Paper. Whether it's purchase orders or delivery receipts, there is no denying that paper is everywhere. No matter how companies try to automate their systems, paper is often the speed bump in an otherwise smooth road.
Optical Storage Offers Easy Access To Documents
Banks, like corporations, generate tons of documents. However, some financial institutions have used technology to halt the exponential growth of their paper repositories. If you can't turn around without running into a file cabinet, then you should take some pointers from Boone County National Bank. The bank is headquartered in Columbia, MO, and has 12 other locations throughout central Missouri. Currently, the bank has $735 million in assets and more than 380 full-time employees.
With 30,000 customers who have more than 200,000 different accounts (e.g., savings, checking), Boone County National Bank generates a lot of paper. The bank currently images and extracts data from all its customers' checks through a system developed by NCR and Wausau. Boone County National Bank's newest system allows employees to image a range of documents, including loan documents, trust documents, and signature cards. Once scanned and imaged, the documents are burned onto CDs and stored in a Hewlett-Packard 400E optical jukebox.
The jukebox is located at the bank's headquarters, which also serves as the technical operations facility. The 12 branch offices are connected to the main office through a wide area network (WAN). "The images stored on the jukebox are accessed quite frequently," relays Ken Brownfield, technology officer at Boone County National Bank. "When customers have questions about their loans, for example, bank representatives can access pertinent documentation from their desktops."
Calculate Hard-Dollar Savings
Boone County National Bank has assigned several employees to scan the documents that arrive at headquarters each day. The documents are fed through Bell & Howell scanners, and the employees index the images and check for clarity. The images are staged on a hard drive before being burned to CD. OTG Software's (Bethesda, MD) DiskXtender manages the storage of the images on the bank's system. In addition to reducing paper storage space, the new system also protects data from the effects of a catastrophic incident. "For every CD we burn, we burn a duplicate. One of the CDs resides in the jukebox. The other CD is stored offline and off-site," conveys Brownfield.
The bank routinely scans 100 MB to 150 MB worth of images each day. "The system runs like clockwork. We can easily determine when we will have to add another jukebox. Obviously, we want all the images (CDs) online," states Brownfield.
The bank's new system offers enhanced customer service. It's difficult to quantify this type of improvement in monetary terms; however, there are more tangible ways to cost-justify this technology. For example, the cost savings of not storing documents in offices and warehouses can be calculated. The labor savings involved in searching for paper files can be quantified. Perhaps the most significant savings is in the dramatic reduction in courier services and overnight mail charges. "We have expanded and now have branch offices in different towns throughout central Missouri," says Brownfield. "The charges to courier documents from one location to another add up quickly. We have eliminated most of those charges, and those are hard-dollar savings."