In my workplace, the process for expense reports is a pretty standard one. We have to send PDF’s of receipts and make everything legible in black and white…detailed but not too large of a file. Just one document that gets it just right.
If that sounds easy, it isn’t. I used to wait for a quiet moment (which never seems to happen) to play catchup. I would scan my receipts one by one, making each a page image in Word doc, printed as a PDF. It was painfully slow. It was my low point of every week or month.
When our scanner recently broke, I did what seemed like the best thing. I bought a $250 HP printer scanner that could scan directly to PDF. The process was faster but it wasn’t much better. I still dreaded doing my expenses. I wasn’t any better off but my wallet was lighter.
Then a colleague showed me an $0.99 iPhone app, TurboScan, that did everything I needed from my phone. The phone I used every day and had with me every time I signed the receipt…every time I left the taxi.
From PDF to email, it is seamless and cost me 1/250th of the price of the old way.
What does this mean for technology when the old way can be completely turned on its head by process and price? As a user, it is exciting, as a stock buyer, it creates a scary landscape. This is where we are.