In recent months, we’ve had the opportunity to work with several financial services firms that are moving forward on strategies to use outsourced service providers to digitize and automate their inbound document processes. (Yes, Virginia, there are still organizations out there that rely on paper for processes such as account opening, loan origination, and account servicing.)
For many firms, this makes perfect sense. Outsourcing has the potential to reduce the cost of existing centralized capture operations (or eliminate the need to build a capture operation), accelerate the ingestion process into downstream business processes, and reduce the amount of back-office labor involved in downstream processes.
In the course of evaluating vendors of document capture services, we’ve seen clients struggle to arrive at what they consider to be an “apples-to-apples” comparison. While there are many reasons why this can happen, one of them falls on the client: not providing the prospective vendors with enough clarity on exactly what they’re looking to their vendors to propose and price for them.
So before engaging with potential vendors, plan on doing the legwork upfront to define your requirements in these ten key categories:
Many clients, especially those in an RFP situation, are reluctant to engage with vendors early in their evaluation process to share these kinds of details – either because they don’t have enough of the details, or they want to wait and see what the vendor will propose as a set of baseline assumptions.
In our opinion, you’re better off if you don’t wait. Even if you haven’t defined your requirements down to the level of detail listed above, you likely have process diagrams, system details, and sample documents and document packages that you can collect to share with vendors. Pull together what you can, then give the prospective vendors an audience to meet with your team members – to roll up their sleeves and dig into the details with your own people who understand your documents and processes.
This will accomplish two things. First, it will provide you with additional resources to flesh out your requirements and key details, before moving into more serious discussions about scope, timing, contracting, and pricing. Second, it will give you a first-hand opportunity to see the vendor in action, gauge their ability to serve your needs, and evaluate their fit for you as a strategic business partner.