Many companies are investigating and developing digital mail center technologies, but they are doing so in very different ways. Since every organization has slightly different needs, there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all definition of what a digital mail center is or what a digital mail center can accomplish.
At a basic level, a digital mail center/mailroom involves the centralized digitization of all incoming physical mail, typically using some type of a document scanner and, in some cases, an automated envelope opener. This digitized mail is then routed electronically to the appropriate recipients across the organization using the distribution rules set up in the company’s document/content management software.
In practice, these scenarios can vary considerably depending on how advanced the scanning and document solutions in place are. In some cases, only the envelopes are scanned as part of the physical distribution and tracking process. In others, the contents are extracted and scanned and automatically sent electronically to the intended recipient. Some companies also provide notifications to recipients so they can determine if they want the mail physically or electronically delivered, discarded, or rerouted.
There are a number of technology-based elements that are part of a digital mail center, but which ones are used and how they are used will depend on the application.