Capture, Manage, Route & Automate Business Information | 5 minute read
The amount of information businesses must process continues to increase. Workers everywhere need a fast, effective way to capture the important information they need to do their jobs, regardless of the informational format (email, snail-mail, electronic, etc.). Once the information is captured, workers, and the organization as a whole, must be able to manage the data safely and efficiently. The importance of ensuring that the right data is routed to the right person at the right time cannot be underestimated.
How would your organization improve if you could capture and extract the data you need, then route it automatically where it needs to go, when it needs to be there? How about using integration and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools to improve your business processes? Today’s technologies enable all this and more, maximizing the productivity of your entire organization. Executives should take heed!
The Importance of Content Management
Recently, Nucleus found that for small to medium businesses, investing in content management returns $8.55 in benefits per dollar spent. The key value drivers for these solutions are increased user productivity and cost savings from redeployed staff or avoided additional hires. As organizational transparency and the value of data continue to grow, companies that fail to fully leverage their own digital content will lag behind more savvy competitors.
Just what is content management and how does it differ from the more ubiquitous document management? The distinction is important given the vast number of management systems. While we tend to use the terms DMS and CMS synonymously, they’re not the same, although they may share many features and characteristics. According to an article in CMS Wire, “a DMS is a system that helps businesses to create, track and store digitized documents. A DMS is used to classify, retain and protect electronic information. It also supports versioning, collaboration and workflows. Content management systems are used to create and manage various types of digital content besides documents in the traditional sense. For example, in addition to being used for PDFs, Word files or Excel files, a CMS could be used to manage things like images, web pages, records and flash files.”
Since all organizations create, consume, and share digital content, all should have a modern Enterprise Content Management system. Often, however, small and mid-sized businesses are slow to deploy such systems. They tend to rely on email, hand-delivery or telephone for information sharing. In general, this approach tends to make costs higher per each transaction as compared to the per-transaction cost of larger companies whose businesses cannot run without ECM.
For large enterprises, the importance of ECM is obvious –thousands of people need to collaborate and access shared content remotely, so a large business can’t run without it. Smaller organizations have a harder time justifying the expense involved in switching from a manual system to a digital one -- however, for the business to truly scale and optimize efficiency, a digital solution that can securely organize, manage, and content is necessary. Not only does an ECM system enable small and mid-sized businesses to more closely match per-transaction costs against a large organization, it also furthers the ability to compete on a more nearly equal footing in a global market.
Modern content management systems are far more sophisticated than they were even a few years ago. Far more than convenient document storage, today’s systems have extensive capabilities such as permission-required access to ensure that only designated users can use certain files; data extraction so that documents can be searched automatically for relevant data; embedded analytics to extract insights from that data; business process automation; and collaboration tools that allow users to share and work together on documents and projects in real time.
Since small to medium businesses (defined in this case as < 500 people) have been shown to occur $8.55 in benefits for each dollar invested in modern ECM solutions it is baffling to understand why so many are slow to invest in upgrading, modernizing, or even simply deploying Enterprise Content Management systems. One reason, of course, is corporate culture and the human aversion to change.
Adopt Workflow Automation
Company executives who want to improve the workflow processes need to understand the importance of ensuring communication and efficiency between departments or groups within a larger organization. Communication missteps are one of the most egregious causes of workflow bottlenecks – someone forgets to sign a vital document – someone else overlooks a vital email – a file gets buried on someone’s desk. Intercommunication becomes a problem that appears when individuals aren’t “on the same page.”
This individuality appears in the different areas of a company and can be disastrous to the common goal of “getting the job done.” Working on one’s own task without regard to the tasks of other workers, all of whom are required to get the job done, results when workers don’t understand their place in the workflow. Acknowledging the importance of automating the workflow process offers an incredible opportunity for team members to help visualize the impact and role of their task-solving activities, how this can affect other areas of business and the main objective of each company.
This interaction can be an important start and a vital part of moving corporate culture forward and embracing change.
Reduce the Fear of Robotic Process Automation
As a recent article in CIO says:
“Don't fear the robots, embrace the potential! Robotic process automation is not necessarily replacing human workers, but creating more capacity and the potential for employees to focus on higher-value activities.
The implementation of robotic process automation (RPA) is enabling enterprises to execute business processes 5-10 times faster with an average of 37 percent fewer resources, according to a report released this week by Information Services Group (ISG). However, the productivity gains are not necessarily leading to mass layoffs, but rather the redeployment of employees to handle higher-value tasks and a greater volume of work, according to ISG.”
So, what executives need to do is to “develop strategic leaders who are digitally savvy, and digitally savvy workers who are strategic.” - CCL
Move the Organization Forward
In their 7 Emerging Trends Report, The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) states that:
In order to thrive in today’s highly competitive and resource strapped marketplace, forward-thinking executives are reimagining their approach to talent development. They’re considering how their organizations must continually innovate, operate more nimbly, and maximize the contributions of every individual.
There are new rules of engagement…companies no longer have the luxury of shepherding staff through years-long training programs or following linear paths to leadership. Disruptive forces, including rapid technological innovations and a revolving door of mergers and acquisitions, have ushered in an era of perpetual change. Companies need digitally savvy, future fluent leaders who are agile, strategic, data-driven, and resilient — and they need them now.” (emphasis ours)
It is up to the leaders to establish and communicate the vision and ensure that the digital change is understood throughout the organization. Remember than any change, no matter how beneficial to all will, by its very nature, be disruptive. Focus on the positive aspects of the digital transformation. Use pilot programs to show what success looks like and to mitigate the risks of change. Train, mentor and encourage workers to be part of the change. Listen to their suggestions.
Look to the Experts
Enterprise content management, workflow automation and robotic process automation have been around long enough that experienced vendors who offer them are well-versed in guiding newcomers to the technologies that best solve whatever content, workflow and automation problems they have. Make use of their expertise!