August 19, 2012 - 9:05 AM
Paper Forms are ubiquitous in the Corporate World. The volume of paper forms in storage is reaching a critical mass at the beginning of the 21st Century. Throughout the corporate world, paper forms are deteriorating in File Cabinets and In/Out Boxes. The more paper forms in storage, the more time is required for customer service that is dependent on retrieving paper forms. This state of inefficiency requires a streamlining of business processes. Because of only one stage of business processing, (the need to extract information from typed text and handwritten paper forms), the processes of businesses remain unnecessarily slow and plodding.
A recent AIIM study, "Forms Processing - User Experiences of Text and Handwriting Recognition", has found that businesses could have a 54% improvement in processes if the incredible volumes and varieties of Paper Forms in storage were digitally accessible. This would require OCR, (Optical Character Recognition), and ICR, (Intelligent Character Recognition). Because of advances in graphical parallel processing in the last 5 years, it is now possible to efficiently convert paper forms in storage to digital information. The volume of Paper Forms has reached an intolerable state. What is preventing the conversion of these forms to digitized information is the non-recognition of the advances in OCR and ICR during the last 5 years.
What is needed is a Boston Forms Party lead by a new Sons of Liberty - Information Managers, Information Specialists, and other Information Professionals. The same as when the original Sons of Liberty left the meeting lead by Samuel Adams in 1773 to dump unwanted tea into Boston Harbor, (in order to reject Taxation without Representation in the form of taxed tea that the unrepresented Bostonians had to accept), Information Professionals need to leave their departments to convince decision makers to rid Small, Medium, and Large Enterprises of the taxing burden of Paper Forms that haven't been digitally archived, or included in digital Business Processes.
Information Professionals need to inform decision makers of the new capabilities of OCR/ICR to extract information even from complex forms layouts and handwritten fields. Then, with Paper Forms having been turned into Electronic Records, businesses need to move to the next step - including OCR/ICR scanned data into their business processes. With the recognition of handwriting not presenting any problem to modern data capture techniques, the time is now to reject the potentially disastrous landfill of inaccessible Paper Forms being stored by businesses.
In order to defeat Paper Forms, a Boston Forms Party would require the bridging of disconnected decision-making, and the consolidating of scanning/data capture across multiple departments, possibly via the implementation of digital mailrooms. In the same way the Boston Tea Party in 1773 was the beginning of the Revolution against England's control over the unrepresented American Colonies, a Boston Forms Party would end control by increasingly inefficient Paper Forms over a Corporate World denied the benefits of the volume, variety, and velocity of information processing that has become available in recent years.
The Boston Forms Party Revolution should resonate throughout Lines of Business within companies, and possibly even reach Outsourcing Services that haven't upgraded to OCR/ICR, in order to free Business Processes of oppressive Paper Forms.
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