Current Dictation Environment

October 5, 2007 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

Before you can form an educated opinion of where you want to go with digital dictation, you need to form an understanding of where you are with the current tape-based business process.

In fact, it is not unknown that existing digital dictation systems, even quite extensive ones, end up getting replaced because of an unclear picture of both the current situation and what was needed moving forward.

Following is a set of questions whose answers will serve to clarify you current situation with respect to working practices and the real cost of the current process.

Does your current tape vendor have the ability to deliver a digital solution?
You may be able to leverage the current support & maintenance arrangement.

What specific challenges are you facing with the tape-based system?
e.g. end-of-life tape fleet, costly repairs, new office, increasingly mobile lawyer, work-at-home typists, long turnaround times.

What is the impact of these challenges?
This will help you quantify the real cost – not just in currency, but also in lost jobs on damaged tape, adversely affected client service because conference recordings were not clear enough to transcribe, excessive overtime, dissatisfied clients…

What do you think needs to happen to make things better?
Look beyond the obvious benefits of simply replacing tape. This is your opportunity to re-engineer a business process and really apply some leverage.

How many tape recorders do you have?
This will assist you when it comes to licencing discussions with the vendors who differ markedly in the approach – per seat vs per PC vs per lawyer vs per typist vs per concurrent typist vs enterprise licence

How many tape transcribers do you have?
See above

How much internal desk-moving is there?
Point-to-point systems can have significant licencing control issues with respect to changing the type of user on a PC. Significant movements require uninstalling of software and reinstalling, and this can significantly increase ongoing internal support costs. Active Directory services, roaming profiles etc all come into this question.

Would the firm consider setting up a centralised Word Processing Centre?
Many firms gain significant benefit from centralising WP, or at least in larger countries, establishing 2 centres to offer follow-the-sun transcription support. It will also perhaps provide an insight into the labour costs that could be saved.

What would happen if you do not adopt digital dictation?
This helps you understand true costs, both direct and indirect.

If you have seen some digital dictation systems, what did you like and dislike about them?
Build a feature / benefit list and don’t be afraid to ask the vendors to prove their capabilities listed in their marketing material.

What would digital dictation need to do to compel you to invest in it?
This really cuts to the heart of the matter.

In an ideal world where everything is possible, what would you like to achieve with digital dictation?
Sometimes, the unexpected is possible

Does the firm prefer to purchase, rent or lease IT needs?
This may influence the way the proposals are put to you.

What path would a pilot proposal take?
Be clear on the path for a digital dictation project – must it go to the Board?

Have any lawyers / secretaries used digital dictation anywhere else?
Their opinions of the reality can be illuminating.

Does the secretarial department have any statistics on numbers of dictations, by whom, how long etc?
This will assist enormously with scoping the project – no sense in having too many licences and wasting your money. Equally there is no sense in having too few and having to go cap-in-hand to the partners for an extension to the system.

Does the HR Manager have a report of WP operator overtime and secretarial / PA overtime?
Digital dictation can reduce these costs if implemented correctly.

How do you record and transcribe multi-attendee conferences?
Poor quality recordings always result in poor quality transcripts and that wastes everybody’s time – lawyer, typist and client. Ensure the system integrates with a specifically designed meeting software application.

Although not exhaustive, these questions will help you understand where you sit currently with the dictation / transcription business process before embarking on the next set of questions around your digital dictation infrastructure.

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Selecting Digital Dictation Digital Dictation Infrastructure

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