Organizations believe that they spend about 3 percent of annual revenues on document expenses, including labor, supplies, and hardware. However, the actual spending averages 5 to 15 percent of annual revenues, according to a recent study by InfoTrends. The study showed that majority of overall document expenditures are "hidden" or fragmented within the business, making actual spend value difficult to determine without a thorough assessment. These hidden costs are driving companies to reach out to Document Process Outsourcing (DPO) providers for both end-to-end solutions and assessment services.
According to the paper Making it Personal: The Role of Trusted Document Advisors, document-intensive functions and spend across the organization must be carefully analyzed before a solution is implemented. Benchmarking is one type of evaluation tool that allows the company, the service provider, document outsourcing firms, and office equipment manufacturers to gain insight into the market, competition, state of internal document processes and how these processes can be improved.
Information uncovered from the analysis is used to create a document process solution that is integrated and in line with the company's goals. Unlike traditional document process delivery models that focus on discrete delivery, end-to-end and integrated DPO solutions allow the company to leverage the provider's expertise and technology without ceding control of the process. Regardless of an organization's objectives (more efficient processes, paperless office, targeted sales collaterals), a comprehensive assessment of document processes, costs, and inefficiencies can reveal all of the company's document needs.
Assessing the impact of DPO solutions before implementation is becoming the norm. According to the InfoTrends study, a growing number of companies are including assessment services as a prerequisite before a service provider can submit a proposal. As organizations focus on reducing document-related costs and improving efficiencies through intelligent solutions, assessment services will continue to be in demand.
DPO service providers use different models to evaluate a company's document processes or data processing. InfoTrends categorizes document assessment intro three levels based on complexity, cost, and level of detail. All levels of assessment uncover actual document processing costs throughout the business and give the company a clearer understanding of what devices or solutions are required to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
Level I assessments are typically done in-house. These assessments often have very limited scope and require little or no assistance from an outside expert. Analysis at this level generates information that gives the company an overview and preliminary understanding of cost per page (CPC) of document processing machines and devices based on use and specifications.
Level II assessments are performed outside the organization by third parties. The provider gathers basic document processing data and information from secondary research then compares company data and performance metrics to data from a similar business and to industry best practices.
Level III is the most sophisticated and complex level of assessment. The workflow assessment involves close collaboration between the organization and service provider. The evaluation usually takes from a few weeks to a few months. Assessments may be performed in commercial print environments, in-plant/CRDs and other areas outside the organization.
DPO providers use different terms for the steps of the assessment process, but the underlying methodology is the same. InfoTrends identified key components of document assessment:
Service providers follow a clear plan when assessing document processes. This step includes establishing a support structure internally. The provider must ensure that top management supports the project and understands why the evaluation stage is important to the success of the assessment. When the provider and management are on the same page, the result is a smooth operation.
After the planning phase comes information gathering. The goal is to obtain spending and performance data about the organization's document processes.
The next step is assessment of the company's current state. Data is compiled and analyzed, and key indicators are identified, including technology specs, causes of lag times, workflow inefficiencies, and potential bottlenecks.
After evaluating document processing data, the provider will recommend one or more solutions to help the company move from its present performance to a future state that eliminates inefficiencies and reduces cost and waste. The provider may suggest investing in new equipment and software, workflow reengineering or outsourcing end-to-end document management to a third party.
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