5 Strategies for Building a Better Mailroom
“Be careful what you ask for,” the old saying goes.
That’s how many information management professionals might feel about their mailroom.
For years, information management pros pined for the day when content arrived electronically. Managing electronic documents and data would be cheaper, faster, and more secure, they reasoned.
What they didn’t anticipate was the massive amounts of electronic data that they would receive, the proliferation of content delivery channels, or the tremendous pressure to deliver content downstream.
More than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were created every day in 2018, “Social Media Today” reports. By 2025, Seagate UK estimates that there will 175 zettabytes of data in the world.
That’s a lot of data.
Put another way, there was 40 times more data present in the digital realm at the beginning of 2020 than observable stars in the universe, according to World Economic Forum.
The way that most organizations manage their inbound content hasn’t kept up with the growth in data volumes, content delivery channels, or information demands. The fact is that most mailrooms were designed to handle one thing, documents sent through the mail, not emails, web forms, or faxes.
Consider a business with regional offices across North America. Invoices from suppliers might be submitted via the mail directly to the business’ headquarters or to the person in the field who made the purchase. Invoices might also be submitted electronically through email, web form, or fax. And there’s no telling how the data on the invoice will be organized and whether it will be complete.
As a result, this business will waste lots of money forwarding invoices received at its regional offices to its headquarters, and its mailroom and accounts payable staff will waste lots of time opening mail and logging into multiple systems to gather invoices, separating invoices from tax reporting forms and other documents submitted by suppliers, keying the data from invoices, and physically routing or manually uploading content to downstream document management applications and other systems.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
What to look for in a digital mailroom solution
What organizations need is a digital mailroom solution that automatically gathers and categorizes documents, extracts and validates data, and exports content to downstream systems and processes.
There are lots of solutions that claim to automate the mailroom. Selecting the wrong solution can set your organization back. Look for a digital mailroom solution with the following attributes:
- Document collection. Deploy a digital mailroom solution that aggregates all paper and electronic content onto a single platform whether it was received via the mail, email, the web, or fax. The solution should also categorize documents – say, distinguish a sales order from customer correspondence – to apply the business rules you establish for each document.
- Data extraction and validation. Reduce the need for keying by finding a digital mailroom solution that extracts the data from inbound documents. Best-in-class solutions minimize errors and improve results over time by leveraging advanced machine learning technology.
- Content management. Accelerate the delivery of content downstream by choosing a digital mailroom solution that connects with your existing business systems and content management services. If you don’t have a system, some digital mailroom solutions can leverage your existing Microsoft SharePoint or Azure technology to create an easy-to-search, unified cloud-native document management system. Regardless of how you manage your content, ensure that the digital mailroom solution is protected by the highest data security.
- Seamless connectivity. Make double-keying and “swivel chair” integrations a thing of the past by deploying a digital mailroom solution that uses smart Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to emulate human actions and upload content into legacy systems without additional code. Software robots can work tirelessly with no errors, getting content downstream fast.
- Adaptability. Information management requirements change fast these days. Gain the flexibility your back office needs to keep up with a digital mailroom solution that uses a cloud-native architecture. A cloud-native solution can scale up or down quickly and process any document type. Digital mailroom solutions with a cloud-native architecture also can adapt to any growth and change in business with seamless business system integration.
Building a better mailroom can help organizations of all sizes reduce their operating costs, accelerate the delivery of content to downstream systems and processes, and increase accuracy and control.
What’s more, a digital mailroom makes it easy to support remote and hybrid work environments.
Following the strategies outlined in this article will help an organization build a better mailroom. Ready to get started? Contact us.