In the post-COVID business world, a digital mailroom has gone from a smart move for forward-thinking companies to an indispensable part of the hybrid workplace. While the digitization of your incoming and intra-office communications is now hard to avoid, it’s important to understand the likely investments this will require.
Cononsidering switching to a digital mailroom but aren’t sure what costs to expect?
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the major costs involved in embracing digitization, including:
- Mail volume
- Document complexity
- Data security and compliance
- Service level agreements
- Additional services
- Staffing needs
- System design and setup
- Workflow integration
We also consider why, in many cases, choosing a full-service outsourced digital mailroom service may offer both the deepest savings and the greatest benefits for your business.
Making the Leap: Are Digital Mailroom Costs Worth It?
Over the last decade, the need to digitize business mailroom services has been driven by ballooning amounts of incoming correspondence and the need to keep up with suppliers and clients adopting automated ordering and payments processes.
More recently, the pandemic has seen customers moving rapidly online, and the remote work revolution means key staff are spending less time in the office than ever. Ensuring mobile and off-site employees have timely access to critical correspondence has become a core function of the modern hybrid workplace.
All this means that if you weren’t already considering at least some digital mailroom services for your business, you more than likely are now—but that doesn’t make rethinking one of your core back-office functions any easier.
While mailroom digitization has the potential to increase savings and unlock value for your company, there are significant costs involved. Let’s take a look at some key cost drivers for mailroom digitization.
1. Mail Volume
Determining the right equipment manufacturer and capacity is complex as not all machinery and technology is created equally. If you’re an insurance company, property management business, or government services provider, you likely process hundreds or thousands of physical mail every day. But whatever your correspondence volume, your mailroom service needs to be right-sized to fit it.
That can mean:
- More scanning and automated handling equipment
- More sophisticated scanning and exception-handling systems to match your volume
- Increased data storage requirements
- Larger capacity document management systems
- Higher setup and ongoing maintenance costs
Creating a company digital mailroom in-house requires direct investment in sophisticated equipment and managing integration issues yourself, as well as maintaining and updating your equipment and keeping trained staff on hand capable of doing all the heavy lifting.
Choosing a full-service outsourced digital mailbox company like ILM Corp gives your company access to specialist digital mailroom equipment, end-to-end services, and industry-leading expertise without the upfront expenditure, ongoing costs, and risk of investing in expensive specialized equipment.
2. Document Complexity
Costs can increase quickly if you are handling specialized documents with unique complexities. Industry-specific formats, embedded security features, and unique authentication and verification requirements are just some of the ways increased complexity can drive costs by forcing you to invest in specialized technology and hire hard-to-find staff.
From defense, aerospace, and election oversight to healthcare and legal and financial services, ILM offers experience solving complex digitization and data extraction challenges and can deliver customized services to meet your organization’s specific needs.
ILM’s refined, repeatable processes are capable of extracting accurate, usable information from almost any kind of document or format using advanced optical character recognition-powered scanning technology and AI-assisted data extraction software.
3. Data Security and Compliance
Privacy and data protection have never been more important. Transitioning to a digital mailroom can help improve security by limiting the number of eyes that see sensitive communications and maintaining a strict auditable chain of custody.
Higher data security standards for government agencies, financial institutions, and healthcare providers will add costs to your digitization process, but should always be seen against the background of the liability and reputation risk of a data breach or privacy failure.
Working with an experienced digital mailroom provider can often deliver more safety and value at a lower cost than doing it yourself. ILM offers extensive experience in making sure digitized workflows conform with important regulatory and industry standards, including:
- Federal NARA M-19-21 requirements
- HIPAA compliant
- ISO 9001: 2015 certification for quality management
- SOC 1 Type II Audit
- Federal secure facility management certified
4. Service Level Agreements
Achieving digitization while matching the service levels your clients expect can be challenging and expensive. Making sure you are able to match and beat the document turn-around, claim resolution, or receipt acknowledgment standards you’ve set yourself is always going to be a key measure of the value and return on investment of your digital mailroom.
Working with an experienced outsourcing partner means never having to compromise your standards while figuring out a technology transition. A trusted partner like ILM will work with you to meet and beat your existing service levels. If your customers notice the difference, we’ll help ensure it’s because you are exceeding their expectations.
5. Additional Services
Choosing how much of your mailroom services to digitize and when can be a tough decision, especially if you choose to go it alone with your implementation. Underestimating your digitizing needs or biting off more than you can chew can lead to expensive overhauls, retrofitting, and staff retraining.
Outsourced digital mailroom services allow you to add the services you need when you need them. ILM offers fully customized service, including our core document digitization and handling services as well as:
- Dedicated postal boxes
- Mail forwarding service
- Fax receiving and processing
- Lockbox and electronic check depositing
- UPS/FedEx receiving
- Custom acknowledgment services
We also offer lockbox services. With paper checks still being used for over a third of U.S. business-to-business transactions, this is a critical competency. It allows ILM to receive checks securely on your behalf and pay them into the appropriate account.
