London, United Kingdom - August 7, 2001 - Paper is still the raw material
of e-business, according to a survey of UK financial services firms by
Byline Research for enterprise information capture specialist Captiva
According to the report Ebusiness in Financial Services: Document Capture
Strategies between two-thirds and three-quarters of documents destined for
e-business systems originate on paper.
Of the electronic media, email accounts for 16% of documents, fax for 11%
and web forms for just 8%. The report notes that of these only web forms
promise to deliver data in a structured format capable of being used
directly by e-business systems, and yet web forms account for the lowest
Commenting on the results, Julian Patterson, research director at Byline,
said: "Organisations such as banks, building societies and insurance
companies still deal with their customers almost exclusively on paper. To
some extent this is inevitable, as these firms cannot dictate the rate at
which their customers adopt electronic communications media. The challenge
they face is how to transform paper and non paper documents into
e-business content swiftly and accurately."
The number one method for capturing data from paper documents is
traditional manual data entry, despite the rapidly increasing use of
imaging systems. Manual filing accounts for a fifth of all paper documents
received; 15% are captured using recognition software and 7% using full
image-capture systems. The mix of document types is expected to change
dramatically between now and 2004. By the end of the period, paper is
estimated to account for only 16%, while email is expecting to be the
leading method of communication at 39% ahead of web forms (33%) and fax
But the demise of paper may be less significant than it appears. While
electronic documents will be easier to capture, extracting relevant
information will present many of the same problems.
Email and fax messages are typically unstructured - only web forms promise
to deliver information as e-business-ready content. Even if the document
is delivered electronically or is scanned on arrival, it may still need to
be viewed or indexed by an operator before moving to the next stage in the
Katy Perry, Managing Director for Captiva Software UK said: "The ultimate
aim is e-business systems capable of straight-through processing, where
the entire transaction between the customer and the business is handled
without human intervention, and where documents are routed automatically
to the systems or departments that need to process them."
The report contradicts the view that the main reason for implementing
e-business systems is to cut costs. The biggest factor in most companies'
plans is a desire to improve customer service, considered very important
by 93% of respondents.
Julian Patterson said: "A typical criticism of financial services firms is
that they are unresponsive. Most recognise that they need to raise their
game to react quickly and efficiently to customer needs. The fact that
e-business also promises to reduce overhead is a welcome by-product of
change, not the main driver.
"Efficiency isn't an end in itself but a means to bring about better
service. Cutting the time taken to capture information means you can act
on it more quickly. If a customer sends you a letter, a day or two will
have expired before you even know about it. If it takes another day or
more to get the information from the post room to the computers of your
customer service staff, you've already lost the best part of a working
The biggest obstacles to e-business are customer-resistance (53%) and IT
costs (50%). For the foreseeable future, customers will demand a choice of
media. Some will welcome the speed and convenience of web forms and email,
while others will never abandon paper. Concerns about cost reflect a
growing realisation that e-business may require substantial investment as
short-term fears about economic downturn.
The report concludes that the key characteristic of viable document
capture systems will be adaptability - the ability to handle a rapidly
changing mix of paper and electronic documents.
Katy Perry said: "Businesses cannot hope to make accurate forecasts about
either the volume or the mix of documents they will be faced with in
future. The only certainties are rapid change, rising customer
expectations and growing competitive pressure. Whatever the medium, the
aim must be to integrate the capture systems with back-end workflow and
E-business managers from 30 leading banks, building societies and
insurance companies took part in the survey, which was conducted in May
For a copy of the report please contact Nicola Davis -T: 07779 080 798
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Captiva Software Corporation is a leading provider of information capture
software. Since 1989, the company's award winning products have been used
to manage business critical information from paper, faxed and scanned
forms and documents, Internet forms and XML data streams into the
enterprise in a more accurate, timely and cost-effective manner. These
products automate the processing of billions of forms and documents
annually, converting their contents into information that is usable in
database, document, content and other information management systems.
Captiva's technology serves thousands of users in insurance, government,
banking, financial services, direct marketing and other markets. Captiva
is privately held with headquarters in San Diego, CA.
For more information, please visit http://www.captivasoftware.com
Captiva and FormWare are trademarks of Captiva Software Corporation. All
other companies and products mentioned are trademarks or registered
trademarks of their respective companies.
Donna Cooke, Byline Research
tel: 01628 60 30 40 (office)
07881 825 854 (mobile)
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