1. Create a Formal Needs Assessment: Understand how reliant on paper you are — internally as well as for customer communications.
  2. Establish Specific Goals to be Addressed: Understand what your organization is trying to achieve: improve self-service, go green, increase productivity, cuts costs or ease compliance.
  3. Know Your Costs: Paper is expensive to procure, store, retrieve, distribute and archive. Savings from reducing staff or deferring hiring translate into hard dollars.
  4. Understand E-forms: They play a key role as companies look to deliver more web self-service, improve information collection and analysis and eliminate paper.
  5. Mobility: Mobile phones are everywhere. Many industries already realize the value of mobile capture to improve services delivery, particularly in remote or developing regions that lack infrastructure.
  6. Determine the Need/Role of Content Management and Business Process Management: Firms look to capture to streamline and automate workflows, which is enabled through the combination of capture, content management and BPM.
  7. Evaluate Optical (OCR) and Intelligent Character Recognition (ICR) Options: Firms struggle to understand if they should use OCR or ICR, how accurate the software is and what the trade-offs are from using one versus the other. Can you benefit from full-text search or do static images suffice?
  8. Look at Capture Across Mediums: Capture today is much broader and more accessible than just paper scanning.
  9. Beef Up Conversion, Compression, Storage and Retrieval: More capacity will be needed for images and video, as well as compression technologies that can save space and improve speed of content rendering on the web.
  10. Build Your Business Case with Clear ROI: Use all of the knowledge you've collected and build a case to convince upper management of the strategic value of information capture investments.

SHERI McLEISH [www.forrester.com] is an analyst at Forrester Research, where she serves Information and Knowledge Management Professionals. She will be presenting at Forrester's IT Forum 2010, May 26-28 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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