Manage the Information Explosion in Your Organization
According to a 2016 survey conducted by Brousseau & Associates, the volume of documents (paper and electronic) flowing through business operations increased between 2014 and 2016. In fact, paper still accounts for much of the information flow. Two-thirds of organizations report that there has been no reduction in the amount of paper flowing through their business processes, and many report more paper than ever.
In our technologically advanced world, with nearly every organization reliant on computers, the Internet, email and speed of information exchange, the fact that paper documents are increasing boggles the mind!
Even more baffling is the fact that while most organizations are under pressure to reduce costs, comply with stringent regulations, and satisfy ever-increasing customer service demands, they allow paper and inefficient flow of information to strain their operations. This strain is particularly evident when processes that rely on unstructured information such as documents, images and e-mails are observed. Adding to the dilemma is the explosion of information that must be managed securely, along with the increasingly diverse channels through which documents arrive.
While paper-based information is to blame for many of the bottlenecks, information slow-downs and security breaches that organizations encounter, ineffective routing and lax computer security procedures for electronic documents cause nearly as many problems. But, these issues are all preventable in organizations that are willing to change. Here are some changes to consider:
Reduce the Flow of Paper from Outside
While you may not be able to prevent paper documents from arriving in the mail, you can stop them at their source. Mail Room Services like Customer Communications and Forms Processing can be moved off-site or outsourced. All incoming mail is then opened, scanned, and digitally transmitted to its destination.
Eliminate Internal Use of Paper
Once the inflow of paper has stopped, then eliminating internal paper files can begin. Not every file will need to be converted. Spend time at the outset to decide which files to convert, when and how to schedule the conversion, and what form the electronic data should take. Many businesses store out of date information in Intelligent, searchable PDFs that are coded to identify the content.
In-process-documents will, of course, be born digital and remain digital. A solution that allows collaboration on one document between employees and departments, whether onsite or in another location, prevents duplicate documents and ensures that the most current revision is always available.
When you automate processes, you have more control. You can identify inefficiencies by reviewing continually updated top-level reports. You know that status of any process at any time. Your business gains competitive advantage, as customers are better served and incoming information is more quickly integrated into the process flow. Digital documents flow where they need to be, when they need to be there, with all associated tasks monitored for status and completion.
Make Information Intelligent and Secure
The European Union (EU) Parliament approved the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in April, 2016 as a replacement for the Data Protection Directive, adopted in 1995. The law goes into effect May 2018 and is designed to protect EU citizens’ personally identifiable information (PII). Companies around the world need to take a closer look at how they store and manage their data, because the GDPR will apply to them.
To comply, many businesses in the EU, the USA and around the World are investing in technologies that enable them to:
- Efficiently apply extensive security settings to restrict access to PII.
- Electronically control and encrypt anything that contains PII, both during transmission and at rest.
- Establish security protocols to prevent fines and save money.
“The GDPR will affect not only EU-based organizations, but many data controllers and processors outside the EU as well. Threats of hefty fines, as well as the increasingly empowered position of individual data subjects tilt the business case for compliance and should cause decision makers to re-evaluate measures to safely process personal data.” –Bart Willemsen, Research Directer, Gartner