Your company processes thousands of mortgage applications every year. To improve operations and the accuracy of data gathered from the applications, your senior management team has decided to implement smart document capture software to save money and remain competitive. You have been chosen to help transition the company’s processes and help the team begin using the new software.

One of the exciting and highly anticipated results of moving to smart document capture software is the elimination of the antiquated records management system currently in place. Your company currently keeps thousands or millions of paper documents that hold unstructured information that could be valuable to various departments. It also takes up a lot of space and requires manual data entry. The new software will allow your company to save money spent on space and human resources that could be used by other areas of the company. The plan is to perfect the new business process before rolling it out to the company at large. You have some time until the software is purchased and installed. To prepare for the automation process and digital transformation, you decide to make an analysis of the documents received by the mailroom and study how the software will work for you.

Business team trying to make decisions and realizing that they need smart document capture software to facilitate their process.

1. Understand the Software

What do you need to know about smart document capture software? Document capture software solutions have been around for some time, but not all of them have the same features and benefits. Smart document capture software assists with the automation of your organization’s document management process by making meaning out of unstructured data for use by decision-makers in your organization.

The best document capture software can ingest documents from multiple sources:

  • Scanners
  • Email
  • Chat
  • Copiers
  • Printers
  • Faxes/e-Faxes
  • Mobile devices
  • Multi-Function Peripherals (MFPs)

Smart document capture solutions ingest paper and electronic documents. Documents are uploaded for processing using OCR, or Optical Character Recognition, to determine what type of documents they are.

Software like Ephesoft Transact uses OCR to read each document or sets of documents and compares what it is reading with what it already knows. For example, if your bank receives mortgage documents by the tens of thousands each year, the software can review the information contained in the documents, pausing only for validation of characters that fall below a defined confidence level.

Your organization may use the smart document capture interface designed by the software company to scan documents, or it may continue to scan documents into existing proprietary systems while software robots work behind the scenes to read the documents and capture data.

Learn more about the software’s capabilities for the mortgage industry at our Mortgage Solutions page.

2. Analyze the Documents

If you work in the mailroom, you already have a feel for the large volume of paper documents that are opened and cataloged every day before distribution to the various areas of the company. It is also likely that at least some of the documents being sent to the company are coming in via electronic means like eFax or email. Some documents will be correspondence that requires no action other than noting when it has been received and routing it to the recipient or department. Other documents represent the first in a series of steps that drive the business processes of your company.

The first thing to do is to determine the number of documents and versions of those documents that are received. Answer the following questions:

  • How many documents are delivered to the mailroom per day/month/week and year?
  • How are the documents received?
  • How much time is spent opening and cataloging each document?
  • How many versions of each document are in use? Are the designs similar?
  • Which business processes are fed by those documents?
  • Is there any new hardware needed to support the transition to smart document capture software?

Once you know the volume and details of all documents and the critical business processes that are represented by those documents, you can begin to narrow down what to incorporate in a pilot project. Conducting a pilot project with a discrete portion of your total volume or a single document type allows you to control and test the outcome of the new process with minimal impact on current operations.

Depending on the volume of paper documents coming to your company, you may need to examine the hardware needed to properly scan the documents for processing by your smart capture software. Work with your IT department to assess what is needed and the costs of needed machines.

Closeup of Businesswoman Filing Documents at her White Worktable with Calculator and a Cup for Coffee. Captured Inside the Office.

3. Conduct a Pilot Project

With preparations now in place, you should be ready to conduct a pilot project when the software is installed. The advantage of performing a pilot project before a wider roll-out of the software is that the results will show you adjustments that need to be made and help you project what will happen with other business processes. This reduces the potential for less than optimal results and lost trust with key stakeholders.

First, pick a department or business unit that will be most successful. This is often a department like Accounts Payable (AP), Account Onboarding, Human Resources or Contracts that have large volumes of incoming and outgoing documents.

Next, work with the development team to test the software with a very small sample of documents to verify that there are no unexpected problems. Set the software’s confidence levels for the documents that are to be read and determine how realistic those settings are with your actual documentation.

Software like Ephesoft Transact uses supervised machine learning to improve accuracy for identifying the document type. This keeps human intervention to validate information to a minimum. Record the new workflow and compare with the old one so that you can prepare users for how processes they are familiar with have changed.

4. Gathering Data and Managing Change

Consider how the results will be demonstrated to management and any other key personnel. Frame the wins and the areas for improvement with processed data. Ephesoft Transact has an available Advanced Reporting module that can provide data about document assembly, extraction and other analytics that allow users to customize settings. Review the time the new process takes versus the old process and translate that into savings. Include the experiences of those who participated in the pilot. What did they appreciate about the software features? What confused them? What can be changed or enhanced before rolling out the software on a larger scale? Understanding the pain points of the jobs that touch the new automated process is key to set everyone up for success.

5. Plan Your Roll-out

Consider the remaining documents and processes for transition to document capture. Expand the team to include personnel from business units whose work tasks will be impacted so that they can contribute information about their busy seasons, budgets, customers and staffing. Find document owners who participate in document design so that they can help plan for changes in next-generation documents that will improve the OCR document read.

Before scheduling smart document capture for customers in highly regulated or compliance-driven industries, review contracts that have service-level-agreements (SLAs) and expected minimum quality standards. Create a communication plan for your primary contacts so they understand how smart document capture software will benefit their processes. Share data about the pilot project and your plan for a smooth transition from the current process to the new process. Be sure to update those stakeholders regularly, address concerns quickly and share progress with your management team.

Update or create new policies that reflect new processes, including implementation of controls over document repositories and document retention. Finally, distribute a calendar of documents and processes scheduled for transition to all departments. Provide training and support documents to all users.  Meet with anyone who will have access to the document repository created to determine levels of access and security.

More information

If you would like more information about how Ephesoft can streamline business processes for financial services, mortgage, insurance, accounting, government and others using smart document capture software, contact us or request a demo today.