6. Staffing Needs
Digital mailrooms should always reduce the amount of labor your back office staff puts into opening, sorting, routing, and tracking mail and will ideally lower your overall administrative payroll as well. In practice, investing directly in new technology and processing capabilities can mean paying more for specialized staff and additional training.
An outsourced digital mailroom makes it easier to unlock the payroll savings that digitization makes possible. Instead of retraining staff, you’ll hand over critical mail management tasks to an experienced team who already have the skills to gather, sort, and process your incoming correspondence using the latest digitization technology. No more having to manage staff and staffing issues such as scheduling.
7. System Design and Setup
Your up-front investment in system design and implementation will be a major part of your total investment in digital mailroom services. Whether you choose to run your mailroom in-house or as an outsourced service, it’s important to work with experienced industry practitioners to make sure your implementation meets your needs and matches your budget.
ILM can help you make the most of your investment in a digital mailroom by designing a customized service from the ground up and then tracking our performance to make it even better. Our experts will work with your team to:
- Define which mailroom functions will be outsourced and what departments will be affected, while establishing a timeline, project milestones, and key performance metrics.
- Understand how your existing mail-handling process works and design a system to manage change and minimize disruption while meeting or exceeding your existing security standards.
- Implement your new digital mailroom, usually through a limited “soft launch” model that allows us to integrate learnings and feedback to refine operations as we scale up our processes.
- Build sustainable change by tracking progress and measuring efficiencies, and by putting in place robust protocols and procedures that allow our digital mailbox services to grow with you and meet your changing needs.
8. Workflow Integration
As the gateway to your internal workflow and an integral part of your back office, mailroom services are tied to many other essential document management services. Choosing to digitize your mailroom has important consequences for your internal workflows and often involves critical choices about how to further integrate your document management processes.
Even if you are taking your first steps towards the “paperless office,” it pays to treat your digital mailroom as part of a wider electronic document management strategy, especially if you are exploring hybrid or entirely remote work options for your key staff.
Partnering from the start with an end-to-end document management specialist like ILM for mail-to-digital workflows can add considerable benefits “down the line.’ We can help integrate digitized data with your existing databases and content management systems.
In addition, ILM is an industry leader in providing fully digitized, outsourced account payable (AP) services for all types of organizations. We also help businesses make better strategic decisions by providing the tools you need to carry out effective data analysis and reporting using the high-quality information now at your fingertips.
Key Benefits of Outsourced Mailroom Digitization
It’s important to keep the costs involved in an investment in mailroom digitization in perspective. Choosing to partner with an outsourced digital mailroom service provider provides key benefits that can deliver increasing value to your organization over time. These include:
- Space: As organizations everywhere look to minimize their office footprint, outsourcing your mailroom and data storage needs can reduce your space needs considerably.
- Equipment: Outsourcing removes the need to install, update, and maintain your mail scanning infrastructure, significantly derisking your transition to digitization.
- Staffing: An outsourced digital mailroom service is handled by dedicated digitization and data extraction specialists, so you don’t have to train staff to handle digitization in-house.
- Productivity: An outsourced data mailroom service frees up employees to work on your core operations.
- Faster Response Times: Digitization makes it easier and faster to share and respond to correspondence, allowing you to improve your customer response times.
- Reduced Liability: By improving data security and reducing the chance that mail will go missing, digitized mailroom services reduce the risk of mishandling sensitive information.
- Integration: Digitizing the gateway to your company’s document workflows allows you to begin laying the groundwork for a single, integrated document management system
- Data Analytics: By extracting accurate, usable information from your correspondence, a digital mailroom can help generate valuable insights into your company’s operations and performance.
Make Mailroom Digitization Pay With ILM
Many companies now claim to deliver digitized mailroom services, but only a few can deliver effective, accurate digitization of all your incoming correspondence as part of a comprehensive organization-wide electronic document management strategy.
Whether you are looking to lay the groundwork for effective information sharing across a hybrid work environment or you just need a more effective way to manage a bulging daily mailbag, ILM offers fully customized outsourced digital mailroom services driven by advanced scanning and data extraction capabilities and deep industry experience.
ILM digital mailroom services include:
- Dedicated PO Box deliveries
- Mail forwarding and acknowledgment services
- Expert scanning and data extraction
- UPS/FedEx receiving and inbound fax processing
- Comprehensive lockbox services
ILM delivers the digital mailroom services you need today with advanced integration skills and value-added services to help you make better decisions tomorrow, including:
- Outsourced AP services
- Organization-wide electronic document management
- Advanced data processing and analytics
Click below to learn more about how ILM’s outsourced digital mailroom services can deliver efficiency, cost saving, and long-term value for your company.