How Can Mobile Devices Improve Business Processes?

Report reveals how businesses view the potential benefits of mobile-enabled processes

Deployment of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices as tools which can trigger or interact with business processes is at a relatively early stage. However, with the increasing ubiquity of such devices and the sophistication of their camera, processor and communication capabilities, it is now down to businesses to leverage the technology to their advantage.

A recent report published by AIIM provides a snapshot of where businesses are in applying mobile device technology in their processes with particular emphasis on document capture. The ability of devices to allow text OCR of captured document images, read barcodes, annotate, add form fields and attach metadata to captured documents and deliver data to ECM, CRM or ERP systems could have game-changing potential for businesses.

What potential benefits do businesses perceive?

According to the report, businesses can expect to realise 30-50% productivity gains among administrative staff by replacing paper-based processes with workflows involving scanned forms and documents and automated data capture. For field-based or travelling employees, an average increase in productivity of 25% is estimated through being able to access or interact with back-office processes via mobile devices.

Process Revolution white paper Download the AIIM report – Process Revolution – moving your business from paper to PCs to tablets

In addition to productivity, speed of response is another area where scanning and capture can have a significant impact. The report indicates that businesses already deploying scanning and capture estimate the response of operational units to customers, suppliers, citizens or staff to be 3-10 times faster. Where mobile devices can be used to access information, interact with a process or capture information locally, average improvement in turnaround time is estimated to be 3 times faster.

Which processes offer most potential?

Despite the need to resolve mobile device-related issues such as security, governance and compatibility with legacy systems, the AIIM report suggests that 5% of businesses are already able to drive back-office processes from mobile devices, and a further 5% are using mobile to capture input.

Among the processes most likely to be mobile-enabled for document capture and submission of signed documents and forms are order processing, HR and case processing, while areas such as customer service or help desks are suggested to be the most likely mobile-enabled area for accessing and processing transactions.

Businesses could also realise significant competitive benefits by enabling customers, citizens, suppliers or partners to use mobile devices to enter data or submit captured documents to a process. Seventy five per cent of respondents rated this as important, with 29% investigating its potential and 10% actively extending mobile document capture to their customers.

How can organisations assess opportunities?

The AIIM report makes a number of recommendations to help businesses and organisations asses how they can adopt mobile-enabled processes and the changes they may need to make in order to achieve maximum benefit. Among the recommendations are:

•  Auditing current processes involving input from non-office staff – Can any downstream process steps be eliminated by enabling direct input from field-based staff, customers, suppliers or partners?
•  Assessing the capabilities of modern mobile devices – What is the potential of devices such as portable scanners, smartphones and tablets in eliminating delays, lost forms, poor data or the need for data re-keying?
•  Assessing where processes originate – What are the benefits of directly capturing and delivering documents and information from the customer premises, branch offices or shop floor?
•  Auditing your paper-based processes – Where does paper impede rate of throughput, increase the number of process steps or restrict process transparency and reporting?

DCS offer advice and solutions for improving document-driven business processes. To find out more about improving processes with mobile capture, speak to one of our business consultants on 01753 616 720, or send an enquiry using our Contact Form.

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