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COMMENT/PHOTOGRAPHS AVAILABLE
Rebecca Gunn, Byline Group; direct number: 01628 411 452

31st July 2001 - ActionPoint has launched a version of its award winning ebusiness software for call centres, contact centres and other front-line customer service applicationsInputAccel 3.x enables financial services firms, utilities and public sector organisations to shorten the lead times between the receipt of forms and the updating of workflow and ebusiness systems. The software allows for the rapid assimilation and processing of information irrespective of the delivery medium.

InputAccel enables paper-based information to be scanned, indexed and conveyed to the systems and people who need to use it. The information capture process can be centralised or distributed. For example, a company could scan insurance claim forms in one location, perform validation and correction in another and then deliver the data simultaneously to a claims processing system for settlement and to a call centre system so agents have an up-to-the-minute view of all customer policies.

Mark Lewis, Vice President for Europe at ActionPoint, said: “One reason for the high number failures of first generation ebusiness projects was that companies underestimated the difficulty of grafting new business processes onto existing ones. Doing business online doesn’t automatically solve the problem of getting information into the system. As an insurer, for instance, you might be offering quotes and even issuing policies online, but most if not all claims will continue to arrive on paper forms. The challenge is how to transform the inevitable paperwork into ebusiness-ready content with the minimum of delay.”

Not only can InputAccel deliver data to multiple back ends at the same time, it allow organisations to link data between systems by creating a pointer from data in one system to an image stored in another. ActionPoint includes universal exporters, standards-compliant exporters such as ODBC export, XML export and email export, and enterprise specific exporters to proprietary systems including Documentum’s DocBase and IBM’s Content Manager “Compliance with evolving standards such as XML allows us to offer customers a flexible and future-proof architecture, but many will continue to see the greatest value in proprietary or application-specific links to enterprise systems,” Lewis said.

Skandia Group, the UK subsidiary of Skandia Insurance Company Limited, Sweden’s largest insurer, expects to save £300,000 a year as a result of productivity gains made using InputAccel. “The application of best-practice business processes and technology are fundamental to Skandia’s continuing growth and success,” said Julie Moore, Research & Development Manager at Skandia. “Time-efficient processing will enable us to push at least 50% more work through the system, yet maintain the same operating hours and human resource numbers.”

ActionPoint argues that the key to successful ebusiness is choice – both for the customer and the organisation. “Customers want to be able to choose how they deal with the organisation, and the organisation itself needs to be able to choose how far and how fast to evolve its business processes,” Lewis said.

Even in today’s internet-enabled world, over 98% of B2B net marketplaces still conduct transactions via fax, phone and paper according to AMR Research.

“InputAccel and its sister product Enterprise Server enable ebusiness planners to embrace the concept of a common front door for information entering the organisation. This means that the pace of change can be dictated by the needs of the business not the needs of the technology,” Lewis said.

New technologies solve problems, but they also create dilemmas involving social, cultural, organization, and human factors. Between 1970 and 1997, the percentage of all paper produced that was used for printing and writing increased by 13%. An estimated 94% of all business information is still recorded on paper; and office workers continue to rely heavily on fax despite e-mail usage. Business professionals spend about 60% of their time handling paper, an inefficient process that leads to lost, incorrectly filed, and mislabeled information. Unless technological improvements make annotating digital documents as easy as annotating paper documents, paper consumption is not likely to decrease. (COPYRIGHT 2001 Society for Technical Communication Copyright © 2001, Intelligence Data. All rights reserved).





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