc. online.

2. Define Your Digitization Priorities
Next step is to define the digitization priorities for your organization. Do you need a document management system to handle the deluge of documents? Or do you need a workflow automation system for a particular business process? You could also look at digitization to improve customer communication and quality of customer service.

3. Understand What to Digitize
What to digitize comes next, and determines the entire digitization process. An IT/ITeS company for instance, would need to digitize service records, purchase orders and contracts. A retail organization on the other hand might have huge inventory records, vendor payables, and customer service records. The BFSI segment on the other hand needs to digitize new customer acquisition forms, claims processing, and customer service records to name a few. Education institutes would have answer sheets from test papers, student and staff records, or academia transcripts; while manufacturing companies would have accounts payable, engineering change notices, manufacturing records, or ordering and fulfillment records. The Indian govt. has a whole deluge of paper based documents to digitize, be it citizen records, land records, administrative records, Legal and court records, etc.

4. Select your Hardware
It’s after all this that selection of hardware and software kicks in. In hardware, the most critical component is a document scanner (which is different from a routine flatbed scanner). Here, you could opt for a large, centrally-placed scanner and send all documents to it for digitization, like in an insurance company. Or, you could look at separate scanners for each department or a dealer/distributor network. A large automotive organization for instance, could issue document scanners to its dealers to digitize all their paper based documents from sale, service, inventory, etc.
Besides scanners, you also the right amount of storage, since you’ll be dealing with large volumes of digitized data. Security is also critical here to ensure that the digitized information does not fall into the wrong hands.

5. Choose your Software
Choice of software depends upon the process you’re automating and how you want the information to flow, the level of tagging to be done for each document, whether OCR is required or not, and which of your enterprise applications need to be integrated to it. Accuracy of digitized data is another area of concern and should be looked at carefully.
There are enough digitization successful cases out there whose RoI speaks for itself, and since everything is going digital, why should documents remain on paper? It’s time to transform.
Wish you a great new year ahead!

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