I think the question of when to outsource is fast becoming the only question to answer.  Every firm I talk to has a mandate or at least a formal initiative to do as much work in-house as possible.  Firms are looking for ways to cut costs or capture revenue by doing document processing themselves.  Software needed to do this has become much easier and intuitive to use.  The Multi-Function Device has also become more powerful and less expensive.  These two advances in technology make the question of when to outsource document processing a simple one to answer.  1) Do I have the computer processing resources needed to get the job done in an acceptable time frame and 2) Do I have someone who can see the task through.  I call this DIY Threshold Tolerance.  A firms threshold tolerance depends of the depth of staff and type of available equipment.  If either of the two elements of the equation are missing, you have a recipe for disaster.  Do not force fit a project for the sake of expedience unless you can afford the costs of delay (loss of credibility with the bench if you have to ask for more time or worse sanctions). 


It’s pretty simple really.  A computer can process an application at a given rate of throughput.  You have an identifiable amount of documents to scan or electronic documents to process.  Lastly, you have a certain amount of time to get it done.  Don’t bet your case on a first time attempt to DIY a project for the risk of being late on delivery.  Take on smaller projects and see how fast your software and hardware combination performs.  Take note of it.  Attorneys: Don’t try to fit a Size 12 foot into a Size 8 shoe.  There is no amount of magic, sweat or late hours that can increase this throughput level.  It is what it is.  Know the rate.  Calculate the rate times the work volume and see if you have enough time.

Again, start small with low volumes.  Establish a throughput baseline and manage your projects from there.

13 comments (Add your own)

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