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Clear The Way For Fast-Flying Forms

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Used with permission from Integrated Solutions magazine

Technology deployments are hardly "touchy-feely" propositions. They're all about solving immediate needs, generating rapid payback, and, basically, keeping the lights on. Few, if any, IT decision makers could be accused of being navel gazers — philosophical types with the time and luxury to sit back and reflect on how technology might help the company "find itself." Nevertheless, technology deployments can, over time, become journeys of corporate self-discovery. While technology won't necessarily change the overarching mission or identity of a company, it can help define the core business processes that support the mission or identity.

Of course, companies often worry that IT solutions will force unwanted changes to traditional practices. Still, it's the rare company that doesn't gain, through technology evaluations and rollouts, a clearer vision of what processes it must alter to operate more efficiently.

At Wells Fargo Shareowner Services (WFSS), the stock transfer department of Wells Fargo & Co., the implementation of document imaging solutions brought to light key distinctions among certain core practices. As a stock transfer agent, WFSS provides various stock management services for publicly traded companies and their shareholders. Those services include handling stock transfers, managing employee stock purchase programs, paying or reinvesting dividends, and collecting and tabulating information in preparation for companies' annual meetings.

In fulfilling its duties, WFSS has always processed large volumes of paper documents. In the late 1990s, the company shifted many of its document processing jobs from manual to automated operations, bringing in scanning solutions to support the transition. Along the way, WFSS discovered that applying the same tools across-the-board was inefficient. Its various document imaging needs did not all require the same kind of data processing. As Assistant VP Jeff Jordan explains, "We began to see there are really two parts to our business — straight-through processing and workflow. Some scanned information can be pushed straight through to our mainframe transaction processing system, while other scanned documents must be routed through various quality control checkpoints." So, when WFSS decided to upgrade its document management system, it was determined to separate the tools used for straightthrough processing from those used for workflow.

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