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Baby steps: document capture done right (part 3)

June 18, 2012

Right now, I’m in the middle of a series of posts on how to get document capture right if you’re one of the many organizations struggling with it.

To do that, in the first post, 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 the last post, I began presenting 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

In this post I want to wrap things up by taking a look at the last two on this list.

Business case development

As we saw last post with building a roadmap, this model is not the silver bullet you might be looking for: it’s going to take a lot more than these four categories to build an effective business case. You’ll need basic things like estimated costs (how many people, for how long, at what cost; hardware, software, and implementation; technical and non-technical support, etc.) and projected benefits (business case 101), but also softer things like alignment to corporate priorities and strategic goals, risk impact, and so on.

But what this model gives you is another angle on the business case, a larger context that can take all those hard facts and figures and line them up in a progression from where we are now to where we (say we) want to go. Yes, something may make financial sense, but do we want to do it? Is it aligned with who we are as an organization? Does it get us to a better (not just a cheaper or more efficient) place?

This model doesn’t answer these questions, but it provides another point of view on them that I’ve seen be very helpful in getting organizations to answer them.

Marketing and communications

Finally, once you’ve gotten all the rest of this project planning and execution work done, you’ve still got to make sure folks out in the wider world of your organization know what the heck you’re doing and why they should care and get them excited about it to boot.

And while this model can’t be the only marketing and communication collateral you use, it’ll be a powerful one, because it takes all the very complicated (and frankly, pretty mind-numbing) details of your document capture plan and nets them out into a very business relevant (and therefore business friendly) graphic that tells someone crisply what you’re up to. They’ll eventually need to see more and get into the weeds a bit, but for an overview/elevator pitch, this is hard to beat.

The final word

So there you have it: one consultant’s opinion on how to get your document capture strategy right. Excited to hear what you all think of it, what some of your own experiences in this space are, and to get into vigorous debate—so dive in, and let’s get started!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. jeremy beard permalink
    June 26, 2012 4:31 pm

    I’m finding more and more that the plan that is presented in the most simple way is the one that wins (or gets buy in or whatever you’re trying to do) so I’m always looking for better ways to do this. People either don’t have the time to do research, or don’t make the time, and it seems like it’s getting worse. So, the elevator speech / first impression is so critical, even when their requirements are complex.

    • June 26, 2012 5:04 pm

      Totally agree. I often joke that our deliverables, which are presented in a full-color, 11×17 format with lots of infographics and figures, are “simple enough for an executive to understand,” which always gets a laugh…even from execs. But it’s true: most folks, execs especially, have so much going on that you need to really net things out in a way that they can take in, digest, and decide on fairly quickly, but without watering the content down so much that it no longer has any meaning.

      Anyway, thanks for diving in and sharing your thoughts–right on, as always Jeremy!

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