Monday, October 22, 2012

Achieve Straight-Through Processing to Increase Customer and Member Satisfaction with Electronic Signatures

By Michelle Shapiro, Hyland Software

Consumers are becoming more and more tech-savvy. To win or keep their business, you need to offer the cutting-edge services they expect, like e-signatures.

When a co-signer for a loan is offsite, e-signatures offer a way to complete the transaction from wherever they are, as long as they have access to a computer. Using e-signatures also ensures that you take care of every initial and signature in one meeting, so customers and members don’t have to do things like make repeat trips to your credit union or bank to complete a single transaction.

Enable straight-through processing for increased speed and accuracy
Because they ensure authenticity, integrity and accuracy, e-signatures have been legal in the United States since 2000. When compliance requirements mandate a handwritten signature, you can capture and apply signatures electronically to documents and forms with a signature pad. It’s that simple.

While using e-signatures is a giant step in the right direction, to be the most effective, they need to be a seamless part of your processes. For example, with e-signatures and ECM capturing signatures and documents electronically, you practice straight-through processing, so your employees don’t have to manually print and scan copies into your line-of-business systems. In addition, employees won’t have to comb through documents to make sure they’re 100 percent accurate and complete, further improving productivity.

Using e-signature solutions that integrate with an ECM system also gives you the ability to sign documents and then store, access and manage them electronically. Once you’ve obtained a member or customer’s signature, documents don’t have to be printed, mailed or emailed. Instead, they immediately go into an electronic document workflow that automatically forwards them through processes, alerting key stakeholders along the way.

The increased speed and accuracy of your processes gives you a competitive advantage in the marketplace, as your staff is empowered to give answers like loan approvals to prospective customers or members quicker than competitors who rely on paper-based processes.

Use ECM to unleash the power of e-signatures
Although e-signatures are an important piece that helps you deliver exceptional service, to achieve maximum efficiency, you need ECM. Using ECM, you connect primary applications like your core banking system or LOS with your documents. Without ECM, you don’t have classification, structure or retention for your documents – all important elements that help your employees immediately find the information they’re looking for.

Combining the speed of e-signatures with the power of ECM:
  • Decreases your reliance on paper to save money, costs and time
  • Increases the speed and accuracy of your processes
  • Allows you to stop printing contracts just to obtain a physical signature
Using e-signatures and ECM, you also eliminate the risk of fraudulent document alteration and guarantee your signed documents remain protected and unaltered. And you efficiently track electronic acknowledgements of documents. That helps you proactively comply with evolving local, state and federal regulations. It also makes it easy to prepare for audits. With e-signatures and ECM, you shorten the revenue cycle and reduce the cost and risk of paper-driven processes.

Tips for choosing an e-signature vendor
Today, most ECM vendors don’t develop their own e-signature solutions; they partner with companies that specialize in that technology. So it’s key to choose an e-signature vendor and solution that will easily integrate with your current or planned ECM solution.

When choosing an e-signature vendor, it’s important to make sure you choose one that upgrades its product on a regular basis and gives you choices. For example, does the vendor offer both a premises-based solution as well as a cloud offering? Additionally, you want to make sure to find a reputable vendor with a proven track record. Talk to your peers, send out requests for proposals (RFPs) and ask questions until you find a provider that can deliver exactly what you need.

By using e-signatures with ECM, your increased speed and accuracy will make you an easy choice for all those tech-savvy people looking for innovative banking alternatives.

Contact us to learn more about ECM and e-signatures.
Monday, October 1, 2012

System Conversions - What to look for in a vendor

by Angela Childs

With so many IT / imaging service providers out there, how do you select the right one when you have an imaging system you need converted?  You need a partner who has the experience to handle everything, but what’s everything?

There are a lot of players in the content management space.   Literally thousands of different software packages used for storage and retrieval of content – images, COLD (green bar reports, statements, etc.), electronic documents, etc.   Everyone is unique.

The variety of products, versions, resellers, operating environments, etc. is what led Imaging Office Systems to develop a platform independent process.  You need a partner that looks beyond the pretty wrapping to the underlying database and repository.  Once you peel back the covers, the various imaging systems start to look the same.  

You need to ask your prospective partner to describe first how they determine that they are qualified to handle the conversion. 

There should always be an in depth system review before you are given a proposal or any pricing.  Even two companies with the same software will have systems that are different and each must be treated as a unique system, just as no two companies are exactly the same. 

Our first step with any project is analysis followed by design so we can provide a specific project plan with timeframes, any assumptions/constraints, and associated pricing.   IOS’s Professional Services Group won’t provide a scope document, or any pricing, for a system conversion prior to confirming that the project will be a success.

Always require a detailed scope of work document prior to purchase.  This document should outline the structure of the system to be converted:
  •  How are the documents stored in the software?
  • What is the underlying database?
  • How are the images and other electronic documents stored?  Are they in a proprietary format?  Are they on platters?
  • What are the index points?
  • Are there annotations and, if yes, how will they be handled?
  • What are the document and image counts?
  • How will the documents be mapped from the structure of the source system to the structure of the destination system?
  • What will your responsibilities be?
Ask to see a list of the systems that the vendor has converted.    What are you looking for in this list?  Because of the variety of products, versions, resellers, operating environments, etc., and the fact that even two systems with the same product may be vastly different, the vendor’s experience with your software is not as relevant as:
  • Review their conversions experience:  You’re looking for a vendor with a breadth of experience.
  • Examine their process:  They should have an outline of their due diligence review and not want to engage with you until they are certain they can do work.
  • Require a scope of work:  They should give you detail about your current system, the new system, volumes, tasks for conversion, and anything they expect you to do to make the project as a success. 
Finally, what do you do when one of your prospective vendors is internal IT? 

All the same questions need to be asked whether it’s an internal service provider or an outside service provider.  You have a project, the system conversion, that must be completed accurately and within a fixed timeframe.

You still need the project documented and you need to see a few sample images and their associated indexes.  Simply ask your internal IT department to perform a test, and, if successful, provide a scope of work outlining their role, and yours, the tasks, and a timeline – when could they start, how many hours will be required, and when will the project end. 

From this you will know the internal costs, timeframes, and resource availability within internal IT.  And, finally, ask yourself about the competing internal projects the IT staff has on their plate.  Where does your project fall?  Often there isn't the luxury of time and a system must be converted before a support contract expires, or the hardware fails, or before auditors arrive.

Click here to learn more about IOS's conversion experience.