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A Guide to Digital Mailroom Outsourcing: Process & Benefits

Information management professionals face a daunting balancing act.

On the one hand, they must find ways to securely and cost-effectively process the documents and data their organization receives, as fast as possible.  On the other hand, they must manage the ever-increasing volumes of documents and data, in numerous formats, and from many delivery channels.

It’s for these reasons that more organizations are outsourcing their digital mailroom to a third party.

The global digital mailroom outsourcing market is expected to reach $12.1 billion by 2027 – a staggering 13.9 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2022, Grand View Research reports.  The U.S. market for digital mailroom outsourcing is predicted to reach $5.2 billion by 2027.

More organizations recognize that outsourcing their digital mailroom to a trusted partner can increase efficiency, deliver cost savings, improve security, and contribute to sustainability initiatives.

This article details the digital mailroom outsourcing process and the benefits it can deliver.

What is digital mailroom outsourcing?

From correspondence to bills, organizations receive a tremendous volume of documents and data.

Managing all that content can be a huge burden, especially for organizations that rely on manual and semi-automated processes.  Sorting and distributing paper mail, for instance, can waste an enormous amount of time and resources.  The bigger the organization, the bigger the burden, in most cases.

Digital mailroom services relieve organizations of the burden of managing and processing incoming documents and data.  Service providers use high-speed production scanners, intelligent data capture, artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning to process paper and electronic documents and data on behalf of banks, insurers, universities and colleges, government entities, and other organizations.

Steps in digital mailroom outsourcing

An outsourced digital mailroom process typically involves the following steps.

  • Collect.  The service provider collects physical mail from a P.O. Box or other location.  Any staples or paper clips are removed from the documents and, if necessary, pages are unfolded.  The documents are then converted into digital images using a high-speed production scanner or other device.  Once scanned, the documents are digitally categorized or sorted, based on business rules such as the document type, nature of the correspondence, and urgency.
  • Extraction.  The sender’s name, date, and other details are extracted from scanned images using optical character recognition (OCR), AI, and other technologies.  Converting scanned images into searchable and editable text enhances the usability of digitized documents.
  • Validation.  Extracted data is matched against information residing in a system of record to ensure that it is accurate and complete.  Matched information may be processed with human operator intervention.  Extracted data that falls below a pre-set confidence level for data capture accuracy is reviewed.  Any errors or discrepancies are corrected at this stage.
  • Archival.  Images and data are stored in a centralized cloud-based repository.  Documents are indexed based on captured data and other predefined criteria.  Authorized users can instantly access archived content, from any location, at any time, using any device.
  • Export.  Documents are seamlessly exported into an organization’s existing workflows, processes, or systems, such as a document management or enterprise content management platform.  Documents also can be distributed directly to individuals, based on pre-defined business rules.  Users are automatically notified of documents that they have received.
  • Security.  User and role-based access controls, segregation of duties, complete audit logging, and advanced data encryption protect sensitive content and ensure confidentiality.

These capabilities help organizations transition from paper-based processes to digital workflows.

Advantages of digital mailroom outsourcing

Digital mailroom outsourcing offers advantages to organizations of all sizes.

  • Cost savings.  By outsourcing mailroom processes such as sorting and routing documents, organizations avoid the expense of hardware and software and the labor to operate them.  There’s also no need for physical document storage or paper-related consumables.
  • Improved efficiency.  Digital mailroom services eliminate manual, repetitive tasks such as opening mail, keying data, shuffling paper, and tracking down lost or misfiled documents.  Outsourcing mailroom tasks also frees staff to focus more time on strategic activities.
  • Fewer errors.  Errors are inevitable wherever there are manual processes.  AI-powered digital mailroom solutions capture the data from documents with a high degree of accuracy.
  • Faster cycle times.  Digital mailroom services get information downstream fast through the extraction of data, automated sorting and indexing, configurable digital workflows, online collaboration, and seamless integrations with legacy workflows, processes, and systems.
  • Enhanced customer service.  Digital mailroom services put content at the fingertips of the people who need it, when they need it.  Documents can be searched based on any metadata.  Content can be accessed via any device.  And documents cannot become lost or misfiled.
  • Scalability.  It’s easy for organizations that partner with a digital mailroom service to scale their mailroom operations to meet changing business needs.  And partnering with a digital mailroom service eliminates the need to hire additional staff as document volumes grow.
  • Iron-clad security.  Digital mailroom services use access controls, data encryption, and other security measures to safeguard sensitive information and ensure customer confidentiality.
  • Streamlined compliance.  There are thousands of regulations, laws, auditor guidelines, and industry standards for how documents should be managed.  Digital mailroom services include controls to comply with industry-specific regulations and data protection laws.
  • Business continuity.  If there’s one lesson that organizations have learned over the past several years, it’s that they must be prepared for anything.  Compared to paper documents, digital documents are less susceptible to damage or loss and digital mailroom service providers have mechanisms in place to continue processing in the event of disruptions.

These are some of the reasons that more organizations are outsourcing their mailroom processes.

Finding the best digital mailroom service

There are lots of outsourced providers out there.  Choosing the wrong partner can set an organization back.  Finding the best digital mailroom service requires careful consideration of several factors.

  • Assess.  Understand your organization’s volume of physical documents, data capture requirements, business rules for routing documents, and any compliance considerations.
  • Evaluate.  Organizations cannot afford to trust their mail to an inexperienced partner.  Look for service providers with a proven track record in handling your volume of documents.
  • Integration.  Be sure that prospective service providers can easily integrate with your organization’s document management system, customer relationship management (CRM) platform, and any other legacy applications and workflows that rely on mailroom content.
  • Automate.  Prioritize service providers that use high-speed production scanners, AI with machine learning, and robotic process automation for connecting systems and processes.
  • Scale.  Consider whether prospective service providers can accommodate your organization’s current and potential volumes.  And weigh how easily they can adapt to changing needs.
  • Protect.  Carefully consider how the digital mailroom service protects sensitive information against data breaches.  Ensure that providers have built-in access controls, segregation of duties, systematic digital workflows, logging of all actions, and data encryption.

These considerations will help ensure you find the right service for your organization’s needs.


Handling incoming physical mail can be a tremendous burden.  But outsourcing mailroom tasks can help organizations of all sizes improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance customer service, and mitigate security and compliance risks.  Importantly, digital mailroom outsourcing can support remote work arrangements and jumpstart an organization’s digital transformation initiatives.  The strategies in this article will help ensure that a digital mailroom service delivers optimum results.

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