Go Green with Document Management

Document Management is the #1 Required Workplace Technology

Posted by Mike Paperalt on Mar 8, 2019 11:46:00 AM

Document Management is the #1 Required Workplace Technology | 5 minute read

Introduction

According to a recent report by CMS Wire, 73% of office workers surveyed considered Document Management to be a very important workplace technology.  Next in line was Collaboration Tools, followed by Communications and Knowledge management.  Interestingly, when asked about the current effectiveness of these same workplace tools within their organization, those surveyed rated Document Management well down the scale at #8, with only about 17% of employees saying that their Document Management was working well. 

In this same survey, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Automation were cited as “very” or “somewhat” important by 83.3% of the respondents. Unfortunately, data show that businesses who don’t have their foundation tools (like a robust Document Management system) in place before moving on to these more advanced initiatives are not as successful with the initiative and their employees are not as satisfied.

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Decide What You Really Want to Accomplish:

  • Do you need more efficiency, so you can do more with less?
  • Do you require additional security measures for your internal documents?
  • Do you want to save time when you need to find a document?
  • Do you want to reduce space requirements and storage costs for old documents?
  • Do you need to confirm to new regulations?
  • Do you want to automate workflow and business processes?
  • Do you want to eliminate paper as much as possible, starting in the mailroom?
  • Do you want to make data transfer easier?
  • Do you want to make use of artificial intelligence for routine tasks?
  • Do you want to enable remote workers?
  • Do you need to collect more data faster?

These are just a few of the results that businesses hope to achieve when they go adopt a digital workplace.  Your organization may have other goals in mind.  The important thing is to know what you want to achieve. 

Establish Priorities

While most working professionals say that a digital workplace is necessary for organizational success, executive support is much lower.  With the C-Suite focused on budgetary constraints and suffering from fragmented program ownership and competing initiatives, the importance of digital technology is overlooked.  This is because traditionally, the best executives have been specialists: the Chief Finance Officer, the Chief Marketing Officer, the Chief Executive Officer and so on, each with their own area of expertise.   Unfortunately, in today’s fast-moving technological environment this laser-focused approach is not as effective as it once was. Today, innovation, collaboration and access to data drive success and the ability to lead through disruption may be far more powerful than specialization.

This means that organizations that are at the early stages of their digital workplace journey often find it difficult to secure executive support.  Without C-suite support behind the digital changes necessary to serve customers well and retain quality employees, digital technologies are relegated to line-items in a budget, easily cut before final approval.

Understanding where and how to begin the organization’s cultural change necessary for digital transformation lies with visionaries within the organization, regardless of their title. Yet, even those who are willing to embrace disruption are often unsure what results to expect and how to measure success. 

A good place to start is by looking at organizations that are further ahead on the digital path and that have reported measurable benefits.  Successful digital adopters nearly always start with specific goals to accomplish, as well as a formal plan for progress.  They include employee input early and often. 

Get Buy-In from Your Staff

No matter how well-conceived your ideas are, you need a co-operative staff to help implement them.  It is a fact that most organizational cultures do not like change, even when the change is for the best.  So, how do you get the buy-in you need? 

Every change process starts with a change in the mind-set.  You can begin to motivate a change by getting them involved early in the process. 

Start talking the digital workplace early and often.  Ask their opinions.  See if they can suggest ways that their job workflow could be easier, better, faster.  Engage them in the process from the beginning.  These people “in the trenches” may have ideas for better processes that you never even thought of…after all, they’re the ones moving the paper from place to place all day long.

Once they engage and accept the change as necessary and know how it will benefit them, then the time is right to initiate the change process. The first and most fundamental step toward effective adoption of a digital workplace is a motivated, enthusiastic and positively inclined group of employees. 

Plan

Prior planning prevents digital transition pain!  Before buying hardware and software, it is essential to understand your processes as they currently exist.  Now is the time to revamp processes, improve workflows and thoroughly plan your transition.  

It’s generally recommended to convert to a digital workplace in stages.   For some businesses, this means going department by department.   For other organizations, it may be best to start with current clients or customers and update their files as they seek your services.  Other businesses may be eager to disengage from all their paper archives in order to free up needed space.

Whatever is the right way for your organization to move toward the new digital workplace, have a plan with a realistic time frame and checkpoints along the way to make sure you’re on track.  Remember even the most well-thought-out plan may need some adjustments as you put it into play.  That’s why it’s important to have frequent checks on progress. 

Of course, part of your transition to digital is ensuring that you purchase the most appropriate types of hardware and software for your intended use.  Manufacturers and technology resellers can be valuable sources of information, as can other businesses that have already made the leap to a digital workplace.

There’s a lot of work to do in any organizational change, and it’s important to realize at the outset that you won’t be able to accomplish everything at once. Since the basis of digital workplace technology is a robust Electronic Document Management System (EDMS), if you don’t already have one, start shopping for one that will serve your needs best.  Many of the newer EDMS platforms have workflow automation capabilities built-in that can be easily set up with little or no programming required.

If you already have an EDMS, survey your employees and see how they rate it.  Since the survey results quoted in the first paragraph of this article show that only 17% of employees say their EDM is working well, make sure yours is not one that your employees rate poorly.  It’s not effective if it doesn’t make the work more efficient!

Use this free Document Management and ECM Workbook to help you determine what features you need in your basic EDM system. Note:  Make sure whichever EDM you decide on, you get one that has scalable growth, both in features and capacity.

Measure Results

Once the digital transition is underway, you will want to measure results and understand your ROI.  Digital workplace measurement frameworks are largely immature and deserve more focus.  The CMS survey quoted earlier shows that higher performing digital workplaces use more robust measurement frameworks and utilize more metrics to track progress and drive improvement. But with a significant proportion of organizations stating they didn’t know or that they are using very few metrics, there is a clear lack of effective measurement strategies in place.

Some measurements we’ve seen have been as simple as tracking the cost of paper and paper storage before and after EDM implementation.  Others have been sophisticated, including one college that was able directly tie their digital application process to an increase in enrollment. 

Your EDM vendor should be a source of statistics and analytics that other organizations have used to measure their success with a digital workplace.  Make use of the suggestions they offer to measure your own results.  You will also want to take advantage of any available EDM system analytics to help you make wise decisions going forward.

As data and analytics become more of interest in the digital workplace, we’re confident that the use of analytics to support better decision-making will emerge as a high priority in the digital workplace.

Conclusion

We are in a digital age where the workplace is no longer a physical space occupied by employees during office hours. Today’s workplace is an always-connected digital environment that provides instant access to everything employees need, no matter where they are.

With the lines between the physical office and the place where the work happens are becoming blurred, a digital workplace is no longer just something “nice” to consider, it’s a necessity for any organization that wants to stay relevant, retain customers and attract employees.

The basis for this digital workplace is a robust Document Management System that enables communication and collaboration across the workforce. 

By combining intelligent digital technologies with EDM systems that many businesses already use, the digital workplace transforms organizations into places of efficiency, growth and innovation, with involved employees and well-served customers. 

The key to success, however, depends on the implementation of a digital workplace strategy - requiring everyone within the organization – from the C-Suite executives to the hourly employees to be willing to and able to drive change and innovation throughout the organization.  The place to start is with a robust, secure, efficient Electronic Document Management System.

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Topics: Document Management, EDM

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