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Accelerate and consolidate

The ground-breaking ibml FUSiON scanner offers much more than just a change of pace

Imaging Business Machines, LLC (ibml), the leading global provider of intelligent information capture solutions, is set to transform information capture with the launch of the ibml FUSiON Series of high-volume scanners.

Designed from the ground-up to eliminate the inefficiencies of existing scan processes, the FUSiON is not only the world’s fastest, intelligent, scalable document capture platform, it is also the most versatile, able to scan the widest range of materials, from small coupons and cheques to ECG output for medical records, in a single uninterrupted process.

For organisations that need to process large numbers of printed documents, such as banks, insurance companies, utilities providers, healthcare organisations and government bodies, as well as scanning bureaus and business process outsourcers (BPOs), FUSiON provides an opportunity to cut costs, increase productivity and improve data governance through centralisation and consolidation of scanning activities.

While there has been a strong trend towards distributed scanning in recent years, for example via small desktop devices in bank branches, Susheel John, ibml Vice President Product Marketing, says that this has run in parallel with a demand for greater centralisation offering economies of scale and improved security.

“We have been through a huge wave of decentralisation in all sorts of technologies and now, as organisations are realising how challenging it is to preserve the privacy and security and accountability and auditability of the information they are gathering, enterprises are starting to exert control again,” he said.

John cites the example of mortgage and loan applications initiated in a local branch, with supporting documents collected and sent off to be scanned centrally ‘after the fact’. The same applies to processes that are initiated digitally, for example on a smartphone.

He suggests that centralising the scanning of physical documents containing private information gives more control over the chain of custody, which is important for compliance reasons, and delivers significant productivity benefits, not just from faster scan speeds but also from better paper handling, which reduces the risk of errors like double-feeding; from greater intelligence, which allows the devices to identify errors within documents, such as missing signatures; and from streamlined integration with digital business processes.

John adds that centralisation also helps automate the extraction of data from documents and the feeding of it into business processes at scale, citing the example of payments processing.

“It makes sense to capture payments centrally because how those cheques are handled and how the data is captured from them and made available to business systems needs to be harmonised as a process. It makes sense for consumers to mail those items into a centralised location where data and content can be extracted and made available to business systems downstream,” he said.

This example brings us to the second great opportunity presented by the FUSiON Series: consolidation.

Today, BPOs and centralised mailrooms tend to deploy a variety of scanning devices (including specialist devices like cheque scanners) to cope with heavy workloads and a broad range of document types.

Each of these devices has an overhead in procurement and running costs, space occupied and the need for maintenance and operator training. In addition, the need for manual sorting prior to scanning is time-consuming, increases staffing overheads and reduces the volume of documents that can be processed in a day.

Another problem, claims John, is that because of changing usage patterns some specialist devices (notably cheque scanners) may no longer receive as much investment and support from vendors, forcing erstwhile customers to look elsewhere for a solution. Others might be looking at a new device as part of the normal replacement cycle.

“A lot of organisations are faced with hardware and software that has reached the end of its useful life and are having to make decisions about what to do next. This is an ideal time to recognise that the technology has changed dramatically and to consolidate that spend and make it much more strategic,” he said.

The ibml FUSiON series is ideal in this regard as it has the speed and the versatility to handle the workload of several devices, giving organisations the ability to optimise their scanner fleet, workflow and staffing levels. “If you replace three or four devices with just one ibml FUSiON scanner, the ROI comes almost immediately from reduced labour costs alone,” claimed John.

Enhanced productivity
In developing the ibml FUSiON series, ibml has addressed the pain points experienced by customers across all high volume capture applications and designed the new scanner from the ground up to bring productivity and quality improvements to every stage of the scanning process.

Scan speeds of up to 730 A4 pages per minute and 938 cheques per minute (at 200dpi) – 67% faster than any previous ibml scanner, thanks to 2.5 times faster and more accurate cameras – might grab the headlines, but other improvements are equally significant, especially when it comes to reducing pre- and postscan labour requirements, which, according to some estimates, make up 76% of total capture costs1.

These include feeding enhancements to support the processing of mixed batches and the seamless switching between different core business applications, notably:

*a wider transport (or document track), which minimises exceptions and maximise the spread of document sizes that can be handled, from coupons to ECG output;

*transport-wide multi-feed sensors that spot misfeeds earlier; and

*patent-pending envelope recognition technology that’s able to differentiate between an envelope and a double-feed, reducing unnecessary stops and allowing envelopes to be used as job separator sheets.

In addition, ibml has lightened the post-scanning workload with the intelligent, automated stacking of scanned documents into customisable pockets, removing the problem of messy stacks of paper, and added content-based imprinting for the physical tracking of documents post-scanning, with optional Eco mode to reduce printing costs.

“For nearly three decades, organisations in the most data-rich environments,
such as banking, government and BPOs, have trusted ibml to overcome their
core information management challenges. Using industry-leading intelligence
and accelerated speeds, we extract actionable data, capture insights and
expedite critical decision-making for customers in over 48 countries. With
the ibml FUSiON, shifting to one infrastructure for all capture needs allows
organisations to radically reduce real estate, labour and maintenance costs
while pushing productivity forward. ibml FUSiON is poised to transform
industries with the most demanding document capture needs, empowering
their digital transformation, while reducing costs.”

ibml President and CEO Martin Birch

Smart design
Productivity is enhanced further with a new hardware design that prioritises reliability and the rapid resolution of interruptions through:

*separate air flows for cooling and the removal of paper dust to ensure that electronics stay clean;

*green LED status lights along the length of the scanner, showing at a glance whether there is a problem and, if so, where it is located; and

*improved access to the scanner engine and paper path for speedier jam resolution.

Additional benefits are provided by ibml software, notably patent pending iQpro image processing software, which optimises image capture for faster, more accurate data extraction, and ibml Capture Suite Software, which captures information and metadata and spots exceptions e.g. missed signatures or unfilled fields to minimise errors downstream.

Synergetics document recognition software builds on these capabilities by bringing electronic documents (e.g. fax and email) into the same process and automating the extraction of data from structured and unstructured formats.

A long tail
By developing a scanner capable of processing high volumes of paper documents and intelligently extracting information for use in downstream business processes alongside content from electronic sources, ibml is enabling customers to pursue digital transformation while continuing to accommodate the ‘long tail’ of paper documents that John Mancini, erstwhile President of AIIM, expects businesses to have to contend with for years to come.

“People think paper is passé, but there are still over 17 billion paper-based faxes sent each year; US companies still spend more than $120 billion a year on paper forms, most of which become outdated within three months; and a study by Billentis shows that there are 550 billion invoices sent annually, two thirds of which are received in unstructured formats like paper and PDFs. On top of that are all the documents that surround those invoices, perhaps 5 to 10 times as many as the original invoice. Take all that together and it is clear there is an incredibly long tail of paper out there and digitising that information flow needs to be a strategic priority,” he said.

For this reason, it is perhaps not surprising that 72% of AIIM members say that scanning is still the most important part of their information capture strategy, with 70% expecting to have to process as much or more paper in two years’ time.

For them – and the BPOs that serve them – the ibml FUSiON is a game-changer, giving them the ability to process that ‘long tail’ faster, more intelligently and more economically, while minimising the need for tedious, time consuming manual processing or the requirement to have different devices for different applications. • 01483 549818

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