It’s okay to admit it. You only clicked this article because you were curious what a “conversion process flow” even is, right? That’s completely understandable because it’s pretty jargon-y and wouldn’t make much sense if you weren’t reading this right now.
So what’s a conversion process flow? In a nutshell, it’s the framework of a project with all the steps required to go from start to finish. A process flow can have five steps, and it can have forty! The most important part of a process flow is that it’s unique to your project. Sure, some people will try to put you in a box and say you’re just like all their other customers. But you’re not! Your conversion project, regardless of what anyone tells you, is one-of-a-kind and needs to be looked at exactly that way to make sure it ends well.
Let’s take a look at how we create a unique process flow for your conversion project, and why it’s important for you to know how your project is being built and executed.
Create A Framework
There are a few schools of thought on how to get a project kicked off, ranging from “just get started” to “we’re not even touching this without a perfect plan.” We believe the best answer lies between those two extremes.
- Work with your potential conversion partner (the company or companies you’re talking to about your project) on the requirements and outcomes you need to make the project a success.
- Your partner will be able to take your thoughts, ideas, goals, and requirements and craft a plan on paper that makes the project successful, based on what you want.
- Depending on who you decide to partner with, a sample may be available to test the project goals. Samples are great because you not only get a small glimpse into the effectiveness of your partner, but you get to see your own records in digital format rather than some generic demo material.
- Once the plan has been created and a sample’s been reviewed, you and your partner can revise the plan to create the agreed upon Scope of Work for the project as a whole.
Test The Framework And Revise
How do you know that your project will be successful? So far (if you’ve followed our guidance above) you’ve talked to a potential scanning partner, received and reviewed a sample of the project, and put a project framework together. That’s like if you went to a food truck rally, or whatever those things are called, and were deciding what to eat. Walk up to a truck, talk to somebody, get a small bite as a sample, and then figure out what you want for your entire meal.
If that sounds kind of thin, well, sometimes you gotta go with what you’ve got! Unless your organization is okay with shelling out some dollars for a pilot project, the sample is probably as close as you’re going to get before choosing a company to work with. Let’s assume you chose us as your partner (good choice!). Here’s what you’d get from us:
We call our project setup and testing the “Milestone 1,” or M1 for short.
What happens during the M1 is that an assigned Project Manager will take the framework that was created by you and your BMI account executive and begin to create the project process flow. Depending on the complexity of your project, the process flow could be ten steps or it could be fifty!
Once the M1 process flow is completed, our Production staff will use a small batch of your project’s overall volume to test the process flow. The test batch will run through all the steps of the process flow to ensure that we set it up right and that the final digital delivery matches what was agreed to in the contract and scope of work.
Once the M1 test batch is finished, you’ll be able to review the M1 and either approve our work or let us know if there’s something we missed or even a potential change you want to make. The M1 is a great tool because it allows us to test our Production steps as well as find any inconsistencies between the agreed upon scope of work and the actual execution of the project. Also, it allows you, as the one who is paying for the work, to make sure that we’re giving you what you want!
BMI’s internal project tracking system is called Unity, and we built it completely in-house to meet our specific requirements for how we do our work. In a nutshell, Unity allows us to track each piece of material that we work on, through as many steps in a project process flow as are available, and to get real-time data and notifications for every project we are currently working on.
This is important for you, as the customer and the one paying for the project, because you can have peace of mind that your project is being executed professionally. You’re handing over your data and records, and that’s sometimes a scary thing. Would you rather hope that your material isn’t just being thrown into a pile and haphazardly worked on, or would you rather know that at at moment that you ask, your digital conversion partner can let you know where each unit of material is relative to the project as a whole, if there are any issues with the project, how many are done and in process, and any other number of data points important to you? We’re guessing you’d rather go with the latter, because no one could truthfully say they didn’t care about their records.
Execute The Project
Once you approve the M1 (either as-is or after some changes and revisions), we’ll complete the rest of your project based on the approved M1. Sometimes the remainder of your project will go along as smooth as silk because all of the material (microfilm, for instance) are of the same type as the material we saw in the M1, and nothing out of the ordinary pops up to put the brakes on the project.
Most of the time, though, an anomaly in your material will cause our Production team to pause and consider the new material. This can be something like a different type of microfilm (single image per frame vs. two images per frame) or a new data field that was not described in the scope of work (an SSN pops up when we’re only supposed to see and capture First and Last Name). When this happens, our team will notify you that we found an oddity and will work with you on how to solve the issue.
If a change has to be made, our project team will update your process flow to include new steps and procedures to make sure that the remaining material gets processed using the new method.
Not all projects are super complex or require thirty or more distinct steps to make them successful. But some do, and those are fun projects. Even if your project is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require any special software or new process to make it successful, you want to make sure it’s done right, don’t you? With our process flow methodology and M1 proof of concept testing, we strive to make sure your project is a success and you come out a winner.
If you’re excited about a digital conversion project because of what you’ve just read, we recommend you take a look at another of our articles that will give you a glimpse into the realm of document organization: The Wild And Wacky World Of Indexing.
Are you new to the document conversion industry and not sure what to expect when you decide to move forward with a conversion project? Our article What You Should Expect During Your Digital Conversion Project is perfect for you and will help you feel more confident when you reach out to a potential scanning partner.