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6 Jan, 2009 By: Laurel B. Sanders imageSource


Double vision is not something normally sought out, yet it would be a gift
if we could call up clear doubled objects of choice and use them to our
advantage.  Think of the possibilities:  one monitor could become two; three
open on-screen applications could become the six you truly need; and you could
work “on the double” whenever you needed to.

In businesses where routine processing involves multiple software
applications, and wasted time or mistakes can result in costly fines, penalties,
or loss of business, management is constantly under pressure to find efficient
and cost-effective solutions to boost productivity.

The prescription for sought-after efficiency may be in your hands: Dual
Monitors + Document Management.  You can help process-burdened clients increase
productivity significantly, making it an easy, natural up-sell opportunity.
Smart choices don’t have to be expensive, and a well-planned implementation of
the right technologies can produce a solid return on investment.

Neither dual monitors nor electronic document management (EDM) are new, but
adopting both in tandem radically improves productivity. This makes it an
attractive combination.  Several market drivers are pushing businesses toward

  • A soft economy that necessitates doing more with existing staff
  • The new emphasis on ‘going green’ with paperless processing
  • Efficiencies and accuracies gained by keeping multiple objects in view
    during routine processing

When businesses are able to integrate EDM with applications that employees
use routinely, increases in efficiency are often exponential.  Employees who
frequently refer to images and documentation can pull requested data onto their
screens for comparison and screen scraping while continuing to work on their
documents.  Staff with extensive work queues can manage jobs and related emails
efficiently on one screen (ideally 17” or 19”) while using the second to work on
a file, or they can switch more easily between several open applications on the
expanded virtual desktop the second monitor offers.  EDM enables instant,
efficient, and secure access to all information staff needs; dual monitors bring
everything more easily into view, saving time and eliminating frustration.  

Marketplace Examples

Businesses that stand to gain the most from the ‘double DM solution’ are
those whose staff regularly access files and information from multiple software
applications for routine processing. 

Scenarios that can exemplify your customers’ offices in the vertical

Insurance Agency

Rick, an agent, is processing an application for a new life insurance
policy.  He must make sure it’s complete; evaluate the medical history for
risks; cross-reference
assertions with medical exam results; access data in a quoting application to
verify premiums based on risk; review credit history; and conduct a criminal
background check since the application is for an unusually large sum of money.

Before: Rick managed multiple paper files, including notes from
examining nurses as well as applications and supplementary documents.  Criminal
background checks, credit histories, and rate quotes were conducted online, but
each application had to be managed separately.

After:  Rick’s company bought a good EDM system. The company
integrated it with a quoting application
as well as optical character recognition (OCR) software that reads and indexes
medical exam notes, and a desktop scanner that digitizes applications and
documentation.  Applications are available on the company’s website, saving Rick
time and reducing errors from re-keying paperwork.  Dual monitors make it easy
to access, reference, and pull data electronically from documents stored in the
central repository.  Multiple logins and repeated switching between applications
to copy pertinent data is history.

The result:  Rick accesses everything he needs efficiently.  He gets
more work done, faster and easier, without longer office hours.

Law Office

Lisa, a legal assistant, is pulling together materials for tomorrow’s court
case.  Little time remains to create documentation to strengthen the client’s
position, which her boss passionately supports.  She needs data from the case
management software as well as access to related emails, written correspondence,
faxes, and digital photographic images.  Significant information has been
presented by the opposing party; some of it could be turned to their client’s
advantage, but it’s all on paper.  Time is running out. 

Before:  Lisa already had access to digital files, but each
application had a separate login sequence and data was not stored centrally. 
Accessing multiple applications and performing duplicate searches for relevant
information meant slow progress.  Some files she couldn’t access directly, so
she had to request information from colleagues.  Minimizing/maximizing screens
and copying and pasting data takes time.  Her single monitor made working on
cases so challenging that it was often faster to enter data from printed papers
than to scan, search, copy, and paste it, despite potential errors and
omissions.  She felt ineffective as she struggled to help her boss prepare
compelling cases, even though the information was available.

After:  By implementing EDM software, the firm established rules to
let Lisa access everything she needs, while protecting sensitive data.  Dual
monitors let her make preparations on one screen while conducting searches,
examining files, and screen scraping data from case documentation into her
current preparations.  The centralized EDM system lets her conduct exhaustive
searches  quickly. Relevant emails, faxes, images, lists & other information are
delivered through a single search without login hassles or switching screens and
applications. Lisa pulls together pertinent data quickly, enabling more time for
analysis. Her boss has the time she needs to prepare a compelling presentation
in court on behalf of her client.

The result:  Greater efficiency results in Lisa’s ability to pull
significantly more information together, quickly.  Her boss has more time to
scrutinize and prepare, and she shines in court.

Financial Tax Accountant

It’s tax season. Amy, an accountant for a finance company, specializes in
international taxes, working with multiple foreign-based American citizens who
file both domestic and foreign taxes. She is trying to complete paperwork for
her clients prior to the filing deadline.  Tax forms need to be
cross-referenced, data must be reviewed from foreign tax forms, receipts have to
be examined, and international currency conversion tables for earnings must be

Before:  Accessing information quickly and efficiently was always a
challenge.  Although processing became easier when the company digitized its
papers, multiple data sources, formats, and applications still made progress
slow.  Dual monitors were considered, but without an EDM system to centralize
and unify information, Amy knew efficiency would still be compromised.  A member
of staff recently lobbied for an EDM system. Without dual monitors, Amy was
afraid the challenge of using multiple applications on a single screen would
result in staff not taking full advantage of paperless processing opportunities.
Fortunately, Amy understood the benefits of both and was able to convince the
firm that this was the right time to purchase dual monitors and engage in a
robust EDM system.

After:  Now Amy can push new data into multiple applications
simultaneously and run central queries via the EDM system.  Two monitors let her
process tax forms while entering and/or examining digital data on the second

The result:  Amy increases her client base this year and meets her
deadlines.  Better service and fewer errors result in her winning new long-term
clients for her company.

Calculating Savings

Each minute staff spends transferring information is expensive.  To
calculate the potential gain of a ‘double DM solution’, all your client needs is
a routine business process involving multiple applications or files, and several
data processing staff who would benefit most from EDM coupled with side-by-side
screens. Observe processing closely. Calculate time spent migrating from desk to
screen for information that must be transferred, or switching from one on-screen
layout to another to copy data.  When you eliminate time spent looking for
information—the savings are significant. Knowledge workers get accurate
information quickly; data entry clerks shine; and yes, morale improves.  Without
a doubt, Dual Monitors + Document Management = Efficiencies Mastered!

Laurel Sanders is the Director of Public Relations & Communications for
Optical Image Technology, Inc., developers of the DocFinity suite of imaging,
document management & workflow products (www.docfinity.com)


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