Forgetting the Big Picture is easy
David Jenness 270003S2H4 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  imaging document capture scanning
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One of the things that I like about my job is that I get to talk to IBM customers who have automated their business processes with document capture and imaging software. I ask them how much money they saved, how many errors eliminated, how much faster they can process a claim or an invoice or a mortgage, and generally how much “smarter” their organization is now that they have replaced a paper-based process.
Almost always, our conversation focuses on process improvement and cost savings. We do diagrams to show how much was streamlined and use special calculators to determine how much money they saved. And then I write up a case study to document it.
It’s not a bad life.
Or at least it was, until recently, when I had a revelation thrust upon me by a customer in the healthcare industry, who told me, “We didn’t buy the solution to save money. We bought it to make our patients healthier.”
That’s when light dawned in the rock garden. Process improvement and cost savings are important, sure, but there’s a bigger picture. There’s the person who is receiving the product or the service and they too benefit from a smarter organization. In fact, isn’t the whole point of the endeavor to improve the experience had by the customer (or the patient or the citizen or the student)?
It may sound obvious, but here I was, nearly wrenching my arm trying to pat myself on the back about how much money is being saved. Sometimes, we become so accustomed to focusing on the little picture, that we forget that there is a big picture. But thanks to the document scanning manager of a major hospital network who scans medical records so that a physician in the emergency room can access them to treat a patient, I now understand that document capture and imaging is much more than a way to trim costs, it can improve the lives of people.