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Automation in 2022: Lessons Learned from Remote Working

Back office processes

Change comes slowly to back-office operations.

Many businesses have been performing back-office tasks the same way for as long as anyone can remember (and, in some cases, no one can remember why things are done a particular way).

Consider the way that businesses capture data from supplier invoices and other documents. 

Most businesses rely on antiquated on-premises data capture systems that are expensive to buy, complicated to set up, hard to alter to changing business requirements, and costly to maintain.

It was so costly and burdensome to deploy these systems businesses are reluctant to replace them.

But the prolonged shift to remote and hybrid working will force the hand of businesses in 2022.

It’s hard to adapt on-premises data capture systems to a remote work environment.  And with no telling when, or if, back-office staff will return to the office full-time, businesses must find ways to achieve sustainable improvements in their back-office processes, no matter where their staff works. 

In fact, 98 percent of people surveyed by the World Economic Forum say they would prefer to have the option to work remotely for the rest of their careers.  Remote and hybrid working are here to stay.  

Against this backdrop, businesses that use old on-premises OCR systems are starting to wonder whether the data capture workarounds that they relied on during the past two years are really working.  Lots use clunky VPNs.  Many businesses periodically send a skeleton crew into the office to open the mail and scan documents.  Some businesses rekey data on documents submitted via e-mail.  Others re-route mail to the home of an employee who opens and scans the documents.      

Not surprisingly, back-office staff are spending more time keying data, pushing paper, fixing errors, chasing down information, and responding to telecalls and e-mails about where things stand.

No wonder that ‘The Great Resignation’ and labor shortages concern back-office leaders.

Data capture in the ‘new normal’

Working remotely has taught businesses a valuable lesson about the limitations of outdated on-premises OCR systems – a lesson that will enable enhanced levels of back-office efficiency in 2022. 

The pandemic has ushered in a ‘new normal’ for back-office work.  And businesses have learned the hard way that their on-premises OCR systems are not up to the task.  Now is the time for businesses to rethink the way they capture and validate data from structured and unstructured documents. 

Digitizing the back-office already was on the minds of most businesses before the pandemic.  But the operational disruption caused by the shift to remote working has shifted things into high gear.

It’s not enough to adapt processes to the new normal. Businesses need to transform them.

After all, no one wants to send staff into an empty office or have them re-rekey data from e-mails.  And few managers are comfortable with the lack of control they have over dispersed operations. 

That’s why more businesses will deploy cloud-based OCR solutions in 2022.

Cloud-based OCR solutions are ideal for remote and hybrid work environments.  Businesses can be up and running with the technology in just a few hours with little or no IT involvement.  Cloud solutions seamlessly integrate with legacy content management and ERP systems and don’t disrupt existing processes.  CloudOCR solutions are intuitive, and staff can learn how to use them while working from home.  The technology captures data from any structured and unstructured document with a guaranteed high level of accuracy – and that includes the header and line-item data from PDF invoices attached to e-mails.  And data is captured and validated fast, regardless of where staff work.  

Clearly, CloudOCR solutions are more than a virtual version of tired old processes. CloudOCR is a completely digital and streamlined way for businesses to capture and validate data in the new normal.

If improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your back-office operations is on a priority for business in 2022, CloudOCR wants to speak with you. Set up a time to speak with one of our representatives about your needs and let us show you how our CloudOCR solution can help.

Learn more about how AP departments can automate with cloud OCR solutions.

Click here to learn details of a free educational webinar we are hosting for AP leaders, “Why Cloud OCR is a Game Changer for Accounts Payable“.

Picture of Mark Brousseau

Mark Brousseau

Over the past 26 years, Mark Brousseau has established himself as a thought leader on accounts payable, accounts receivable, payments and document automation. A popular speaker at industry conferences and on webinars and podcasts, Brousseau advises prominent end-users and solutions and services providers on how to use automation to improve document- and payments-driven business processes. Brousseau has chaired numerous educational conferences and has served on several industry committees and boards. He resides in Center City Philadelphia with his wife and three sons.


Mark Brousseau

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