From the Fall 2017 Edition of the Official Mail Guide:
Turning incoming paper mail into digital mail has been an illusive corporate goal. But Eco-Mail is changing that with a solution that produces big bottomline results. The OMG talked with Eco-Mail’s Founder/CEO Jay Maller about how the company is revolutionizing digital mail.
MAIL: Top financial institutions use Eco-Mail to digitize and route incoming mail. Besides speeding response time, how does Eco-Mail help the bottom line?
MALLER: Eco-Mail goes far beyond just speeding response time. We eliminate tremendous hard dollar costs in the mailroom and in virtually every corner of an organization. In the mailroom, we eliminate manual sorting and routing for more than 80% of a company’s mail. Downstream, we allow companies to quickly and easily move mail and associated processing seamlessly, instantly and essentially without cost. This eliminates interoffice mail costs and allows work to be moved and aggregated to low cost processing centers.
MAIL: Digitizing incoming mail has been a corporate goal for years, but until now hasn’t really taken off. Why is that?
MALLER: Until Eco-Mail, there really wasn’t a solution that allowed companies to effectively digitize and distribute the vast majority of their mail without pre-sorting. Digital mail solutions were focused on scanning pockets of very similar documents … things like mortgage applications. That might capture 10-20% of the mail but it doesn’t eliminate sorting or distribution of everything else and it can be hard to implement because you need to “train” those systems for every new document you want to digitize. Eco-Mail doesn’t require training, captures virtually every document, eliminates sorting and distribution, is simple to roll out and increases efficiency for every recipient of mail.
MAIL: Compliance is a big issue with all customer communications. How does Eco-Mail enable compliance and control?
MALLER: Compliance is a big deal. Our customers recognize that physical mail is one of, if not the last, institutionalized paper processes and in relative terms, it’s the wild west of compliance. Physical mail isn’t trackable or auditable, you cannot tell who’s received or reviewed it, you cannot tell if copies have been made and slipped at the bottom of a pile, it can be lost forever. And don’t forget about security. A piece of mail sitting on a desk is a breach waiting to happen. Eco-Mail encrypts digital mail at the moment of receipt and only decrypts the content (automatically) for properly entitled persons. And we build a searchable audit trail of every interaction with each document.
MAIL: Incoming mail often comes in without an individual’s name on it. How does Eco-Mail deal with this problem?
MALLER: About 80% of mail arrives without an individual’s name. Regardless of how it’s addressed, it’s most likely headed to some kind of operations group that will get it into a workflow. Eco-Mail uses sophisticated OCR and rules-based processing to automatically figure out where each piece of mail goes … and the system gets smarter over time.
MAIL: What happens to the physical mail after it is scanned?
MALLER: That’s up to the customer but generally, it’s saved for a short while to accommodate exception processing like someone needs the physical original or it needs to be rescanned and thereafter, destroyed. In most industries, we believe every regulator now allows digital copies so there isn’t much need to retain originals.
MAIL: Are outsourcing companies embracing Eco-Mail for their clients?
MALLER: We are seeing outsourcers start to embrace Eco-Mail. There’s no doubt that digital mail can be a daunting proposition for outsourcers who are ingrained in labor intensive physical mail sorting and distribution but they’re also being driven by their customers. Banks and other businesses are starting to see digital mail as both a big cost savings and a strategic solution that makes their business operate faster and more efficiently.
MAIL: How does Eco-Mail become part of an existing digital workflow?
MALLER: This is one of the things about Eco-Mail that I am most proud of. From the start, we focused on eliminating the physical aspects of mail sorting and distribution. Our goal has always been to disrupt physical processes and seamlessly integrate with existing digital workflows. Our strategy allows us to quickly implement digital mail for an entire company by utilizing our dedicated user interface as an initial place to deliver digital mail and then write the connectors to automate integration with existing workflows.
MAIL: Eco-Mail has developed something called “Post-delivery, Content- Based Sub-sorting”. How does this work?
MALLER: This is one of the big secrets of Eco-Mail. We developed Eco-Mail in collaboration with one of the largest U.S. banks. While we were implementing, we recognized that all of that transactional mail was addressed to a department … was often sub-sorted into 5, 10 or more types of mail and often made its way back into interoffice mail to get to the right destination. Now, with a couple of clicks, it instantly goes to the right place.
MAIL: Can mail be viewed by multiple departments? How is this controlled?
MALLER: Scanned mail can be viewed by anyone who has been entitled. There is always only one digital copy of each mail and a single unified audit trail.
MAIL: Is it possible to use Eco-Mail from a remote location or does it have to take place in the current mail operation?
MALLER: Eco-Mail completely removes the constraints of physical mail. Mail can be delivered, opened and scanned at any location. The greatest cost efficiencies are achieved by consolidating existing mailrooms into a very small number of mail scanning centers. More importantly, post-delivery processing can now be shifted to the most efficient location.
MAIL: What types of companies are best suited for Eco-Mail?
MALLER: We usually say Eco-Mail is best suited to companies with 500 or more employees but have seen interest from smaller companies that … (want) increased compliance and audit controls.