NEW RESEARCH:PAPER STILL FUELS FINANCE SECTOR E-BUSINESS Tuesday 7 August 2001 PDF Print 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 Software. 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 document volumes. 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 (8%). 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 process flow. 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 week." 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 information systems." E-business managers from 30 leading banks, building societies and insurance companies took part in the survey, which was conducted in May 2001. For a copy of the report please contact Nicola Davis -T: 07779 080 798 -- ends -- About Captiva 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. Press contact: Donna Cooke, Byline Research tel: 01628 60 30 40 (office) 07881 825 854 (mobile) email:email@example.com This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Patterson Media Services (formerley ByLine Group) in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit https://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.