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Baby steps: getting document capture right (part 2)

June 4, 2012

Last post, I kicked off a series on how to get document capture right if you’re one of the many organizations struggling with it right now.

To do that, I shared a diagram that maps out a four step maturity model, from paper based, manual processing, to born digital, fully automated processing. And although it’s not rocket science by any means, I probably pull it out of my tool belt once a week and scrawl it on the whiteboard to help organizations understand the path they need to take to improve their document capture capabilities. I’ve found it to be a simple, powerful way to structure organizational thinking about how to address the opportunities for using document capture to improve front- and back-office operations.

Figure 1 – Process Management Maturity Model

In this post and the next, I want to walk through some ways that I’ve seen organizations use it to contribute to their efforts to get document capture right:

  • Triage
  • Roadmap development
  • Business case development
  • Marketing and communications


One of the most daunting tasks of getting document capture right is where to start. If you’re 15+years behind in your capture capabilities, there’s typically going to be what we ECM practitioners refer to as a crapload of business areas and process in dire need of improved capture capabilities. And if you’re 15+ years behind in your capture capabilities, you’re also likely to be what we ECM practitioners refer to as super crappy at delivering new capture capabilities effectively and efficiently—c’mon, you haven’t done so in recent memory, after all, what makes you think you’ll all of a sudden be able to do any differently?

Keeping all this in mind, one of the most important things you’ll need to do is to have a transparent, reasonable, defensible methodology for determining what to do first, second, third, and so on. This is important for a few reasons:

  • In case no one is interested – it gives you a justification for getting upper management buy in to force/strongly encourage participation
  • In case everyone is interested – it gives you a rational explanation for why enthusiastic business leader X must wait 18 months to get her improved document capture capabilities
  • In case it all hits the fan at some point (and it will) – it gives you a crisp data point to explain some of your decision making…which won’t get you completely out of the ditch, but, trust me, at that point, you’ll be thankful for any and all evidence of having employed a reasoned, thoughtful decision making process to help you out

The model I’ve presented in a key input into this methodology by giving you a yardstick to measure each business unit and/or process against, i.e., where do they currently fall against these four categories? They may all fall in category one, in which case you get no real value out of it at this point (and you need to rely on other criteria).

But at most organizations that struggle with document capture, there is at least some spread among categories when you plot business processes and areas against this model, which can then be used (in conjunction with other criteria, such as process/area footprint, risk, value, influence, and so on) to make decisions about sequence.

Roadmap development

Once you’ve figured out what should come first, second, third, etc., you need to turn that into an actionable plan, which is where roadmap development comes in. It’s all well and good to have a sequential list of business units and/or processes to indicate the order you plan to address them, but to make that of any use, you need to flesh that out into a program plan that shows duration of each project and any interdependencies.

Now, if you’ve already laid your business areas and/or processes against the four categories of the model, a good bit of your work is already done—you’ve got the as-is version of the organization’s document capture environment.

What you do next is to take key milestones in your roadmap (6, 12, 18, 24 months for example) and show how your organization’s document capture environment changes at each point, as shown in the figure below.

Figure 2 – Process Management Maturity Roadmap

As you can see, this allows you to not only show what gets done when (which is Roadmap 101), but tie that back to your model for maturing your document capture capabilities (which is Traceability 101, but more like Roadmap 203).

The final word

Okay, so let’s take a pause for the cause before we forge ahead, and in the meantime (as usual), I’d love to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly from you all out there…dive in and let’s get fired up about document capture, people!

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